Our Mother probably never saw or read Emily Post’s book on etiquette.  She never went to a class to learn how to set a proper table and then how to eat at that properly set table.  There were no binding rules and regulations to our Mother’s version of proper etiquette-it was simply to make people feel welcome, comfortable and at ease in our home.  She wrote notes of appreciation, extended her sympathy and always knew who needed a little TLC.  From her example her 5 children grew up to be decent folks-polite and well mannered-not in the “which fork to use” sense, but  “how to get through a social event without a blunder”  sense.  Common sense, really.  Golden rule-that’s how our mom viewed etiquette.

Our more relaxed society doesn’t have a rule book to follow, but social norms still suggest women and children first, elbows off the table, no talking with food in your mouth.  You know, it’s the whole “please” and “thank you” type of obvious behavior that qualifies as proper etiquette.

There is one area, however, that gives just about everybody a little trepidation:  tipping.

T.I.P. is an acronym for “To Insure Promptitude.”  So, whether you are eating, valet parking, getting your nails down or your car washed, the promptitude idea has expanded now to certain industries expecting the good nature of the consumer to supplement the employ’s wages with a gratuity.

Here’s a chart of the basics:

Service Suggested TIP
Coat Checker $1 per item


Manicure/Pedicure 10-20%
Server 10-20%
Valet parking $2-$5
Airport skycap $1-$3 per bag
Hotel Housekeeping $2 a night at budge hotel

$3-$5 at high end hotel

Room service A “service charge” on your tab does not cover the tip. But a “gratuity charge” does.
Skip the tip: Bed and Breakfast owner

Cable guy

Grocery bagger

Personal trainer/yoga instructor

Most repair persons

UPS< USPS or FedEx

And just in case you ever need to know:

Weddings?  Basically tip every person who comes near the bride or the venue 15% or above.

Celebrate National Etiquette week by being THAT customer-the one that makes the service person smile when they see the tip you have given them.

If ever in doubt, do your best with what you think is fair, smile, say thank you and be on your way.  That’s what our mom would do….