607213_necktie_man.jpgIn this series on tipping we’ve covered everything from the tip on outrageously expensive wine to the hair splitting minutia of tipping on tax. I learned that you’re supposed to tip in hotels. And perhaps most importantly we laid to rest the tired stereotype that lesbians are worse tippers (unless they’re in a bar). However there are still some loose ends that need addressing.

Exotic Dancers

Just like servers they are professionals who live off of tips. If you’re going to enjoy the show it’s only polite to bring some singles. Having a lot of money in hand ensures prompt “attention”.

When I was studying to be a sex researcher I taught to have respect for people who worked in “the industry” and not to exploit or objectify anyone. I found myself at a male strip bar when I had no cash and decided the only courteous thing to do was not look in the direction of the entertainers. Ironically this drew more attention than just sitting there and I got rubbed on by one of the dancers– as I protested that I was unable to compensate them. He didn’t seem to mind.

Hair Dressers

I always tipped mine five bucks for a cut, but tipping.org suggests 15%. Honestly though people on the net are all over the map on what they leave. You should at least leave something realizing that you’re going to be leaving less than some, more than others. If you’re a woman and the salon is high end enough to merit shampooers and multiple stylists/colorists tipping.org offers a good starting guideline.

Fast Casual

What do you do in a place where you order at a counter but get sit down service? Beats the hell out of me. It’s especially confusing since you’ve already paid for the meal and there’s no line item to add at the end. I had a paramour for a while who worked at such a place and said they did accept tips even though the cost appeal of the place is a greater emphasis self-service. If you don’t leave anything don’t feel bad, but if you want to I’d say a couple bucks to 10% (based on amount of service) is fair given that’s the tentative standard at buffets.

Restaurant Rehash: Gift Cards and Returned Dishes

If you have coupons or gift cards that are applied post sale you tip on the whole amount. The total line on a restaurant bill before discounts (and possibly before tax) is what you apply your standard gratuity to.

If you have an item returned to the kitchen the math can become much trickier. I feel it’s all in the way it’s handled. If the item is not replaced and something else is comped you tip on everything but the item. If the item is replaced or substituted, you tip on the item since the food is not the server’s fault.

Here is where excellent service has an opportunity to shine, so be attentive to how your server handles the situation.

Conclusion

Tipping is a very personal financial subject that provokes a wide array of feelings and strong opinions. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this series and learned a lot in the process about customs and expectations. Etiquette isn’t so much a set of rules as a cultural dialogue about best practices—it changes over time and certainly across cultures.

The practice of tipping is not set in stone. As we move toward a cashless economy, who knows what changes will happen?


When not avoiding the attention of exotic dancers, Mike writes for Broken Cupid a blog for single gay guys.