If you think tipping is weird now — and you feel like you’re being asked to add a gratuity to every single purchase or service — then you’re not alone. Tipping fatigue is real, with two in three Americans (66%) surveyed in a recent Bankrate report admitting that they’re feeling less gracious about gratuities these days.
The Overwhelming Control of Tipping
Almost one-third (30%) of those surveyed say that tipping has “gotten out of control” — particularly with the rise of touchscreen-tipping and payment apps suggesting preset gratuity amounts of 30% or more. Another one in three survey respondents say they get “annoyed” when encountering these tip screens at coffee shops, retailers and self-checkout kiosks. Tipping has become an overwhelming burden for many.
The Pressure and Dilemma of Tipping
“There is pressure with tipping,” agrees modern manners and etiquette expert Diane Gottsman. “We don’t want to look cheap. We want to be fair, but we don’t want to be taken advantage of.” Tipping has evolved into a complex situation where individuals struggle to strike the right balance between fairness and avoiding exploitation.
The Changing Landscape of Tipping Culture
To be sure, tipping has always been a source of anxiety (or annoyance) for people. Daniel Post Senning, the great-great grandson of etiquette icon Emily Post, notes that his family has been offering gratuity guidance for five generations now. But Senning points out that three things have shaken up tipping culture over the past few years, which has fueled much of the recent frustration:
- The rise of touchscreen-tipping and payment apps suggesting high preset gratuity amounts.
- The widespread use of tip screens at coffee shops, retailers, and self-checkout kiosks.
- Instances where tipping is expected in unconventional settings, such as making a charitable donation.
The Madness of Mandatory Tipping
Even ’s financial etiquette expert, The Moneyist, has been inundated with readers complaining that tipping is “not a gratuity anymore, it’s become another tax.” The issue has reached a level where readers are dismayed by being asked to tip 15% on charitable donations. It has become clear that tipping culture has spiraled out of control.
The Future of Tipping
With the growing frustration and fatigue surrounding tipping, many are left wondering when this madness will come to an end. It is crucial to reassess and redefine the role of tipping in today’s society, finding a balance between fairness and personal affordability. Only then can tipping become less burdensome and regain its true meaning.
Tipping Dilemma: Navigating the Post-Pandemic Landscape
During the pandemic, many people increased their tipping as a way to support local businesses and essential workers. But with the reopening of establishments, a new predicament has emerged – should tipping return to pre-COVID rates? This question has led to confusion among patrons.
The advancement of technology has brought forth various online services like food delivery and ride-sharing apps. These services often include a tipping screen that suggests gratuity amounts, which may be higher than what individuals initially intended to give, or even if they had planned to tip at all.
Another factor contributing to the tipping quandary is inflation. Over the past couple of years, the cost of goods and services has surged, which consequently raises gratuities. For instance, if a 20% tip was customary on a bill, that would mean tipping on a higher amount compared to a year ago.
Genuine frustration and understandable confusion surround this issue, as well as a feeling of pressure that some people resist against, explains Senning.
However, one crucial fact remains unchanged: tipping is often optional. Although there are exceptions to this rule, as we will discuss shortly. It is not always necessary to leave a tip, even in certain situations like purchasing a souvenir T-shirt at a restaurant, which etiquette expert Gottsman recently encountered. She was prompted to leave a tip but realized that tipping on a T-shirt seemed unnecessary.
Fortunately, amidst the multitude of tipping options available today, we maintain the power to decline when it is appropriate. “We just need some knowledge,” asserts Gottsman.
In essence, tipping touch screens resemble modern-day tip jars. This means there is no inherent obligation to give a 20% to 30% tip to someone who merely handed you your coffee.
In conclusion, as we navigate the post-pandemic landscape, it is crucial to understand tipping etiquettes and exercise our discretion accordingly. The power to say ‘no’ when necessary lies in our hands.
Tipping Etiquette: Who to Tip and Who Not to Tip
In today’s digital age, the act of tipping has evolved along with technology. From dropping change into a traditional tip jar to using payment apps or tip screens, the discretionary nature of tipping remains the same. Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert, suggests that we think of these modern methods as equivalent to the tip jar we are familiar with.
