Butches aren't the only ones who dole out gratuities, of course but since we all aspire to be paragons of mannerly charm (RIGHT??), let's make sure we do it correctly.
Tipping practices vary throughout the world; I'll focus on the US and let my international readers weigh in about customs elsewhere.
1. Situations where you'll look like a jerk if you don't tip:
2. Situations in which tipping is optional:
3. Situations in which you should really not tip:
Bonus Q&A Tipping Tips:
Q: What if my server sucks, gets my order wrong, is rude, etc?
A: Suck it up and give the lowest polite amount possible, which is 15% of the bill's total before tax. A few reasons for this: (1) You don't know why they're lousy. Maybe it's their first day. Maybe their dog was just diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Who knows. (2) If you stiff the server, you're also stiffing everyone with whom the server shares tips: hostess, busboy, etc.
Q: So if I use a coupon, I still just tip on the total bill, right?
A: No! You tip on the full amount, as if there was no discount.
Q: So if I get something suuuper cheap, I still just tip 15-20%, right?
A: Technically, I guess you're justified. But if you order less than other tables, add a few extra bucks. If I go to a busy cafe at lunchtime and take up a whole table just to drink coffee, I'll usually leave $5.
What other questions do you have about tipping? Any awkward tipping situations/stories you'd like to share? Put it in the comments!