Tipping, thank you notes, and what’s most appropriate

Several months ago another blogger was talking about tipping the owner of a service facility, in this case a hair salon. I have read in other blogs that tipping the owner of an establishment is not necessary, and I am now wondering if it is a regional thing. Around here (northern California), I have never heard of such a practice and have always budgeted a tip for any and all services where tipping is customary.

I admit to having tip anxiety. While I am totally over posts on tipping, I read them to ensure I am doing okay and not stiffing workers in a tip-oriented industry. In my first go-round with college I was a waitress, my one and only tip-oriented employment adventure. I learned a lot about customer service and expressing appreciation for good service. Since then, M and I are pretty customary in our 20% tipping practices, even when we were a much leaner earning household (we tended to just eat a cheaper restaurants).

When we travel I struggle with tips for hotel housekeepers, bell service, valets, etc. Back when I had to travel for work, it seemed customary and appropriate so it became a habit I adopted and continue when M and I travel. On the rare occasions M and I stay at a swankier hotel, I may or may not adjust the amount. We avoid valet parking and bell service whenever possible; we are still capable of parking our own car and schlepping our own stuff to and fro.

Delivery services are another thing I wonder about. We have delivery take-out food periodically (much less so now that we are resolving to eat less processed food), and while I pay for the order online with my credit card, I always tip the driver in cash. I don’t know why, exactly, but it seems more appropriate. The only exception is on holidays. One Christmas eve we had pizza and wings delivered and I did include a 20% tip on the bill, but I also handed the driver a $20 bill for himself. It’s always the same couple of guys delivering, and it was Christmas eve.

As if I do not have enough to worry about and feel anxiety over in life.

Then there is the art of a thank you note. I just receive a very nice letter and bonus check for a job I did late last year. It was completely unexpected and so kind of my now former client. I did send an email  to let them know I’d gotten it and to thank them for their generosity, but I also turned around and wrote a short note of thanks to the 2 primary contacts I worked mostly closely with and whom I have kept in touch with. Because I know the idea of that check had to have started with them. For the record, I came in under budget on this project and could have billed them the full amount and did not – too ethical I guess.

Anyway, I was just pondering if this is overkill? Am I too grateful? Am I sinking to sycophant levels as a small business person? If I had never before written a thank you note I might be concerned, but from my first job onward I have always written thank you notes after job interviews, after receiving a good raise, a bonus, or just because people were kind to me when I was facing personal challenges. Clients, vendors, bosses, etc. My hair stylist when she did a fantastic job of cutting my hair into a new style.

I still write thank you notes for holiday gifts I receive from clients. Sometimes it makes for a lot of writing, and if the client has been a client for awhile, I have to think up something new and interesting to say every holiday.

Yes, I’m weird and I know it.

Maybe I truly am a dinosaur from another time, and handwritten notes are of a bygone era. Email and text and Facebook messages are customary and appropriate now. I have no idea. This is just my particular practice and I idly wonder from time to time if it is perceived as a quaint and archaic practice. And of course I ponder whether or not I care.

But oh well.

I guess I really don’t care if it is perceived as a quaint and archaic practice and myself an ancient, extinct dinosaur. This is my version of politeness and good manners.

Because it is now the middle of the night and I still cannot fall asleep in my caffeinated haze (but I have gotten the pretty much all the work I wanted to complete this weekend done already), I am pulling together the strands of thoughts that have been flittering in and out of my mind the last few weeks. Maybe I am rapidly approaching ancient, extinct, dinosaur practices and unable to handle my coffee. But again, oh well. There are worse things, and I might have made a fierce t-rex.

3 thoughts on “Tipping, thank you notes, and what’s most appropriate

  1. I love that you write all those thank you notes! I really need to do more of that.

    I do well with the tipping…and buy Christmas gifts for people like my massage therapist…but the idea of more thank you notes seems fun!

    • Thanks, Sassy! It’s a habit started when I was 16 and looking for my first job – in school they stressed the post-interview follow-up with a written thank you. From there it just evolved into other things for big and small events that are meaningful to me. Years ago, my then hair stylist said she cried when she got my note – she always hears about how much people hate their hair or when things go wrong, and continuing clients are “oh I really like it” when they are in, but it was a first for her to get a real note from a client. It can make a difference.

  2. I believe in tipping well and in thank you notes. People who are providing a service that you make use of need to be respected and thanked just like everyone else.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s