Here Are All the Times You Don’t Need To Tip, According to Experts

Unrecognizable coffee shop customer using tip jar

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Unrecognizable coffee shop customer using tip jar
SDI Productions/istockphoto

Tipping Points

The lines of when to tip and not to tip have become more and more blurred these days. With tipping prompts seemingly offered up everywhere you go, it can be confusing to decide whether you should put that extra dollar in a tip jar. 

"The biggest change in tipping over the past few years is that now people are prompted to tip when paying programs with POS (point of service) computers," says Jodi RR Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting.

But you don't always have to tip. We spoke to experts about the places and situations when tipping doesn't make the most sense, including at coffee shops or when working with business owners.

Fast Food
Ziga Plahutar / istockphoto

Fast-Food Restaurants

Do you feel compelled to tip when you order at places like McDonald's or Panera? Don't worry — experts say it's unnecessary.

"If it is a huge order (think school trip on a bus!), a tip is a lovely gesture, but never obligatory," Smith told Cheapism. Good to know.

Your take-away coffee is ready!

Coffee and Doughnut Shops

This one surprised us, because we've been handing out dollars at our local coffee shop like they grow on trees.

"Handing a customer a coffee or doughnut or ice cream is generally not a tippable service," says Smith.

With counter service establishments, such as a coffee shop, bakery, or deli that require customers to pay first, it's not necessary to tip. Bottom line: If all someone did was hand you something, you can save your dollar. 

Friendly shop owner in glasses accepting payment from customer

Business Owners

You get your hair done by the owner of a salon. Do you tip them or not? 

It's actually not necessary. "Owners of the business do not require tipping and it may be viewed as inappropriate," says JustAnswer etiquette expert August Abbott.

But sometimes, where you're going may change the equation, making it all that more confusing. 

"People are expected to tip based upon their lifestyle," Smith says. "If you are going to fancier salons, receiving more deliveries, frequenting nicer restaurants, and traveling to posher vacations, you will need to increase your tipping budget to cover the services you are enjoying."

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Plumber fixing a garbage disposal


"If you're like most people, you don't visit your medical professional and feel the urge to slip them a ten," Abbott says. "Some people do though, and it's not the right thing to do."

This also applies to teachers, professors, plumbers, carpenters, and the like. Of course, it's doubtful anyone will turn your money down, but you shouldn't feel expected to offer it up in first place.

Related: Feel Like You're Getting Asked for Tips More Often? You're Not Alone

Close up of beautiful and cheerful young Asian woman receiving home delivery takeaway food order from a delivery man at home. Eating at home concept

Takeout Orders

Should you tip for takeout? This question has been the subject of much debate lately. But according to experts, you do not need to tip when picking up takeout — even when being prompted.

"During covid, yes, tipping even for takeout was the norm to keep the venues open and the staff able to stay employed," Smith explains. "Now that we are moving beyond covid, a small tip for takeout is a kind gesture (5-10%)."

Related: Sick of Tipping? You're Not the Only One

Waiter bringing the bill

When Gratuities Are Included

If the bill includes gratuity, you really don't need to give more, so don't feel guilty about it. 

"At restaurants where gratuities are included in the bill, fight the urge to give even more. Just be sure to really look for that on the tab — 'gratuity included'  — sometimes it's not very obvious [or] easy to spot," Abbott says.

Related: No One Tips 15% Anymore – and Which States Tip the Most (and Least)