Social Question

jca's avatar

How do you know when a tip is appropriate and when it's unnecessary?

Asked by jca (36043points) November 15th, 2011

I recently had my windshield replaced, courtesy of my auto insurance. The auto glass guy came to my place of employment and replaced the windshield in the parking garage. I did not tip him, and when I asked my coworkers, they said I should have. I called and am going to mail him a check for tip amount (debating between $10 and $20).

I did not tip him because I was thinking when you bring your car to a mechanic, you don’t tip the mechanic, you just pay the bill.

A few years ago, I had a cable man install cable in my apartment, and I tipped him. A friend of mine told me “you didn’t have to tip him, he was just doing his job.”

I am totally willing to tip when it’s expected and/or necessary. I tip the hair dresser, for example, and I tip wait staff in restaurants. However, I don’t want to tip if the situation does not call for it.

When you read tipping articles, they always describe situations as “a tip is appreciated.” Of course it’s appreciated, my question is “is the tip necessary and expected?” If it’s not necessary and expected, I don’t have money to give out if I don’t have to.

How do you know when a tip is necessary and expected, and when it’s unnecessary?

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6 Answers

picante's avatar

Tipping etiquette is complicated, IMHO. This is how I determine when/where to tip—but there may be an authority who is more knowledgeable. I tip for “personal” services: hair dresser/manicurist; wait staff; drivers; maid service in my hotel room (unless it is part of the resort fee); movers (who place my belongings in the place I direct).

That said, I realize I don’t tip the auto mechanic who works on my (personal) car. Maybe the car seems far more a commodity to me than my hair, my nails and the mess I leave in a hotel room. It is complicated—so I’m not sure I’ve helped ;-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Two tests: Which minimum wage category do they fall under
Did they go above and beyond my expectations.

rebbel's avatar

When it comes to tipping people, outside of the obvious group of tippees (waiters, porters, taxi drivers, etc.), I don’t give because others think I should; I give because I feel they deserve something extra.
The barber that groomed my beard yesterday I tipped 25% because he knows his job, is fast, good humored, and cheap.

JLeslie's avatar

Tipping is complicated. Sometimes I tip because the people doing the work obviously took care, worked very hard, and I know they are making very little money compared to what I am paying in total to the contractor. This is part of the reason I Iike to give business to people who freelance on their own, but there is more risk with it. I hate the amount of profit made on top of paying workers almost nothing. It so unfair to me.

I also sometimes call and give a compliment about the person. Like this one Comcast guy, young, maybe 19 or 20, fixed my cable after two others had been sent to fix my cable and couldn’t. The first two guys were idiots. The babble they tried to feed me about why my cable was not working made no sense at all.

I don’t think you have to tip for having your windsheild replaced, but you certainly can. As opposed to I think everyone should tip waiters, even bad service, because they are literaly paid much much less, their minimum wage is much less than regular minimum wage.

marinelife's avatar

Tipping should be for personal services.

I disagree with your co-workers that you should have tipped the glass installer. I agree that you should not tip the cable guy.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

For me, tipping is over and beyond expected service or under extraordinary conditions. In extreme heat or cold then I’d offer people working on my home some drink, snack and use of the bathroom but not cash. If someone had to climb through a bog of slop water though, clear out a bunch of nasty leaves and spider webs to get to the area they need? Yes, I’d tip then.

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