Navigating the world of tipping can be anxiety-inducing for many of us. Even restaurants, which seem straightforward enough, can be confusing: Do customers tip managers? Do they tip for bad service? Luckily, Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of "Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th edition," gave us a guide on when to tip, when not to tip and how much to tip.
When not to tip: Post says there are two places where customers definitely don't need to tip. "You don’t have to tip your dry cleaner, and you don’t have to tip retail associates," she says. In general, Post says you don't need to tip if it's not the kind of establishment that generally accepts tips. For example, a free jewelry cleaning at the store or getting your eyeglasses bent back into shape for free are instances that do not require tips. A free bang trim, however, deserves a tip, since you would normally tip a hairstylist for a cut.
Tipping owners of businesses: Post says this one can be tricky. If the owner of a business like a salon or spa is providing you a service and you're not sure whether or not you should tip, Post says there's one easy way to find out. "The best thing to do is ask the receptionist if the owner accepts tips or not," she says.
Delivery people: Post says to tip all delivery people between 10 and 15 percent of the bill - and that includes grocery deliveries as well. Post says there's no need to consider whether or not the delivery person took a car or bicycle.
Counter service: There's no need to tip for counter service, even if the server brings dishes to your table. "You're not coming to a sit-down meal where you're being serviced and the expectation is for you to tip the waiter," she explains.
Sit-down restaurants: Tip your waiter between 15 and 20 percent, pre-tax. There's never an obligation to tip the maitre d' or the manager, and certainly don't give them a tip in advance. "You give a tip after someone has given you good service as a way of saying thank you," says Post. "You don’t use it as a away to bribe or buy someone’s better service."
Even if your service is terrible, you can't skimp on the tip. "Leave the minimum 15 percent tip," says Post. "And then tell the manager it was really atrocious service." If your service was above and beyond, or if your server brought over a freebie like a complimentary dessert, feel free to leave extra.
Coffee shops and bakeries: You don't have to stuff that mug with another bill if you don't want to, says Post. "It's completely up to you," she says. "If you choose to put something in, that's fine, and if not, don't worry about it." Post says you especially don't need to tip simply for grabbing a juice from the fridge. "I say unless they go above and beyond or you have a complicated order, don't bother," she says. "This is coming from someone who used to work at bakeries and cafes."
Bars: Tip $1 or $2 per drink, or 15 to 20 percent of the bill.
Cabs: New Yorkers who prefer to use cards know that the suggested options for tipping on a swipe are between 20 and 30 percent, but Post says that's not necessary - 15 percent is enough. The same applies for livery cabs, unless someone else is footing the bill, in which case the tip is typically included.
Dog walkers, newspaper delivery people, etc.: People who provide service on a regular basis deserve a tip around the holidays, says Post. The Post Institute offers guidelines for holiday tipping.
Cash or card: Post says you should tip the same amount regardless of if you're paying in cash or with a card.
For more advice on tipping, visit the Post Institute's website.
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