MCT News Service
You know the symptoms when the waiter delivers the bill: the sweaty palms, the frog in your throat, the brain cramps.
It's the tipping guilt trip. How much is enough?
Tipping protocol can be baffling enough for parents. Now put yourself in a teenager's shoes. Do they know the do's and don'ts?
It's another one of those money skills we often forget to talk about to our kids.
This is as good a time as any to help your son or daughter deal with some of the stress when it comes to tipping.
Before the big date, if your teen will be paying the tab, make sure he or she stashes some extra cash to cover the tip for the waiter, waitress or even the pizza delivery guy. Gratuities should be part of the dating budget.
Restaurants are the most common place for tipping slip-ups.
The standard restaurant tip is 15 to 20 percent of the total bill after tax, said Angie Hicks, owner of Angie's List, a consumer rating company.
Should you slip a few bucks to the bus boy or the hostess who seats you? Not necessary, because they generally receive part of the waiter's tips each night, said Hicks. If the coat check is used, $1 per coat is plenty.
Often, teens travel in large groups to restaurants before dances. Most restaurants add an automatic gratuity for large parties. Fair enough.
But before paying the bill, read it carefully. If the tip is included, there's no need to leave an additional tip, said Hicks. And if you're not sure whether the tip has been automatically added, ask.
Tipping can get tricky if the service is poor. My advice: Leave a more modest amount, but don't skip the tip.
If date night involves hitting the coffee shop, there's no obligation to tip the barista. But if you get a little extra care and attention, consider leaving something in the jar on the counter.
Other tips on tipping from Hicks:
Sprucing up. Whether it's the hair stylist, a colorist, or a manicure or pedicure, the expected tip is 15-20 percent.
Shining the ride. After going through the full-service carwash, consider leaving a tip of $2 to $5. If using valet parking, figure on $1 to $3 at pickup.
Stretching out. If hiring the limousine service, the expected tip is 15-20 percent of the total cost. But, notes Hicks, ask about any minimum tipping requirements for the rental time.
Finally, remind your teen that while tips are meant to be rewards for good service, they also are part of many workers' income. And the worker on the receiving end just might be another teen earning minimum wage.
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