9 People You Should Tip, and How Much You Should Give Them

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In the age of Square payments and online food delivery apps, it’s easier than ever to click a button and tip your barista or delivery guy. But those aren’t the only people you should  give a little extra. Here are a few tips for tipping, lest you start being known around town as a total Scrooge.

1. WAIT STAFF

Tipping 15 percent of the pre-tax bill (20 percent for good service) at restaurants is standard, but depending on where you live, a larger tip might be in order. In some states, tipped workers make less than minimum wage—even in expensive regions like Washington D.C.—so it’s always better to tip on the generous side. The federal tipped minimum wage is a horrifying $2.13 per hour, so keep that in mind before you stiff someone.

Plus, you should keep in mind that tips often don’t go solely to your waiter or waitress—tips are pooled between wait staff and back-of-the-house workers, and usually there are restaurant rules governing who wait staff should be tipping out. Bartenders, bussers, and runners usually get a cut, since they also play a big role in making sure your food and drink gets to the table in a timely manner.

2. BARTENDERS

At least a dollar per drink is the minimum, but if you’re on a tab, you can do the usual 15 to 20 percent. If you’re taking up bar space for hours but not drinking much, or if your bartender comps you a free drink, throw them a little extra. The same goes for complicated cocktails.

3. FAST FOOD AND COFFEE SHOP TIP JARS

The Emily Post Institute’s official policy is that there’s no obligation to put a dollar in the tip jar, but if you’re a regular or you’re asking for a complicated order, please be generous. While baristas generally make minimum wage, chances are they’re not getting paid much more than that. The Washington Post reports that at one D.C. coffee shop, tips account for around an extra $3 per hour for workers, while at a local La Colombe, baristas get about $50 a day from tips. When you’re slinging lattes to pay your bills in an expensive city, that kind of extra money can make a big difference.

4. DELIVERY DRIVERS

According to the food experts at Eater, the minimum tip for any delivery order, no matter how small, should be $5. On a larger order, go with 15 to 20 percent standard. That means if a 15 percent tip is less than $5, don’t default to the cheaper option! The same goes if you get groceries delivered. Remember, drivers don’t get a penny of that delivery fee, so don’t be stingy. And if you’re not sure why you need to pay a little extra for the pleasure of eating restaurant food in your pajamas, Groupon’s interview with a former pizza delivery driver is worth a glance.

5. PARKING ATTENDANTS

If a valet brings your car around for you, you should fork over at least $2 before driving away. That driver is the one keeping your nice car from getting dinged.

6. BATHROOM ATTENDANTS

Yes, you should give someone a buck for handing you paper towels and providing some lotion. But if the attendant is just there to make sure no funny business goes on in the restrooms, the Etiquette Scholar says you don’t need to tip.

7. SALON AND SPA WORKERS

A good rule of thumb is, if someone’s touching your body, tip generously. For one thing, that person has to deal with your gross toenails or back pimples. Give at least 15 to 20 percent to your manicurist, massage therapist, and waxing specialist. Keep in mind that in some salons with especially cheap services, your manicurist could be working for illegally low wages. And in the case of massages, working out those muscle knots for 60 to 90 minutes is hard, physical work. Tip accordingly.

8. HOTEL WORKERS

You need to tip the hotel staff, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association has a helpful tip guide you can consult [PDF] to figure out who gets how much. Tip a dollar or two to your shuttle driver, the bellhops who carry your luggage, and the door staff that hail your taxis. Housekeepers should get between $1 and $5 per night, left daily with a note specifying that it’s for them. Tip a dollar if the staff has to bring you something extra, like a cot or an extra blanket, and tip your concierge $5 to $10 depending on whether you’re getting restaurant recommendations or a hard-to-get theater ticket.

9. TAXI DRIVERS

In addition to the 15 to 20 percent tip, you should give your driver at least $2 for any bags carried. Maybe more if your suitcase is as heavy as a small whale.

10 Ways To Look Professional, and Hide Your Pajamas, In a Video Conference Call

You don't need to wear full business attire to maintain a professional appearance.
You don't need to wear full business attire to maintain a professional appearance.
fizkes/iStock via Getty Images

The COVID-19 crisis has forced offices to shutter around the country, and as a result, more people are working from home than ever. That means we're seeing more of coworkers' bedrooms, pets, and pajamas than we ever imagined.

If you're navigating the dos and don'ts of working remotely for the first time, you don't necessarily need to choose between professionalism and comfortable pants. Just keep a few tips in mind to make your transition from being alone on the couch to hopping onto a last-minute Zoom video call as smooth as possible.

Just like in real life, wearing the right outfit can go a long way when it comes to looking professional for your colleagues. Standards aren't as high when you're telecommuting, so even switching out your T-shirt for a business-casual top when you expect to be on video can be enough to show you put effort into your appearance. And unless you plan on moving around on the video call, don't bother putting on pants that don't have an elastic waistband.

If you want to look good on video, there are a few things to keep in mind that don't apply to in-person meetings. Position your computer so you're eye-level with the camera, placing it on a stack of books if necessary, and find a room with good lighting so your coworkers can actually see you. And to avoid getting any unpleasant surprises when you see yourself in a group meeting, check how you look on camera privately before calling in.

You can find tips for looking professional on a video conference call below. And for more ways to optimize your telecommuting experience, check out these habits to practice.

  1. Sit facing a window for natural lighting.
  1. Wear a business-casual top.
  1. Choose clothes with neutral tones.
  1. Position your webcam so it's level with your eyes.
  1. Sit farther from the camera rather than closer.
  1. If you're having a bad hair day, pull it back with a hair tie.
  1. Keep on comfortable pants if you can avoid standing up.
  1. Find a private room to minimize background distractions.
  1. See how you look on your computer camera before joining a video call.
  1. If you have limited time to put on makeup, focus on brows and cheeks to give your face dimension.

