Manners Matter: Navigating Tips

Dear Mary Pat,

I know that you write about tipping sometimes and that tips can range all over the board. However, I received a tip a couple of weeks ago that has me baffled. I clean cottages for a friend of mine and get paid very well for it. I will receive a tip every now and again, but it really isn’t the norm. The last family who stayed in one of the cottages before we closed them up for the winter left a dollar next to the guest book. At first I thought that maybe they accidentally dropped a dollar bill. But then I noticed how it was folded and deliberately left. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but seriously, what is the point of leaving a dollar bill? Isn’t no tip better than a buck? I know they were trying to be nice, but I still thought it was odd. Am I jaded or am I missing something?


Here’s a Tip for Ya…Kind of


Dear Here’s a Tip for Ya…Kind of,

The more cynical side of me is thinking, great, now you can buy half a cup of coffee. The more generous side of me is thinking that this family was trying to pay you a compliment, however small. I would suspect that many people don’t tip housekeeping. This theory is backed up by you saying that you don’t typically receive a gratuity. Since a lot of us work in the service industry up here, we can easily appreciate what it takes to take good care of a hotel room or a table at a restaurant. That’s why when I stay in a hotel that is well maintained, I always leave a tip. Depending on how long I’ve stayed, it ranges from $5 – $25. Opinions vary wildly on whether to tip for housekeeping at hotels, as do the amount of the tips…clearly. My more generous side is winning out here. My advice is to skip the cup of coffee, buy a $0.99 song on iTunes and remember that you are appreciated every time you hear your new song.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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