19 Types of People You Shouldn’t Feel Obliged to Tip

Many people think the American tipping culture has gotten out of control, which may be true and leads to people not knowing who they actually need to tip and who they should not. These 19 people do not need to be tipped and sometimes are not even allowed to receive tips.

Fast food workers 

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While fast food and quick-service restaurant workers work hard, tipping is not expected or required, as they are paid at least the minimum wage. Tip jars may be present, but there is no obligation or social norm to tip for counter service or drive-thru orders.

Grocery store baggers

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Grocery store baggers and clerks are paid an hourly wage by their employer. Tipping is not a common practice or expectation in grocery stores in the United States. Their job is to bag and help customers as part of their regular duties.

Furniture delivery personnel 

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Furniture delivery personnel are usually paid an hourly rate or per-delivery fee. Tipping is appreciated for exceptional service but not automatically expected. If they go above and beyond or you want to show extra appreciation, a small tip is thoughtful but optional.

Uber or Lyft drivers

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App-based rideshare services like Uber and Lyft give customers the option to tip drivers through the app after the ride is completed. However, tipping is not required. Drivers are paid a base fare, and customers should not feel pressured to add tips, especially for standard service.

Postal workers

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U.S. Postal Service mail carriers are federal employees and are not allowed to accept cash tips or gift cards. However, they can take small, non-cash gifts worth less than $20 per occasion. The Hill posted the recommendation of “snacks, beverages, travel mugs, hand warmers, or another small gift instead for your mail carrier.”

Dry cleaners

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Tipping is not customary or expected at dry cleaners. Dry cleaning establishments charge for their services, and the business pays employees. A tip jar may occasionally be present, but there is no obligation to contribute.

Roadside assistance providers

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Roadside assistance services, like tow truck drivers or locksmiths, are called during stressful situations. Their fees typically cover their services. For exceptional service, a small tip is appreciated but not necessary.


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The city or the establishment pays lifeguards at public beaches or pools. Tipping lifeguards is a rare practice. Their essential job is to keep patrons safe; tipping may feel like it undermines the serious nature of the job. 


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Plumbers either work independently or for a plumbing company and charge an hourly or flat rate for services. CNBC reports, “As a blanket rule, you don’t need to tip anyone who earns a salary or performs a trade.” For work well done, a positive online review is appreciated. In rare cases of exceptional service, a small tip is optional.


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Auto mechanics are skilled technicians paid hourly wages or salaries by their shop. Shops charge parts and labor costs to cover their services. U.S. News & World Report says you don’t have to tip auto technicians; for excellent work, a glowing review or repeat business shows appreciation.

Trash collectors

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Their municipal department or private company pays trash and recycling collectors an hourly wage. Some cities even prohibit or discourage tipping sanitation workers. A smile and a wave is a nice gesture.

Airline gate agents and flight attendants

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Airline employees, including gate agents and flight attendants, are salaried, and most airlines do not permit tipping. Their job is to assist passengers and ensure safety. Thanks and a smile are the best ways to show appreciation.

Gym trainers and instructors

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The gym usually pays personal trainers and group fitness instructors at gyms on an hourly or per-class basis. Gyms typically do not allow employees to accept tips. Verbal praise and a positive review to management are welcomed.

Dental hygienists

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Dental hygienists are healthcare professionals paid a salary by the dental practice. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene says that tipping dental hygienists would be as awkward as trying to tip your doctor. A genuine “thank you” and good oral hygiene practices between visits are the best ways to show gratitude.

Camp counselors 

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Camp counselors work hard to give children a fun and safe experience, but the camp organization pays them a salary. Tipping is not a common practice or expectation for camp counselors. A heartfelt note of appreciation is a thoughtful gesture.

Veterinary technicians

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Veterinary technicians are skilled professionals paid an hourly rate or salary by the veterinary clinic. Tipping vet techs is not customary or expected. The best way to show appreciation is by following their care instructions and being a responsible pet owner.

Beauty professionals who set their own wages

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Tipping your hairdresser, esthetician, nail tech, and massage therapist is standard. Many of these professionals are paid a percentage of their rate, while the rest goes to the business to cover overhead. However, some beauty service providers set their own prices and may not rely on tips, as they calculate all of their expenses into their rates. In these cases, tipping is optional.

Cooking class instructors

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Tipping is not customary for cooking class instructors, as the cost of the class usually covers their compensation. While you may enjoy the instructor and want to show appreciation, be sure to know the company’s etiquette and policies before making the attempt.

Hotel housekeeping

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If there’s no visible spot to leave a cash tip for hotel housekeeping, you may opt not to tip, especially if the hotel has a strict no-tipping policy. “One study found that 70 percent of guests don’t tip hotel workers at all,” says Afar.

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