A few of us were discussing tipping policies on Twitter. I think that sometimes the best way to figure out what is appropriate is to ask people in various jobs what they think is best/expected. There are a lot of questions out there and I know that I want to do what is appropriate, but I also don't want to tip every single person I come across in life 20% for everything.
Here's a few of my policies:
Take-out: I used to be an expediter at a thai restaurant that got a lot of take out orders. I never expected tips, but on the rare occasion I got them, I appreciated them. I usually tip a few bucks, and as much as 10% depending on the order, but certainly not more than that.
Delivery: gets the standard 20%
Coffee: If you hand me a cup for me to fill, I don't tip (drip coffee). If I order a fancy drink I tip by either rounding up to the nearest dollar or giving a dollar, depending on the difficulty of the drink. Some places, like Starbucks, don't provide tip lines. I've always assumed that they have a policy against tipping, but I don't know that.
Sonic carhops: Do you tip? They are servers in a technical sense. My policy has always been to tip them if they are on roller skates because BAD ASS but maybe I'm a jerk. If I recall correctly, sonic receipts actually have a place for tip.
Are you in a non-traditional tip industry (not restaurant service)? What do you think is appropriate?
Do you have a tip question? Ask it here.
ETA: Regarding tipping at a hotel, one former hotel cleaning person has weighed in:
this former hotel housekeeper would say each night, if she was feeling fair and benevolent towards her fellow housekeeper. but I also got 500 in local money (that was a pretty big amount) under a pillow on a floor I usually didn't do and of course I kept it to myself.
our hotel didn't pool tips.
we did leave little cards behind with our name on them tho when we had cleaned the room so I'm liking Fleur de Livres' approach [which is to keep the card till the end so you know who to give the $ to]
And from a former Starbucks barista:
When I worked at sbux back in the day (in another life, sigh) I never really expected them because I figured it was my actual job to make coffee, and once they got rid of the manual machines for the ones where you just push the button, it took 90% of the work/skill out of it. But I'm never one to turn down money and I was always excited when our tips were high, so I tip. If my expendable income is high enough to buy $5 coffee, it's high enough to kick in a little for the hourly employee. (Although sbux baristas get a pretty sweet deal nowadays.)
and if you are wondering how the tips at starbucks are split:
They get emptied into sealed bags and put in the safe, until the end of the week when you add it all up and parcel it out based on number of hours worked. It's as fair as it can be considering that some shifts are a lot more lucrative/demanding than others.
I'd like to add that they don't give you a line to tip on the receipt, so I always feel like you can't tip them in a drive through. Unsure.