How Much To Tip in Tricky Situations

From the mediocre waitress to the complimentary bang trim

To tip or not to tip: That is, with annoying frequency, the question. After all, you know how much to leave the bellhop and the bartender. But what about the girl who takes your coat? Or the guy who delivered your mattress? Or the 19-year-old you hired to do your grocery shopping?

Here, the real deal on what to do.

tips hair1

The Gal Who Washes Your Hair: $3 To $5 Based On Your Experience

Was that shampoo and scalp massage the best human contact you’ve had all year? If so, you might want to tip on the higher end of the bracket. When in doubt, ask the receptionist to divide the total tip between everyone involved in your visit.

tips waitress

The Waitress Who Brought Out Mediocre Food: 15 To 20 Percent Of Your Bill

Remember, she isn’t the chef and has no part in preparing your meal, so she shouldn’t be penalized for overcooked pasta or rubbery chicken. If she was pleasant and kept that Chianti flowing, you need to give accordingly. Take your food complaints to the manager.

tips ikea

Your Taskrabbit: $0

Since you set the price for sending someone else to Ikea (and your TaskRabbit agreed to it), there’s no need to add a tip. Do, however, reward someone who goes above and beyond by, say, putting your bookshelves together for you.

tips furniture

The Guy Who Delivered Your Furniture: $0 To $20

Call customer service and ask whether tips are customary--a mom-and-pop furniture store runs a much smaller operation than a national chain. If you’ve paid for delivery, a tip isn’t necessary, unless you’ve ordered an entire living room and reside in a fourth-floor walk-up. In that case, consider $10 to $20 per item.

tips larry

The Cable Guy: $0

You’re paying for cable, and setup is part of that service. That’s all there is to it. Really.


The Restaurant Car Valet: $3 To $5

Tip on the higher end up front if you want that cute parking attendant to take extra-special care of your vehicle. Otherwise, it’s fine to give a few dollars at pickup.

tips pool

The Hotel Pool Boy: Depends

If he hands you a towel or sets up your beach chair, he’s just doing his job. But once you start ordering mai tais from him, you should really consider leaving 15 to 20 percent of your tab. This does not, however, apply to all-inclusive properties, where tips are typically built into the rate.

tips cab

The Cab Driver Who Took The Long Way Home: 10 Percent

Even if your fare is $5 more than you expected, not tipping is pretty much a slap in the face. Ask why the driver chose to take the backstreets. If he was avoiding construction or traffic, stick to the usual 15 to 20 percent. Otherwise, 10 percent is fair enough.

tips coatcheck

The Restaurant Coat-check Concierge: $2 Per Coat

Add another buck or two if you have an entourage of cold-weather accessories.

liz lemon

Complimentary Bang Trim: $5 To $10

Is it just a basic trim, or did your stylist whip out her fancy feathering scissors? Go for $10 when she does something particularly fabulous.

jillian quint

Editor-in-Chief, Avid Reader, Wallpaper Enthusiast

Jillian Quint is the Editor-in-Chief of PureWow, where she oversees the editorial staff and all the fabulous content you read every day. Jillian began her career as a book editor...