Be the epitome of etiquette…
If I were to ask my friends to describe me, I might get “kooky,” “cranky,” or simply silence as a response. Some of my more descriptive friends might even say “rambunctious,” “weird,” “drunk and/or sleepy most of the time,” and “smelly.” Even after bombarding a hundred people with a myriad of annoying questions, it’s very unlikely that “polite” would rank as a modern-day character description. In this day and age of instant gratification, constant excess, and media saturation, striving to be polite has gone the way of the dinosaur. But manners should never go out of style. In our day-to-day interactions, being polite and minding other people’s space can go a long way. Here are some tips on how to spread the kindness in our present world.
You don't have to be Miss Manners to achieve etiquette enlightenment, but you do have to be mindful of certain things.
Okay, so tipping doesn’t technically constitute politeness, but it is a gracious social custom that we’ve come to take for granted. Giving someone a tip is more than just a supplement of wages; it also signals that we’re grateful for the service. Before you start emptying out your piggybank, take a look at some common tipping guidelines for frequent day-to-day services.
RESTAURANT Coat check $1.00 Maitre d' $5.00 - $25.00, depending on the efficiency and table placement (you may try to slip it into their pockets, but for sexual harassment purposes, it’s not recommended Bar staff 10% - 15% of the drink price, depending on the complexity of the order Wait staff 15% of the bill before taxes Sommelier 10% - 15% of the wine price Take-out No tip is necessary, unless it’s an unusually large order or takes time to prepare; in that case, 5% - 10% is adequate Buffet staff 5% - 10% of bill before taxes Cab driver 15% - 20% plus $1.00 - $2.00 per bag DELIVERIES Furniture $10.00 - $20.00 per person, depending on load Flowers $2.00 - $10.00, with the upper range going to deliveries of large plants or arrangements Movers $10.00 - $20.00 per person for smaller loads (smaller loads are typically around one to ten mid-sized boxes); $20.00 - $50.00 if they’re moving your house, your neighbour’s house, and checking your mail while you’re on vacation Pizza delivery 10% - 15% before taxes is a conservative estimate; when factoring in the tip, think about travel time and gas costs for the driver GAS STATION STAFF Attendant $2.00 - $5.00 for extra services like gas pump, fluid check, and wiping your windshield without smearing more grime onto it Mechanic Assuming that your car doesn’t break down the moment you leave the lot, $10.00 - $20.00 for services under $500.00, and $50.00 or more for services over $500.00 is recommended Car wash staff $2.00 - $5.00 HOTEL STAFF Doorman No tip is necessary unless he/she helps you with your bags Concierge $5.00 - $10.00, depending on extra services or requests Bell hop $1.00 per bag or $5.00 per load, more if they carry your bags up to your room Chambermaid $5.00 per day or $7.00 - $9.00 if you’re a slob Room service 15% of bill before taxes HAIR SALON Shampoo person $1.00 - $2.00 Stylist 15% - 20% of bill before taxes; a little extra if you walk out of the salon looking like Angelina Jolie Coffee Barista $1.00; 10% - 15% of bill before taxes for extra services
Suggested Holiday Tip
During the holidays, a little extra something for that special mailman or hairdresser in your life will also brighten their day.
Babysitter/nanny One week’s pay Housekeeper/gardener One week’s pay Janitor One week's pay Newspaper delivery person $5.00 - $15.00 for weekend deliveries; $15.00 - $25.00 for daily service Personal trainer $20.00 - $50.00 gift certificate; $5.00 - $10.00 for locker room attendant Mailman Because post offices are government-regulated, employees are generally discouraged from taking monetary gifts; try a small gift certificate or a glowing letter of recommendation to the supervisor instead Garbage collector $15.00 - $25.00 Doorman A nice bottle of wine or some Belgium chocolates will be appreciated Superintendent If your super’s been, well, super, $30.00 - $100.00 is suggested Hairstylist The price of a regular session plus a small gift; $5.00 for additional staff that helps you look fabulous Masseuse The price of a regular session plus a small gift Manicurist $10.00 - $15.00 Daycare worker $15.00 - $25.00 and a small gift
There are a myriad of other scenarios where tipping may be involved. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if a service is involved, a tip is likely to be anticipated. If you’re not sure of the standard practice, ten per cent to 15 per cent of the bill is a safe estimate.
However, there are certain instances where a tip is not customary. Here are the most common professions that don’t require tipping:
Tipping also becomes tricky when traveling. In North America, tipping is a typical custom, but not all countries will have the same guidelines. When in doubt, read up about the tipping standards and practices of your holiday destination. Also look for gratuity that’s sometimes automatically tacked onto bills, and know the conversion rate before you find yourself in a sticky faux pas.
- Any owner of any establishment, unless he/she is directly involved in providing you with service
- Fast food restaurant workers
- Hotel desk clerks or doormen, unless a special service was provided
- Museum guides
- Flight attendants
- Bus drivers
- Theatre ushers
[ E-mail and cell phone etiquette. Part II of the article. ]