Tipping Etiquette

My friend is always chewing me out about my tipping etiquette. Today we grabbed an iced coffee at a local place and I paid with my credit card. As we leave he asks, “How much did you tip?” Well, I didn’t tip, and didn’t think twice about it. He said he would have tipped $2. I think it is ridiculous to tip for a $3.75 coffee. If I pay cash I usually leave the change, but businesses are getting out of hand with the tip line on credit card purchases. To my relief someone else is not crazy.

When I have a sit-down meal I tip anywhere from 15-20% based on the service (not the food). I tip a bartender a buck or two every time I order a round, not $5 for 5 drinks… As a rule I don’t tip for take-out, as I don’t tip at a drive-thru!. The same friend thinks I am being “cheap”. I think he has his head in the clouds, coincidentally so do the folks at MSNBC.

I do not feel the need to prance around town proving that I’m not cheap. A freelance photographer’s budget does not allow me to tip for my morning joe!


  1. Ciera April 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Nice money shot. I tip for coffee sometimes, but not EVERY time I get coffee.

  2. caleb April 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    this is ridiculous.

    you’re over tipping Zee.

    the ridiculous thing is that you think you arn’t.

  3. Sean April 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    I think tipping for take-out entirely depends on the service.

  4. Ben April 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    A national study conducted by Mediacurves.com explored opinions of 1,192 Americans regarding tipping. Results found that on average, Democrats leave larger tips than Republicans and Independents when receiving service in restaurants. Among religious affiliation, Jewish people reported leaving the largest average tip percentage based on the total bill. More results can be seen at http://www.mediacurves.com/Culture/J7822-TippingStudy/Index.cfm

  5. Tyler May 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    I’m in Japan and no one here will accept tips!

  6. Gary December 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    My take on coffee tipping? http://www.virtualcoffee.com/Jan_2003/tip.html
    But for full-service restaurants, at least 20%, sometimes more based on service. And from what I’ve read on tipping websites, seems 1/2 of what you normally leave should be left at places that only do half the work, i.e., you order from a counter but they bring the meal to your table, or even at cafeterias where they (hopefully) constantly refill your drink.

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