Friday, July 11, 2008

A Tip and a Thank You

"It would be ideal if everyone who offered a service of any kind were paid so well that he or she did not need to depend on tips, but this, unfortunately, is not the case. Therefore we must remember that many, many people are dependent on a "reward" for good service, in addition to their regular salaries."-Emily Post

I worked at a fine restaurant in California and during my time there, I remember being so grateful when my service was rewarded by a generous tip. I was paid well hourly (as I know is not always the case), but it was so nice to know that my efforts to take care people were noticed and appreciated. I believe that tips should be merited. I think that if the service is great, a great tip should be left, if the service is less than fabulous, the tip should be reduced, and I'm sure there are (though I have actually never encountered any) circumstances in which a tip is not deserved and management should be contacted.

Let's review some basic "Tip" principles.

* A fine dining establishment- 20% plus is considered a generous tip. If there is a large dinner party, even though the "tip" is normally included for large parties, it is kind to tip the head waiter or maitre d' no less than $10.

*Musicians- at least $1 per special request, and it's always nice to stop and listen to a street musician and have them play something for you, they're working hard too.

*Valet Parking- $2- only when your car is brought, you are not obligated to tip when the car is dropped off, that surprised me.

-Doorman getting a taxi for you-$ 1-3 depending on difficulty to obtain it and weather

-Doorman opening the door- if you feel so inclined you may tip $1, but a smile or a thank you is just fine.

-Bellman carrying and delivering your luggage- no less than $2 a bag

NOTE: if a hotel manager is showing you to your room (if you are a VIP or have a suite), do not tip him or her, it is insulting.

-Maid- if you are staying four nights or more, $2 per night, in a sealed envelope marked chambermaid or given to the maid herself. If you are staying less than four nights, leave a tip daily as the maid service does change and usually is scheduled in 3-4 day increments that may overlap during your stay.

-Room service- this one is for you honey! 15% in addition to the surcharges and percentages added to the bill. Never less than $2.

*Taxis- minimum of 50 cents. 20% of the fare is the general rule. If the driver assists you with your bags, you may leave a slightly largert tip.

*Private car/Limousine service- You may add the gratuity to your bill in advance for your convenience or you may pay the driver directly- usually 20%.

*On board ships:
$25 per week to your cabin steward
$20 per week to your deck steward
$25 per week to your dining room steward
$20 per week to the chief dining room steward
$5-8 per week for the busboy
NOTE- the cruise ship will usually help you ascertain who you should leave a tip to and for how much. In many cases, this is already taken care of on your bill and you can adjust one daily amount according to your overall service; the amounts are divided up by the ship. That's the way we did it-Fabulous!

*Beauty services-
Colorist- 15-20%
Hair stylist- 15-20%
Shampoo person- $1-3
Manicurist/pedicurist- $2 for a simple manicure/ 15-20% otherwise
Facial, makeup, waxing-15%
NOTE: If you have someone who regularly does these things for you, it is also customary to give them a small gift at Christmas as well

*Car Wash- 1$ is considered enough- I have to say, I feel bad for them when it's 95˚ outside, so I give them a little more!

Wow! that was a long list. This was not intended to make you feel like you have to leave your fortune to everyone else as you go about your day, but just to give you a guideline to follow if, perhaps, you need one. It's always a good reminder for me to know exactly what is expected of me.

One final note. The best tip...after the money, is a sincere thank you. Everyone loves it when they are complimented and loves it even more when you can name something specific that you have enjoyed. Go ahead, always remember that smiles are contagious and that it doesn't cost you anything extra to give a compliment. Plan ahead, think during your meal about what you've liked about the food, your server, or the restaurant. If you've been going to the same hair stylist for the past 10 years, remember to tell them how much you love the way they do your hair and how lucky you are to have them around. When that bellman brings up your 20 bags for the weekend and places them neatly in your room, thank him for handling your baggage so carefully and compliment him on how great it is that he is willing to work so hard.

Have a great weekend and I'm excited to cook up something exciting?!?! for next week.


ronald.quist said...

I wonder why we forgot to mention the newspaper carrier? They deliver 365 days a year and, unlike the postal carriers and garbage pick up people, do NOT get days off. So, tips are very much appreciated. Monthly, in my experience, is best with amounts ranging from $5 to $30 depending on service and gratitude. Christmastime should be amounts from $15 to $30. My experience is that they tend to be double what is tipped monthly. Remember, they are out in the worst weather all year long and deserve whatever you feel you can spare. Thank you!

Janine said...

Ronald- I'm so glad you mentioned this and in this year's post, I rectified that by posting about Newspaper carriers and said the same thing you were saying. I don't receive the paper myself but I understand exactly what you are saying and agree with you completely that so many people work hard for us every single day and tend to get overlooked especially during the Holiday season. Thank you for bringing that to my attention and I hope you like what I wrote about Newspaper carriers in my new post about tipping on December 10th of this year. Happy Holidays. Janine