It’s important to remember that you are not obligated to give a 20% to 30% tip to someone who simply hands you your coffee. Gottsman points out that these individuals are already being paid at least minimum wage, so tipping is entirely optional. If you feel inclined to leave a small tip, such as a dollar, feel free to do so. However, if tipping is not something you want to do, a pleasant smile and a genuine “thank you” on your way out will suffice.
Furthermore, there are certain professions where tipping is not customary at all. Let’s explore these services that fall in the “no-tip” category:
When it comes to professional or health services, tipping is generally not expected. In fact, it is against the law to provide cash tips or equivalents like checks and gift cards to government workers and U.S. Postal Service employees. Here is a list of jobs and services that do not require a tip:
- Airline pilots
- Cable/IT professionals
- Flight attendants
- Government employees
- Law enforcement/police officers
- Postal workers (including FedEx and UPS delivery workers)
The reason behind these no-tip policies is often rooted in ethical concerns. It is important to avoid situations where tipping can be perceived as a bribe, explains Gottsman.
Remember, tipping is a way to express gratitude for exceptional service. Understanding the proper etiquette will help navigate these social norms, ensuring both parties feel comfortable and appreciated.
Tipping Guide for 2023
Are You Obligated to Tip a Retail Cashier?
What’s more, you’re not required to tip a retail cashier — even though it might feel awkward when they turn that tipping screen toward you, waiting for your decision whether to tip or not. According to etiquette experts, if someone just handed you a retail product without providing a delivery service, feel free to hit ‘no tip.’ The counter rep is already getting paid an hourly wage.
Tipping in Self-Checkout Kiosks
You certainly don’t need to tip when using a self-checkout kiosk. No tipping is expected in this situation.
A Comprehensive 2023 Tipping Guide
To help you navigate traditional tipping practices and modern-day digital dilemmas, we have spoken with etiquette experts to create a comprehensive 2023 tipping guide. This guide will cover traditional tipping scenarios such as restaurant waitstaff, bartenders, barbers, hairdressers, and hotel housekeepers. Additionally, we will address modern-day services like online delivery through platforms such as DoorDash and Grubhub, ride-shares like Uber and Lyft, and touch screen tipping that has become prevalent everywhere. Etiquette expert Gottsman has helped us categorize these services into three main categories: dining services, travel and transportation, as well as salons and spas.
Here’s a cheat sheet summarizing the tipping guidelines:
And here’s a more in-depth breakdown of each category:
Food and Beverage Service Workers:
Sit-Down Restaurant Service: It is customary to tip between 15% and 20% of the pretax amount. Tipping is generally not optional unless the service provided was truly terrible. Only in extreme situations should you consider withholding a tip. If you don’t tip, it indicates a significant issue that warrants speaking to a manager or owner.
Restroom Attendant: Consider tipping $1 to $5 per service if the attendant goes above and beyond their duties, such as sewing a hem or providing you with an emergency personal item. However, if they do nothing at all, you may still choose to smile and express gratitude without leaving a tip.
Please keep these guidelines in mind when considering tipping in different scenarios. Remember that tipping is a personal choice, but it’s essential to show appreciation for excellent service while considering the norms and expectations in each respective industry.
Tipping Etiquette: A Guide for Various Services
Restaurants and Food Services
When it comes to valet parking, the general rule is to tip after receiving your car. The tip should range from $3 to $10, and remember, this is separate from the valet fee.
For buffet service, it is customary to leave a 10% tip before tax.
Carry Out/To-Go Order
When ordering takeout or utilizing curbside service, tipping is optional. However, if the order is complex or if you appreciate the convenience of curbside service, a tip ranging from 10% to 20% is recommended.
When your food is delivered to your doorstep, it’s polite to tip between 10% and 15% of the total bill. If you ordered pizza and the delivery was made under challenging circumstances like bad weather, consider tipping around $2 to $5.
While not expected, leaving a small tip at the drive-through can be a nice gesture of appreciation.
