Did You Know You’re Supposed to Tip the Cable Guy?

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To tip or not to tip: It’s hard to know these days. You might be surprised to learn that you’ve unknowingly stiffed a hardworking professional.

But don’t feel too bad; you’re not alone. According to CNN Money, it can be difficult to know when a gratuity is warranted.

“The reason why we tip is to show respect to the service provider,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert. “Part of our responsibility is to be a respectful community member and give to those who deserve a tip, without going overboard.”

She suggested that a good rule of thumb is “when in doubt, do.”

CNN Money said there’s a handful of folks you likely don’t think of when considering tipping, but you should:

  • Cable guy. While some cable providers don’t allow it, CNN Money said it’s still good to ask. It doesn’t have to be money. Sometimes just a glass of water or a snack is appreciated.
  • Exterminator. Exterminators who treat a specific infestation should receive a gratuity of $10 to $20, or more depending on the size of the job.
  • Spray tanner. While the majority of women know that a gratuity is typically expected at a hair salon, oftentimes people forget about makeup and tanning professionals.
  • Dry cleaner. If you want to express your gratitude for removing a stain from your favorite shirt or dress, just ask if you can leave a tip.
  • Tow truck employees. How about the tow truck driver who changed your flat in a snowstorm?

Still confused? Remember, there are no hard and fast rules about tipping. It’s your decision. Don’t be bullied into paying a gratuity if you’re not comfortable with it.

Would you tip the cable guy? I would NEVER tip the cable guy, or some of the other people you’re apparently “supposed” to tip. Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • Maximus

    I couldn’t disagree more with what the CNN Money article is suggesting. People don’t tip to show respect. They tip because they have to…as in servers at a restaurant. Or because they want some “perk” or special treatment. The reason we tip servers is because that is a large portion of their overall pay. To tip people that already make a normal wage is ridiculous. Why are we paying extra for people to do their jobs? Tipping the cable guy? Why? All that does is make it seem “expected”. So now, level of service will depend on whether or not somebody tips. It shouldn’t be that way. In other countries it’s not even acceptable to tip at a bar. Why? Because they provide good service because it’s the right thing to do, not because they are getting a tip. I’m supposed to tip the exterminator now??? Why? I’m already paying him $80 per hour!!

  • Wade

    Here’s one- How many of you tip when picking up a to-go order from a restaurant? I polled my friends on Facebook and it was only the restaurant servers that seemed passionate about tipping in that situation…

    • ModernMode

      Same as ordering at Mcdonald’s and you certainly don’t tip there. There’s a pizza restaurant in my city that has a tip jar at the counter. But the customer has to order at the counter, make his own drink, go back to the counter and pick up his food, and then clear his table when he’s done. Just what are you tipping for?

      • Wade

        That’s funny, there’s a pizza place in my town setup the exact same way. For some reason I tip every time… I suppose I should re-evaluate my tipping.

        • Jason

          If I order at a counter or over the phone I don’t tip. Simple as that.

  • Jack Mabry

    The only people I tip are the waitress and the cab driver. And that’s because the companies they work for are too cheap to pay them a living wage.

    • bonnebelle1

      I don’t use cabs because I live in a rural area, but I’m curious…..what do cab drivers make per hour in general.

  • mimi

    Yes we all have money laying around to be used to pay people who are already being paid by their employer.-money is so plentiful these days. I work as a substitute teacher maybe I should tell the kids to bring in money to tip me. This article is ridiculous ,

    • bonnebelle1

      Amen, Mimi…..it is about that ridiculous!

  • Diane

    Tipping is out of control. Everywhere I look there is a tip jar now a days . I went with my brother so he could pay his cell bill at the phone store. Low and behold,there was a tip jar with a sign,saying for the baby(clerk pregnant),really?????? My local Chinese has done the same.meanwhile, the guy taking my order is the owner and he also sometimes delivers,tip??? Really?? This is not the custom in Italy. Some restaurants add two Euros to the bill and that is that. You can leave more if you choose,not mandatory. I do tip wait staff generously,especially when they go above and beyond. I tip my maintenance staff when they fix something in my apartment but have stopped year end since I tip all year long. Most of the tenants do not tip as I was actually told by one worker and he outright told me that because I tip,they come right away when I need repairs,while others wait.

    • Kent

      You tip ‘your’ maintenance staff? Or your landlord’s? I hate to tell you this, but maintenance is included in your rent.

  • Mestoy Cagando

    The cable guy.? Never. Maybe when the cable provider stops ripping me off. Besides these guys make decent money.

  • bonnebelle1

    There is a big difference in tipping a wait person who only makes a little over $2.00 an hour and someone who is already making a decent wage to do a job. When did we start tipping people who are being paid well to do what they were hired to do? Wait people depend on tips to make up the difference between what little they are paid per hour and minimum wage. Some do very well, but there is no guarantee of that. Tip someone who is already being paid to do the job that they are supposed to be doing? I don’t think so. In that case, what is their wage suppose to cover? And of course people will ‘come to your apartment first’ or whatever, if you are giving them extra money! That doesn’t make it right. Repair men should have an equal opportunity wait list and if you fall 5th on that list because someone called before you, then that is only fair. Some folks simply can’t afford to tip, like those living on a fixed income, and shouldn’t be penalized because of that. If I am tipped for a service and folks can afford to do it and want to do it, then that’s fine…..but I certainly don’t expect it.

  • biker bob

    In addition to tipping, virtually every check out counter solicits for some cause or other. If you want money, get a job, if it doesn’t pay enough get a second job. What ever happened to getting money the old fashion way, working for it ?

  • Rigo Mortinson

    Ok, I understand some of your point of views, but for the ones that are saying that they shouldn’t tip because they make a “normal wage,” or “living wage” what is that exactly? Do some of you think they are making good money or something? At least 4 out of those 5 positions only make minimum wage. Which does not cover the cost of living. So why is everyone saying they don’t deserve it because they make a normal wage? Yet you’re all okay with tipping a server or cab driver? A server does no make $2 an hour, they make the minimum wage in their state at the least, and around here, cab drivers make around $10 an hour. And neither make less than minimum wage, yet both are being paid to do their job by their employer. So saying that you won’t tip someone who is being paid to do their job, but tipping a server or cab driver is in effect–hypocritical. For those of you tipping someone who makes better money than the people on this list, but are saying that you shouldn’t tip them because they make decent money? Sorry, but that doesn’t make sense. I don’t blame anyone for not tipping, but if your not going to do it, don’t make up stuff so it seems justifiable to everyone. If you don’t want to you don’t have to, but don’t make things up as an excuse for not tipping. Tipping is not mandatory and never has been. I think you should tip if you get good service, period. Doesn’t matter how much they make or what they do. If I am happy with the service I received from someone doing a labor job then I tip.

  • Kent

    Pure nonsense.

  • Jason

    I recently found out that my cable guy doesn’t work for the cable company. Image my surprise when I opened the door to find the cable guy was a guy I used to work with. While he was checking my signal we got to talking and he mentioned that he is a individual contractor not an employee. He picks up the truck in the morning and then waits for dispatch to schedule his appointments. He gets paid a flat rate for each appointment he handles and if he doesn’t get any calls in a day he doesn’t get paid.

  • TT

    Tipping has gotten completely WAY out of hand in the US. We need to stop, because the more we do it, the more that other competitive folks try to out-tip us in their efforts to seem *better*. They’re trying to out-do the Joneses rather than merely keep up, and tipping spirals up. Workers earn salaries or wages. We pay either for the product directly or to the companies who pay their salaries. I’m don’t want to pay more than the price in many, many cases. It seriously needs to stop.