When I was in Austin for SXSW, I arrived a day early because I saved a TON on the cost of the flight by arriving a day early. Since I had the whole day to myself in a city I had never been in before – I did what any woman in her right mind would do. I hailed a cab and scooted off to the nearest shopping mall.
While there, I had an appointment for a manicure at the local day spa. I had a full manicure, pedicure and got my eyebrows waxed off – well, a portion of them anyways. The girl who started my manicure says to me “I’ll get you started off, but at 2pm I have another appointment – so I’ll have another one of the girls finish you at that time.”
At 2pm she handed me off and everything went fine. I was happy with the end result. The total came to about $85.00. So, I paid – – and tipped an extra $20.00 because I was in a good mood and had a good experience with these folks. $20. That is almost a 25% tip. Damn generous, now that I think of it – – I mean, really – where was my head??
So, anyways – the girl looks at me and holds the $20 bill up like it’s garbage and says “Twenty dolla? For two of us?” Then proceeded to roll her eyes – – heave a big sigh and stuffed the bill into her tip jar.
All the good feelings I had about the great experience and service I had there just melted away. I wasn’t sure if I should be offended by her attitude – – or feel like some low life scum because I could only manage a 25% tip.
I realize they have to split it between the two of them – – but how is that my fault? The first girl was busy – – and had to split me between two of them. Does this mean I should have paid a 50% tip just because they don’t have the staff available to service their customers? They are too busy – so I should shell out more cash to cover my tip? In the end, what I really wanted to do was grab my “Twenty dolla” back out of her ungrateful little fingers and flip her off with my freshly manicured hand.
But. I didn’t. Instead, I walked out and went to Starbucks.
At Starbucks, I noticed they had a tip jar at the register. I’m paying almost $4 for a damn cup of coffee. I order it. They bring it. I’m expected to tip? Does anyone ever tip at Starbucks?
If you do – – then do you tip at McDonald’s, too? I mean – the McD’s folks do essentially the same thing as the Starbucks folks.. just a different product. Yet, you don’t see a tip jar at McDonald’s.
it would seem I’m not as tippable as a nail technician or a barista at the local Starbucks.
At what point do you draw the line with tipping? Lots of hard working folks in this country perform a service everyday. Your mailman. Your garbage man. The cable guy. The cashier at the grocery store. Do you tip them all for doing what they are getting paid to do?
Hmm.. what if I, as a web designer, set my prices and then said “that is the total cost of the project … however, there is a 15% gratuity added on at the end” – – think that would fly? I dont think it would.
Are there certain services that are more tippable than others? A “Nail Technician” is more tippable than your local police? You wouldn’t think of slipping your local cop “Twenty dolla” for doing a good job. Or would you?