I'm a habitual overtipper. I plan meals out around the idea of overtipping. I've never worked in food service (well, I served coffee in a Virgin Megastore cafe) so I've never lived on tips, but the wages most servers get paid are brutal -- and I want to help support people who are doing me a service.
My philosophical thought is that if someone goes out of their way to help me in a professional capacity, they deserve a tip -- especially if it's something I might not want to do for myself, like carry my own luggage.
(I don't mean my little wheelie suitcase. I mean great big unwieldy luggage.)
I also tip hairdressers and nail techs and massage therapists. I tip wait staff and bartenders. I tip delivery drivers and I even tip the folks who bag my order when I pick up takeout.
That's why I went looking to find out how much to tip train attendants before I set out on my trip. There are lots of good resources -- Google is always a good place to start. (And xoJane has had a couple of conversations, too.)
Now, obviously there continue to be conversations about living wages and how tipping shouldn't be necessary at all. But in the meantime, real people are working and depending on tips, whether for the bulk of their income or as a supplement to their regular checks.
With the holidays coming up, budgets get tight for everyone. I think everyone gets that. I am just going to encourage those of us who can afford to tip to remember how big a deal a tip can be for someone who is working hard to help you.
What do you think about tips and tipping as a practice? Do you think some jobs should depend entirely on tips? How much do you tip?