Are you tops at tipping? Get a grip on your grasp of gratuities with this all-expenses-paid quiz.
We are a generous people, we Americans. How much in gratuities do we collectively give each year to those who wait and serve?
Ah, you've just finished another fine meal at the Belch 'n' Bolt, bypassing the counter for the swell-and-swift sit-down service. How the eatery continues to maintain both its fine standards and reasonable prices, what with the Gorge 'n' Go and Slurp 'n' Sprint encroaching on its turf, is anyone's guess -- but you'd like to give your roller-skated waitron a fair, by-the-books tip, which would be:
10 percent of the bill, pre-tax.
15 to 20 percent of the bill, pre-tax.
20 to 25 percent of the bill, including tax.
Lately, when you cry in your beer, your favorite professional mixologist lets you bawl alone. Maybe it's because you don't know that many of these fine keepers of the bar consider this to be standard tipping:
50 cents for beer or wine; 75 cents for mixed drinks.
75 cents for beer or wine; $1.50 for mixed drinks.
$1 for beer or wine; $2 for mixed drinks.
Sheesh, first the bartender, now your doorman: Ever since the holidays, the Keeper of the Door has been deep-chilling you. Could be because you didn't realize his holiday tip should've been a bare-bones starting minimum of:
Well, at least there's the comfort of comfort food -- which, if you're like us, means food someone else has cooked and delivered. When the kid from Great Gobs o' Lard comes calling with your bag of Chicken-Fried Chicken, side of mashed potatoes and weapons-grade chocolate cake, you reward him with:
$1 or $2.
20 percent of the bill up to $10; 15 percent after that.
It may seem every palm you professionally cross is asking to be greased -- but you would be wrong. Which of the following fine service-folks should you NOT tip?
Taxi drivers -- sure, they're commonly tipped; but an archaic, much-ignored law specifically forbids giving gratuities to transport workers of any stripe.
The kindly head nurse who gave you extra-special treatment while you were a patient at the hospital.
All right, let's take a little break from rules, regulations and etymology, which is the study of bugs. Oops, just told another whopper -- we can't stop! No, of course you know it's the study of words. OK, now that you've answered a bunch of academic-type stuff, let's have a little fun with a couple of pieces of gratuity-based celebrity gossip. We've all heard the tales of famous tightwad moneybags, which we won't repeat here, 'cause who needs the lawsuits? Instead, we'll concentrate on two super celebs who believe in spreading the wealth, bless 'em. First up: Who did The Washington Post recently dub ''The Godfather of Gratuities''?
Relatively speaking, he's one cool cousin, having given a Dairy Queen server a $10 bill for a $2 Blizzard, and telling her to keep the change. He's:
Ah, here's a little psychological insight as to why some celebs, in addition to just being swell folks who have the means and desire to be generous, might tip extravagantly: They're generally extroverts, and, according to Michael Lynne, an associate professor of market and consumer behavior at the Cornell University School of Hotel Management, ''Extroverts are outgoing, dominating, social people -- and tipping is an incentive for the server to pay you attention.'' Lynne says besides extroverts, there's another group of people who tend to tip well -- wanna guess?
-- Updated: May 19, 2003
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