Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Tip in a Foreign Country

Tipping In Africa

Tipping in Egypt

Tipping in Egypt can be tricky. Most public bathrooms are staffed, and visitors are expected to tip the attendant. Some restroom attendants, especially at tourist sites, will dole out toilet paper based on the tip they receive. Some locals have been known to attempt to demand baksheesh for minor services, such as assisting people out of their cars or helping people up if they trip in the street. Foreigners may be especially susceptible to this, and although some locals ask or demand tips, they are often not warranted. There is no rule for what is considered tip-worthy, so one must be ready to hand out an Egyptian pound or two just in case to use the bathroom or to get into some buildings. For services such as tour guides or translators, a tip of 20% or more is generally accepted. Taxis don't run on meters, just on agreed upon prices, so there is no additional tip to give, although some drivers may ask for extra. Tips are expected at restaurants, and can range from a few pounds to 15%.

Tipping in South Africa

In South Africa, the customary tip at restaurants is 10 percent, although some restaurants charge a mandatory service fee for large parties. A small amount is occasionally given to petrol station attendants for additional services, such as cleaning one's windscreen. Toilet cleaners at service stations along major road routes are sometimes tipped when they provide good service and keep the facilities clean. "Car guards", who claim to "look after" one's parked car are often given a small tip if they are in uniform and authorized; however those without uniforms are usually regarded as a nuisance, and tipping them is not compulsory, despite the fact that they often harass motorists looking for payment.

Tipping in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia tipping is common in hotels, restaurants and bars. One is also expected to tip parking lot attendants whether officially hired by institutions or self assigned. In some restaurants it is customary to tip any dancers, and this is usually done by sticking the paper money bill on the forehead of the dancer.

Tipping in Asia

Tipping in China

In China, traditionally there is no tipping. However, hotels that routinely serve foreign tourists may allow tipping. An example would be tour guides and associated drivers. In Mandarin, the term used is 小費 (xiǎo fèi, lit. "small change"). In Cantonese, the most commonly used term is 貼士 (Jyutping:tip si), transliterated from the English word 'tips'.

Tipping in Hong Kong

Tipping in Hong Kong is customary in some situations, but it can create legal issues due to some Hong Kong specific ordinances prohibiting tipping for certain services such as public utilities. Waiters, who have already received a compulsory 10% service charge, may occasionally be given an additional gratuity. Restaurants: 10% is usually included in the bill presented to the customer.
Bars: tipping is not a normal occurrence, though some may round the bill. Hotels: service charge is always included, but bell-boys may expect a small gratuity. Taxis: the driver customarily rounds the bill. No matter how long the trip is, extra tipping is not expected.

Tipping in India

In India there has traditionally been little or no tipping. Tips in India are never a percentage of the total value and many traditional restaurants in India do not expect a tip. However, this attitude has begun to change. While some people many leave as little as 5% or less of the total bill, people in major cities such as Bombay usually leave an amount that is about 10% and Delhi leaves about 15% of the value of the bill. Some restaurants have also have started placing jars at the cashier for people to drop in some change if they feel so, but this is a rather rare phenomenon. Most clubs in India have a complete ban on its members from tipping. Usually no service industry except the food services industry expects a tip. In India, it is illegal for taxi or rickshaw drivers to charge anything above the meter.

Tipping in Japan

Tipping is not the common custom in Japan and it is almost never done at casual restaurants, as it is considered rude, implying that servers must be paid extra to ensure they do their job. When tipping occurs, the term used is チップ (chippu, from English "tip"), or 心付け (kokorozuke, lit. "pay from the heart").

Tipping in Malaysia

Tipping is not customarily done in Malaysia. Service charge of 10% is included in total bill in most air conditioned restaurants.

Tipping in Philippines

Tipping is not usually done in the Philippines, except when the customer wants to show appreciation for services rendered. Midrange to high-end restaurants occasionally have a service charge of 10%. In taxis, it is common to add PhP20 to PhP50 on top of the fare.

Tipping in Singapore

Tipping is not required in Singapore; however it is common for restaurants to levy a 10% service charge before GST.

Tipping in South Korea

Tipping is not the custom in South Korea and it is almost never expected. Many hotels and a few tourist restaurants add 10% service charge on their checks.

Tipping in Taiwan

In Taiwan tipping is rare except when a customer uses a porter at an airport, which is usually 50 New Taiwan Dollars per luggage, or wants to show appreciation for exceptional service. Some restaurants and hotels already add 10% service charges. The service charge is generally applied at restaurants where the waiter is expected by the employer to pay a great deal of attention to the customer, or if the meal requires assistance from the wait staff (as in some barbecue restaurants).

