Tipping remains a controversial topic, and there is often much debate about how much you should tip and when. To simplify things, more and more restaurants are even adding gratuity charges automatically to customers’ bills, making it a requirement. But beyond restaurants, it can be confusing to know when you’re expected to tip and what percentage to leave. Although tipping is usually up to the customer’s discretion and based on the level of service they received, the following are some situations in which you actually SHOULDN’T offer gratuity:
In certain countries
Many workers in countries don’t expect tips, or only expect very small gratuities. In fact, in some countries (primarily in Asia), you shouldn’t tip at all. Not only is tipping non-existent, but it can be considered an insult. This is why it’s always important to research tipping customs for any country you plan on traveling to.
Home service providers
From cable installation professionals to electricians, most home service providers don’t expect to receive tips. Although gratuity may not be customary in this situation, you could always include one if you feel the level of service you received was above average.
When the tip was already added
In Europe, for example, most tips are included on restaurant checks, and additional gratuity is not normally expected. Many restaurants throughout the United States are beginning to follow suit and also include gratuity on customers’ bills—some as much as 18 or 20 percent, even for smaller parties. Be sure to always check your bill when paying to see if gratuity is already included. If so, it’s perfectly acceptable to not add an additional tip amount, unless you received exceptional service.
Gas station attendants
If a gas station attendant is simply filling up your tank (which is legally required in New Jersey and Oregon), no tip is expected. However, you may want to give a tip if the attendant goes a little above and beyond, such as cleaning your windshield or checking your car’s fluids.
Generally, those providing roadside assistance don’t expect to receive a gratuity, but you may want to consider the reason you had to call roadside assistance to begin with. For providing a simple solution, such as unlocking a car, a tip may be unnecessary. But if you need to tow your car a great distance in the middle of the night, for example, you could always leave a tip for a job well done.
The bottom line
Unless you’re traveling to a country where it’s considered an insult to tip, there are no hard rules when it comes to when not to tip and how much. Although a lot of professionals in various industries might not generally expect tips from customers, they are usually always appreciated.