The college student's guide to tipping

Last week a friend and I decided to go out to dinner, to reward ourselves for all the hard work we'd been doing. We went to a local resteraunt, where we both knew we'd find something we liked. The food was great, but the problem was the server. It was by far the worst service I have ever gotten. She barely came to check up on us, didn't offer to refill our drinks, and it took her almost 20 minutes to bring us back our change, even though her section of the resteraunt was mostly empty. As we were leaving, my friend and I got into an argument about whether or not to tip this horrible waitress. I said no, she didn't do anything to deserve it, but my friend was adamant about leaving her something nonetheless. So what do you do in this situation?

This got me thinking. I've had numerous experiences when I'm unsure whether to tip a person or not. I always feel guilty at those food stands in the mall with their tip jars right on the counter. And what about at a full service gas station? Searching the web, I think I've found some pretty good guidelines for all your tipping confusion. All these tips were found on The Original Tipping Page:

  • Waiter/Waitress - The general standard is 15-20% of the bill. Many servers are underpaid, usually making under minimum wage, and split their tips with bus boys and other staff. This percentage can vary, depending on the quality of service you experience. Check out more information on the Waitressing Gripes page here.

  • Gas station attendant - According to the Web site, no tip necessary. But if you happen to be feeling extra generous, or the attendent was especially friendly, the site suggests a $1-$2 tip.

  • Hair Salon - The site suggests 15% of the total. There has been some disagreements over whether or not to tip the owner of a salon, but the site suggests only tipping the owner if he or she cuts your hair.

  • Cab driver - 15%, and absolutely no less than 25 cents.

There are many categories and suggestions on the Web site. Always be aware of whether or not a gratuity has already been added to the bill, and use your best judgement. Find a guide to tipping during the holiday season here.

Here's a helpful video about tipping as well:

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