Tipping in Oceania

Tipping in Australia

In Australia, tipping is relatively uncommon and traditionally not encouraged (similar to the UK). Tipping is occasionally conducted in the hospitality industry. Service providers in other industries do not expect a tip. In Australia, suggesting that someone is of a lower status is very insulting. Such tipping is often discouraged as it is thought to suggest servitude. When using credit cards, a line is usually included for a tip to be offered if desired, but the practice remains entirely discretionary. (It has become common to round restaurant bills up to the nearest dollar or ten-dollar multiple, with the additional amount forming the tip.)
The tipping practice of American tourists is increasingly common at some hospitality establishments in larger cities for exceptional service. In recent decades, tip jars have become more widespread in some urban areas although it is still regarded by locals as a personal and optional choice.
Casinos in Australia generally prohibit tipping of gaming staff, as it is considered bribery. (For example, in the state of Tasmania, the Gaming Control Act 1993 states in section 56 (4): "it is a condition of every special employee's licence that the special employee must not solicit or accept any gratuity, consideration or other benefit from a patron in a gaming area.") Similarly, tipping government officials is not customary and will usually be interpreted as bribery (although a non-monetary gift such as flowers or a card is acceptable if one wishes to acknowledge exceptional service).
In some communities, postmen and garbage collectors are left an annual non-monetary tip (usually beer) at Christmas.

Tipping in New Zealand

Tipping is not part of New Zealand culture and is often treated with suspicion or actively frowned upon, as many people view it as a largely American custom that over-compensates certain workers while others are left out; additionally there is a feeling that tipping is paying twice for one service. Despite this, some forms of tipping are common, such as rounding up a taxi fare. It is almost as likely, however, that the taxi driver will round the fare down to the nearest dollar. Some cafés keep a jar on the counter marked "tips for staff" in which customers can leave small change. Occasionally tips are given in a restaurant for exceptional service; particularly in the larger cities like Wellington or Auckland. Others may feel that the people who do this are being ostentatious and showing off their wealth. New Zealanders traveling overseas often find the custom difficult and confusing. However, many New Zealanders travel and live in other countries, often returning to New Zealand; bringing the tipping habit back with them.
In general, people who perform a service in New Zealand, such as waiters and hairdressers, are tipped with a smile and a thank you. This is considered reasonable because their average wage is substantially larger than their American counterparts.

Tipping in Europe

In the European Union and elsewhere in Europe, tipping practices vary from region to region, although, in general, tipping is not considered obligatory.

Tipping in Austria

In Austria, tipping is common and, although legally not mandatory, often considered as socially obligatory. Giving 5% to 10% of the total amount is common; more signals exceptionally good service. Paying a multiple of a Euro is usual, for low sums the amount paid is often a multiple of 50 cents (i.e. a bill of 7.80 can be paid as 8 or 8.50). Tipping is not practised when the goods are exchanged over the counter (i.e. in fast-food restaurants or at street stalls). Traditionally, the owner of a restaurant (known as "Wirt" in German) does not receive a tip. A tip is known in the German language as Trinkgeld, which literally translates as 'money for drink'. In similar fashion, the French expression is pourboire. It is also common practice to tip other service employees, like taxi drivers or hair dressers.

Tipping in Belgium

Tipping in Belgium is not obligatory as service charge is always included. However, people often give tips as a sign of appreciation. Usually, this is done by paying in bank notes with a total value slightly higher than the price of the meal and telling the waiter/waitress that they can keep the change.

Tipping in Bulgaria

Tipping, called бакшиш (bakshish) in Bulgarian, is not the custom in Bulgaria, although one can leave a tip as a sign of appreciation.

Tipping in Croatia

Tipping is not particularly common, although it may occur in restaurants and bars. Prices are usually already adjusted upwards, and labour laws ensure a minimum wage for all workers, therefore tipping is usually not expected. A unique practice of tipping exists among the pensioners who receive their pension via mail in rural settlements. They may leave any coinage to the postman who delivers it as a sign of appreciation.

Tipping in the Czech Republic

Although it is customary to tip in the Czech Republic, it has very little to do with the size of the bill, and more to do with a sign of appreciation.

Tipping in Denmark, Sweden and Norway

The service charge is not separated from the bill, but adjusted for in the salary of the person. Traditionally, the tip has not been common, but is being introduced by outside influence. Tipping should only be given as a token of real appreciation for the service. Be aware that the tips will most often be split between the waiters and the kitchen. If you want to thank a specific person, make sure to tell them it is a personal gift. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, any extra service (such as carrying bags) will be listed on the receipt according to rate. In this region, tipping is sometimes referred to as driks (Norwegian) but usually just tips, drikkepenge (Danish) or dricks (Swedish), meaning for drinks.

Tipping in Estonia

Tipping has been common in Estonia only after the restoration of independence, and therefore isn't always requested. A 10% tip is usually added to the price in restaurants and taxi drivers often keep the change. Some restaurants and pubs have a jar or box on the counter labelled 'Tip' on it, where customers can put their change. Tipping is referred to as "jootraha" in Estonian, meaning drinking money.