11 Boredom-Busting Classes and Activities You Can Do at Home

A good workout is just one way to pass the time while socially isolating.
A good workout is just one way to pass the time while socially isolating.
jacoblund/iStock via Getty Images

Staying home as much as possible is the best way to stop the spread of novel coronavirus, according to health experts. If you’ve already taken this step to protect yourself and your community, you may be faced with a different problem: the crushing boredom that comes with spending all your time indoors. Fortunately, there have never been more ways to keep busy on the internet. In an effort to lift spirits and stimulate minds in isolation, businesses, artists, and institutions have found new ways to keep people connected from afar. From virtual field trips to free workout classes, here are the best boredom-busting activities to check out.

1. Take a free workout class with the YMCA.

Your local gym may be closed, but that doesn’t mean you have to postpone your workout routine for the foreseeable future. The YMCA has launched a new series of free, online fitness classes for people stuck at home. The on-demand videos include barre, bootcamp, yoga, tai chi, and weightlifting. After breaking a sweat for 30 minutes, you may even forget you’re not at the gym.

2. Meditate with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s jellyfish.

Taking care of your mental health is as important as maintaining your physical health while social distancing. If you want to start your day in a good head space, tune into the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s morning “MeditOceans” on YouTube. After closing to the public, the California aquarium started uploading 10- to 15-minute guided meditations set to soothing footage of marine life or scenes from nature. We recommend starting with their video of undulating jellyfish.

3. Take a virtual field trip to a National Park.

Combat claustrophobia by taking a virtual tour of some of the country’s most majestic national parks. The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks project from Google Arts & Culture offers virtual, 360-degree tours of five National Park System sites, all guided by real park rangers. The diverse destinations include the Kenai Fjords in Alaska; Hawai’i Volcanoes in Hawai’i; Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; Bryce Canyon in Utah; and Dry Tortugas in Florida. You can view all the properties from your phone or computer, and if you have a virtual reality headset, you can transport yourself out of your home with an immersive experience.

4. Take an Improv Class from Second City.

Improv comedy is difficult to do alone. With Second City, you can take a class with other students and master instructors from the comfort of your home. Second City has helped launch the careers of such comedy heavyweights as Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey. Even though its physical theaters in Chicago, Toronto, and Los Angeles are closed during the coronavirus crisis, comedy classes will continue online. In addition to improv, students can take virtual lessons in comedic songwriting, pitching TV shows, stand-up, sketch comedy, and more from Second City’s pro teachers. If you’re not willing to pay $195 to $295 for a four- to eight-week online course, you can take a one-time drop-in improv or stand-up class for $25.

5. Learn about Women’s History with The New-York Historical Society.

Whether you’re teaching someone home from school or looking to educate yourself in your spare time, there are plenty of remote resources online. The New-York Historical Society is sharing its expertise in the form of a free digital curriculum on women’s history in America. The online course materials cover the period from 1920 to 1948, starting with the flappers of the Jazz Age and ending with women in the postwar era. You can view the entire unit, which includes archival photos and documents, on the NYHS’s website.

6. Join the D.C. Library’s quarantine book club.

If you already plan on reading a ton of books in isolation, you can turn the solitary activity into a social one by joining a quarantine book club. The D.C. Public Library recently announced its book club D.C. Reads is going digital, and now anyone can participate from home. This month’s pick is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. If you have a Washington, D.C. library card, you can use it to download the e-book for free. Book club discussions will take place on March 28 and April 4 at 2 p.m. through the library’s Twitter account.

7. Draw with Wendy Macnaughton.


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Whether you consider yourself a novice or a Picasso, you can benefit from making art with others. Every weekday at 10 a.m. PST, Wendy Macnaughton (illustrator of the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat) hosts drawing classes in her Instagram Stories. All participants need is paper and a pencil. Artists of all ages can draw along, though Macnaughton states classes are just long enough to keep kids occupied for parents “to get a little work done or take a shower and take a couple deep breathes.”

8. Tour the American Museum of Natural History.

As long as you have an internet connection, the impressive halls of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City are just a few clicks away. Every day at 2 p.m. EST, the institution is sharing tours of its exhibits and collections as Facebook Lives. Some special sneak peeks published to the AMNH Facebook page so far include a tour of the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians and a look at its trilobite collection led by curator and trilobite paleontologist Melanie Hopkins.

9. Take a cooking class with Milk Street.

Not sure what to do with your quarantine food supply? Taking a cooking class is a great place to start. Through the end of April, Milk Street (from America’s Test Kitchen co-founder Christopher Kimball) is making its online culinary lessons free to everyone. Topics include baking, cooking without a recipe, and using certain kitchen tools. After a few weeks of classes, you’ll know your way around everything from a chef’s knife to an Instant Pot.

10. Get Creative with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

While it’s closed, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is using its social media to keep followers engaged with their creative sides. Every Tuesday on Instagram, the institution will post a new challenge to its Stories. This week’s challenge is finding something to read and posting about it to Instagram to help the museum compile the ultimate reading list. Past challenges have included setting aside 30 minutes to make art and sharing photos of pets wearing wigs.

11. Learn guitar with Fender.

At the risk of driving your quarantine-mates crazy, you can use isolation as an opportunity to get in touch with your inner rockstar. Fender is giving the first 100,000 users who create a new account on Fender Play three months of free online lessons. The instructional videos led by talented musicians are high-quality, and you can access them from your phone, tablet, or computer. And if you don't have a guitar at home, the program also includes lessons for bass guitars and ukuleles.

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