CNBC make it 2024-02-20 02:50:47

Tired of ‘tipflation’? 5 times it’s OK not to tip, according to etiquette experts

If you feel like you’re being asked to tip practically everywhere these days, you’re not alone. In addition to the traditional venues — restaurants, barber shops, cabs — customers are being prompted to tip everywhere from convenience store counters to self-checkout kiosks at airports.

Etiquette experts such as Thomas Farley — also known as Mister Manners — are calling the phenomenon “tipflation.”

“People are really feeling imposed upon,” Farley says. “We’re already living through inflationary times. Everything is crazy expensive. And on top of that, you’re being asked, every time you turn around, ‘How much would you like to tip?’ It feels pushy, it feels needy and almost every customer I speak with says, ‘Why aren’t businesses just paying people more?’”

It’s a good question, but don’t hold your breath for an answer. Rather, take solace in the knowledge that there are still scenarios where etiquette experts say a tip is not required — even if you’re presented with a tablet that asks for one.

Here are five people and scenarios that don’t require a tip.


As a blanket rule, you don’t need to tip anyone who earns a salary or performs a trade. That means you don’t have to tip doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers or cable technicians.

“Not only would it not be expected, it would be highly unorthodox and very awkward,” says Farley. Plus, in certain situations, “you could be seen as attempting to curry some sort of favor or that it might be some sort of a bribe.”

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Counter service

As a rule, anyone working at a counter is earning a wage, while those delivering food, either to your table or to your home, rely on tips as a major part of their income. For that reason, tipping people who work behind a counter, such as a barista or a cashier, is not a requirement as far as etiquette experts are concerned — even if the tablet suggests otherwise.

“When they turn that device around, it’s this glaring thing, and people feel shamed into tipping, but you don’t have to,” says Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert and founder of the Swann School of Protocol.  

That’s not to say a tip for a counter worker is out of the question, though. “It’s a nice gesture to offer a tip to a worker who goes above and beyond the service,” Swann says. “For example, maybe you frequent the establishment regularly and they have your order memorized.”

Open-bar events

If you go to an event with an open bar, the bar staff may or may not put out a tip jar. As a rule of thumb, “keep in mind that the host of that event has likely already taken care of the tip,” says Swann. “That tip would be included in what they’ve had to pay for the venue or to the bartending service.”

That means you’re not obligated to tip, too. It is, of course, appreciated says Farley, and may help get you better service throughout the night.

“If there is a busy bar, and there are multiple people to take orders from, the fact that you acknowledged them may get you a heavier pour. Maybe they gave you the cup of ice you were asking for,” he says. “A dollar here or there isn’t much to ask.”


You don’t have to tip twice for the same service. Swann has recently heard feedback from women who have tipped the technician who worked on their nails at a salon and were then prompted to tip again when paying at the counter. “That is just the establishment trying to get more money out of you.”

The situation can get a little trickier in cities that have implemented minimum wage requirements for tipped workers, such as restaurant servers. Some restaurants in these cities will apply a 20% service charge to your bill before presenting you with the option to tip.

In those scenarios, it’s appropriate to discreetly ask your server where the fee is going. “If they tell you it goes to the servers and the bussers and so forth, your job of tipping is done,” says Swann.

If the money goes to the house, you’ll likely want to leave a tip for the server who took care of you, says Farley, who recently ended up tipping 20% on top of a 20% service charge at a restaurant in Denver.

“From an etiquette standpoint, we still tip the servers who are bringing us our food,” he says. “But I did leave that restaurant feeling like this was not a tenable situation.”

Poor service

You’re never obligated to tip someone when they’ve provided you poor service or if you’ve had a rude interaction with them. In the case of a one-on-one service, such as a haircut, this is pretty cut and dried. In fact, if a barber so ruined your hair that you felt they didn’t deserve a tip, you likely wouldn’t be out of line asking for a full refund, says Farley.

In the case of a restaurant, it gets a little trickier. Swann recommends a sliding scale for restaurant tipping, with 20% as the standard, and more if a server goes above and beyond. Even in the face of bad service, she wouldn’t go lower than 10% — and if that’s the case, you still have to ask yourself some questions. Namely, is the server at fault?

“If the food took too long to come out, that’s a kitchen issue. If it wasn’t prepared properly, that’s a kitchen issue. If the environment was not pleasurable, say because it was too loud, that has nothing to do with service.”

If you did have a nasty interaction with a server, you may be in the right to dock their tip, but be sure to bring it up with management as well, says Swann.

“If you address management and then leave a lower tip, they’ll know you weren’t just a jerk or uneducated when it comes to tipping,” she says. “Whether they agree with your complaint or not, they’ll have an understanding of why you left a lower tip.”

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People in this remote valley live to 100—they follow 5 distinct diet and lifestyle habits for longevity

In a little-known mountainous area called Hunza Valley, located far north of Pakistan, people seem to defy all medical odds.

It is primarily home to the Burusho and Wakhi people, who for centuries have survived and thrived in remote villages — with minimal amenities and rudimentary health facilities. Studies have found that the average life expectancy here is around 100 years.

My husband was born and raised here, and is from the Burusho indigenous community. After we got married, I left the U.S. and we settled down in the Central part of the valley.

Here are some intriguing habits that help the people of Hunza live longer:

1. They consume apricot seeds and oil

Apricot trees are one of the most important local crops in the valley. Studies have shown that apricot seeds can help fight cancer and other sources of inflammation in the body, in part due to a compound called amygdalin.

Nearly every traditional Hunzai dish includes apricot oil. Back in the day, it was made by hand, but now locals use machines to extract it from their harvested kernels.

