To Tip or Not to Tip?: The Confusing World of Gratuities

Helpful Tip Tips So You'll Never Look Like a Bad Tipper

In today's world of tip cups and curbside service, knowing when to tip and when not to tip isn't always cut and dry. Do you tip the coffee barista? Does the curbside server at the restaurant warrant a gratuity? I've got the answers. If you want to save yourself the embarrassment of being labeled a bad tipper without being taken to the bank, follow this advice...

The Curbside Server

Should you tip the curbside server? Absolutely. At many restaurants the curbside servers make no more per hour than the table-side servers (well below minimum wage) and without tips, they can't make a living. That doesn't, however, mean that you should tip 15 or 20 percent like you would if you were eating there. A 10-percent tip should do for curbside service, but never less than two or three dollars.

The Coffee Barista

If you've been to the coffee house, it's hard not to notice the tip cups. But should you really tip your coffee barista? Honestly, no. Etiquette says nothing about tipping the barista and you are not required to do so. That doesn't mean you can't if you want to though. I frequent these places a lot so I do tip every so often and I give a big tip at Christmas.

The Guy Who Delivers the Groceries

If you use a grocery delivery service like Peapod, you might be surprised to find out that you should be tipping the guy making the deliveries. There is debate as to how much to tip though. I say tip 50 cents per bag with a minimum tip of $5.

The Maid

If you hire a housekeeping service, should you tip the maid? No, absolutely not. However, you should give a gift during the holidays. Most of my friends buy holiday gifts for the housekeeper, the mailman and the newspaper guy.

So there you have it -- answers to common tip questions. If there's any other situation where you're not sure whether you should tip or not, feel free to ask.


On Dipping..
Our newspaper is delivered by a newspaper delivery person in a motor vehicle. On our bill is a place where we can add in a tip for the delivery person. Should we tip and if so, how much?

MAX'S RESPONSE ------------

Hi Jim --

Thanks for the great question. I've answered it (along with some of the other questions that came in with an additional tipping article. You can see it posted to the site in the Consumer Tips section.


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