Tipping in Finland

In Finland tipping, known as tippi or juomaraha (literally "drink money") is entirely optional and almost unheard of outside restaurants and bars. Coat checkers generally have a service fee. Tips are always paid in cash. Bar patrons may often tip the bouncer when leaving for satisfactory service in the establishment in general. Consequently tips are most often pooled. Bars often have a brass tippikello, tip bell near the counter. upon receiving a tip, the service person strikes it with the largest denomination of coin given in the tip. Tipping government and municipality service personnel for any service is not allowed, and could lead to legal problems.

Tipping in France

In France, service charge is always included, and so tipping, or le pour boire (lit. "for a drink"), is not expected. It is however not at all uncommon to leave some small change on the table.

Tipping in Germany

In Germany, tips (das Trinkgeld, lit. "drink money") are expected in many situations. In bars, restaurants (except fast food places without table service), guided tours, taxicabs and sometimes barber shops, tips are expected to be about 5 - 10% of the total amount if the guest was satisfied with the service. The owner of the business was usually not tipped even if he served his customers personally, but this is changing. When the bill is presented, pay any multiple of 0.50 Euro, because very poor tips are considered rude. If the customer does not want to give an appropriate amount, he should rather give no tip at all. However, it is acceptable to leave cents in change money behind adding "Stimmt so!" (pronounced: shtimt zo; meaning: It's alright like that!). Public toilet attendants are often tipped €0.30 to €0.50, usually by leaving the money on a plate by the door.

Tipping in Greece

In Greece tip is known as filodorima (meaning gift for a friend). Tipping traditionally is not based on a predetermined percentage. Customers usually leave a tip to the 'maitre',waiters,valets and bell boys, varying from few coins to large amounts of money, according to how satisfied they are by the service. In some cases, waiters gain more money from tips than their wage. Tipping to taxi drivers is uncommon.

Tipping in Hungary

Tips are given in Hungary for some services: in restaurants, in bars, to cab drivers, to hairdressers, and often to people that fix things around the house, like plumbers and electricians. Tips are called borravaló, "a little something for wine", in Hungarian. Although not legally required, social norms encourage that tips are given. The amount varies by profession: in restaurants the normal amount is around 5% to 10% of the total bill, but hairdressers can expect 25% or more in tips, since they are expected to make more money in tips than in wages.
Additionally there is the custom of hálapénz (gratitude money) that may be classified as a tipping system in Hungarian healthcare. Because of the comprehensive healthcare system where everyone receives healthcare for free, and the generally low wages for health care professionals, doctors and nurses can often expect to receive fairly substantial sums of money or goods from their patients.

Tipping in Iceland

In Iceland tipping (þjórfé, lit. "drink money") is rare. Service charges are generally included in the bill.

Tipping in Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, tipping has been established as a custom since the early sixties, and has become much more commonplace in the period of increased wealth through the Celtic Tiger. Many people working in the service industry, particularly in restaurants, would expect a tip even when providing poor service. It is increasingly common to tip hairdressers/barbers and for a taxi ride; the fare would normally be rounded up. It is not customary to tip bar staff, or any 'over the counter' server, though often waiters in pubs (known as lounge staff) are tipped a token amount. It is not usual to tip in a restaurant when a service charge is included (which is the norm for large groups), except in the case of exceptional service. Where no service charge is indicated, a tip of about 10% to 12% is appropriate for good service.

Tipping in Italy

Tips (la mancia) are customary in Italy, but not essential. The tradition of the tip remains impervious to change, even though café or restaurant prices now more and more often include both cover charge and service. On paying the bill, if it is paid in cash it is a matter of leaving a few notes from the change, or saying to the waiter "va bene così" ("it's all right"), when the difference between the amount paid and the actual bill automatically becomes the tip. When using a credit card, there are two possibilities: if the total on the credit card slip is the same as the bill, again leave some notes as a tip; but if the amount or the total are blank, simply round up the total to include the tip when signing the credit card slip. Tipping in bars and discotheques is not expected and very rare.

Tipping in The Netherlands

In The Netherlands, tips, or de fooi in Dutch, are common in restaurants. Tips are expected to be around 5% to 10% of the total amount (depending on the quality of service), unless the service has been poor. Tips are generally not expected in bars, but are not uncommon. In addition, in the holiday season, it is customary for the newspaper delivery person to receive a tip of around €2.50 to €5.

Tipping in Romania

The tip is usually 10% of the bill and is expected in restaurants, coffee shops, taxi, hair dresser. Many other shops not frequented by westerners refuse tips, perceiving them as a form of bribery.

