Tipping Etiquette

Tip Jar, Murky Coffee
Tip jar at Murky Coffee

Let’s nail something down once and for all. I have to get this cleared up, so as to avoid future mishaps and hard feelings.

The standard tip for restaurants is something like 15%, right? I generally range from 1-20%, depending on service quality. No, I never fail to leave a tip, even for bad service. I want them to know that I did not forget and that their service is being duly rewarded with a quarter or whatever I deem appropriate.

You don’t have to do much to get a 15% tip from me. That’s like a baseline. Make pleasant banter, mostly get the order right and bring me silverware if appropriate – pretty much the basic stuff. For folks who really bust tail and do a great job, it will be higher, maybe 20 or 25%. If they don’t refill the water glasses, act surly or fail to bring the right food and act like it’s my fault, the tip might be 10% or lower.

But here is the wildcard. What do you give for people, such as the fine folks at Murky Coffee, who are always pleasant, make small talk, do a good job and then don’t kick you out for nursing a cafe au lait for two hours? $1? My au lait cost $2.45. That’s almost 41%. A 15% tip is 37 cents. That just seems cheap. Is there a standard dollar amount for counter employees versus wait staff?

So tell me, DC – how do you tip when you go to a coffee shop or other counter-based place?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for RealHomebrew.com and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

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