No More Tipping: 13 Places You Should Not Leave a Tip (Despite the Guilt Trip)

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For many people, the tipping culture has gotten out of hand. We’re bombarded by screens asking us to leave up to 25% for services we never tipped on before.

There are many instances where we should tip. Restaurant workers, drivers, delivery services, and spa workers rely on tips to supplement their hourly wages. However, other salaried workers earn enough that they don’t expect tips.

Next time you find yourself in any of these situations, understand you’re not required to leave a gratuity. Don’t let the guilt overcome you. Save your money.

1. Anywhere With an Open Bar

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You might feel obligated to tip a bartender because it’s ingrained in our minds to do so. After all, most bartenders make their living from generous tips.

However, bartenders at open bar events usually earn a set wage and are already tipped by the hosts. As a former bartender, I can tell you open bars were the best gigs because there was an automatic gratuity at the night’s end.

If you want to throw in five bucks at the start of the evening, the bartender will remember you and probably make your drinks first. But it’s not necessary.

2. Thanking a Teacher

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I remember bringing a small gift to my elementary school teacher at the end of the year. It was usually a Starbucks gift card and rarely over $10. Anything more than this could make a teacher uncomfortable, and they might not even be allowed to accept a cash gift.

Stick to a basic gift card. They’re quick and easy and won’t get the teacher in trouble with the principal or school board.

3. When the Gratuity Is Included

Parties in hotel
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Many restaurants automatically include a 20% gratuity for larger parties. At the end of your meal, there will most likely be a line where you can tip on top of the 20%. Don’t feel you’re required to do this. The added gratuity is more than adequate, and the server should be content earning this tip.

If you feel the service went above and beyond, you can leave some extra cash. But no one will call you cheap if you decide not to.

4. Retail Stores

Billing in grocery shop
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Retail store workers have never relied on tips to earn a living wage. They’re paid by the store and sometimes earn a commission for helping shoppers.

Don’t feel compelled to give a Target worker money to help you pick out a new television or the associate at Foot Locker for getting you a pair of shoes from the back. They are just doing their job, and tipping them might make you look silly. They also may not be able to accept it, so you avoid putting them in the awkward position of having to refuse.

5. On a Flight

Airhostess serving food in flight to passenger
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Flight attendants do most of the activities that you would normally tip for. They serve food and drinks, pick up our trash, and make sure we’re comfortable.

However, these attendants do not rely on tips. Experienced airline workers can make over $60,000 a year. In fact, many airlines state they do not allow their employees to accept tips. Flying is already expensive. Save as much money as you can on your next trip.

6. Fast Food Workers

Fast Food Worker
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Fast food restaurants have one primary goal: get you in, serve you your food, and get you out. There aren’t many opportunities to provide excellent service. So why would you tip when you are getting limited service? It’s not necessary.

If you feel the employee did a phenomenal job, check your receipt to see if there’s a customer service survey. A good review for an employee may mean a monetary reward given directly to the staff.

7. For Legal Services

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Anyone who has had to deal with lawyers knows they’re expensive. Attorneys can charge hundreds of dollars an hour to give you advice. They don’t need a tip on top of that.

If you have a long-lasting relationship with a lawyer or worked on a long-term project with them, take them out to lunch. It’s a much nicer gesture than handing them a card full of cash. This is also another situation where the local Bar Association might frown on an attorney taking a cash gratuity.

8. Professional Home Repairs

Plumber
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You can pass on tipping when hiring skilled contract workers like plumbers and electricians. These contractors charge you for their time, and the rates are often inflated. They don’t expect you to pay them extra money to fix a leaking pipe or replace a circuit breaker.

If this worker dropped everything in the middle of the night to fix a major issue, that’s a different story. They might accept a tip, although these professionals usually charge higher emergency rates for emergency calls. For everyday repairs, however, offer a bottle of water or sports drink instead of a cash tip.

9. UPS/Amazon Package Deliveries

Amazon flex driver
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These days, delivery drivers are so hands-off that you hardly interact with them. Most drivers are so quick to get on to their next stop that they don’t have time to stop and talk, let alone accept a tip.

Just like postal service workers, the drivers make a livable wage without added gratuity. If you want to reward these hard workers, leave out an ice chest with cold beverages and some snacks. An icy water bottle might be much more rewarding in the summer than an extra five dollars.

10. If a Restaurant Has a “No-tipping” Policy

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In recent years, many restaurants have adjusted to a non-tipping operation. To do this, the owners may have raised the price of food to pay their workers a fair salary.

You might feel you’re being generous, but tipping when it’s not needed can throw off the restaurant’s procedures. The server might be tempted to keep it, and other employees could see that and get them in trouble for breaking the rules.

11. At the Doctor’s Office

Couples seeing doctor
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I don’t know who wants to tip their doctor, but the idea has come up. Don’t try to give your doctor a tip. An added 20% on top of the office fee could leave you bankrupt.

This is yet another ethical situation. Their state Board of Medical Examiners might be upset if one of their physicians started accepting tips for services. Instead, send a nice gift basket to the office. The entire staff can enjoy it, and it keeps the doctor out of any ethics complaints.

12. Self-Checkout Machines

Fast Food Screens
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Self-checkout machines are becoming increasingly popular. They started out in grocery and retail stores and have evolved into kiosks in restaurants and coffee shops. When the payment screen comes up, there might be an option to leave a tip. Why leave a tip when you did all the work?

Since people are working behind the scenes, I might give a buck or two, but I wouldn’t shake my head if I saw someone leave zero.

13. When Service Is Legitimately Bad

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Tips are meant to reward service that goes above and beyond. But, sometimes, that’s not the case. If the service isn’t up to par, it’s okay to leave a smaller tip. The things that make me lower my tip are rudeness, forgetting orders, ignoring us, or messing up special orders.

Remember that servers and bartenders don’t work in the kitchen. If food is cooked incorrectly, comes out cold, has hair in it, or just isn’t tasty, don’t take it out on them. It’s not their fault and should not factor into their tip.

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