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Tipping Etiquette: When, how much, and how often?

Tipping Etiquette (Pt. 1)
Tipping Etiquette (Pt. 1) 02:29

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Do you tip big, small, or not at all? 

All of those are viable options these days and social pressure during the pandemic changed the tipping rules but now the pendulum is swinging back. 

First things first, if tipping is a drudgery, rethink your approach. 

"So much easier to do if the thought that occurs to you is, 'What's going to make me feel good here?' 'What's the right thing to do?' As opposed to 'What do I have to do or what am I supposed to do?'" That's the question posed by Daniel Post Senning of the Emily Post Institute. 

He said the pandemic took tipping beyond its intent to express gratitude. 

"I think a lot of people started to assign a sort of moral quality to tipping, but it was a way to show support for local businesses and people that will work in service in a service economy," he said, but with the pandemic over, "those conditions are gone, tipping really is more of a discretionary choice in most situations." 

Tipping is up to your discretion and operating from that place of appreciation is when tipping will work best for everyone. 

"Your tipping expectation is between 15 and 20-percent of that situation," Senning explained. 

Nowadays, it's not uncommon to be given three tipping options in print or electronically. 

"It can feel presumptuous, it can feel a little pushy, I think that feeling can be amplified when the suggested tip amounts are oftentimes much higher than people would expect or would come up with on their own," he said. 

Senning said don't hesitate to select your own tip and do the amount you want to do, after all, not everyone's budget is the same, and not all service is the same. 

When you're being waited on, that's one thing, but it seems like tips have started to come up in other places, but remember, it's always your option and your choice. 

Tipping Etiquette (Pt. 2) 02:53

As we said tipping took on an almost "supporting society" role during the pandemic but those days are behind us.

So where does that leave us when it comes to tipping rules? 

It's optional and while there is that social pressure, we still can think tipping comes from the goodness of our heats. 

"That social pressure is a powerful motivator in our world," Senning said. "We feel eyes upon us approval and disapproval." 

He said it should not be obligatory. 

"If it's coming from a place of genuine appreciation, I think go for it, that could make really make someone's day," he continued. 

With tipping becoming an option just about everywhere at this point, what about when you're just picking up a takeout order? 

"I think 10-percent is a number to think about," Senning said. "If I'm doing pickup from a place that's designed for pickup that's designed for takeout, I think that even that 10-percent threshold for me becomes a more discretionary choice."

Even with the pandemic mostly behind us, we still find ourselves using delivery apps, so what's the etiquette for that? 

"While I'm using those apps, I wait to assign the tip until after I've received the order," he explained. "I like to let people know that you can always return to that order in the app and apply that afterward." 

Now, that doesn't mean all delivery people expect tips, Amazon, UPS, and FedEx for example, but there is something you can do for those people that bring the orders to your door. 

"Annually, your show appreciation for that kind of service makes a lot of sense but I would never think of it as a general expectation," Senning explained. 

Now, he did say if it's a one-time delivery like furniture, you can still show your appreciation. 

"That kind of extra service, that little bit above and beyond, I think it's often one of the places where I started saying to myself 'boy, you know I could run inside and grab a little cash that might help out with lunch today for these folks,'" he said. 

As always, it should come from a place of gratitude for a service provided and while it's hard to not feel the pressure, a good tip is earned and Senning said the tip truly is about you feeling good that you've shown your appreciation. 

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