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From Guilt to Gratitude: Creating Your Personal Tipping Policy

In today's fast-paced digital world, tipping can sometimes leave us feeling perplexed rather than grateful. I believe that by establishing our own personal tipping policy, we can regain confidence and genuine gratitude in our interactions. Not only does this benefit us, but it also brightens the day of the person providing the service.


The Pressure and Guilt Surrounding Tipping: Did you know that according to Forbes, one in three people feels pressured to tip, and 18% feel uncomfortable about it? It's often referred to as "guilt tipping." We can all relate to not wanting to disappoint others or feeling like we might be taken advantage of. That can make tipping etiquette a challenge to navigate, which is why having your guidelines in mind helps you make choices in the moment that you feel good about.


Everyday Tipping in Different Situations: (with guidance from Emily Post's Etiquette Centennial Edition):

  • Sit-Down Restaurants: 15% to 20%

  • Bars: A dollar or two per drink or 20% of the total bill.

  • Food Delivery Drivers: 10% tip or a minimum of $5.

  • Fast Food and Counter Service Restaurants: Tipping is discretionary.

  • Salons and Spas: 20%

  • Food Trucks: Tipping is discretionary.

  • Coffee Shops: Tipping is discretionary.

  • Driving Services: 10% to 20%.

  • Valet: $5 and up.

  • Movers and Home Workers: Varies from no tip to as much as $50, depending on the service.

Sharing my personal tipping policy:

I tip 20% for good service at sit-down restaurants and salons, a dollar or two for a drink at the bar, and for counter-service restaurants, I'll tip when I request customizations like a toasted bagel or when someone goes above and beyond. I have a standard of 10% for grocery delivery services and driving services. For food delivery, I will tip a minimum of $5. For hotel services like valet parking and bag service, between $3 and $5 usually works for me.


I don't claim that my way of tipping is the only way; however, I do think having a personal tipping policy helps me feel more comfortable and turns my guilt into genuine gratitude.

My Final Tip:

Take a moment to think about your own tipping policy, and consider the impact it can have on your interactions. It's not just about the numbers; it's about the appreciation we show. So, the next time you're in a situation where tipping may or may not be customary, keep your tipping policy in mind, and don't underestimate the power of making eye contact and sincerely thanking the person, regardless of the tip amount.

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