Sunday 26 October 2014

Here's a tip: it's good to tip!

You're not obliged to tip your server – but should you, asks Vicki Notaro

It's a cold winter's night and you can't be bothered cooking after a long day at work. Billboard advertising on the commute home has been urging you to order takeaway online.

You don't even need any cash handy, as it can all be paid for by card.

So far, so easy, but when the driver arrives with your dinner, you're seized with indecision – do you tip him or not? If you paid a delivery charge does he benefit? Does this guy depend on tips or are his wages reflective of the job? If you have a spare euro or two in your pocket, you might awkwardly hand it to him as you juggle your Chinese and prawn crackers.

But if not, should you be worried? In future, will he wait until your dinner's cold to drop it off? Will your name end up on a dreaded blacklist of cheapskates in the area? Tipping may be technically at your discretion, but what are the ramifications should you decide to eschew it?

Andrew Hogg owns two Domino's franchises that offer free pizza delivery in North Dublin, and is a former delivery driver himself.

He assures me that mythical lists of bad tippers don't exist on the takeaway circuit, and that drivers don't expect a tip but of course one is always welcome.

"Delivery drivers for Domino's are not employed by the company.

They're independent contractors, and while they do receive tips, they're not dependent on them.

"They're paid a good rate per delivery, and invoice at the end of the month."

Tipping in the US is a different affair.

"In many ways, tipping in Ireland is a bit more about 'playing it by ear' rather than about tried and tested rules of tipping that you find in the US," explains consumer expert and columnist Tina Leonard.

I'm personally inconsistent – sometimes I'll tip a tenner for a hair cut, while other times I'll give the taxi driver the exact amount.

I've taken to using the Hailo app for my cabs around Dublin lately, which gives you the option to add a tip when paying by card.

In America, tipping is not just customary but necessary.

I've been chased down a New York street for only leaving a 13pc tip instead of 15pc by the waiter.

Mortifying for all involved as you can imagine, it instilled an over-tipping-in-restaurants compulsion in me on both sides of the Atlantic.

Irish Independent

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