tipping in USA

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Freddyfirkin | 22:20 Fri 05th Nov 2010 | Travel
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We are going to the states tomorrow and would like some advice on tipping. We know that the standard is 15% but we are not sure about other things - for example our hotel has valet parking, do we tip him when he/she takes the car or only when we get the car back ?. What about 'bellhops' etc. Cheers for any advice.


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Don`t start me on tipping on the USA! However, I know it`s a neccessary evil. I would always tip $1 per bag, no more unless in San Francisco where they seem to want $2 per bag. In the airports I wouldn`t let anyone try to get my suitcase off me so they can carry it for a $5 tip. They will ask, but you don`t have to let them take it.
If you go for a drink or two in a bar, they will expect a dollar every time you buy a drink so if you are going to have a couple, keep a tab and leave them a dollar at the end. Sometimes restaurants will add the tip to the bill which may well be 15% these days (I have been to places where they want 19% - criminal) but I would leave somewhere between 10% and 15% just to keep them off my back.
My auntie went to America and she got aweful service so didn't tip. The manager came runnign after her, furious demanding a tip. She said that tipping is meant to reward good service and she didn't recieve good service so why should she. The manager then said that they needed tips because he didn't pay his waitresses the minimum wage. My auntie said, 'well that's tough and your own fault' but perhaps using slightly more colourful language.
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Tipping has gone up to 20% now.
Always make sure you have lots of tip change on you so you can give exactly what you want and not risk having to try and get change back or just leave it having been ripped off.

Unfortunately many places, especially bars, pay low (or, so I've even, even no) wages as the staff get their money from the tipping culture as tipping is expected rather than discretionary for good service (I don't see the point, why not just put the prices up and pay the staff better to incentivise them to provide good service for extra tips on a service basis!).

In New York it was a challenge to get through the lobby without a clamour of bell hops trying to get hold of our bags for the tips. We were told by one upfront, when just asking for some advice, directions I think, that they work on a tips basis and what their minimum tip was.

In the taxi we got from the airport, we had a previously agreed fee given to us by the taximarshalls. We had to pay the road toll on top, fair enough, then gave what we thought was a generous tip only to be told quite rudely that it wasn't enough and a demand to pay extra.

We got the hotel to arrange one of their cars for us on the way back as it worked out a lot cheaper.

We had some time to kill before our room was ready and ended up in a small bar up the road where there was an Irish barmaid who was fantastic in explaining the whole tipping culture to us and what would be expected when, helped us a lot to factor in the additional cost.
The standard tip is 20% in restaurants. Porters should be a $ a bag. Taxis around 15% too. Valet parking around $10 to take and fetch. Basically, "if it moves, tip it" seems to be their motto.........
getting the car back usually - unless you are overnighting and the valet is likely to be a different person...

yes on bell hops but a buck per case or so - depends on the hops personality

Just remember that tip is an improve performance - be careful of double dipping - i.e. some restaurants might just add service in - esp if you are more than 6 folk
WOW Freddy, you've been on here for five years now and only ask three questions, and never give a reply or an answer!? Amazing!
auntie is generous on her cars - she must be driving a ferrari or a merc brabus. i would tip $5
You mist remember that the US is a foreign country - in many ways which are not apparent until you visit.

Tipping is part of the US culture, so work with it. Not in the British way of reward for good service, but as the Americns do - because it is built into the wage structure.

You have plenty of good advice, but remember, you are in their country, and it is polite to do things their way. Because food and drink are so inexpensive, you will not lose out by tipping, and it makes everyone happy to help.

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