Tipping in Russia

In Russia, tipping (На чай, na chai, or Чаевые, chaevie, lit. "for a tea", in Russian) is not necessary. Still, it is necessary to pay about 10% tips in restaurants, especially in Moscow. Some restaurants may include service into the amount, but it's very rare. Tipping is not considered customary for taxis, in fact, you should negotiate your fare before you get in the taxi.

Tipping in Serbia

Tipping is known as напојница/napojnica or, more colloquially, бакшиш/bakšiš (baksheesh) in Serbian. Tips are not considered a strict social obligation, however leaving a tip (10-15%) is usually expected in restaurants if the customer is not dissatisfied with the service. Tips are also accepted in bars and taxi cabs (usually by rounding up the amount paid). In Kosovo generally tipping is not expected by anyone. In Albanian parts, tipping is generally not recommended at all.

Tipping in Slovenia

Tipping is not customary in Slovenia and traditionally it is almost never done. In recent times, however, high-tourist areas have begun to accept tips, which are welcomed but not obligatory. In such cases, the amount is typically 10 percent, but may range higher in exceptional circumstances.

Tipping in Spain

Tipping is not customary in Spain, and it is not frequently done among natives. In bars and small restaurants, Spaniards leave as a tip the small change they receive in a plate after paying the bill. No tips are expected outside the restaurant business.

Tipping in Switzerland

Swiss workers enjoy a very high per capita income and minimum wage. As a result of this and modern cultural influences, tipping is typically low (for example a maximum of CHF5 regardless of bill size), if not non-existent. Tipping is also very rare outside of restaurants and is even rare in bars.

Tipping in Turkey

In Turkey, tipping, or bahşiş (lit. gift, from Persian word بخشش) is usually optional and not customary in many places. However, a tip of 5-10% is expected in restaurants, which is usually paid by "leaving the change". Cab drivers usually don't expect to be tipped, though, rounding the fare upward would be appreciated. In hotels, a small change as a tip would be enough make most porters happy.

Tipping in the United Kingdom

Tipping throughout the UK is usually expected at restaurants and always in London taxis (black cabs). The practice is also relatively common for some other services, such as hairdressers. Tipping a policeman, fireman, nurse, doctor or other public-sector workers is prohibited and in the case of the police may be considered attempted bribery. For other public servants, however, a box of chocolates, flowers or possibly a bottle of wine may be considered appropriate as an expression of special gratitude. Some private companies may require their employees to refuse tips for various reasons. For instance, the John Lewis Partnership states to employees that customers should not be expected to pay more for good service, and that any tips that are received should be handed in. In private members clubs tipping is often forbidden to avoid embarrassment for both staff and patrons.
In many table-service restaurants - and 'gastro pubs' - a 'service charge' is added to the bill, usually (but not always) when the party exceeds a certain size e.g. six, in which case there is no expectation to tip further. It's worth checking the menu when ordering, for information on service charges. A service charge is not legally binding and will be removed from the bill on request.
As in many other countries, there is a percentage perceived to be 'correct' when tipping, of something between 10% and 15%; 10% is a considered a good minimum within the restaurant industry and is generally considered the default. In self-service establishments, tips are not usually given, except in exceptional circumstances. Many restaurants will allow tips to be added to a credit card bill, but it is generally considered better to leave cash at the table. The reason for this is that cash is deemed to have been given to the waiting staff directly, whilst credit card payments and cheques are legally payable to the restaurant. While a tip given by credit card or cheque will almost always be passed on to the waiting staff, it is legal for restaurants to pay their staff less than the minimum wage if the amount given in tips via the restaurant management augments their wages to the level of the minimum wage.
Tipping the delivery person upon arrival of a take-away is also quite common especially when delivery is fast. It is not normal to tip for drinks in a pub or bar, although offering to buy the bar tender a drink is considered acceptable and they may then take (money) for the value of a drink (which is in effect taking a tip). In cases where the pub is also a restaurant, the serving staff may be tipped. It is less usual to tip in cafés and coffee shops than in restaurants.
In some establishments, tips are kept individually by the waiter or waitress, whereas in others they may be pooled and divided amongst all the staff. In other instances, tips may be set aside for some other purpose for the benefit of the staff, such as to fund a staff party or trip.
London taxi drivers customarily expect a tip, again of between 10% and 15% of the metered fare. Licensed taxi and minicab drivers elsewhere do not expect tips, though it is not unusual to offer them.

Tipping in North America

Tipping in Canada

Tipping in Canada is similar to that in the United States due to the close cultural nature of the two countries. For example, while tipping for waiters in the United States is 15-20% for good service, waiters in Canada also receive 10-20% for good service. Quebec and Ontario allow employers to pay lower minimum wages to workers who would reasonably be expected to be receiving tips. In Ontario, the minimum wage is $8.75 per hour, with the exceptions for: Students under 18 years old and employed for not more than 28 hours a week, who are paid $8.20 per hour; and Liquor servers, who are paid $7.60 per hour.
Workers who receive tips are legally required to report the income to the Canada Revenue Agency and pay income tax on it. However, many workers have been known to not report any income from tips at all or, perhaps more commonly, to "lowball" the figure. In response, the CRA has vowed that it will closely check the tax returns of individuals that it would reasonably expect to be receiving tips to ensure that the tips are reported, and that the amount reported on the returns is realistic.

