When Should You Tip?

If it seems like you are being asked to tip at many more locations than in the past, it’s true. These days a customer is being asked to tip at places like fast food restaurants and convenience stores in addition to the normal establishments-a trend that some are calling “tipflation”.

This trend may be annoying to some, but there is certain etiquette that can be used in deciding whether to tip for services rendered:

As a rule, you do not have to tip someone who earns a salary or performs a trade. This would include doctors, lawyers, and accountants, or someone that performs a service in the home like a plumber.

Regarding counter service, according to the experts it is not necessary to tip someone who works behind the counter. But since many of those workers are not paid very well it would be a nice gesture and much appreciated.

When going to an event that has an open bar, the host has likely paid for the tip in advance. But doing so may get you better service at the event, especially if it is crowded.

You are never obligated to tip someone for bad service, but one should use good judgment. For example, if your food takes longer than expected at a restaurant it may not be the server’s fault. So a bad tip may not be the best way to show your displeasure. Experts say that tipping 20 percent is standard and could go down from there if the experience is not what was expected. But if a lesser tip is offered a customer should notify management as to why, as one does not want to be thought of as rude or a cheapskate.