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Old 06-17-2008, 02:19 AM
14 posts, read 83,008 times
Reputation: 16


Hi New Neighbours!

I have moved to Seattle from a place that didn’t have tipping as part of its everyday culture. Years ago there, it used to be that people would actually be a little insulted because tipping was like “pitying”, or implied that you didn’t think their job deserved the hard fought for “minimum wage”. Today, it is more a case of it is gratefully accepted, but not expected, and usually confined to higher-end restaurants and other luxury services as a reward for people who have gone out of their way for you.

Having made the expensive move to Seattle, I don’t have a lot of money to splash around, but at the same time I want to be fair to people. Can locals suggest in which of the following scenarios I should be tipping people and how much?

-Waiting Staff at high end restaurants
-Waiting Staff at casual restaurants who have done a good job
-Waiting staff at casual restaurants who have done only the expected service
-A bar tender that pours you a drink, but where you aren’t ordering a meal

-Staff in my building who offer verbal advice, say where to catch the bus or a place to eat
-Staff in my building who perform a function like book/hail a cab for me
-Staff in my building who receive a parcel or letter for me when I am out
-Maintenance staff in my building who come to attend to a fault in my living quarters
-Staff in my building who give a small service not initiated by me, say opening the door as a courtesy on a rainy day!!
-Security staff in my building who answer a call from me at night about something I am concerned about
-My building’s general cleaning staff, if I see them

-A courier who has been sent to deliver something to me
-A person who delivers an item I ordered from the store after I have paid a delivery fee
-A person who delivers a substantial item, like furniture or microwave, and brings it into my place and puts it where I ask, but whose store has been paid a delivery fee

-A bus driver who runs the shuttle service to the airport or a long distance road trip
-A cab driver who does the bare minimum
-A cab driver who does a bit extra like load my bags

-On checking out of a hotel where you haven’t requested anything special. Just the room to stay

-A professional who bills you (and you pay) to perform a task like a tax agent doing your tax return

Also, do you add the tip onto the bill (in which case it just goes to their boss), or do you hand it in cash to the person who served you?

Some of these probably seem quite silly to locals, but to the un-initiated it takes a bit of education!

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Old 06-17-2008, 07:35 AM
1,607 posts, read 5,688,487 times
Reputation: 642
This list is a couple of years old, but I assume the chart is still reasonable and acceptable, at least as Emily Post sees it

Seattle P-I: Who should be given a tip -- and how much? (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/238532_tipping30.html - broken link)
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:57 AM
9,474 posts, read 21,529,361 times
Reputation: 4898
Servers in restaurants usually get 15-20% of the total bill...if the service is absolutely perfect, you could add a little more, if it's bad, you could go lower. Some people leave a penny as a symbol that the service was terrible, but sometimes the fault isn't with the server, but with the cook, etc, and just looks like the server's fault. Taxi drivers also get 15%. I think Building staff don't get tips, as a rule, but you can give them boxes of chocolate around Christmas to show your appreciation. That would also go for mail carriers, garbagemen, etc. The bus drivers you can do the once a year box of chocolate, although I think the airport shuttlle bus drivers expect a tip.
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:56 AM
861 posts, read 2,445,942 times
Reputation: 189
It doesn't go to their boss if you add the tip to the bill. Or it shouldn't. I used to work part time as a server and when we cashed out, the total of the food we rang up was deducted from the entire amount of cash we had (cash & carry), including credit and debit cards and we took it home. We got our own tips, but some places pool their tips and split them up.
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:19 PM
1,992 posts, read 5,663,044 times
Reputation: 789
Servers generally view it as an insult if you tip anything less than 15%.
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:03 AM
Location: Dallas, Texas
485 posts, read 1,659,208 times
Reputation: 133
Originally Posted by toughguy View Post
Servers generally view it as an insult if you tip anything less than 15%.
And sometimes when the service is lousy, they NEED to be insulted.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:48 AM
35 posts, read 147,704 times
Reputation: 25
You'd never tip a professional, like a tax agent. It would be insulting.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:53 AM
1,461 posts, read 2,677,791 times
Reputation: 590
Originally Posted by MJinAustin View Post
And sometimes when the service is lousy, they NEED to be insulted.


for mediocre service which to me is just take order, bring food, bring bill with nothing in between is worth about 7-10% of my bill.

most i will ever pay is 15% though
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:03 AM
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
3,872 posts, read 14,542,870 times
Reputation: 2575
I am indolent and I love people to flock around me and feed me and do all those things I don't feel like doing! So when waitpeople and taxi drivers and airport shuttle bus drivers choose to be friendly and intelligent to me, I tip 20% or more, not that I have a lot of money but that I feel a lot of love for folks who are living their lives with integrity and making my life sweeter.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:54 AM
495 posts, read 1,913,147 times
Reputation: 183
I always tip at least 15-20% even if the service is mediocre. I can't remember the last time I tipped less than 15%. The difference between a 10% tip and a 20% tip on an average meal is only a couple of bucks anyways.

I don't tip when I pick up a takeout order though. I wonder if I should but it's not like you are being waited on.
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