10 Handy Rules For Tipping

10 Handy Rules For Tipping

1. Tip 20 percent. Every time. Pre-tax? Post-tax? In practice the difference is no more than a buck or two, unless you're Joe Pytka. In which case there's a $10,000 wine tab, so it works out. But the idea that a tip is optional, or variable, is a useful fiction, even when the soup goes tumbling into your lap. The owner gets to pretend her prices are lower, the busboy makes rent, and you get to feel like a philanthropist. A win-win for all.

2.Yes, I know your parents still talk about when the recommended percentage used to be 15 percent, and that the practice is considered barbaric in Japan. But it's not 1973, and you're probably not in Osaka at the moment. 20 percent.

3. Yes, this includes the cost of the wine.

4. And extends to tipping the delivery guy if you order in - he's supposed to get less because he drove six miles to your house in a decaying, gas-gulping SUV?

5. And also includes tipping the bartender, even - especially! - if you're in one of those places that charge $16 for a vodka/Red Bull. It is considered gentlemanly to round up this 20 percent to the nearest dollar.

6. You've heard the rumors about how it isn't necessary to tip if you're being served by the woman who owns the restaurant? That it's insulting to tip a sushi chef. Or that in some kinds of places the tips never make it back to the waiters? You guessed it: 20 percent.

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