Q: Should I be tipping everyone 20%? —Paul D., Nashville, TN
A: If somebody is performing a real service for you—with real effort—tip them. Restaurant workers, cab drivers, hotel employees—they’re all working hard, man.
But as someone who works in a service profession, I can tell you that guys these days put too much emphasis on the holy figure of “20%.” I see men—whether in my shop or at restaurants or wherever—tucking into their smartphones to calculate some precise tip to the cent. The reality is that it doesn’t have to be 20%. We’re not going to spit on you if you tip 19.34% or 17.39%. It’s a more organic, fluid system. My rule of thumb is this: If the bill is $10 or less, tip a buck. If the bill is $25 or more, consider 15 or 20%. So use common sense. And don’t ever dangle a tip in front of someone and think that gives you the right to treat them like shit.
Shorty Maniace is the proprietor of J.P. Kempt Barber & Social in San Francisco. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org