Advice about Tipping
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Advice about Tipping
Every year, we go up to Tahoe, and our children take one or
two all-day group ski lessons at one of the big resorts.
There are usually about 5 students in each class, and the
instructor has them from about 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. I am
always torn about whether or not to tip. The lessons cost
upwards of $150 a day per kid, but I know the resort gets a
huge chunk of that, and the instructors are just working
folks like ourselves...To tip or not to tip?? Any advice
From what I read in the ski/snowboard forums I frequent, most resort
instructors make $12-$15 per hour, and if they are not assigned to
teach that day, they are free to ski/ride on their resort pass, but do
not get paid for the time they are required to report at the resort but
are not teaching. Higher certified instructors might make more, but
they are most likely teaching privates, not kids groups.
When my child is in an all-day group lesson, I tip the instructor $10 if
there are other kids in the group; $20 if it is a group lesson but my
child is the only one in the ''group'' so it's basically an all-day private.
That's my own tipping system, though, I don't know what is the norm.
I tip the instructor because my child can be difficult on the hill if he's
having a bad day (IOW, grumpy because he had to get up out of bed
early to make the drive to Tahoe), so anyone who can take him out
riding all day and return him smiling while I spend the day off riding
the fresh, deserves a tip.
I was a ski instructor while I was in college. The tips that
I received meant everything to me. Unless it's really busy,
instructors don't make a lot of money. When I was full-time,
I made $1,000 in a good month (this was $20 years ago). The
majority of parents did not tip but I sure remembered the
ones who did. Even $5 at the end of the day makes a
difference. Having a little cash to go to the bar after work
(or put gas in my car) was a great thing. Several parents
gave large tips (up to $200) after I spent a week with their
kids. Those tips helped me get from the ski resort to my
next job at the end of the season.
While it's not required, tipping your ski instructor is
very, very appreciated.
I used to live in Squaw. Yes! Tip your ski instructor.
They make a small hourly wage, and they don't work when the
weather is too windy/rainy/snowy/no snow, but it's not like
they can pick up work elsewhere during the season. They
have no health insurance, or any benefits, except a ski
pass. $20 makes a big difference to them.
appreicate your peeps
Ski instructors don't get paid much, most of the price of the lesson goes to
the resort. They have just spent their day skiing with you child, teaching
your child to ski while you were off skiing. You don't have to go over the
top, but a cash tip handed directly to the instructor is always appreciated.
Yes, it is appropriate to tip the kids' ski instructors.
My young adult children have both been ski instructors in
their 20's, and yes, if you are happy with your child's
experience when you pick them up, it is a common thing to
do to tip the instructors. These instructors, usually
young people, make very little money doing this and are
only there because they love to ski and they love kids.
And dealing with all the children's personalities and
making them all happy and safe is REALLY hard work.
We are having a birthday party at Pump It Up and the reservation form
says gratuities welcome. It would not have occurred to me to tip for
this service and I'm wondering if this is a normal practice or not.
Do you tip at Pump It Up? And if so, how much? Given that the price
for the party with food is going to be over $400, and the service
(from what I've seen as a guest at parties there) seems pretty
minimal, taking a percentage of the bill seems excessive to me.
I definitely don't want to stiff anyone, but also feel a bit annoyed
at being asked to tip in a non-service situation. Maybe there is an
element of service that I will see once I'm a host rather than a
BTW - I am a very generous tipper (20%+) at restaurants and service
establishments, so this isn't about being cheap.
Thanks for your input!
Frankly, no, we did not tip when our daughter had a party at
the Oakland facility. The party we had at Oakland was pretty
dismal though - the staff were perfectly awful so it was an
easy decision not to tip (and e-mails to management went
unanswered). But I would not have tipped anyway unless there
was a particular person (or people) that went above and beyond
the service we were already paying for. It will probably be
an easy decision (to tip or not) when the party gets started
and you see how things are run.
- tipping can be too much
Yes, you should tip. The staff is present in the rooms
with the jumpers and help out with the set up and clean up
after your party.
We went to Pump it Up 3 or 4 times when our kids were
small. We never tipped. It didn't seem necessary. The price
is high enough and they don't do much. You pay up front so
it is not like a restaurant.
-parent of twins
That drives me crazy. I HATE being cajoled for tips,
especially in a situation with little or no service. I've
been to numerous parties at Pump It Up. I have never seen
more service than pushing a cart of shoes from one room to
the next, which isn't really service but just part of their
system of having kids in two different rooms. The parents
serve the food and watch the kids. I hate the whole system
of tipping (have lived overseas and MUCH prefer the no
tipping system there), though I am a good tipper at
restaurants because it is the system and restaurant
employees don't make minimum wage because tips are expected,
but I don't tip for minimal service when I do most of the
work (e.g. counter self-serve restaurants where I pick up my
food and bus my own table). I would like to see tipping
reserved for what it was originally meant to be for, i.e.
especially good service, not just for carrying out the basic
requirements of the job.
