An honest man’s guide to tipping | Just Jaggin' | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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An honest man’s guide to tipping 

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There are a lot of bad people out there. But not me. I’m a good person. A good person who believes giving good tips for a job well done, a coffee well-poured, and an Uber well driven. But who deserves said tips, and how much should they get? Glad you asked. 

Coffee
If it’s just single pour, not a long, drawn-out order, no tip is necessary. Though, I encourage you to tip, because coffee people have to put up with some garbage humans. And that guy behind you is going to ask for 45 flavors, steamed milk, and probably a dusting of some kind of spice. Pay for the people. I only ever get black coffee or an Americano. I tip $1. 

Pizza Delivery
I’ve been doing $5 recently. I think that might be too small, but it’s more than a standard 20 percent for what we order. And though I’m sure pizza delivery has its ups and downs, these people aren’t trapped in a restaurant with awful customers. They can just motor away. 

Garbage Collector
I had no knowledge of tipping your garbage person until about 10 years ago. I gather that it is a yearly thing done around the holidays. A couple of years ago a garbage man left us a Christmas card on our garbage can, which I concluded was a plot to get a tip. So, we didn’t. I’m still not sure if that was the right or wrong decision. 

I have come to this conclusion in the time being: If the garbage person makes more than you, don’t. If they do, use your discretion. According to U.S. News, “Garbage Collectors made a median salary of $36,160 in 2017. The best-paid 25 percent made $47,640 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $27,300.” If you’ve done some questionable garbage can practices (unbagged grass clippings, renovation demolition, dead body), throw a 20 their way during the holidays.

Taxi/Car Service
Always tip in a regular taxi. These people are being robbed by the institution that sells them their licenses. I don’t car-share that frequently, but I try to give them 20 percent, because I’m sure they’re getting ripped off by Uber or Lyft, too. Tip more if you somehow made the ride more difficult: You smelled funny; they let you smoke in their car; you made multiple stops; they drove you through a drive-thru. 

Wait Staff
Twenty percent or more. No exceptions. I’ve never waited a table, but I’ve seen what these people go through, having had some more-than-awkward experiences dining with my father. The House Oswald owes your people a great debt. Unless you see your server ripping his vape outside for 20 minutes, whatever injustice you think you have suffered almost never has anything to do with their skill or attentiveness. 

Bartenders
One dollar per beer pour or bottle. One to two dollars per mixed drink based on complexity. Twenty percent if you’ve been there for hours and are running a tab; they are basically babysitting you at that point. 

Convenience Stores
I’m not going to tell you to not tip people. That’s just mean-spirited. But when I have to sign a credit card receipt with a tip field after buying an overpriced nine-volt battery, I go full what-is-this-world-coming-to old man. 

Valet
This is very rare for me, but my thoughts are at least two dollars. Sometimes when I did not know there would be a valet, and I have only one dollar (I never carry cash), I just don’t give anything, because I feel like a dollar would be insulting. Plus, if a valet is somewhere, a rich dork who gets his rocks off by throwing money around is sure to try to impress his bored date by tipping $20 for his Audi’s retrieval. 

Bathroom Attendants
I did not ask for this. I want as few people in the bathroom while I’m in there as possible. I get angry when a customer enters while I’m trying to coax my shy bladder into a stall urination. I don’t need a guy sorting his Mentos and mouthwash listening to whether I have started peeing or not. Why does this job still exist? No one thinks it’s fancy. It’s just another person adding another set of germs. I know how to wash my hands. Water, soap, towel. You don’t need to hand me a paper towel with your dirty hands. I do not want to tip, but also do not want to look like a jerk. I’d rather look gross. 

Massage
I’ve had one massage. I tipped whatever you are supposed to. 

Superintendent
I only ever had a superintendent in New York. I think I gave a holiday tip of $20. They usually do a great job and are worth more, but I was broke and paying $1,600 per month on a one bedroom with occasional bed bugs. 

Buffet
Give the person who brought your drinks and picked up your disgusting plates slathered in General Tso’s and key lime pie three to five dollars. 

Carry Out
I really don’t think tipping here is hugely necessary, but I give ten percent of my bill. Someone had to nicely wrap up that food, which is not a part of their typical duties. But I’m not going to side-glance you if I see you not tipping. But I will talk about you later when I get home. 

Haircuts
Mine are cheap. You may have read about them in an earlier, even more self-righteous column of mine. I give five dollars, which is about 25 percent. Don’t do the math. 

Movers
Tip them, for sure. I don’t know how much is standard and I’m not going to look it up. This tip has the most fluctuation. You know whether or not they did a good job. Tip accordingly.   

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