As a stand up comedian, the subject of tipping comes up on a nightly basis. It’s no secret that show goers should be tipping their wait & bar staff. Most of these hard working men and women make an hourly wage of approximately $2.15 and hour and some make even less, so tips are necessary to help them keep their financial heads above water. But, are these the only people deserving of a tip? Here’s a small list of the people you should be tipping but never think to do so:
1. The Tire Place Guy: In this case, I’m referring to the tire shop off the side of the road that operates as a Mom&Pop shop. If you frequent these places, to simply patch up or buy a used tire, you will typically be charged anywhere from $10 to $25. This is just a charge for the tire and you will typically never pay for any labor. If you’re being economical in having these guys fix your flat, throw them a bone when they’re done. If you make it a habit of ruining tires, the tire guy will always recognize you as a “tipper” and will probably offer you the best deal when you come back.
2. The DirecTv/Cable/Internet Installers: Like servers & bar staff help make your entertainment more pleasant, your installers are doing much the same. They’re constantly trying to make sure you’re happy with their work and are trying to be as expedient as possible in getting you connected. Some of these workers are making a pretty nice wage, but are grossly underpaid in relation to the blood, sweat and tears they pour in to their day. If they have done an outstanding job for you and have brought a smile to your face knowing you are now connected to the world, then you should show your gratitude accordingly. These workers are often racing the clock to make all their appointments in time and rarely have a moment to stop by for something to drink or eat. Slip them a cool $5 to $10 and they can make their quick dash to a 7-11 or drive through to make their day easier. Plus, if you ever get the same installer back, I promise they’ll not only do the work, they’ll customize it for you!
3. The Tattoo Artist: Look, these people may be running their own shop, but their art work carries an even greater value. Then again, not all of these artists are in business for themselves and most likely give up a big portion of fee to the shop they work for. In any case, these people are making sure that their work is the best it could possibly be and if you intend on coming back to the same artist, why not make them remember you and guarantee yourself some incredible lines each and every time? Their work may come with a price tag, but their art is priceless.
4. The Traveling Stand Up Comedian: What?! Really?! Yeah, really. Why not? Allow me to give you a glimpse in to the life a traveling comic, and this applies to both the Feature and Headlining acts. Chances are these two comedians work a regular 9 to 5 job when they are not on stage. Unless the comics have national notoriety in the form of Tv, radio and movie credits, they are probably living paycheck to paycheck, just like everyone else. When an act comes to town, they are probably making enough for the gig to cover travel and food expenses, and sometimes even hotel expenses for a 3 to 5 day stay. This comic is trying to make a name for themselves and when the gig money is barely helping them make it, they must resort to selling merchandise at the end of the show. They’ll usually sell DVD’s or CD’s of their act, or try to hock some t-shirts with some really funny stuff on em’. Most show goers have already spent too much on drinks and a tip to want to buy anything else, so it’s understandable when they just want to bypass the comic selling their merchandise by the door as they would if they were passing by a homeless guy holding a “Hungry, please help” sign. If you’ve got a few dollars left, meet the comic, shake hands with them and give them the cash and let them know, “You’re worth more than that, but I hope this helps in some way to keep you going and bring you back. You were awesome!” I realize this is not done often, but I have seen it done and the gratitude a comedian feels far outweighs the laughs they worked so hard to get.
One final word on tipping your wait & bar staff; If you are at the show on a budget, for crying out loud, don’t spend it all on yourself! Set a little something aside. Your server is working under some of the hardest conditions. They are working in the dark, carrying a tray full of drinks, serving multiple tables and trying to take orders in the quietest way possible. This is more than a skill, it’s an art! Yet, people will leave a show and not tip a dime. If you enjoyed the show, make sure to tip the people who helped make it a great night for you. They’re never in the spotlight, but always help you enjoy those that are.