Why do we tip certain for certain highly skilled professional services, but not others?

I asked this question earlier and it was misinterpreted. I'm not suggesting that we don't tip waiters making $3 an hour, or that we start tipping lawyers. I just want to know why as a society we tip certain professionals who provide highly skilled & costly services on a set fee basis and not others.

For example. If you get a super fancy $150 haircut, you will still give a tip, even though the stylist is probably taking home between 75-100 of the 150. Same goes for an independent maid who cleans your house. She's keeping the $70 fee plus the $10 tip. This is not a person who relies mostly on tips to make her living, yet you tip anyway. However, you won't ordinarily tip the Architect (Starting hourly rate for one is only about $18/h) who designs your home even if he does a really good job because you think the fee your paying him is enough. Or what about a hospital nurse who is basically a 24 hour waiter, plus empties your bedpan and wipes your ***. Now thats service. Why not tip her?

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Very few industries are permitted by law to pay a tip-wage lower than the federal minimum wage because tips are considered to be almost 100% of the employees take home pay. So, professionals who charge a respectable hourly or flat rate for services as contracted or agreed upon, they are not "due" monies over that amount... whereas a bartender or server is really being paid nothing (except covering their taxes) by their employer.

    I don't know why we have gotten tip-crazy in recent years... are we trying to "keep up with the Joneses" as though it is a reflection on US personally (our own level of success or means)??!!

    A hairdresser who is also the salon owner is NOT supposed to be tipped. It was originally considered rude to do so (as though you considered them "just the hired staff" rather than a business owner). But lately, a tip jar shows up at Starbucks, and the local pizza joint (where there is no service whatsoever--just great pizza) and everywhere a jar seems to fit near the register!

  • sunny
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    If this bothers you so much, why not go ahead and tip your architect, lawyer or nurse? Likewise, if you don't feel like you should tip your hairstylist, or maid, don't do it! (It might be a bit more difficult to get an appointment for a haircut next time!)

    I think this falls under the category of "accepted custom". Also, think about it, the people we tip are usually in a position to offer some "special services", if they are so inclined, and the custom of tipping often helps influence these people to provide something "special".

    I have never tipped a nurse when I have been in the hospital, but I have sent gifts like flowers or treats to them after I got home. I think that the more consideration we can give to others who do things for us, regardless of how much they are paid, the happier this world will be!!!

    Source(s): Human being who likes to show appreciation to others.
  • 1 decade ago

    Well since you're such a free-thinker why don't you change all that! Give a nurse a gratuity each time she wipes you! When you engage an architect, slip him a few extra bucks. When you go to a hairdresser, stiff her--she's already making out! And so on. It isn't the sheep who inform reality but those who take the initiative. Then some day it will be asked why do we tip nurses and not maids or hairdressers?

  • 1 decade ago

    Since when are hair stylists and maids "highly skilled professionals"? What PhD program did your housekeeper go to? That being said, I don't think people tip their own housekeepers -- I've never heard of that. If you get her from a service, yes, but if she's your employee (if you pay her directly), then you wouldn't tip. I tip my hairdressers because I know I have to, but it irritates me every time -- I used to be a waitress, and there's a big difference between being paid $3.00/ hr and the amount a trendy hairstylist is paid. I think your point about the nurses is interesting!

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  • 1 decade ago

    First of all, to that moron who says hairstylists aren't highly skilled professionals... we went to school, we took exams, and we have to be licensed by the state... same as doctors and lawyers. Also, if you haven't ever been a hairstylist, how would you know how much skill it takes?

    Second... why do you think that your hairstylist is making 75-100 of the $150 for a haircut? And why would anyone pay that much for a haircut? Here's the thing about hairstylists... some make 50% commission... many of those stylists work 60-80 hrs a week to take home about $300-400 including tips. The rest make hourly wages. We went to school for this job. We paid $10000 or more for school. We paid about $100 to take state board exams. We pay $24 a year to keep our license... or we have to take exams again. Most hairstylists make only $6-9/ hr and work a maximum of 32 hrs a week and this is considered full time. Out of this maximum of 1150/month they make, their employers take about $150/month for insurance, then taxes are taken out. So the managers of these salons, who are making the most money, are usually only making, maybe $1000 take home at the end of the month, after they paid money to go to school, and got a license, and pay to keep that license.... I was taking home about $800/month... Tips are essential to these people so that they can live without welfare, since to pay us more, you'd have to pay more for a haircut. Since most people aren't willing to pay more than $20 for a haircut, the stylists in higher priced salons don't make much more than those in lower priced salons.. but they work more hours.

    We didn't tip our house keeper. She made the money we paid her, we didn't need to tip her.

    What do you mean... starting rate is ONLY $18/hr???? I was a manager at a salon and made ONLY $10/hr... I'd love to make ONLY $18/hr.

  • 1 decade ago

    Okay first of all, to tip a housemaid is out of courtesy. You don't necessarily have to tip someone. But that is only out of courtesy.

    However, a contractor or architect is just not considered to be normal. Some jobs don't allow to be tipped. Such as a banker or car salesman. In some cases, it is against the law, depending on what profession it is, and it is true. Some employers don't allow it. Such as Home Depot employees and Walmart.

    But overall, you don't have to tip. But if the person has treated you well, you should use common sense when to tip and when you cannot tip.

  • 1 decade ago

    You tip the hairstylist so that the next time you go in, he doesn't shave your head. I don't know how much my hairstylist makes, but I always tip her well just to make sure I dont get a botched hair cut the next time. ( I remember that month in high school I had a mowhawk I never asked for, never again)...All those others, you don't have to tip...just do your research when getting a service to find out who you "should" tip

  • 1 decade ago

    Professional codes of ethics forbid physicians, nurses, attorneys and probably other professionals from accepting tips. They don't expect tips and it would be a violation of their code of ethics to accept tips.

  • 1 decade ago

    If you have to have an Angel of Mercy wipe your *** you probably don't even know it. I tip according to how I'm treated.

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