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Tipping Etiquette in USA

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Ever found yourself in etiquette trouble before? Well, most people have, due to differences in culture. When travelling to new locations, or simply if there is a desire to learn more about one’s own culture, it is important to understand the rules of politeness in etiquette. This becomes especially important as it pertains to rituals like eating and dining in a particular country.

While there are often strict rules about where the napkin is placed, who should eat first, and how to eat certain foods politely, tipping is also a source of many variations. The following is a list of the information necessary to help sufficiently tip individuals in the USA who have provided you with a service. Though there may be some wiggle room, this is the basic way in which tipping should or does occur.

How to give tips in the United States
(photo by F. D. Richards)

Meals
In the United States, tips are typically recommended for use in situations where the food was brought out to the individual or they were waited on in a more official form. Fast food restaurants, for example, do not require tipping or additional funds above the prices of the meal.

In the USA, the amount tipped is a percentage of the total bill costs before tax. Traditionally, the tip ranges between fifteen percent and twenty five percent. The former is the standard while the latter is for exceptional service. Some restaurants include an automatic gratuity, usually for large parties, so be sure to check your bill. If you feel the amount added is too low, you may want to add some additional tip money to the table.

Service Providers
It is possible that there will be a non-food related service that you are provided with that may require tipping as well. Individuals like valet and bellhops are commonly tipped in the United States. These service providers usually receive between one and five dollars for their services, depending on the amount of work that they did. Other individuals that you may encounter on your travel and may require tipping in terms of etiquette are the individuals that clean your room at a hotel or have provided you room service. The amount of tip can vary based on the cost of the room and the excessive of the work required keeping you comfortable during a stay.

Rules
Tips should only be given to those who have provided you with exceptional care or a particular service. There is some discretion in when this occurs that you will have to use but context clues and observing other consumers or customers can be a great way to understand more fully when it is right. Further, understand that just as good service should be rewarded, bad service in a true state can lead to a decline in the amount of tip provided. This is, in many cases, a desired but voluntary action so plan your tips accordingly.

Hotels in New York

The Edison Hotel, NYCThe Edison Hotel
Average Price: €98
Average Rating: 7.5

Sankofa Aban in New YorkHotel Aloft Brussels Schuman
Average Price: €38
Average Rating: 8.1

Hotel Hilton New York Fashion District, USAHotel Hilton New York Fashion District
Average Price: €75
Average Rating: 8.7

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