Tipping for Services, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Public Services II
Tipping for Services

Tipping for Services
Though tipping is covered in many sections of this guide, let's summarize American tipping practices here. It is important to realize that for many professions, particularly waiters and waitresses, taxi drivers, porters and bellhops, tip income is half or more of the worker's total income. These people are paid very low salaries and depend on tip income. If in doubt, tip a little more than usual, especially if service was good or the person was friendly. It will always be appreciated.

Waiters or waitresses get at least 15% and often 20%. If you are served at a counter or bar tip 10%. Remember, in American restaurants, service is almost never included in the final bill, except sometimes for large groups. If an amount is added on, it is usually the amount of sales tax you owe on the bill, not the service charge.

Delivery people--for take out food or groceries--should be tipped 10%, or at least a few dollars for a small order.

Taxi drivers get 15%. Auto rental agency employees do not expect tips. At a car wash put a dollar or two into the tip cup for the employees. Tip valet parking attendants at least a dollar or two. Gasoline pump attendants do not expect tips, but if they give you good service or wash your windshields, they will appreciate something.

Porters, skycaps and bellhops get $1.00 for the first bag or two, 50 cents each additional bag.

Hairdressers and barbers are tipped at least 15%. If a separate person washes your hair, tip a dollar or two. Shoe shine people should get a dollar.

Coat check. If you check your coat tip $1.00 if you are not charged for the service.

At hotels, you may tip the maid a dollar or two a day if you stay more than one night. Tip room service waiters 15%. If the hotel concierge goes out of his or her way to help you, you may tip from $10 to $20.


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