Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: Who do you tip?

This thought came to mind on Friday when I took the RAV for a run through the car wash. I made sure that I had a few extra bucks to tip the towel guys at the end. When I got there, I realized that they had started using this "spot free rinse" which negates the need for towel boys anymore. I paid my $8.00, put my car in drive at the end and off I went.

Should I have paid a tip to the attendant? The attendant that sprayed my car down with soap and pressed the button to make the car wash start?

I admit that I've always been a little confused on who to tip. Obviously, I give a tip to the waiter/waitress serving us in a restaurant. We almost always ride the 20% rule, though I admit that we've given the quarter salute just twice when the service was beyond horrible. We don't punish servers for quality of food. That is not their job. When the one server was just unable to get our bill correct, even after I had corrected it on the initial bill and it took her a half hour to get things straightened, she got a quarter. When the one server never returned, even though she owed us more food, she got a quarter. (She knew that she owed us food and was busy standing around a doorway, waiting for us to leave. No, we weren't rude. She brought entrees for both us and the table next to us. All of it was messed up, but we giggled and flipped plates back and forth before we got everyone's full meal in the proper place. Hey! You have my corn! Oh geeze, I think I have your peas. We made the best of it.) Still, the service has to stink to the high heavens for us to pretty much stiff a server.

The newspaper delivery person and mail carrier get a Christmas gift from us. I don't monetarily tip them, as I figure that for the mail person, that might not be something that they are technically able to take. I still leave a nice gift, though.

Do you tip a maid in a hotel? I admit that we could possibly be classified as scum under someones feet, but we never have. For years, you never knew that was a thing to do. Now, wrinkly envelopes are left behind. Envelopes have been recycled from previous overnighters that have given. Still, I've always thought that we pay a handsome sum to stay in a hotel. We leave a tidy room. Everything is all straightened. The towels are all gathered into a pile. The garbage is all collected and put into the proper receptacles. This one I'm hedging to think that we are probably not doing the proper thing.

If I'm in the city and take a cab, we give a tip. How much do you give a cabbie, though?

We don't visit the city very often at all, but do you tip bathroom attendants? To date, I've only seen one bathroom attendant ever and that was at Planet Hollywood in Baltimore. What do you tip them?

We never get food delivered, but I would tip them. If they are grotesquely late, what do you do?

We've had furniture delivered. We had an entire storage barn delivered. Now that I think about it, should we have tipped those people? The furniture was damaged, not that it was specifically their fault, but I was so distracted that if I were to tip, it didn't come to mind. The barn delivery guy was Amish and sold us a 10 lb bag of fresh dug potatoes before he hauled out. Still, did we miss the boat?

It is so rare that we get a tip at work that it is almost a public announcement. We gift wrap probably 80% of what we sell and only 3 times in my 8 1/2 years of employment at the gallery have I ever received a tip. I do a great job. I also do my job not expecting a tip. It's just not something that comes along. However, if I were on the other side of the counter having multiple things gift wrapped for me, I would certainly tip the sales person.

Your honest opinion is always appreciated! Who do you tip?

- I was tip-toeing the line of getting a cold, then the guy who sat behind me at church coughed, hacked and sneezed through the whole service and basically solidified by fate of getting said cold.
- I had an older guy grump at me today as I was tallying his bill. "JUST WHY ARE YOU PRESSING ALL THOSE NUMBERS INTO THAT THING?" "Sir, I'm just entering the prices of the items that you've chosen." After, I tallied the bill one more time and verbally called out the prices, so he would know what I was doing. And yes, he still checked my math.
- It was far too much perfume day today. Even with a nasal impairment, I had to open the door to air out the massive cloud.
- It seems as though K-'s system is out of balance from the stomach funk of last week. I'm on project reprogram right now. Generally, it takes me a few weeks to return her flora back around.

Smiles in my day:
- K-'s class won the canned food drive. All those kindergartners hauled cans in by hand, by backpack and by parent to get to 193 cans collected by 22 children over 5 days. They get to have a pizza party, which I will be hosting on behalf of the PTA on Friday. They are so excited!
- K-'s stomach ache did disappear about 5 minutes before walking out the door this morning. I seriously considered keeping her at home, but I kept her moving to get ready and all. I had her eat a plain piece of bread (great breakfast, I know) and it seems to have soaked up the rest of the onion unrest. She said that her stomach didn't hurt her at all and believe me, I checked while I was at the school on can count.
- My co-worker is happily taking the leftover toasted orzo for lunch tomorrow. I thought it was very good, but I could seem myself hovering on the stomach ache bit, too. I'm a little onion sensitive like K-. Next time, no onion.
- Another good paper day for K-! Well done papers and no bad marks. Now those are the papers I'm used to getting!

Have a great day!


Melissa said...

Even for HORRIBLE service you should tip 10% at a restaurant. Because that is what the IRS figures that they are gettting based on their sales. So you are not just stiffing them you are taking money away from them. Servers still only make $2.00 an hour, which they never see in a paycheck because it goes towards income taxes based on their sales.