Tipping in Mexico

Tipping in Mexico is also similar to the United States. In Mexico a tip is known as una propina in Spanish. It is usually from 10 to 15%.

Tipping in Restaurants

Meals have a 10% to 15% tip (this includes fast food deliveries). This tip is usually left by most people in restaurants, although it is not so common in street restaurants or stands, where the tenders usually have a can or box where people deposit coins.

Tipping in Bars

In Mexican bars and night clubs it is often seen that they charge directly into the bill the 15% of the total amount (taxes included) which is illegal in most cases because of the imposition of the tip and because they calculate the 15% with taxes included. In large groups, or in night clubs the barmen expect the customers to deposit their tip in a cup left on the table before serving the drinks. This way, the service they give is in function with the tip they received.

Tipping in Viene vienes ("Car guards")

It is also customary to give a tip to the person who sometimes guard the car as if they were valet parking; in Mexico these people are often called "viene viene" (literally: "comes, comes") and usually people give them from 3 to 20 Mexican pesos depending on the zone, although viene vienes sometimes ask for bigger sums of money when the car is left close to a night life area.

Tipping in Retail stores and supermarkets

In medium and large retail stores such as Wal-Mart there are uniformed helpers, usually children or the elderly, who bag the products just after the clerk has scanned them. This role is called cerillo (Spanish for "match"). It is common for these helpers to not have a base salary, so all the money earned is from the tips people give them. Most customers give from 2 to 5 Mexican pesos depending on the quantity of products. Cerillos also put the bags in the cart and if the load is large they can even help bringing it to the car and unloading the bags; in these cases they normally receive more than 15 pesos.

Tipping in Others

Tipping is not expected in cabs or buses, except when it is a tour. In some populated Mexican restaurants wandering musicians enter, play, and expect the customers to pay something, although this is voluntary. In filling stations, the workers usually get from 2 to 5 pesos for every gasoline load. In stadiums people give a small tip to the person that shows the place where they should sit. Tips are also given to bell-boys, to barbers and people that work in similar services.

Tipping in United States

This section contains weasel words, vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed. Tipping is widely practiced in the United States and is considered a social obligation by some, and an antiquated complication for others. Standards vary, but generally, gratuities are given as a reward for services rendered in the restaurant, bar, hotel, and taxi industries.
The amount of a tip is at the discretion of the person receiving the service, but may be standardized in the form of a set mandatory service fee (not to be confused with an optional tip or gratuity), often for large parties (see "Restaurants" below). For most of the 20th century, it was considered inappropriate for the owner of any establishment to accept any tips. Laws in several states (e.g. California and Washington) require servers to be paid minimum wage. But elsewhere, wage laws allow fixed salaries lower than minimum wage for occupations where the majority of compensation is customarily from tips.

Tipping in Restaurants

Tipping is customary in restaurants having traditional table service. While the amount of a tip is at the discretion of the person receiving the service, the customary tip until the 1980s was from 10 to 15 percent of the total bill before tax, for good to excellent service, and since then has risen to 15 to 20%. The higher percentages are often expected by servers at more expensive establishments. When a server has not adequately addressed issues a customer has with service, the patron sometimes speaks to management to have the problems corrected before considering reducing the tip significantly. In extreme cases of awful service, people sometimes leave no tip. Some people show displeasure through the practice of leaving a very small tip (such as one penny), though this insult is incorrect etiquette.
For large groups, such as six or more, many restaurants add a standard predetermined service charge (~18%) in lieu of the gratuity. Reputable restaurants usually post their policy on a sign or the menu, or require servers to inform their patrons of such charges before they order. This charge can be verified by the customer on the bill to avoid double tipping. Customers have a right to negotiate, alter, or refuse charges which were hidden until the bill arrived. In the case of excellent service, a customer may include an extra tip even if the establishment has added the service charge, as the server usually has no choice regarding this policy. If service to a large party is poor, a customer may try to negotiate an alternate service charge with management.
Standard gratuities are not given at buffet-style restaurants. However, if patrons order beverages from the server, then a nominal tip such as $1 each may be considered. Some restaurants add a standard service charge even for buffet service for large parties, though many consider this inappropriate when there is no table service and customers may wish to negotiate an alternate gratuity with management.
Tipping on wine with a meal requires some discretion and judgment, as many restaurants mark up their wine 200 to 400%. Tipping etiquette websites (e.g. Findalink.net/tippingetiquette) suggest a tip of 15% on the meal before tax, and 5-10% on the wine, especially if the total wine bill is near or exceeds the cost of the meal.
Many traditional restaurants offer take-out and curbside service, and standards for tipping for such services vary. No tipping is necessary for regular take-out, where you go in the restaurant and pay/pick up your food. Some advocate optional tipping, for curbside and some say 5% is appropriate. People sometimes tip more for exceptional service or difficult orders.
Tipping at fast food restaurants and coffeehouses such as Starbucks (where there is no table service), is not necessary, despite the common appearance of tip jars (a.k.a. guilt cans), which are considered by etiquette to be the retail equivalent of begging. Apparent justifications on the container, such as "rainy day fund" or "college fund" only enhance their pandering aspects.

