Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

There are many ways to get a tip…

I wrote recently that every price over here is increased by the sales tax, which often results in prices being higher than listed. Same goes for services. What I mean this time is tipping, which Polish people actually call „beer money”. Let me just say that over here, tips are welcome everywhere and in most places are treated as standard practice. It’s not important whether the service itself is cheap or expensive. Many times service fee is included in the check, but still it’s not only polite to still tip, but actually expected of you. Not leaving any tip is basically treated as not having paid the check.

At a restaurant, the tip is simply a given. It’s not even the traditional 10%, but usually, 15% and even that amount is not accepted enthusiastically. 20% gives a very decent amount and 25% guarantees a big smile on the face of the person who serves you.

The same thing happens in bars. No matter what’s your poison, no matter if the bartender was nice or not – you always leave an extra dollar. And if you happen to find the bartender attractive, you leave even two (or five, or…). I know from a good source that bartenders at gay bars can make as much as $600 a night in tips (per one bartender…).  

If you happen to work as a barista, you’re also entitled to a tip (unless you work at Starbucks). It doesn’t matter if you only serve plain coffee, or you have to make „half-decaf latte, skim milk, no foam”. Tips vary: sometimes you get a quarter, sometimes $5 – depending on how much time you devote to the person you are serving and if you remembered their favorite coffee. The knowledge will translate into a bigger tip.

Going to have your hair fixed, as well as a visit to beauty or nail salon, are all deceptively cheap. If your service is $15, it’s expected you leave $18. If you pay $80 to your hairdresser, $90 is the minimum of what you have to pay, and the amount won’t leave anyone speechless. Of course, you can not tip at all, since it’s not required by law to do so, but if you plan on coming back to the place, you can be sure you’ll be remembered as the one who „didn’t leave nothing last time”. Which will translate into a lower standard of service. This, in turn, doesn’t balance out, since again you will have to tip.