WE WENT TO NEW YORK City last month for a vacation. Before we left, I went to my credit union and withdrew money in small denominations. I wanted to make sure I had cash to tip the people who helped us during our trip.
Sometimes, I get confused about who I should tip and how much. It can be a little stressful when you want to make sure you don’t stiff anyone—especially people who are counting on tips to make ends meet, and have thankless and stressful jobs during this pandemic.
We didn’t stay at a luxury hotel, but it was comfortable and rated four stars. I decided I would tip everyone at the hotel who helped us, except the salaried employees. For instance, I didn’t tip the employees dressed in suits behind the counter. I figured if they dressed nicely in their own clothes, they’d probably be salaried.
We arrived early, before our room was ready. We left our bags at the front desk and went out to grab a bite to eat. When we came back, the bellman pulled our bags out of storage and I tipped him $5. I also tipped the housekeeper $10 a day for cleaning our room and the doorman $10 when I asked him to take pictures of us in front of the hotel.
I thought I was doing a pretty good job tipping until we went to this restaurant in a luxury hotel. The restaurant was on the 35th floor, with a beautiful view of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.
We had reservations, but we wanted a table next to the window so we could take pictures, like tourists do. At our request, the hostess gave us a table with a great view. I left a generous tip with the server because we had a great time and the service was good.
Afterwards, I realized I should have tipped the hostess. I felt terrible and embarrassed about it. My wife said that the hostess and the busboy usually receive a portion of the waiters’ tips. Maybe so. But it didn’t make me feel any better. I felt the hostess deserved more. That’s why I always try to err on the side of generosity. I don’t want to have any regrets.