October 13, 2006
~Thu~ Oct 12th 2006 from http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2006/10/12/basic…
Posted by J.D. under Odds and Ends
Every time I get my hair cut, I’m faced with a dilemma — should I tip the barber or not? I usually get my hair cut in a small-town shop. I tip $2 on a $12 haircut. If I get to hear stories about Vietnam or histrionic political rants, I tip $3, even if I don’t agree with the barber’s viewpoints. (I tip because I’ve been entertained.) Sometimes, if I don’t have enough cash, I don’t leave a anything at all. Are these tips appropriate?
What about when I pick up Chinese takeout? Should I have tipped the guys who delivered our new gas range last fall? What about a hotel bellhop? A parking valet? Out of curiosity, I did some research on tipping practices in the United States. There’s actually significant disagreement about how much to tip for even common services.
For example, you know you should tip your waitress. But how much should you leave? Some people claim that 10% is adequate. Others claim that 20% is standard. But I suspect that most of us learned to tip 15%, and to give more for exceptional service. (The wikipedia entry on tipping currently contains the bizarre claim that “18% is generally accepted as a standard tip for good service”.) Which amount is correct?
After browsing dozens of pages, I drafted the following guide. The amounts listed are based on averages or on consensus, when possible.
- No tip required, though many suggest throwing coins into the tip jar.
- $1/drink (or 15% of total bill). Pre-tip for better service.
- Delivery person (including pizza)
- 10%, $2 minimum (also, also)
- Maitre d’
- $5-$25 for special efforts
- No tip required unless something special is done (also, also)
- 15% for adequate service, 20% for exceptional service. For poor service, leave 10% or less. It’s okay to leave nothing for exceptionally poor service, but only if you’re sure it’s the waiter’s fault.
- $1 to $2 per bag, $5 minimum. (Or, just as many places say $1 bag, $2 minimum.)
- $5-$20 depending on the service. $20 if he does something exceptional. Nothing for directions.
- $2 to $5 per night, paid daily or as a lump sum at checkout. (Most sites suggest you tip daily.)
- Parking Valet
- A wide range of opinions. Everyone agrees that you should pay when your car is retrieved. Some say to pay when it’s parked, too. Most sites say to tip $2, though some suggest $5.
- Room service
- $5 minimum
- Bus driver (not mass transit)
- $1 to $2, if she handles luggage
- Cab driver
- 10%, $2-$5 minimum
- Gas station attendant
- Nothing. Or $2-$4. There’s no agreement. (I’ve never seen anyone tip a gas station attendant ever.)
- $1 per bag. $2 for heavy items, or if porter brings luggage to counter.
- Again, little agreement: 10-15%, 15-20%, etc. One person recommends $5 to each individual who shampoos or blow-dries your hair! (also)
- Spa service
- $2 or $3
- Building superintendent
- Varies —read more.
- Coat checker
- Most sites recommend $1 per coat, though one said $2 to $5 upon retrieval.
- Furniture deliverer
- It depends. Most of the time $5-$20. Some recommend simply offering cold drinks. (also)
- Grocery store bagger
- One site recommended $1-$3, though I’ve never seen one tipped in my life.
- $10-$25 per person (also)
What about tipping at holidays? Tipping service people with whom you have regular contact can build goodwill. I found these recommendations:
- Babysitter: one week’s pay
- Doorman: bottle of wine or box of chocolates
- Garbage collector: $15 to $25
- Gardener: one week’s pay
- Housekeeper: one week’s pay
- Janitor: $15 to $25
- Mail carrier: $15 to $20 (up to $20 non-cash)
- Nanny: one week’s pay
- Newspaper delivery person: $15 to $25
- Parking attendant: $15 to $25
- Personal trainer: $20 to $50 (tip discreetly)
Some points regarding tipping etiquette:
- If you use a coupon or gift certificate, calculate your tip based on the total before discount.
- Tip above the norm if:
- Service is exceptional,
- You’ve been a burden, or
- You are a regular client.
- Don’t tip if it’s not deserved. Poor service should not be rewarded.
- In some circumstances, if you offer an initial tip — especially a large initial tip — you’ll get better service.
- If you take up a restaurant table for a long time, tip extra.
- Tip discreetly.
- When in doubt, tip.
