Canadians from coast to coast love making summer memories, and it is oh so easy.
Just like Justin Timberlake we have that “sunshine in our pocket” and like to enjoy some of “that good soul in our feet:” long lattés, drinks with friends, playing outdoors until dark, road trips and last-minute getaways — some of which we have to pay for and tip.
Aside from modern wedding etiquette, tipping questions are some of the most popular questions that I receive.
Tipping practices are cultural. They vary in different sectors of the economy and from one country to another. In tune with society, etiquette guidelines evolve. These days, we increasingly tap the app or card to pay in lieu of taking out bills or coins to tip. If you are going abroad, as my maternal grandmother Florina used to say: “When in doubt, find out.”
In answer to your questions, here is your modern-day summer fun tipping guide:
Coffee at the counter
Although there may be a pretty urn with the acronym T.I.P.S. (To Insure Prompt Service, according to English folklore), a tip is not required. Coffee shop staffs receive the minimum wage. But if the barista recognizes you, serves you your coffee the way you like it and adds a smiley face on your latte, it’s totally up to you. Giving a tip is not a faux-pas.
Coffee at the table
If you occupied a table at a busy café for hours and your cup got refiiled a couple of times, the minimum is a $1 per cup. Be generous, especially if you want to be welcomed back warmly the next time you want to have your coffee and daydream while catching some rays.
Happy hour on the patio
According to provincial legislation, the liquor server’s hourly rate is less than the minimum wage. Tipping is therefore a necessary complement. Tipping is usually 15 per cent of the bill before taxes and is on the rise in Canada. Memorable service is now recognized with an additional 18 per cent to 20 per cent of the bill. Note that more and more businesses offer tipping options on the payment terminal. They are often calculated after taxes. Before choosing, ask. It’s worth it!
“I hear you, Julie, but what if the service was so so and slow? Do I still have to tip?”
Foremost, you don’t know the factors that are affecting the service, so take the time to find out. Ask your server and let him know how you feel.
You don’t have to be rude, just state the facts and inquire. If you are not comfortable talking to your server, you can discreetly speak to management. They will surely take care of you and your situation. Since the employee relies on tips, it is better to give him the benefit of the doubt, without being too generous.
For a home delivery
By law, in some provinces, the driver may also receive a lesser hourly rate than the minimum wage. Offer $2 to $5 for the traditional pizza, or 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the total. Carefully think about what you give, especially if you regularly order from the same place.
At the gas station
When the service is available, be aware that you pay a surcharge on the price of the gas for the attendant to fill up your tank while you stay cool inside your car. Therefore, there is no obligation to tip. But, if your windshield was full of bugs and sea salt from your trip to the ocean (lucky you!) and they are now squeaky clean, why not give him a loonie or two to show your gratitude?
For a taxi ride
Round it up to 10 per cent of the price, especially when he opens the door for you, plus inquires about your radio and temperature preferences. For picking up luggage, don’t be surprised by the additional per suitcase fee. This chart is usually displayed inside the car, or in the window.
For an Uber ride
In this period of transportation legislation adaptations in various provinces and elsewhere around the world, more and more of you are experiencing an on demand ride by taping the Uber button on your phone. In the majority of Uber services, payment is automated, so a tip may not be added. The exception is for UberTAXI where tipping is at your discretion. Knowing that your driver can also give you a rating, my recommendation is to get out your wallet and tip, especially if he allowed you to play your tunes and he sang along with you to “Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo!).”
If you pay for the cleaning, there is no tip to leave. If the cleaning staff did extras like iron your shirts, run some errands or if there was a big mess that was cleaned up quickly, do leave a tip. If you cannot do it in person, place it somewhere that only she will find, like under a pillow or in the vacuum closet, with a note. Most importantly leave no trace of your stay. You don’t have to turn into Mr. Clean on your last day, but a minimal cleaning is required.