Americans Are Tipping More Now Than Before the Recession

What factors are playing a role in the spike in tip values.

A mint sitting on a guest check bill
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When Ben Nettleton tied the knot earlier this month, the Texas social media director was shocked by the tipping expectations associated with weddings. "In addition to the 20 percent gratuity that will be included on the bill, I'm told an additional 'here-ya-go' cash tip will be expected," he says, adding that he once earned tips himself as a Segway tour guide in San Francisco. "The level of expectation is out of control and is an obese monster that continues to grow. Ten percent, then 12 percent, then 15 percent, then 18 percent, then 20 percent, and I've even seen 25 percent in some cases. Who is deciding this?"

Despite customers' irritation, Dublanica says tip sizes can play a role in the quality of service people receive. This is especially true at restaurants, he says. "Bad tippers may find they never get the reservation they want," he says. "On Valentine's Day, good tippers get good tables. Bad tippers are lucky if they even get in the door."