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Tipping is not a city in China. But it is a great opportunity to set your karma straight.
When else can you share the wealth with a hardworking person who can really use the money and who will likely put it right back into the local economy?
Still, lots of folks aren't sure when tipping is appropriate.
In my experience, unless a company strictly prohibits its employees from accepting gratuities, any worker will gladly accept a tip in any amount. So if someone knocks your socks off, or if you simply tend to err on the side of generosity (yay, you!), go ahead and offer one.
But usually, the difficulty comes when you may not necessarily feel compelled to tip, but wonder if you are supposed to.
So let's deal with that first:
. Contractors, such as plumbers and electricians, don't usually expect to be tipped, according to a survey by AngiesList.com. Neither do roofers, exterminators, locksmiths, landscapers, snowplow drivers, handymen, painters or the folks who service your HVAC system.
.More than half of the time, movers do expect to be tipped, according to AngiesList. Pros suggest tipping each mover 5 to 10 percent of the total cost of a move.
. Buffet restaurants cause a lot of confusion. If you're getting your own food, why do you need to tip the waiter? Well, usually they bring your drinks. They clear your plates out of the way (several times) and generally run around like crazy during their entire shift.
Some buffet servers even make the minimum wage for tipped workers, which is $2.13 per hour in New York State, according to the Department of Labor. I always tip 20 percent, but Tipping.org suggests 5 to 10 percent is sufficient.
Sometimes you know you should tip, but you're not sure how much. Here are suggestions from Tipping.org, but again, feel free to err on the side of generosity:
. In a hotel, a minimum of $5 per night goes to the housekeeper, $5 to $10 for the bellhop if she helps with luggage and opens your room for you. If the doorman helps hail a cab on the street, give him $1, but no tip is necessary for simply holding the door or calling for a cab from inside.
. At the airport, skycaps and shuttle drivers get $1 per bag.
. Cab drivers should get 15 percent of the fare, plus $1 per bag if they help with luggage.
. Pizza or food deliverers get $2 to $3, more for large deliveries.
. For food pickup, no tip is expected if the order is under $60, unless a worker helps you carry it to your car - then 5 to 10 percent is appropriate.
. When picking up orders over $60, tip 8 to 10 percent. The same goes if you're ordering for your office, ask for plates and napkins, or have special menu requests.
email: schristmann@buffnews.com or call MoneySmart at 849-4612. Follow me at www.Facebook.com/DiscountDiva
Here's a guide on when you should tip and how much is appropriate.