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FEATURED QUERY: Do you rely on tips for a living? Tell us more

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  • Rhonda from Middleton, WI

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: If service is awful I will reduce the tip to 10 to15 percent. Otherwise, 20 percent, always. If service is fantastic, it will go over 20 percent.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: My husband was a waiter for many, many years.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Philip from Madison, WI

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: Fifteen percent standard service and 20 percent for superior service.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: My children working in hospitality industry have made me a bit more generous to others.

    Q: Any other thoughts?

    A: I am bald since chemo therapy, so no haircuts or barbers to tip. I don’t tip doctors and nurses either, but I have bought gifts for nurses when treatment s over.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Annalise from St. Croix Falls, WI

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: Tipping, to me, is highly personal. The quality and level of service greatly weighs in my decision on how much to tip.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: As someone who has spent summer waiting on tables — something everyone should do at some point — it is easy to see if the quality of service is related to the actual person giving the service, or things outside their control (i.e., the kitchen not keeping up). On the receiving end, however, I can say that nine times out of 10, the people who tip the least are the people who demand the most.

    Q: Any other thoughts?

    A: A tip from someone has a lifetime spend in the service industry: Avoid being a “verbal tipper.” Verbal tipping is something that happens when people don’t want to tip for their service. Though it can be both conscious and unconscious behavior, it’s equally irritating. The verbal tipper will sprinkle comments about how great the atmosphere is, how great the food is, how delightful the service is, and will then proceed to leave a 5 to 10 percent tip for their server. No verbal tipping. Your face will be remembered and you can guarantee that every server in the joint now knows that you are a verbal tipper. Your service will always suffer from that day forward.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Blaise from Grantsburg, WI

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: I start with a specific percentage (20 percent if it is a local restaurant where I may be known or if I am likely to return, 15 percent if neither applies). I adjust up or down a few percentage points based on the quality of service and round the total to an even dollar amount.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: Hearing from waitresses who are dependent on the income has made me gradually more generous over the years.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Kat from Milwaukee, WI

    Q: Do you tip differently for alcohol versus food?

    A: Yes. I tip $1 per drink with alcohol and specialty coffees, but 20 percent on all other food and beverages. With the alcohol or coffee, the person making the beverage is the one serving me. With food, this is not the case.

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: In general, I tip 20 percent on a food bill. If the server was slow while the restaurant was slow or rude, then the tip goes down to 10 percent. I also have special dietary needs and if I request something, but find that I can’t eat it because my request was ignored, I will not tip at all if the problem isn’t fixed to my satisfaction. Keeping foods which cause or incite illness out of my dish is a server’s job. However, if the service is excellent, which my server offering to talk to the chef or look thing up his/her self, then my tip will go up to 25 percent, or as high as 50 percent on a small bill.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: I worked as a hotel maid in high school and I can’t tell you how much more bearable a tip would make that horrible job. Cleaning up after strangers who not only take your job for granted, but go out of their way to make it difficult or disgusting (i.e. excrement on the floors, dirty diapers on the beds, mud on the bed spreads, etc) takes far more energy than most people realize. Those maids are generally paid minimum wage. A tip is the least I can do to show my appreciation for their work and tolerance.

    I also have friends who wait tables and cut hair and I’ve worked in retail. The general public, myself included, fails on most counts to realize just how rude we are to the people who serve us. A tip doesn’t make things better, but it certainly does help to rectify the wrongs we do.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Rob from South Milwaukee, WI

    Q: Do you tip differently for alcohol versus food?

    A: I think because I get the bill for the whole meal and drinks are one at a time, I tip differently.

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: A base percentage, which goes up if the service is above average.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: I used to work for tips (bus boy and pizza delivery).

    Q: Any other thoughts?

    A: My haircuts are from the local chain, so they are only $15. I always tip $5 because I budget $20.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Dominic from Madison, WI

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: The service definitely factors into my decision. At restaurants this is especially the case. I try to tip only on their service though, and not the quality of the food. The server should not be penalized for the kitchen’s mistakes! Also, if it is a place I frequent or someone I have built up a relationship, I tip more. I tip my barber more for instance, because I know her well and always like the job she does.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: I’m a college student who has worked in the service industry for 6 years, and whose family comes from working in restaurants. I myself have depended on tips for part of my paycheck, and I’ve talked to servers about this as well. When on the receiving end, of course we want bigger tips, and they have said the old standard of 20 percent is not enough now with inflation etc… However, because I have worked in restaurants, when I go out I expect good service and I know that at good restaurants it can be done every time, so if I don’t get it, I don’t tip as well. I have never stiffed someone though, that would take a lot. When I get great service, I’m happy to tip.

