Tipping Tips

One of the free local papers in this city had an interesting headline about tip giving appropriately titled  “ the Tipping Point”. Unfortunately I can’t seem to get a link to the May 7 edition any longer 😦 The article said that people feel they are tipped out and being ripped with their money when in truth, tipping is not mandatory and depends on what one can afford. Today people seem befuddled with the concept of tipping – must I give or not ?


It is said that tip was derived from the word “ To Insure Promptness” by an enterprising innkeeper in England in the 18th century . A tip is a gratuity or in essence a gift or token of appreciation of a service over and above the payment for a service rendered. While it is true that tipping is not mandatory and dependent on the person’s generosity, it has become part of etiquette and good behavior in our society. In short, it has become a MUST DO kind of thing to be considered a cultured person. The bad consequence of tipping is businesses in the service industry had capitalized on their employees’ tipping income as an excuse to reduce wages. You often see waiters and servers in restaurants making minimum wage because they can rake in additional income in tips. An acquaintance of mine who worked at a trendy coffee shop made $80 in tips in her 8pm-2am shift on  Friday nights.  At one point a group of 4 people left her a tip for 70 cents, which she promptly threw at them when they left the restaurant door and resulted in a brief exchange of unkind words.  Definitely bad behavior on the server that nearly got her fired. Again, it goes to show that sometimes no tip is better than an insulting one.

I’m not sold on restaurants that include service charge on the customer’s bill.  Customers  consider service charge a tip therefore it is not necessary to give one.  Here’s a question. If a service charge is a tip, then it is pegged on quality of service.  Isn’t it overly presumptuous for the establishment to assume that every  client is entirely satisfied with the service ?  I would probably make an exception for the “all you can eat or buffet restaurants” that have servers deliver food to the customer’s table rather than customers serving themselves with their choice of dish at a central table.  It’s is a grind for the server to be going back and forth delivering everything the customer orders on the menu.

 Here’s a guide, sort of a rule of thumb on how much we should tip for services. Some people feel guilty if they don’t tip properly. You won’t get penalized if you don’t meet the suggested percentage.  It is still the customer’s prerogative to judge quality of service so we must not feel compelled to adhere to the suggested percentages without evaluating quality . It makes us feel good to be generous but at the same time, I don’t think we must reward sub-standard service. But as the guide aptly suggests, when in doubt, tip.


A very recent incident that caused a bit of stir  here was the firing of a Tim Horton’s donut shop worker, a single mother of four, who gave a timbit to a fuzzy 11 month old tot.  The manager saw her act of charity on the video and promptly fired her. Rules are rules and no one must give away food to anyone, regardless if the employee had been with the branch for 3 years. A timbit is a measly 16 cent donut about the size of a ping-pong ball. I could easily devour 10 timbits with a cup of small coffee. Perhaps the woman thought a 16 cent timbit is just so insignificant that heck , they just fall on the floor sometimes so why not give one to a baby?  Apparently not. The overzealous manager excercised her judgment and interpreted the rules to the letter and gave her the boot.

 The news caused a furor on the coffee drinking customers of Tim Horton’s who were upset with the firing, more so that the woman is a single parent, with four children to support.  Many of them called in to the radio talk shows, even the franchise office to protest the firing. Alas, the protest worked and the woman was called to report back to work – she was rehired.  I heard her interview at the radio while I was driving this evening and she chose not to return to work at Tim Horton’s, not even in another branch. Good for her and I would do the same because I might ran amok if I saw that manager’s face again 😡



34 Responses

  1. 15% of the total on the check is a pretty much acceptable figure in NYC. But what I don’t like here in Manila is the service charge that is added automatically in some eateries.

    That manager at Tim Horton’s should have let that incident slide. Jeeez.

  2. Hehe, most restaurant operators are only too familiar with the Pinoy’s “Kakuriputan” when it comes to tipping, that’s why most eateries include the service charge on their bill. My rule is, if there’s a service charge included I don’t leave a tip, unless of course, if I’m feeling uber generous that day. 😀

    Good for that woman, I’m sure many establishment would be willing to hire her after this incident…

  3. 80 bucks in tips ? I need that job – now 🙂

    What can I say. There are so many narrow minded people in this world.

  4. i give when they have a good service and pay (no choice) when there’s a service charge but i make sure that i’ll give a feedback on the manager when there’s a problem with the service. and it happened to me during lunch today. no need to share… kasi baka mapapasama lang ang pangalan ng restaurant but i approached the manager and explained it well. so they gave an apology.

  5. Eric – that’s pretty much the ballpark rate that people here “try” adhere to. As for me, I really don’t mind giving 15% as long as the service is worth it 😯

    When it involves things such as a 16 cent timbit and an 11 month old tot, it doesn’t make sense to make a big deal out of it 😦

  6. Snglguy – service charges are pretty much a rip off in my opinion esp if the service sucks. There ought to be a law of this in my opinion 😦

    Yep, she became an instant hero ehem.. 😯

  7. Irrealis – it’s only on Fridays and besides you have to break your butt for it LOL 🙂

    I know what you mean. We don’t run out of them don’t we ?

  8. Dong – I would give tips over service charge if the service is excellent and it happened before. My beef with service is waiting forever to get served! Gosh I really hate it 😦

  9. Someone once told me to always tip. That way, when you go back to the restaurant, they’ll remember you and may even give you more food. 😀

    Getting fired from a donut shop? The manager probably did her a favor. 😉

  10. A tip is voluntary, and should only be given when you are satisfied with the service. And yes, i believe that when a restaurant charges service charge, no need for tip 🙂

  11. In my case, it depends; if I like the service, like everything is served promtply and especially when the food is cooked so well, as to my liking, I tip generously. I do this to restos that I frequent and where waiters are already familiar to me.