When I was a kid and delivered newspapers the only money I received was tips. Not sure if this has changed or not. But yeah, you should be tipping them too (if they are kids).

At our car washes in NJ there is usually a bucket that you put a dollar or 2 into for everyone to split up at the end of the day. Pretty sure they arent making more than minimum wage so I dont begrudge them. I am however jealous of your $8.00 car washes. The ones around here are at LEAST (just a basic soaping and rinse) $15.

Mailman is paid a good salary, no need to tip.

Cabbie, a couple of bucks, they are usually ripping you off anyway lol.

Grotesquely late delivery people are usually late because they are super busy and there is only one of them, not their fault.

Rach said...

Having waited tables, I always leave a tip. Crappy service will get you 15%. That's just how I am. $2.13/hour is just not that much, especially when SSI and taxes are being taken out of that check.

I tip the delivery guy/gal (pizza, food) but not those delivering big ticket items.

I tip the hairdresser, nail techs, etc. I tip the maid at the hotel.

I probably over tip, but isn't it wonderful to have acknowledgment for a job well-done? So, even if I *shouldn't* tip and I do, well, I may be out some cash, but I just made somebody's day. :o)

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Oh, and I forgot! Servers also have to tip the bus staff 10% of their tips based on their sales to the bus staff!

Anonymous said...

Oh the tip. The things I have learned since becoming a road warrior:

Hotel Maids: $1-$2 per day. Again, because I like to NOT have anyone in my room, I place the Do Not Disturb sign on my door and then only tip about $2 on my last day. Then I don't feel guilty. My thought...they have access to your toothbrush. Don't stiff them, or don't let them in.

Cabbies-give them about $5-$7 bucks if its a long ride, $3-5 for quickies. Add a buck or two per bag. Add a little more (or give a little less) based on if they were extra nice (or not) etc. And you're also supposed to tip the guy at the hotel that walks you to the cab out front. A buck or two. Sometimes, I will walk a block away from the hotel because I'm short on cash and hail my own darn cab.

Hairdresser, 15 to 20%. Shampoo person $2. Never have to tip the owner if they do your hair.

Waiters: Always at least 15%, even of it's bad service. Good karma. Then never patronize the place again. But I usually do 20% for proper service. And if you pay and tip on your credit card, the server gets even less then you give them, because they have to pay the credit service fee on the amount of the tip. So tip in cash, or give them a little extra "oomph" to pay for the service fee. Oh! And if you use a coupon, figure tip on the price BEFORE the deduction.

Delivery people about 10% of bill, a little more if weather is lousy or they deliver on a holiday.

If you pick up something "to go" at a regular sit-down restaurant, add in a small tip, too. 10% or so is what some "experts" say. Although, again, I do more, especially if I am a regular. Same logic as the maids with your toothbrush...don't mess with the people who handle your food!!!

Coffee people at the coffee shop...whatever. I usually (but not always) drop my change in thier little begging cup at the register. This is very optional though, they don't work on tips.


Bailey's Leaf said...

Okay, I have to admit that I've never been a waitress. Oh heavens, I would be a very bad one. But really? Even if they completely and utterly suck a truck load of lemons I'm still supposed to give them 15%? I'm surprised by that. It's not because I'm cheap, but because I kind of think that is rewarding bad behavior. Obviously, they know the wage that they are making. Aren't they supposed to schmooze the customer? Just sayin'.

We are at least 20% people. At the drive in hamburger joint, I tip well more than that. Those boys are literally running to my car. The service is great.

I forgot about the hair dresser. Yes, she's a 20%.

Our paper isn't delivered by a kid. It is delivered by a mother and older son. She liked my gift so much that she even called me to tell me so.

I don't think that the mail person cares, but I still leave something to be thankful. Yes, I know that they earn a fairly decent wage.

There was no car wash tip bucket. I looked. I was sad. I drove away. But yes, it was a chassis (sp?!) bath wash. The low end wash was 6.00. It makes me reconsider all those times I pull out the bucket. 6.00 is pretty cheap.

Thanks for straightening me out on the particulars. I can now tweak my tipping (even if it is way crapped out service- argh.) Good to know!

Melissa said...

Well sometimes the suckage is because they are terrible servers (some never get the hang of it, like me when I took a job at The Outback at age 36 while waiting for my background check to go through in my current job)

They could be sick. I would say for major suckage 10% would give them the hint, but remember that anything lower than that you are actually taking money from them.

Rach said...

Yup, 15% even for suckage. Sometimes they are just having a crappy day and can't seem to recover. Trust me, if they're a TRULY awful server, they won't be in that position for too long. The restaurant can't afford to keep them on.

Waiting tables is an INCREDIBLY demanding job, and I was good at it and well, some nights just sucked. :sigh:

kanishk said...

Servers still only make $2.00 an hour, which they never see in a paycheck because it goes towards income taxes based on their sales.
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