Tipping in Bars

When purchasing alcoholic beverages at a bar it is customary to tip. One dollar per drink is common, mostly due to complications that come from using/making change and calculating percentages. If a bartender is taking special care to take and fill your drink orders quickly at a busy bar where others may be waiting for service, a tip in the higher range is appropriate. Drinks which are more complex than a draught beer or simple mixed cocktail may also warrant a greater tip.

Tipping in Hotels

Bellmen are customarily tipped on a basis of a fixed amount (usually a few dollars) per bag carried, and are often tipped for deliveries (food, boxes, faxes) as well. Room-service personnel at most American hotels expect tips, anywhere between 10% to 15% of the price (before tax) of what was ordered. It should be noted that many hotels automatically add a service fee to room service meals. The customer should verify this in order to avoid double tipping. A small tip for the housekeeping staff is discretionary. Tipping the front desk staff is almost never done unless the service is exceptional.

Tipping in Taxicabs

Most U.S. guides recommend 15% of the fare, more for extra services or heavy luggage.

Tipping in Delivered meals

The driver is often tipped 10 to 20%. A greater tip can be given if the driver delivers during inclement weather, carries heavy loads, and/or climbs many stairs. Establishments sometimes charge a delivery fee (usually $1-2 per order), similar to a service charge, although the driver may receive little to no part of it. In addition, some companies, as with wait staff, pay their drivers less than minimum wage, with the understanding that tips will bump them above this wage line.

Tipping in Car washes

If a person hand dries the car, he/she is sometimes tipped.

Tipping in Hairdressing

For a haircut or salon service, it is customary to tip the barber or stylist 10% to 20%.

Tipping in Valets

At restaurants or hotels where the customer valets their car, it is customary to tip the valet $1-5.

Tipping in Tattoos and body piercing

It is also customary for a customer to tip a tattoo artist or body piercer. Although tipping for these professions is customary, there is no standard amount.

Tipping in Christmas holiday tips

Many service staff are tipped annually during the Christmas season, such as newspaper carriers, house cleaners and pool cleaners. Some people also tip their local mail carrier in this manner, not knowing that it is illegal to do so (see government workers below). In some large cities, the staff of apartment buildings, such as building superintendents, porters, concierges and doormen, commonly receive similar annual tips.

Tipping in Government employees

Under federal law it is considered bribery to tip government employees. However, they are permitted to receive non-monetary gifts less than or equal to $20.00.

Tipping in Other

Many retailers forbid their employees to accept tips, although this is illegal in some states, such as California, where the law states "tips are the property of whom they are given, and employers are not allowed to require employees to refuse, give, or share their tips with anyone." Tips are not generally given to parcel-delivery workers, and acceptance of tips may be forbidden by state laws and/or the employer. No tip is expected for retail clerks who bag one's groceries or carry one's purchases to the car.

Tipping in South America

Tipping in Argentina

There is no obligation to tip in Argentina although is considered customary. Sometimes rounding up or letting know to "keep the change" is enough on small checks, deliveries, gasoline tenders, etc. Leaving at least 10% tipping is considered kind and polite at restaurants, cafes, hotels, beauty parlors, barbers, taxicabs, ushers and car-washers. Tipping bartenders is not customary. Service fees are included in most upscale hotels and restaurants, usually around 15%.

Tipping in Bolivia

Service charges are included with the bill. Still, a small tip, around 5% or so, is sometimes given, and is considered polite.

Tipping in Brazil

The customary tip at restaurants is 10% for good service, although a few restaurants charge a mandatory (but illegal) service fee for large parties. It is usually not expected in cabs, although rounding up the fare occasionally takes place. Tipping a delivery worker is rare, except for motoboys (bike-couriers). In fact, most delivery companies will ask the client how he or she is going to pay for the product so that the exact change could be provided. However, it should be noted that many restaurants include a 10% delivery charge in the note, with no further tippings being required. Such a charge often depends on the municipality. Tipping bartenders is not customary.