    Q: Any other thoughts?

    A: My mood and how much money I have in the bank also affect my tips. If I just got a paycheck of course I’m much more likely to add a couple bucks on. I believe, especially as a service worker, that if you tip well, good tips will come back to you. I think everyone should have to work some sort of service job in their life; it would make everyone a lot more understanding.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Syeeda from Milwaukee, WI

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: I start with a certain percentage and either add or subtract from that depending on the service.

    Q: Any other thoughts?

    A: I think that most people who have never worked in a service industry job that pays a very low wage don’t really think about the people who provide their services and how those people get paid. It doesn’t occur to your average person that works a 9 to 5 salaried position that their tips are what that person uses to pay his/her bills.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Kevin from River Falls, WI

    Q: Do you tip differently for alcohol versus food?

    A: Yes. Depends on the difficulty, such as distance carried, crowds, size of group, etc…

    Q: How do you base your tipping decisions?

    A: Quality of service is a big factor: received all items requested, attention to service, friendliness, not overbearing by asking questions too often.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping habits?

    A: Wait staff that forgets your order, served after an extremely long wait, served cold when it is supposed to be hot, served warm when it is supposed to be cold. Wrong drink served, bad-tasting drink, extremely weak alcoholic drink, drink or food with insect in it, food with a strip of plastic in it, salad with a live cockroach in it…

    Q: Any other thoughts?

    A: Food cleanliness is a priority.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Cathy from Hager City, WI

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: I used to work at a luncheonette for my first job. I tried really hard to serve my customers and my tips showed it. So if I get good service I tend to tip more because it encourages the server to think of customer service.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Dennis from Milwaukee, WI

    Q: Do you tip differently for alcohol versus food?

    A: Yes. Bartenders have to deal with drunks all night.

    Q: How do you base your tipping decisions?

    A: I generally go by percentage, but particularly outstanding or truly terrible service will sway me.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: I had several good friends in college that waited tables or tended bar, and they helped me appreciate the extent to which some employees are dependent upon tips.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Brian from Franklin, WI

    Q: How do you make your tipping decisions?

    A: Prompt service gets me to give more. Above and beyond gets more. I will go up to 30 percent if the service, food and attention were extremely great.

    Miserable waitresses/waiters get 8 to10 percent, and a note as to why, and a discussion with the manager. Great service means that the servers are interested in all aspects of the meal or service.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Joe from Milwaukee, WI

    Q: Do you tip differently for alcohol versus food?

    A: Yes. About half the amount if it’s for booze, because it’s way over-priced to begin with and second, a lot of inebriated folks tip to excess.

    Q: How do you base your tipping decisions?

    A: Quality of service always affects tipping. My rule of thumb is 20 percent in restaurants, 10 percent in bars. For restaurants, if service is fair to good, 20 percent; if excellent, 25 percent; if poor to mediocre, 0 to 10 percent.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Barbara from Shorewood, WI

    Q: Do you tip differently for alcohol versus food?

    A: I usually consider it to be 15 to 20 percent. Better service (this is often subjective) warrants a bigger tip and I will often round up. Poorer service may result in rounding down.

    Q: How do you base your tipping decisions?

    A: Actually, it is based on poor math and embarrassment. I don’t want to take out a calculator and I use a tip card discreetly so it is not obvious that I am trying to figure it out. I do think that I am a little on the stingy side, so I try to round up to a full dollar amount when in doubt.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

  • Belinda from Spokane, WA

    Q: How do you base your tipping decisions?

    A: Quality of service matters. If it is lousy, I will only tip 10 percent on a meal. If service is good to excellent, I will increase my tip towards 20 percent. I also tip more when I am with a large party, or someone asks for special service, like my vegan brother does.

    Q: What personal experiences influence your tipping style?

    A: For the most part, I tip the same way my parents did. The only time I spend money on tips is when I (rarely) eat out at a restaurant. I know that tips are part of the income for underpaid wait staff, and are usually shared with other members of the staff as well. If someone is working behind a counter, and I stand and wait for service, I see no need to add a tip to the price of the food (coffee shop, takeout).

    Nobody ever offered me a tip when I worked as a cashier at McDonalds when I was 16. When I have my haircut at a discount hair salon, I do not add a tip, because the salon sets the price, and I do not choose who cuts my hair. Other haircuts are so expensive that I can’t afford to add a tip. If they really need more money, they could price their services appropriately.

    In May, we asked our listeners and readers how they decide what to tip for the services they use. More than 500 people responded to our survey. Many provided their personal experiences, strategies and rationales for how they handle this often confusing part of everyday life. Click here to see all the responses, and please visit our interactive map of tipping trends in the U.S.

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