Something so foreign to me as an Aussie, but something you can’t escape in the USA is service gratuity or tips. Single handedly keeping George Washington alive is the expected tip to those that provide a service. So keep those dollar bills handy – you will burn right through them.
Many employees in the service industries are paid below minimum wage and rely on tips to make or break the bank.
Oh and if you fail leave a tip, don’t worry you will know.
So how do you avoid sitting there working out the tip, trying to act cool while in fact you look like you are peeing in a public pool.
Out of sheer anxiety and lack of math skills, the second I sit down in a nail salon I spend the whole time working out what is 20% of $14.
Well there are a few tricks
To give you a quick 20%
-Double the tax (8.875%) of total bill
-Double the first number of the total.
E.g. If you total is $123, the tip would be about $24.
And if all else fails download an app. ‘Tip Calculator Free’, which believe it or not is free
This also serves as a lifesaver when you are with a bunch of people
This user-friendly app allows you to split the check up to 50 ways and select the amount of tip depending on service.
Some standard rules
Taxis: 10% to 15% of fare
NOTE: A common misconception: Many tourists believe you need to tip taxis at least 20%. If you can, pay by cash. If you choose to pay by card, the on screen tip options will be 20%, 25% or 30%. They know how to work it. You can simply add in the tip manually.
Doorman: $ 1 per bag
Housekeeping: Forgot to leave a tip on your pillow?
Guilty as charged.
I completely didn’t even think about tipping housekeeping every day and many people don’t – especially with the astronomical prices they charge for rooms as it is in New York. While it seems outrageous, I’d tip $3-$4 per night. You never know what might be waiting for you in your bed after an angry housekeeper is done with your room.
Bartender: $1-$2 per drink or 10%-15% of the tab.
Restaurant: Firstly if you call it a bill they will have no idea what you are talking about. The check, as it is referred to here, will have tax added. Make sure they haven’t already added the gratuity as well. Otherwise not only will you pay through the nose you will also look like a numbskull for paying it twice. Tip is usually around 15%-20% before taxes. If the service is poor, tip at least 10% but no less.
Some restaurants will even be kind enough to include a suggested guide of how much 15%, 18% and 20% is – how thoughtful of them.
Restroom Attendant: Many clubs and bars have services in the restrooms. The first time I went to the bathroom in a club I thought I had stepped into a day spa. They had all the beauty products I could name. Whether you use products or they hand you a towel make sure to tip about $1
The main thing is, while you may never see that person again; remember they are just trying to make a living. It’s always better to over tip than under tip