What about public officials? When is a tip a tip, and when is a tip a bribe? My wife and I tipped the judge who married us, but even then we had trouble deciding how much to give him. (We gave him $50.)
I suspect that tipping practices vary widely from region-to-region and, especially based upon the size of the city. As always, do what works for you.
Other articles about tipping:
- How to tip in a foreign country
- International tipping etiquette
- Is it better to tip with cash or with credit?
- Tipping at weddings
- Tipping relieves guilt more than it provides incentive
- Tipping etiquette (which is actually the best guide I found)
You may also be interested to read:
- Why do Tipping Rates Keep Rising? — An AskMetafilter user wonders: why do tipping rates keep rising? …
- General Investment Tips — Matt’s General Investing Tips reflect common investment wisdom as I understand it. There is nothing…
- Cheap Geek Tips — The Bargain Queen offers a list of ten cheap geek tips, her advice for saving…
Trackbacks were originally developed by SixApart (http://www.sixapart.com/), creators of the MovableType (http://www.movabletype.org/) blog package. SixApart has a good introduction to trackbacks (http://www.movabletype.org/trackback/beginners/):
In a nutshell, TrackBack was designed to provide a method of notification between websites: it is a method of person A saying to person B, “This is something you may be interested in.” To do that, person A sends a TrackBack ping to person B.
A better explanation is this:
- Person A writes something on their blog.
- Person B wants to comment on Person A’s blog, but wants her own readers to see what she had to say, and be able to comment on her own blog
- Person B posts on her own blog and sends a trackback to Person A’s blog
- Person A’s blog receives the trackback, and displays it as a comment to the original post. This comment contains a link to Person B’s post
The idea here is that more people are introduced to the conversation (both Person A’s and Person B’s readers can follow links to the other’s post), and that there is a level of authenticity to the trackback comments because they originated from another weblog. Unfortunately, there is no actual verification performed on the incoming trackback, and indeed they can even be faked.
Most trackbacks send to Person A only a small portion (called an “excerpt”) of what Person B had to say. This is meant to act as a “teaser”, letting Person A (and his readers) see some of what Person B had to say, and encouraging them all to click over to Person B’s site to read the rest (and possibly comment).
Person B’s trackback to Person A’s blog generally gets posted along with all the comments. This means that Person A can edit the contents of the trackback on his own server, which means that the whole idea of “authenticity” isn’t really solved. (Note: Person A can only edit the contents of the trackback on his own site. He cannot edit the post on Person B’s site that sent the trackback.)
Pingbacks were designed to solve some of the problems that people saw with trackbacks. The official pingback documentation (http://www.hixie.ch/specs/pingback/pingback) makes pingbacks sound an awful lot like trackbacks:
For example, Alice writes an interesting article on her Web log. Bob reads Alice’s article and comments about it, linking back to Alice’s original post. Using pingback, Bob’s software can automatically notify Alice that her post has been linked to, and Alice’s software can then include this information on her site.
There are three significant differences between pingbacks and trackbacks, though.
- Pingbacks and trackbacks use drastically different communication technologies (XML-RPC and HTTP POST, respectively).
- Pingbacks support auto-discovery where the software automatically finds out the links in a post, and automatically tries to pingback those URLs, while trackbacks must be done manually by entering the trackback URL that the trackback should be sent to.
- Pingbacks do not send any content.
The best way to think about pingbacks is as remote comments:
- Person A posts something on his blog.
- Person B posts on her own blog, linking to Person A’s post. This automatically sends a pingback to Person A when both have pingback enabled blogs.
- Person A’s blog receives the pingback, then automatically goes to Person B’s post to confirm that the pingback did, in fact, originate there.
The pingback is generally displayed on Person A’s blog as simply a link to Person B’s post. In this way, all editorial control over posts rests exclusively with the individual authors (unlike the trackback excerpt, which can be edited by the trackback recipient). The automatic verification process introduces a level of authenticity, making it harder to fake a pingback.
Some feel that trackbacks are superior because readers of Person A’s blog can at least see some of what Person B has to say, and then decide if they want to read more (and therefore click over to Person B’s blog). Others feel that pingbacks are superior because they create a verifiable connection between posts.
Verifying Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Comments on blogs are often criticized as lacking authority, since anyone can post anything using any name they like: there’s no verification process to ensure that the person is who they claim to be. Trackbacks and Pingbacks both aim to provide some verification to blog commenting.