Oh no! I am an undertipper

Most people know to tip 15 to 20 percent for good restaurant service. However, what about tipping for other services?

I recently realized that I didn’t have a clue how much to tip the car wash guy until he was standing next to my car with an outstretched palm. (Note: I gave him $2.) When I got back to the office, I decided to see if I could find any guidelines on tipping. I was pleased to find Real Simple’s Definitive Tipping Guide. Unfortunately, my pleasure was temporary; apparently, I am an undertipper.

I had no idea people tipped hotel maids ($2 to $5 per night) or personal trainers ($50 to $100 upon reaching a goal). An hour of Web surfing on the subject netted me a long list of people I have unknowingly stiffed over the years. Here are a few:

-woman who washed my hair before a haircut
-woman who blow-dried my hair after a haircut
-milk delivery guy
-parking garage attendant
-woman who helped with my daughter’s birthday party
-guy who packaged my take out order
-woman who groomed my dog
-guy who hailed me a cab
-woman who recommended a restaurant
-woman who offered me a Kleenex in the rest room
-man who taught my son’s tennis lesson
-woman who delivered flowers for a funeral
-man who took my groceries to the car
-woman who showed me my seats for the baseball game

Some of these people were well paid for their services (groomer, tennis instructor), while others offered services I assumed were complementary (concierge, usher). None of these people were cheated out of a tip on purpose. At least I haven’t yet made it into the Lousy Tipper Database!

You can avoid being an undertipper by reading CNN’s article titled How much to tip. You can also find a lot of tips on tipping at Tipping.org. If you are a tip giver or a tip receiver with advice to share, please do so through the comments section.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.