Tipping in Chile

There is no obligation to tip in Chile. This was not the case until 1981, when law number 7.388 was derogated. It stated that tipping was mandatory at places like restaurants, and the tip amount should be between 10% and 20% of the bill. Since then, it is usually assumed that customers will leave a tip of 10%, if the service is considered satisfactory.

Tipping in Ecuador

Bars, restaurants and hotels include a 10% service charge in the bill, so tipping is not required. In the case of restaurants, it is customary to leave some spare change in reward for good service. Some restaurants will include a small piece of paper along with the bill, in which the client can specify a tip if they are paying with credit card.

Tipping in Paraguay

Service charges are included with the bill, and tipping is uncommon.

Tipping in Caribbean

Tipping in Trinidad and Tobago

Tipping has not been a custom, but is become more commonplace in recent times. Restaurants: Some restaurants, especially those in hotels or those that serve foreign tourists expect a tip. Most do not. Taxicabs: Only airport taxis expect a tip. Local taxis do not. 


A tip (also called a gratuity) is a payment made to certain service sector workers in addition to the advertised price of the transaction. The amount of a tip is typically calculated as a percentage of the transaction value before applicable taxes. Such payments and their size are a matter of social custom. Tipping varies among cultures and by service industry. Though by definition a tip is never legally required, and its amount is at the discretion of the person being served, in some circumstances failing to give an adequate tip when one is expected may be considered very miserly, a violation of etiquette, or unethical. In some other cultures or situations, giving a tip is not expected and offering one would be considered condescending or demeaning. In some circumstances (such as tipping government workers), tipping is illegal.

Tipping in Etymology

The word originates from the 16th century verb tip, which meant "to give, hand, pass" and "to tap", possibly being derived from the Low German word tippen, meaning "to tap." The modern German term for a tip is the unrelated Trinkgeld, literally "drink money." The notion of a stock tip is from the same slang, and the expression hot tip, as in a sure winner in a horse race, also comes from the act of tapping. In the old days, during card games, gamblers would have an accomplice in the room. This accomplice would signal the player regarding the contents of an opponent's hand by "tipping the wink" - that is, by "tapping" out a code with his eyelid. The Oxford English Dictionary states that tip is derived from the English thieves' (which may be taken to mean "gambler") slang word tip, meaning "to pass from one to another" (cf. "to give unexpectedly").
The word "tip" is often inaccurately claimed to be an acronym for terms such as "to insure prompt service", "to insure proper service", "to improve performance", and "to insure promptness". However, this etymology contradicts the Oxford English Dictionary and is probably an example of a backronym. Moreover, most of these backronyms incorrectly require the word "insure" instead of the correct "ensure".
Some claim that the origin for this term is a concept from Judaism, in that it was a chiyuv (obligation) for a seller to "tip the scales" in favor of the customer. The Torah says, "Nosen lo girumov (Give to him a tip)." For example, if your customer has asked for three pounds of onions, you should measure out the three pounds plus one extra onion, tipping the scale in his favor.

Circumstances of tipping

In countries where tipping is expected (for example the United States), complicated social rules and etiquette have developed over the exact percentage to tip, and what should and should not be included in this calculation. In other cultures where tipping exists it is more flexible and no specific assumptions of the tip amount exist. Some believe tipping is an attempt by employers to shift the burden of paying wages onto the customer. Many consider the custom antiquated and an unnecessary level of complication for transactions. Others feel the practice is unfair to taxpayers who earn set wages, as many service people do not report 100% of their cash tips to the government. Another objection is that different tips are given for the same amount and quality of restaurant service (for example, a customer pays a larger tip for lobster than a hamburger).
Some establishments pool tips and divide them to include employees who lack customer contact. At some restaurants, agreements among the staff require the servers to tip out members of the support staff (kitchen, bartender, and busser) at the end of their shift; this means that servers pay a certain fixed percentage of their sales (most often a portion less than 15 percent of total sales) to the other staff. Thus when a patron leaves a small tip, it results in the server having to receive less from the tipping pool than other staff.
Tipping is not expected when a fee is explicitly charged for the service. For example, a service charge for all patrons that is automatically added to the tab with no tipping is very common in Brazil, but it's never mandatory to pay this charge. Bribery and corruption are sometimes disguised as tipping. In some places, police officers and other civil servants openly solicit tips, gifts and dubious fees using a variety of local euphemisms. For example, a traffic policeman in Mexico might ask a commuter to buy him a "refresco" (soft drink), while a Nigerian officer might expect "a little something for the weekend."