We've held 2 parties there and we tipped both times--10% I think, so around 35-
40 bucks. They do provide some service--mostly in the party room area.
Setting up the cake, they'll cut it for you if you want, pouring the drinks, they
all the cleanup, etc. In the bouncy house rooms they are there, but to my mind
did very little. They have all those rules on the video at the beginning, but
of the staff ever enforced any of them, which I thought odd.
So I guess it's up to you. I am guessing they get paid very little, so I felt a
was a reasonable thing to do.
My 6 year old has been attending summer camp this summer for the
first time. He ended up going to 3 different camps and liking
all of them. At the end of one camp session the parents were
told that a certain day would be ''camp counselor appreciation
day'' and that gifts could be given. The note that was sent home
was very clear that no monetary gifts could be given, but that
small tokens such as cards, food, etc were appreciated. I
didn't send anything because I didn't make the time to figure
out what to do and that morning I just forgot about it. Well, my
son was very upset with me when I picked him up because he
didn't have anything for the counselors. I know that at this
age he wants to be like the other kids and we could have come up
with something to give that didn't cost much money, but
honestly, I was a bit annoyed that this was expected. This
really impacted my son and he was mad at me for most of the
night. What have others done in this situation? I told my son
he could have made cards for the counselors that day at camp, or
given lots of thank yous and hugs, but it's not the same thing.
Did I really blow it?
summer camp faux pas
My kids went to same camp. Also our first year there, went for
two sessions. The first session, I forgot, brought nothing. Kids
not very upset.
The second session, bought cookies that were on sale at Safeway.
Younger daughter more into the whole thing than the older son
(who I suspect ate most of them...).
As for having a ''Staff Appreciation Day'' in the first place...
well, mixed feelings. I didn't read it as an opportunity to gouge
the parents, and my kids were ambivalent about it. But when you
have a more sensitive child, yes, I can understand your irritation.
One thing I did state in my feedback of the camp was better
communication - I was more annoyed when my son didn't know he was
supposed to bring a t-shirt for tie dye day, and would have liked
more info on their days in general, or just clearer communication
Mom of Two
I think the guidelines for camp counselors are much like those
for teachers. I can tell you as a teacher that my most treasured
gifts came directly from a student's hand: brief thank-you notes,
a lovely pencil drawing of a rose with my name on it. Other
gifts--I appreciated the sentiment but I have given them all
away. I don't have room! Other teachers have said the same.
Please tell your son that a brief and personal thank you note or
a drawing letting the counselors know how much he appreciated
them will be kept and loved long after store-bought items and
food are gone.
Handmade and personal is heartfelt
I have never heard of this and my kids have gone to a variety of
camps for years. Next year, if the camp does this, tell your son
that your schedule is too busy to plan something but if he wants
to make a card or picture for his counselors he can. Just put it
on your calendar a few days ahead so he can be reminded.
Funny this should come up...I bet many of the other families did also not send
something, but your son felt bad that he didn't bring anything. 6 year olds do like to
follow the crowd, and mine love their camp counselors. So, last year we decorated
little wooden boxes from Michael's craft store, and filled them with candy. The
counselors LOVED them. This year we just baked a ton of cookies halfway through
camp. Again, a great response. Most people at our camp don't give the counselors
any type of gift; it's not expected.
I say funny because this summer we were on the east coast and found out that
counselors at a huge summer camp there not only welcome cash gifts, but EXPECT
them from all the counselors' families. The children whose parents forget are actually
treated poorly by the counselors on the last day. I was disgusted upon hearing this,
and am really glad to live here... Don't worry about this year, and help your son make
some cards or cookies next year... :o)
Mom of 3 in Berkeley
I received a gift certificate for a Claremont-style spa for an
all day body experience. This entails going to 4-5 different
people for hair, nails, massage, facial, etc throughout an
afternoon. My etiquette question: Do I tip individually as
each service is rendered or do I leave a tip at the end of the
day and they will split it up? I have never done this before
so I am unfamiliar with the process. Any comments are welcomed.
Ready for pampering
Leave a tip for each person. You'll find small envelopes
(usually at the front desk)to enclose your tip. Write the
person's name on the envelope so that it reaches her/him.
