Tipping can get very confusing. How much do you give to what person? It’s definitely a jumble. Whether tipping is an archaic custom that should be abolished is a discussion for another time. As it stands right now though, there are places where tipping is considered standard etiquette and not tipping (or tipping too little) reflects poorly on your character. Here are the main things to remember (or to bookmark and refer to as needed):
Waiter (sit down): 15-20% pre-tax is the amount recommended by most etiquette guides. Tip on the pre-tax, pre-coupon amount. As a Muslim, make your default 20% and move up or down based on service. Tip an extra 5-10% if you’re eating out during Eid.
Waiter (buffet): 10%. Again, if it’s Eid, tip an extra 5-10%.
Take out: It’s generally not considered necessary to tip for takeout. However, if you have a complicated and/or large order, a 10-15% tip is appreciated.
Home delivery: 10-15% of the bill. For pizza delivery, $2 to $5 is sufficient.
Coffee/food retailers: No obligation, you can drop something into the tip jar on occasion.
Valet: $2-$5 for the valet who parks your car and again $2-$5 for the valet who retrieves it.
Doorman: Just a smile and thank you is sufficient for opening your door. If he helps with your luggage, $2-$4 per item.
Bellhop: $2 for first bag, $1 for each additional bag
Housekeeper: $2-$5 per day. Make sure you label this with a note that says “For housekeeping. Thank you!” or they might think you left the money out by mistake.
Tour guide: Tip between $1 to $5 per person in your group.
Taxi Driver: 15-20% of the fare. Tip higher
Uber: The jury is still out on whether you should tip at all for services like Uber or Lyft. Use your own judgement here.
Hotel concierge: No tip required for answering questions or giving you directions. Tip $5 if they get you tickets or reservations.
Mover: $20 per mover
Cleaning service: 15-20%
Should you ever tip zero?
People debate this but my answer is kinda. I’ve had a few occasions, very few, where I felt the service I received was markedly poor. Most importantly, on those occasions I felt that the poor service was because I was Muslim and sitting with my sisters who wore hijab. Some would say that even for poor service, you should tip, just on the lower end. I disagree. Instead of ensuring that the person knows their rudeness was noted, it opens up the possibility that the waiter just sees you as a poor tipper. What I’ve done in these scenarios is to leave one dollar as a tip.
Sources: Emily Post Tipping guide, Mint Life How to Be a Total Tipster