Tipping in Tax and labor law treatment

In some jurisdictions, tipped workers qualify for a lower statutory minimum wage from the employer, and therefore may supplement deficient pay with tips. For example, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires restaurant employers to ensure that the total tip income reported to them during any pay period is at least eight percent of their total receipts for that period. If the reported total is below eight percent, employers must allocate as income the difference between the actual tip income reported and eight percent of gross receipts. Legally, tips should be reported as income for tax purposes by the recipient. A tronc is an arrangement for the pooling and distribution to employees of tips, gratuities and/or service charges in the hotel and catering trade. The person who distributes monies from the tronc is known as the troncmaster. When a tronc exists in the UK, responsibility for operating PAYE on the distribution may lie with the troncmaster rather than the employer. (The word 'tronc' has its origins in the French for collecting box.)

How To Tip in America

Guidance on how to tip your nanny, hairstylist and building manager.
Tipping service workers is not only expected but is so much a part of the holiday tradition that it provokes its own level of anxiety about how to do it right. There are plenty of folks to thank: your nanny, hairstylist and building manager. So here's a little guidance on tips and tokens for the people who make your life easier.
Guidance on how to tip your nanny, hairstylist and building manager.

In some parts of the country, tipping is welcome but not expected. If you live in a charming, small town where everyone knows everyone else and wouldn't dream of accepting a tip just because it's Christmas, count yourself lucky.

In large cities, tipping service workers is not only expected but is so much a part of the holiday tradition that it provokes its own level of anxiety about how to do it right. So if you don't live in Mayberry, here's a little guidance on tips and tokens for the people who make your life easier:  

Food Service
Restaurant servers are tipped usually between 15 - 20%. If he or she did an incredible job but also let you enjoy your meal, then tip on the higher end on 20 - 25%.
If he or she was rude or talked about how their kids need food money and he or she smelled like cigarettes, the tip around 5 - 10% (less if she tried to cover up her stank cigarette smell with cheap perfume).
Another good adjustment on tipping is to double the tax (if any) and add a few bucks.
Bartenders...if they are cool and pour heavy....then $1 per drink. If they are rude or talk about their child support they have to pay and they smell of Drakkar, then 25 cents - 50 cents.
And...if your roommate is the server or bartender, don't tip them a cent! You live with them...that should be enough. Tell them you'll buy some beer later!

Household Helpers
·    The lady who "does" for you once a week (or every day): an extra week's pay. (If you pay $100 each week, the holiday tip would be $100.)
·   Your daily, in-house nanny: an additional week's pay and one week off.
·   The home health care worker for your elderly parent: an additional week's pay.
·   Your babysitter: $25 if you use the sitter regularly, and a small gift.
·   The gardener who comes one day a week: one week's pay.

Non-Domestic Helpers
·   Newspaper delivery person: $20 (would you get up at 4 a.m. to deliver papers???)
·   Trash collectors: If you know them, a small tip is a nice thank-you—$10 per person is good.
·   U.S. mail carrier: See below.

Personal Services 
·   Hairstylist, manicurist, waxer, etc.: If you go weekly, tip the equivalent of one visit. Bimonthly or monthly: half that amount (though if your person's prices are really reasonable, it's nice to tip the amount of a full visit as a way of saying "there's nobody else who does a great blowout for $25—thank you!").
·   Personal trainer: If you go weekly or more often and you do that consistently, tip the equivalent of a training session. If you go every now and then, consider giving a small present (luxurious shower products, maybe …)
·   Car detailer: The price of a single wash if your car is cleaned regularly. A heftier-than-usual tip if you're an occasional client.

Apartment Life 
·   The doorman: $25-50 (this is the person, after all, who accepts your packages and calls a cab to take you to the airport)
·   Building manager: $50-100 (remember the time the manager made sure the garbage disposal got fixed before 10 people came to dinner?)
·   Elevator operator: $25-50

People Who Should Be Thanked, but Not Tipped
·   U.S. mail carriers: It's technically illegal to tip government employees, but you can show your appreciation in other ways: homemade baked goods (but make sure it doesn't have to be lugged  very far, and stay away from recipes with nuts, a common food allergy), a warm scarf if you live in a cold climate, or gift certificates to a movie theater or book/music store.

·   Teachers: Ask if the teacher has a wish list for the classroom and see if you can provide one of the items on the list. Gift certificates to a good bookstore or for a personal luxury like a mani-pedi would be appreciated. What the teacher doesn't need is another coffee mug, refrigerator magnet or ceramic apple. Trust.

·   Nurses, doctors and aides in hospitals, rehabs, nursing homes: Show your appreciation by sending the people who cared for you or your loved one good food, in enough quantities to be shared. Think along these lines: A big tray of homemade baked goods, prepaid pizza from a chain that will deliver, a gi-normous box of chocolates.

·   Dry cleaner: A box of candy or good cookies that can be shared.

Keep in mind, these suggested figures are for normal, economically sound years—and this isn't one of those. Everyone understands that the economic downturn has resulted in adjustments all the way around. So give what you can. It truly is the thought that counts most. And money is not everything. Remember: Nobody turns away a great batch of homemade cookies. (And if they do, send the cookies to me!)