Having worked in several spas, I would recommend tipping each
person individually. It sounds as though you are going to have a
full day at the spa, and it is likely that staff will come and go
during that time. It would be nice for your estheticians and
therapists to receive a tip before leaving for the day. Also, if
you tip individually, the front desk folks will not be tasked
with finding a ''fair'' way to divide your tip among the
therapists--nor will anyone be accidentally forgotten (typically
the front desk folks are terribly busy). Also, if the facial is
just absolutely amazing and the pedicure just OK, you will have
the opportunity to appreciate each therapist in a way that
reflects your experience (of course, I hope that everything is
fantastic for you!). By the way, the usual range is 10-20%,
depending on the quality of the experience.
I always just tip at the end to make it easy. They'll sort it
all out for you. The person at the desk will add whatever
percentage you decide on to the whole bill and divvy it up
between the service providers. Have a wonderful time and enjoy,
My family will soon be taking a vacation at a very nice resort.
This is new to me as we are usually budget travelers. Therefore,
although I want to use the services of the concierge, I do not
know the proper etiquette for doing so. Do I give him/her $5 each
time we talk or do I give him/her a larger sum ($50?) on our last
Oooh! Oooh! I know this one! We, too have traveled to nice resorts, and
have stayed in some where the rooms cost about $400/$500 a pop. I
mention this for context. NO YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TIP THE CONCIERGE!!!
Take it easy and see how it goes. If you really like the concierge,
feel free to give them about $20 at the end of the visit. But that's if
you really like them. If they set up a secret dinner so that you can
propose to your wife or something... tip them $100 or whatever. But NO
you do not have to tip them every time you ask them things.
Relax, have a blast, and don't feel obligated. Just ... be appreciative
Concierges get "tips" (also known as 'kickbacks') from the tour
providers they recommend, from the restaurants, from the theatres, etc.
No need to tip them, at all. The person to tip is the hardworking maid
who cleans your hotel room each day. I'd give her at least $20 per day.
Leave it in cash with a note that says "housecleaning - thanks!"
It seems everybody wants tips these days by the prevalence of
tip glasses and jars on counters everywhere, and I'm not sure
when to tip and when not to tip. Every tip glass on a counter
causes me guilt if I don't tip and even dirty looks from people
who are basically doing a cashier service for me just like
someone at a book store or shoe store.
I know that waiters get less than minimum wage becaues tips are
supposed to make up the difference and they are taxed on their
tips. I tip as generously as I can, always, usually over and
never under 15% unless service was really bad. But people who
work at counters, are they in the same boat? What am I tipping
for exactly? Why am I expected to tip a person who sells me a
pre-made sandwich after standing in a long line, and not someone
who sells me a book? (Although I've run into a tip jar here and
there at a book store and other non-food related places).
I am aware that people are all struggling and could use a little
extra. I could use a little extra too and adding a quarter to an
already expensive $2.75 cup of coffee has put me over the edge.
I make my own (the inflation on a latte no where near matches
inflation in general!). But in many cases there seems to be more
of an entitlement (dirty look people, not so nice tip signs in
the glasses badly disguised as humorous) than a good service
mentality about it.
So, does anyone have any guidelines to follow? If I had it to
give I would. Not having it, how do I do it fairly for me and
them and to whom.
With the best intentions
I agree with you, I'm a bit tired of seeing tip jars
everywhere. When I'm in a restaurant, I always tip very well.
Here's what I do with tip jars at coffeshop counters: I tip if
someone is making a fancy coffee drink, say a latte, or if
they're making a sandwich. If all they're doing is pouring
coffee into a cup or taking a cookie out of a jar and then
handing it to me, I don't tip. I know that many of the people
working in these establishments aren't making tons of money,
but neither am I -- so, if there is a ''service'' associated with
what they're doing, I tip. Hope this helps.
Tipping is optional. If you feel the counter person has given
you exceptional service, you can leave some change in the jar.
Ordinary service doesn't earn a tip. If they give you a dirty
look when you don't tip, I'd take my business elsewhere... and
let the business owner know why I left.
Tipping should not be extortion
I understand your dilemma. These are tough economic times and
many of us are counting our pennies...
In the past I have held a variety of service-related jobs,
including two you've mentioned: working at a book store, and
the ''barista'' gig. At both jobs I felt literally run off my
feet, and the cafe job pay was so low that I counted on the tips
to pay for such ''extras'' as bus fare. (I've never worked at a
bookstore that had a tip jar-- though it would've been nice to
be tipped for being well-read or at least for knowing what the
title of ''that-book-that-was-on-Oprah-last-week'' was called!)
