When it comes to tipping, how much is too much? With holiday vacations upon us, here's some advice - on the house.
Tipping can be a double-edged sword. Best case: you enjoy great service, and your serviceperson is duly rewarded. But then there's the worst case: where either the tipper, the tipped or both feel short-changed by the transaction. Here's the latest wisdom on how to tip the scales in everybody's favour.
Guidelines notwithstanding, tipping today is one grey area after another. Some conundrums and solutions:
|•||The tip jar
It's everywhere, and it's a little annoying. But most staffers at coffee shops and food-court restaurants are earning minimum wage. Leave 10%; more for a complicated order.
|•||Service in your home
Rug shampooer, window washer: if you're already paying this person, tipping isn't necessary. But let's say delivery of your new sofa is free, but the deliverymen painstakingly remove the legs so it will fit through your front door scratch-free. Time for a little cash thank-you.
|•||At the gas station
These days, when a gas station attendant pumps our gas, it seems like a charming, old-world custom. If he's keeping you from braving a -30 degree windchill, slip him a toonie. But check the pump price first; you may already be paying a full-service premium.
Known as wireless credit card terminals, these little units will do the math for you - including a tip based on a percentage you choose. But in many cases, this percentage is calculated after tax. The cash difference is fairly minimal (if you're tipping 15%, that's about $2 on a $100 bill), but if it bothers you, enter in the amount yourself.
|•||The all-inclusive resort
Resorts are increasingly charging a “resort usage fee” - even if they're not labelled as all-inclusive. Resort restaurant meals and room service often have a 15% gratuity built in; clarify at check-in.
|•||Gratuities for globetrotters
Travelling outside North America? A Google search for “global tipping guide” will bring up some concise country-by-country guidelines.
And the next time you hesitate before leaving that tip, remember: not only does tipping cement your ongoing relationship with that barista, but you're putting him or her in a good mood for the next customer. And one day, that rewarded customer will be you.
(Source: Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network)