How Much To Tip? – Tipping Etiquette For The Frugal

Tipping is reality of life. The interesting thing is how everyone has a different opinion on the topic. You will hear from people that work or use to work in the service industry about how tipping is a must. While on the other side, you have the libertarian types that rant about how companies should have a sustainable strategy to pay employees. In this article, we answer the age old question of how much to tip.

Tipping Guidelines

My biggest pet peeve with tipping is due to iPads and tablets. Many businesses both big and small have switched over to mobile credit card readers in the last decade. For some reason businesses think this in its self justifies requesting tips. I have seen this everywhere! The problem is most of the time there is absolutely no service being offered. And have you seen the default amounts? They are outrageous. Sometimes it starts at 25%. To be frank, this is a scam. This is a way of taking money from customers by using guilt. Businesses need to pay their employee’s a fair, sustainable wage that doesn’t revolve around undeserved tips from unassuming customers.

I tip generously. But I only tip for service. And I do not tip on taxes. The experts at Off Brand Guy decided to dig into the topic of tipping to come up with a tipping etiquette guide for the frugal. Here we tackle some of the most common questions on tipping that are floating around the web.

Tipping Guidelines

1. Tipping Pizza Delivery?

Yes, you probably need to tip your pizza delivery driver. This is a customary practice in the US. It is considered by some to be similar to a server bringing food to your table. But to be clear, this does not apply for take out pizza. Picking up a pizza is a purchase. There is not service being offered.

2. Do You Tip Peloton Delivery?

I find it amusing that this is such a popular question. It is because all of those trendy people that rushed out to buy a Peloton during the pandemic. People that will most likely will not be working out in a year anyways. In my mind, this falls under furniture delivery. This was a salient question to me as I have a table being delivered in the coming weeks.

There is not firm answer to be found on tipping the peloton delivery and setup team. Again, this is the interesting thing about tipping. You end up in this strange grey area. It seems like a lot of people feel comfortable giving the delivery folks around $20.

Related: Click here to learn about the Eight Off Brand Products Better Than The Name Brand.

3. Do You Tip Furniture Delivery?

With situations like this, I take into account a few things.

-Are the delivery drivers direct employees of the company?

-Is there setup involved? Aka service.

The tipping experts online confirm that furniture delivery falls into a grey area. About half of Americans tip in this situation and half do not. Some folks are confused by the fact that in most cases they have already paid a service delivery fee. Doesn’t that go to the drivers? Typically, not.

Many companies contract out delivery of large or high end items. It is just easier to have a 3rd party deal with the hassle of logistics. Unfortunately, these 3rd party logistics organizations do not always pay their employees fairly. So the tips sort of help make ends meet.

If you want to be on the safe side, many suggest tipping $5-10 per person. Considering this is a large item it is really not alot of money. And do you really want to be that scummy person that opts out? Delivering large items is hard work.

4. Tip Delivery Drivers?

Okay, so how about delivery of other items. If you tip for furniture, why would you not tip for other deliveries. This is where things get confusing. I don’t know anyone that tips the Amazon package delivery drives. And it is not like Amazon takes good care of these people.

Tipping seems to be very product focused. As delivery of large items like furniture gets a small tip, while most folks opt out for the delivery of small items on the day to day.

Do You Tip Furniture Delivery?

5. Tipping At Starbucks

This question cracks me up. My brother asked me about this a few years back. He had just started a new internship and went to get coffee with his boss and coworkers. The local coffee shop (not a Starbucks) had one of those Ipad credit card machines, which asked for a tip. He didn’t want his new coworkers to think he was rude or cheap, so he started tipping.

The old school answer would be that you do not need to tip a barista. Before the Starbucks days, buying coffee was a pretty straightforward transaction. The worker opened up the spout on the coffee container and filled up the cup. This was considered a purchase not a service.

In the modern experience economy this has changed somewhat. Some of the crazy special order Frappuccino drinks actually do have somewhat of a service element. But all in all, even according to Starbucks, tipping is completely optional. Most people don’t tip in this environment.

Related: Click here to learn which Four Off Brand Items Are No Good.

6. Do Starbucks Baristas Get Tips?

According to the sources online Starbuck baristas do get tips. So this is good news. But there is a dark side to this discussion. Starbucks recently rolled out a tip function to the digital payment option for mobile orders. Some are concerned that Starbucks will use this to more closely track how much employees are being tipped. Because if they are being tipped enough, Starbucks can’t count this as a wage and lower the hourly pay.

Click here to see a hot take on the Starbuck’s digital tip jar from the Stranger.

7. Should You Tip For Takeout

I do not tip for takeout. I feel strongly about this one. Restaurants are in the business of making meals. They take raw ingredients and prepare a finished meal. This is the value being added. Because of this value add, restaurant meals cost more than the ingredients themselves. That is the business model of a restaurant. There is no service as part of this. Service comes into play when you sit down inside a restaurant and have food brought to your table.

During the middle of the pandemic many restaurants weren’t able to offer service even they wanted to. Because of these difficult times many patrosn tipped to help the restaurants stay afloat. I view this short term situation differently.

Some would argue with and feel it is necessary to tip for takeout. What are your thoughts?

8. How Much To Tip Hotel Housekeeping

I learned about tipping hotel housekeeping when I started traveling for business. Frequent business travelers leave a few bucks for the maids that clean the rooms. While the majority of guest don’t follow though with tipping in this situation, this is something I could get behind. Being a hotel maid is hard work, and a few extra bucks can make all the difference.

Many guests see all the fees, resorts fees, and surcharges on their hotel bill and see no need to shell out a few extra bucks. I understand this. But if you have a big family and really make a mess while on vacation, do the right thing and leave a few bucks behind. Of course it isn’t expected, but it goes a long way.

Tipping At Starbucks

9. How Much To Tip Bellman

This one has always bugged me. After a long trip you finally get to the hotel. You pull up in the parking lot and start to unload. Before you even know what is going on someone trys to grab your bags.

All in all the act of someone personally taking bags to your room is by definition service. The issue for me is many times I don’t want someone doing this. I don’t find it valuable and I would rather hold on to my belongings.

Recently, I have got in the habit of just declining when the bellman attempts to grab my bag. Personally, I just find this easier. But if you do decide to use the bellman service you should throw a couple bucks their way. At an average hotel, $1-3 should get the job done.

10. Tipping Etiquette Wedding

Wedding tipping etiquette is a world of its own. Due to the nature of the subject, I am going to refer readers to a great resource that covers the topic comprehensively. Trust me, this could be an article on its own. Click here to read Your Complete Guide to Tipping Wedding Vendors — Including When and How.

Generally speaking according to etiquette you must tip:

  • Caterer
  • Wait Staff
  • Bartenders
  • Hair Stylist & Make Up Artist
  • Officiant
  • Driver

The grey area is for the following vendors:

  • Wedding planner
  • DJ
  • Musician/band
  • Photographer/videographer
  • Florist
  • Wedding reception attendants
  • Bakers
  • Delivery/setup staff

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