In Portland, we tip. We tip a dollar on a coffee. We tip a dollar on drinks (more if it’s a cocktail!). I tip a dollar when a barista hands me an untoasted bagel, no joke. Every Portlander holds a healthy, respectful fear of service staff—after all, most of us have been there. A good rule of thumb is always tip 20 percent, but here’s a guide to some unconventional tipping situations you may have not considered.
My wide-eyed ignorance on how much to tip drag performers is the whole reason I started researching tipping. Did I not see those crumpled up $1 bills soaring over my head? A dollar a song is the norm, but if you’re up front you should tip more. Local DJ and drag night organizer Buckmaster puts it this way: “Tip if you see something you like. Tip if you see something you’ve never seen before. Tip if you see something you could never do.”
Strip Club Dancers
It always seems like people who need to learn the most about strip club etiquette are never the ones reading etiquette books in Powell’s. There’s a lot of nuance to each individual club, but the hard and fast rule of strippers and tipping is: Don’t sit by the stage if you aren’t going to tip. Also, if your friend is sitting at the stage and you’re there too, you should be tipping. People always say a dollar a dance, but those sound like ’80s punk show prices to me. It’s 2018 and you should be tipping more. Try not to leave the stage during a performance (rude!) and if you have to leave, leave a few bucks on the stage.
Sushi is expensive. We know that. When you go to a sushi place and start ordering fancy rolls, you should tip both the sushi makers and the wait staff. At my standard sushi places I’ve already asked the waiters if they tip out the chefs and they do, so I just tip a little more. If I’m sitting at the bar and receiving service from the chef I’ll often throw a few dollars in their tip jar. Plan for 20 percent to waitstaff and at least 10 percent to chefs. I know that’s a 30 percent gratuity, but it’s sushi. You knew going in it wouldn’t be cheap.
Millennials, my millennials! You are supposed to tip your home mail carrier and your regular delivery people (newspaper, weed guy) during the holidays. $20-plus is standard. Do you get a lot of packages at work? Maybe you should think about that this year.
House Cleaner / Housekeeping
Hotel staff get at least $5 in the little envelope, depending on how long you stayed and how messy the place is. A one-time house cleaner should be tipped somewhere between $10 and 20 percent of the total bill. Your regular housekeeper can be included in holiday tipping.
Budget $20 an hour on top of the total price. If the artist designed the tattoo, pay them more. Think about it, there’s a finite amount of space on your bod. Why cheap out on your tattoo artist? I only have one tattoo and I didn’t know to tip. But all my friends yelled at me afterward, so I sent the tattooist a check for 25 percent, and an apology for my ignorance. In hindsight, I should have tipped more because—though I went freshly showered—the cat dander on me set off his allergies. Uhhhh... (gets out checkbook)... BRB.
Twenty percent is the standard, but Mercury art director Kathleen Marie says, “I’ll tip $10 on a $40 piercing.” Much like tattooing, there’s a finite amount you’re likely to get pierced. Why scrimp on it? This person is sticking you with a needle. Show some appreciation, dammit!
Gas Pump Attendants
People of Oregon, tip your gas attendant! These jobs are not enviable. You have $2 to $3 for these people. And for those who really rock it? Give ’em $5.
Weed Delivery / Grocery Delivery
Delivery people get $5 now, and more if the order is huge or heavy. More if it’s bad weather. If you don’t like it, then go get it yourself.