There is no doubt about it, tipping is tricky. This cultural custom varies from country to country and service to service.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast are questioning what is appropriate to recognize their service providers while they are safely at home and when they revisit those that make them feel good.
During my CTV Your Morning segment I chat with host Anne-Marie Mediwake to answer your questions.
SHOULD CANADIANS TIP DIFFERENTLY WITHIN THE PANDEMIC?
Let’s start by acknowledging that a tip is a gratuity. It is how we show our appreciation. The short answer is yes, if we can afford to. These are tough times on both sides, the service provider and the service receiver. On top of the basic service that we usually tip for, there are now extra pandemic precautions that are being taken.
WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED?
First, recognize that they are front-line workers. They are putting themselves and their health at risk to serve us and allow us to have our deliveries, our services and our purchases. Plus, there is every safeguard that has been added to the pre-pandemic service to keep us healthy: disinfecting, protecting deliveries from the weather, wearing face covers and gloves, washing hands more frequently, etc. Let’s not forget the stress that is involved for keeping customers and one’s self safe while delivering or keeping the service on time. All those precautions take time. And as we know « Time is money ». That means fewer deliveries, fewer clients, less business and less money. Another consideration is the precarity of the business and its employees. A lot are suffering and just hanging on. Offering a pandemic premium is recommended.
WHAT SHOULD BE AN APPROPRIATE INCREASE FOR THE SERVICES WE ALREADY TIP FOR:
FOOD DELIVERIES? The usual amount varies from 10% to 25%, depending on the amount of the bill add a supplement. Premium up by 5% and more. The minimum flat payment should be $5.
GROCERY DELIVERY? Tipping is typically added for your shopper and for the delivery person. If there are extra precautions that you wish to recognize, adjust the amount on the app. Some stores allow you to do so for up to three days after.
COUNTER TAKE-OUT? There usually is no tipping, except when there are extra “niceties”, like the addition of plates, cutlery or extra condiments. The recommended amount now is closer to in-house dining, at 15%. On top of the considerations above with counter take-out we should consider the Dine #Local movement to show our support for the restaurateurs that we appreciate and that make our neighborhood a great place to live.
TAXI, UBER? The usual amount begins at 10% and then considers the handling of luggage, music choices, etc. Depending on the amount of the ride, a 15% increase is appropriate. Here too, the minimum flat payment should be $5.
CURBSIDE PICK-UPS? As cash is now to be avoided, make the arrangements ahead of time, if tipping is not included. Don’t be surprised if employees refuse it.
POSTAL WORKERS AND CARRIERS? Canada Post Carriers cannot accept tips, but they can receive modest gifts. On a hot summer day, a cold-water bottle that is tossed from two metres could be very appreciated. For the other carriers, it depends on their company’s policy. As my maternal grandmother Florina used to say “When in doubt, find out”.
HAIRSTYLISTS, BARBERS, NAIL SALONS, SHOULD WE TIP DIFFERENTLY FOR THOSE FIRST APPOINTMENTS? It depends. Are they charging you more? Can you afford to? Consider all those appointments that you would normally have had and paid for while they were closed. You can also think of this pandemic tip as Holiday tipping in June, July .
WHAT IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO TIP? You can show your appreciation in other ways. Compliment the service provider by detailing what you are grateful for. Have your children draw a thank you sign for your door. Send an email, call the business or post on social media a compliment on the employees’ service. These gestures may even contribute to getting that employee a wage increase.
Tip to recognize and empathize. We are all together in this pandemic.
Click to watch and learn more during my June 8, 2020 segment on CTV Your Morning with Anne-Marie Mediwake.