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Americans - Explain tipping to me, please

Monday, January 07, 2013

So I go on my trip in 34 hours. Yikes. That means in 58 hours I will be in the states! OMG. I am freaking out.

So in NZ tipping is not the done thing. We tip occasionally, only at restaurants and only if the service is exceptional, and even then it is at peoples discretion. However, I know that in the states tipping is the common and done thing. So, if you don't mind could you give me some pointers? Who do I tip, and how much? For example, I know I need to tip in restaurants, but what about fast food places? When I get a coffee? When I get on a bus? I have no clue, as you can see! It is just not in my culture to tip!

Thanks for your help!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow, I just learned a whole lot about tipping in the US! I'm from Canada, and tipping is much different here!
    1988 days ago
  • CARLA-216
    Oh my gosh, it is HERE! I wish I lived on the west coast so I could meet you.

    And I see the others beat me to the tip info. Looks like pretty much what I'd say. However, I've been known to not tip if the service is horrible or the wait person is rude. I don't reward that....

    1988 days ago
  • LYNSEY723
    I think everyone below has basically covered it! I'm sure you can also google it and get more than enough answers. But of the things you will be using - taxi, usually tip. Restaurants - tip, I usually do 20% (not fast food) coffee - I almost always tip $1-$3. Not at Starbucks as much because they get benifits unlike the small independant coffee stands. No tipping on a city bus. If you were to say take a shuttle bus from the airport to a hotel, that driver should be tipped. But never on public transportation.

    I am so excited!! Have a safe trip! I hope to see you in a week!
    1988 days ago
    Have a fun trip!
    1988 days ago
  • HEAT7918
    My hubbie was a waiter in college so we tend to overtip at restaurants - around 20% unless service is bad (we'll do closer to 25% for exceptional) - plus 20% is easier for me to calculate in my head! (Take 10% and double it - done.)

    I try to avoid letting someone carry my bag b/c I hate to tip for that stuff and I almost never have $1 bills with me.

    I hope you have an amazing trip here in the U.S.!
    1989 days ago
    Have a great trip! I hope to visit NZ some day! :O)
    1989 days ago
    15%. Restaurants will have their desired tip percentage at the bottom of their menu. I just stick with 15%. If service is poor, go down to 10%
    1989 days ago
    Yes we tip differently! :)
    15% of the check ...we do 20 % when service is exceptional. Have a great time!
    1989 days ago
  • APED7969
    Good advice from others. I get confused everytime I go back even though I'm from the States. 1DRWOMAN is right about the service, it is soooooo much better than here in Australia. Drives me nuts when I come back here and have to wait 30 min to get water at a restaurant! Enjoy yourself. And if you're doing some shopping find a TJ Maxx or Marshalls. They have some really good clothes, particularly if you shop one in a good area like Santa Monica for super cheap!
    1989 days ago
    LOL I live in NZ now and I am from the states.

    Here's something to remember....
    Most waitresses make $2-4 an hour...their tips are income and how they survive...however if they SUCK I do not tip...if the service is really bad Ill even go as far as to spell the word TIP on the table with pennies! LOL But it was a rare occurence! :)

    If you receive GREAT service I tip 20%
    If you receive AVERAGE (expected) service I tip 15%
    If you receive bad service or below average I do 10%

    That's not just at restaurants.
    When someone carries your bags...$1-$5
    When someone opens your doors at a hotel... $1-$5
    When you order room service $5...etc

    Basically whenever someone treats you like you should be treated you reward them with a tip. TAXI DRIVERS will assume they can keep your change...so if you don't want that, say "just give me $5 back please"....etc

    Minimum wage is $5.25 there...tips are important. I did hair, makeup and skin care and I worked strictly commission my whole life from 1992-2006...no base salary plus tips...straight commission and tips....so it matters. Tax is added at the register when you pay...not included in the bill....or on the price on the shelf in the store.

    (im with a kiwi man so I'm trying to think of all the things he asked me about)
    In the end when he came to meet me in the states -we met online- he just said "what do I leave as a tip? and I just told him!

    there are free apps available as well! :)
    Let me know if you have any questions. ENJOY THE SERVICE!!!!!!! IT'S WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better than here!!!! again...depends where you're going...but people can get fired on the spot so if they suck they either will starve or won't have a job at all! :)

    Let me know if you need anything!
    I'm from Chicago. Been in NZ since 2006.

    1989 days ago
    Also if you are staying in one place for a while tipping the housekeeping staff at the end of your stay is up to you. Otherwise beanies_mom pretty much covered it. Any restaurant with a waitress or waiter those folks are paid less on the theory their tips will make up the difference. I don't know what the percentage standard is in NZ but in the US it is 15% for standard service and you can go up or down based on the service you receive.
    1989 days ago
    yes to restaurants 15% or $5 depending on the check is the lowest tip I give
    no to fast food places
    coffee up to you but not really expected...I only tip for coffee at one place where I know the people and they give great service.
    No to the bus.

    I hope you enjoy your trip!!
    1989 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/7/2013 3:28:33 AM
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