At coffee shops, tipping counter workers and cashiers is optional. However, consider using the custom tip button to leave $1 or more, or simply drop your change into the tip jar.
Self-Serve Food/Ice Cream/Yogurt Bar
When enjoying self-serve options, tipping is optional. If you choose to leave a little something extra, 5% to 10% is typically appreciated.
Food truck workers put in a lot of effort while preparing your meal. Show your gratitude by tipping between 15% and 20%.
If you’re paying per drink, it’s customary to tip a minimum of $1 for beer and $2 for each cocktail. However, if you’re running a tab, a tip ranging from 15% to 20% of the total bill is more appropriate.
Tipping jars are found in various establishments. While tipping is not mandatory, it’s considered a nice gesture to drop in some extra change or a dollar, especially if you’re a regular customer or if the service provided was exceptional.
In most cases, you are not expected to tip at a grocery store. Additionally, many stores offering curbside pick-up do not accept tips.
Travel and Transportation
Airport Curbside Concierge
For the helpful curbside concierge who checks you in and assists with your bags at the airport, each airline has its own suggested tipping amounts. If not specified, a guideline to follow is $3 for the first bag and $2 for each additional bag.
Remember, tipping is a way to express your appreciation for the services you receive. Use this guide as reference, and adjust the recommended amounts based on the quality of service provided. Happy tipping!
Airport Wheelchair Service/Special Assistance: $3 to $5
A friendly greeting is always appropriate, or $2 to $4 for services like hailing a cab, helping with luggage, offering an umbrella, or other polite services.
$2 to $5 for one bag, $1 to $2 for each additional bag. If requesting an extra robe, luggage rack, ice, etc., add an additional $2 to $3.
$2 to $5 each day — and do not wait until the end of your stay to tip all at once since different housekeepers could be tending the room on different days. And leave the tip with a note that says, “For Housekeeping. Thank you” so it’s clear this is a tip.
There’s no obligation to tip if they’re just answering simple questions. But for securing reservations, theater tickets, or something similar, give $10 and up for hard-to-get seats or tickets.
Courtesy Shuttle Driver
Rental Car Shuttle Driver
$1 to $2 per bag
15% to 20% of the fare
Roadside Assistance/Towing Services
$10 to $20
BARBER SHOP/SALON/SPA WORKERS
15% to 20%, and ask for it to be split among those who served you – like the person who washed your hair, the person who cut your hair, etc.
15% to 20%
15% to 20% of the full cost of the service. It is recommended to tip on the full price, not the discounted fee if you use a coupon.
Facial, Waxing, Eyebrow Service or Lash Extensions
15% to 20% of the full cost of the service — again, not the discounted fee if you have a coupon.
15% to 20%
AND DON’T FORGET…
15% to 20%
When it comes to tipping movers, the suggested amount is typically between $20 and $30 per person for a relatively short and uncomplicated move. This may include situations such as moving from one small apartment to another. It is also considerate to offer the movers some water or a sports drink.
For larger or more complicated moves, like a full-day move between big houses with numerous stairs, it is recommended to tip around $50 to $100 per person. However, tipping $100 per mover would be considered generous.
The Significance of Tipping
Tipping is not only about providing a little extra money; it is a means to express gratitude and appreciation. The word “gratuity” shares the same root as “gratitude.” Hence, tipping is a way to show kindness and generosity. The optionality of tipping is what makes it so special — it is a voluntary act of giving.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have either under-tipped or over-tipped in the past, there’s no need to worry. Now, armed with this information, you can make better decisions on how much to tip going forward. Tipping should be driven by a spirit of generosity and a genuine moment of appreciation.
To learn more about tipping, you can explore the following articles:
- The Moneyist: I’m sick and tired of tipping 20% every time I eat out. Is it ever OK to tip less? Or am I a cheapskate?
- The Moneyist: ‘All of these tips add up’: If a restaurant adds a 20% tip, am I obliged to pay? Should tipping not be optional?
- The Moneyist: ‘Enough touch screen tipping already! I’m over it’: Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, do I have to tip for coffee, ice cream and takeout? Am I being cheap?