That being said, at my cafe jobs, *nobody*-- not I or anyone I
worked with, as far as I know-- expected to be tipped for orders
that were ''to go'' unless they were very complicated (for
example, someone ordering several different kinds of
drinks/snacks to be taken back to the office). That meant that
roughly 75% of the time, we didn't expect to be tipped. We did
however hope that the people who ordered drinks ''for here'' would
leave a little something in the tip jar-- even a nickel--
because we served ''here'' drinks in glasses, which had to be
washed by hand (no dishwasher!), and because the ''please bus
your own table'' signs were merely a suggestion, and most
customers did leave behind their glasses (not to mention spilled
drink, spilled sugar, crumpled napkins, used kleenex, etc. etc.)
which had to be cleaned up by *someone*. So if you can at all
afford it, a nickel or dime or the occasional quarter will do.
As for those ''clever'' tip jar signs, I too have noticed that
they are getting more & more sarcastic, but I believe that isn't
really aimed at the individual customer, but at society at large
and the owners of cafes who often turn a nice profit at the
expense of their staff. It *is* ridiculous that a simple drink,
such as a single mocha, now sets one back as much as $3 (I think
that's what they charge at Peet's and elsewhere now.)In the Bay
Area, it is widely agreed that the ''living wage'' is around
$12/hour; most of your baristas make around $7 or, if they stick
around a few years at the same place, $8 or $9. Just something
to keep in mind...
Been Behind the Counter
I don't know that there are any guidelines for tipping at the
counter. Personally, I tip if the counter person goes beyond the
call of duty (like if I have a particularly difficult order) or
if I go there a lot.
But I wanted to clarify that in California, waiters and counter
people are paid /at least/ minimun wage, in addition to their
tips. Employers are not allowed to pay them less than the
minimun wage, regardless of how much they make in tips. In
addition, in places like San Francisco, the minimun wage for
servers is higher than the state minimun wage.
Boy, do I agree with you, and I no longer routinely tip at counters. It doesn't make
sense to me, as you say, and I feel rather blackmailed. However, if the person
helping me has actually done some or all of the preparation of my order, and/or is
particularly nice, I do leave a very modest tip (nothing at all resembling a tip for a
Well, I am curious to hear what others have to say about this, but I do not have a
concrete answer. However, I do have further information. For one thing, in the state
of California, servers do make minimum wage and then tips on top of that. It is true
that in some states they do make less than minimum wage, but not here. As a
former server, I think there is a BIG difference between working in a restaruant and
being a cashier type person. Working in a restaraunt is EXTREMELY hard and if you
get a good server, who takes good care of you, go ahead and give her/him those
extra two dollars and give them a 20% tip (Believe me they deserve it).
However, I am with you as far as all of this tip jars go, I rarely leave a big tip,
my change. The only exception is if the person goes out of their way to help me in
some way, but they don't get the money anyway---at least not all of it. My sister-
in-law used to work at Peats and they would take the tip jar and divide it between
everyone that worked there that day. Having said that, I look at them as optional.
There are some places where i go quite often and have a relationship with the
employees and i will tip there. I can't wait to hear what everyone else says about
Old school ex-waitress
I routinely DO tip at the counter because I know that the people
who work there are not earning very much. I often use my own
cup to get coffee and leave that dime I save in the tip jar. Or
I leave the difference between the cost of my drink and the next
even dollar. Around holiday times, or whenever I feel like it,
I play Mommy Warbucks and leave a whole dollar bill. In our
society it's impossible to get by on minimum wage, and although
I don't think it's my job to support other people who earn less
than I do (I would prefer that rich folks, like Arnold, take
care of that), I still feel a responsibility to people who are
less fortunate than I. It's good that they have jobs. It's bad
that the jobs pay so little that tips are necessary.
My mom just called me with a question regarding my sister's
wedding reception and I told her I knew exactly where to go for
answers!! She wants to know what is appropriate for tipping
the caterers for the wedding reception (cooks, servers, guy in
charge= 22 people all together). On the contract, there is a
10% service charge, but she was told that is not the tip, if
she chooses to give a tip it would be on top of that charge.
So, does she give a full 15-20% tip, or deduct that 10% and
give a 5-10% tip? Also, should she give cash that evening
(which could be a large amount of cash) or put in on the credit
card with the bill before hand? And one more thing, should she
split up the tip among the 22 people (which sounds like a pain
to me) or should she give the full amount to the person in
charge and let him split it up? Thank you...my mom, sister ,
and I appreciate your help!
The standard gratuity for a catered event is 10-20% of the
service charge. You don't need to tip 10-20% of the entire
bill (like food and equiptment). In other words, if the
service charge for your event is $5k-tip the staff $500-$1000
(I think you said there were 22 staff, so that would work out
to about $20-$40 per person). You mentioned that there is
already a service charge built in-what is that for, exactly?
Many companies do this, but I'm curious what justifies this
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