According to industry experts, tips in the U.S. total around $40 billion a year.
But for such a major expenditure, most of us are unsure how it works.
Tim Urban from Wait But Why, a self-described "procrastination website," took it upon himself to shed light on tipping norms by asking over 100 service workers in New York City about their experiences.
The people he consulted included waiters, bartenders, barbers, doormen, valets, and more from different neighborhoods and different types of businesses. He then compared their feedback with accounts from his site's readers and to industry research, particularly that of tipping expert Wm. Michael Lynn.
The findings are summarized in Wait But Why's comprehensive tipping chart below:
You'll notice that average tippers across most industries give around 15-20%, and that it's always a good idea to tip more in extenuating circumstances — like if your food delivery person had to brave bad weather or if you've ordered an elaborate cocktail that takes your bartender three times as long as it would to pour a beer.
While most of us may try and tip 20% of our meal so as not to seem cheap, keep in mind that you should never tip under 15% in a restaurant or bar. If your service was terrible, take it up with the manager. Most servers rely heavily on tips as a major part of their salaries, so neglecting to tip means they may be working nearly for free. In many places, tips are shared among the staff, so stiffing a service person on a tip may do more than punish just that individual.
And if you aren't tipping, it's nicer to just leave the line on your bill for the tip blank and fill in the total below. Putting a zero in the empty space apparently comes across as pointed and mean.
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