    I also tip barbers, if I am quite satisfied with my new hair cut.

    But you know, dito sa atin sa Pilipinas, tipping is not as demanding coz one can give as little as possible, like in coins. Somehow, it’s teh thought that counts.

  12. It was only after watching a show on TV about tipping that I started tipping my hairdresser. I didn’t know naman kasi that it’s proper etiquette to tip. Ang mahal na nga ng gupit then may tip pa. Ten percent daw is a decent tip, according to that show.

    I’m also blogging at this link:

  13. I’m not too crazy about the tipping percentages although I abide by them. I normally give somewhere between 10% to 15% if the service was very good. Like the others, I refrain from tipping if a service charge is included in the bill.

    My question to you though is this. Do you hand a tip to a barber if he is both (1) the owner of the barbershop and (2) he’s shop is a one-man show? My barber is currently under this category and for me, it somehow doesn’t feel quite right to give him a tip when all revenues go to him anyway. I don’t know. Maybe you and the other readers can enlighten me. 🙂

  14. Regarding the single mom who used to work at Tim Horton’s, God bless her. 🙂

    To the lady manager who fired that employee, she is the reason why someone said that common sense is not that common.

  15. As long as the service is good, just like you said..then I don’t mind tipping. BUT if service charge is already included…handshake na lang sa Maître d’ 😀

    Why didn’t they fire the manager and made the fired employee manager instead? o di ba, hustisya.

  16. i guess an act of kindness has no place in the business world? 😦

    i just hope she’s not doing it every hour tho’. 🙂

    tip? hmmm…i remember my niece who didn’t want to leave a restaurant and took the 20 pesos her mother left as tip. she told her mother never to leave money inside the restaurant. lol 🙂

  17. Wil – good tipping does give you a preferred status the next time you visit 🙂

    Methinks also thinks the firing certainly did her more good than bad 🙂

  18. Barry – in Pinas it’s always that case – service charge is part of the bill which puts fast food a much better choice for most people, if they just want casual dining.

  19. Major Tom – you’re right. Tips aren’t really taken seriously in our culture but here, it is sort of an incentive for people to perform 😯

  20. Niceheart – when you think that you have to pay tax and on top of it a tip, you’d be paying 20- 25% more – kind of unfair – isn’t it ? 😦

    Hmmm.. two full time blogs now ? 🙂

  21. Panaderos – in my opinion , the barber needs a tip too, even if he owns the shop. He’s done a service to you personally so he deserves the tip 🙂

    Yes, the manager’s career is in danger with the controversial firing I think 😯

  22. Thess – you’re right – the manager should have been fired when her action was reversed. That would have been the payback people were waiting for 🙂

  23. Ipanema – these franchises are very strict on rules. That’s probably why they survive very well. I know a summer student at one renowned fast food franchise who was fired for sampling the fries while on his shift 😦

    It’s good she took only her mom’s tip and not the tips on the other tables ! 🙂

  24. I tip because I am satisfied with not only the service but the food as well, between 10 to 15%. When I am less than satisfied I still tip, usually $2 regardless of how much my bill was.

    A little tidbit about tipping: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=26&entry_id=9111

  25. i don’t normally leave tips. and if i do, i usually tip my manicurist or my facialist :D.

    timbit is like munchkins or donut holes. yummy!

  26. I never knew there were rules on tipping. I just don’t wanna be branded a cheapskate My tip depends largely on the services I got. If I am satisfied, then I don’t mind giving large tips.

    Thanx for the info.

  27. My sister and I also don’t like it when the service charge is automatically included in the bill. She refuses to leave a tip if that is the case.

    I’m generally a tipper and I usually follow the 10-percent rule. But I give more than that if the service is truly exceptional. At the Hollywood Disneyland Hotel in HK, I would even give the concierge and the bellhop some Swiss chocolates (LOL). Wala lang.

    Pero I think I should have not tipped my Swiss hairdresser when she dyed my hair black when I wanted it colored dark brown (LOL).


    Your coffee shop attendant-acquiantance should have been the one fired (very bad behavior), not the donut lady.


    Suddenly, I miss eating donuts…Makabili nga. 🙂

  28. Photocahe – the 10 to 15 percent is what I usually give here too. Your $2 dollar policy is kinda unique hehe 🙂

  29. Mari – so you only tip for real personal service eh? 🙂

    Donut holes is what you guys call it but here its timbits. Man I could eat many these pinpong balls easy 🙂

  30. Lawstude – here they’re more conscious about tipping but I can tell you I’ve seen and heard horror stories about tipping 😯

  31. Jayred – you know what, it’s kinda heard not to tip sometimes, esp if it’s your hairstylist. I know how it feels when they don’t do your hair right – happened to me to but I still gave a tip though not cheerfully ( as if it mattered to the barber hehe ). Yes, I did give a tip but it was the last time he cut my hair 😦

    THe firing was totally uncalled for. I think the papers carried the news in sympathy with the single mom and of course, as usual, to generate a controversy to arouse public attention 😯

  32. it’s always been standard for me to give a 20% tip when dining. one of the reasons why i seldom eat out, hahaha. kuripot ko ba? bwahaha :mrgreen:

  33. Nell – you are one generous tipper 🙂 I won’t be surprised in the servers flock to your table when you come into the restaurant 😉

  34. Actually, tipping at a restaurant is not optional. With the exception of eight states servers really only make money from their tips. It is an unjust law but until we as tax payers insist that our politicians change that law then tipping is not optional. As a little salt on the wound the IRS taxes servers for their tips whether they actually get them or not. So if you do not tip then you have just stolen money from a server.

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