My mother-in-law told me that 50 years ago, it was all anyone used to cook food with, even meat. Dried versions of the fruit also help with altitude sickness, and are boiled into a soup come winter.

2. They never stop moving

People here are healthy and active throughout their lives, well into old age. It’s very common to see folks in their 80s outside, even in the winter. Elderly family members still graze their cows and sheep, collect wood, and do other household tasks.

They also participate in community activities like “rajaki,” which involves cleaning out the elevated water canals when spring arrives.

Locals of all ages cycle, skate, and play sports like soccer and cricket every day.

3. They drink glacier water

Hunza is filled with dozens of glaciers, all of which melt throughout the summer.

A shiny, dark-grey liquid, “Hunza water” has long held the interest of scientists. Unlike other water sources, this glacial water is naturally filtered by layers of ice and rock and contains precious minerals.

Some argue that the water contains quartz (sillica) minerals in colloid form, which are considered to be powerful antioxidants.

The runoff generally lasts from May to October each year, which is when you’ll find it served at restaurants and in homes. Locals swear by it, and prefer it to filtered water.

4. They rarely eat processed foods

Almost every piece of meat eaten in Hunza comes from a locally sourced animal that’s been recently killed.

People rarely eat processed foods, and you certainly won’t find any fast food spots here. Meals are typically prepared fresh in the home daily, and almost every household grows some kind of vegetable.

Spinach is especially popular, and other favorites like tomatoes and potatoes are grown locally and organically.

5. They have strong community values

Neighborhoods and villages are tight-knit, and the people of Hunza take care of each other, especially the older members of the community.

Retirement homes don’t exist here. Elders are highly respected and attended to by their families.

With essentially zero crime, it’s safe enough for kids to wander about on their own, even at young ages. It’s likely one of the last places where you’ll see more outdoor play than iPad play.

Having lived here for for the past two years, I can happily say that I’ve never had the privilege of experiencing a society as collective as this one.

Samantha Shea is a Polish-American travel writer from Connecticut. She lives and works remotely in Hunza Valley, Pakistan, and runs women’s tours to the region. Follow her on Instagram and YouTube. 

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We’ve coached 25,000 Navy SEALs, athletes and Google employees—what makes them highly successful

The best performers in the world are not born excellent — they learn excellence. 

In our careers as a clinical and performance psychologist, and an executive coach who spent 16 years at Google, we’ve worked with more than 25,000 top business leaders, athletes, military operators, first responders, tech employees, and more.

We’ve found that the No. 1 thing these stars do to become the best is set big goals across six aspects of their lives:

  1. Work: Your job and career
  2. Relationships: Romantic partners, family, friends, and colleagues
  3. Health: Exercise, nutrition, and other aspects of physical well-being
  4. Spirituality: Belief and practice that there is something purposeful beyond our physical and mental selves (this can encompass religion, but nonreligious people have spirituality, too)
  5. Hobbies: Things we do for fun, education, or community
  6. Legacy: What you’ll leave behind

Here are three steps elite performers take to set and achieve their goals:

1. Identify the goals

We give our clients this prompt: One, three, and six months from now, what do you want to be true in each of the six aspects?

It’s better to have a few good goals than a bunch of mediocre ones. You can always add more, and keeping things simple helps ensure your resources are more tightly focused. 

Navy SEALs employ the “SMART” framework:

  • Specific: It’s precise and well-defined. 
  • Measurable: You’ll know when you have achieved it.
  • Achievable: It’s challenging, but feasible.
  • Relevant: It matters.
  • Timebound: It should be achieved within a specified period. 

So “I will get in better shape” is not a SMART goal, but “I will be able to jog six miles in under an hour by December so I’ll be ready for my winter basketball league” is.

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It’s fine to set an ambitious outcome as a goal, but for every outcome goal (“make VP by age 35”), it’s a good idea to establish a process goal as well (“spend an hour a day studying the business”). Amateurs focus on outcome, professionals focus on process.

Keep in mind that people are far more motivated to achieve goals that are based on their values (intrinsic) than those based on what other people think (extrinsic). To ensure a goal is intrinsic, ask why it’s a goal. If the goal is to lose 10 pounds, why? Is it because someone said you look out of shape (extrinsic), or because you want to feel better and healthier (intrinsic)? 

Finally, developing meaningful goals should be a thoughtful, iterative process. Take your time and revisit and revise them.

2. Write them down

The act of codifying a goal creates accountability; now that it has a physical presence, you have to make it happen.

“At a young age, I would write down all the tricks I wanted to learn,” says Toby Miller, the pro snowboarder.

“I still write down overall goals, the maneuvers I want to learn. I have specific goals for each camp. I write them down and bring the list with me,” he says. “If I’m having a bad day, I use my goals to turn it into a good day. There’s always something I can learn.”

3. Publicly commit by sharing with others

Sharing the goal — with friends, colleagues, family — ratchets accountability up even more. You can go one step further by regularly updating your “accountability partners” on your progress.

A 2015 study led by psychologist Gail Matthews corroborates this goal-setting hierarchy: 43% of participants who merely thought about their goals achieved them (or were well on their way to success). Writing the goals down and sharing with a friend boosted that rate to 62%. And sending weekly progress updates to a friend cranked it up to 76%.

These public declarations and updates are more for you than for them: They’re an excellent strategy to push yourself toward success.  

Eric Potterat, PhD, is a performance psychologist who helped create the mental toughness curriculum used in Navy SEALs training. He’s worked with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the U.S. women’s national soccer team, the Miami Heat, Olympic athletes, first responders, business leaders, and NASA astronauts. He is also the co-author of ”Learned Excellence.”

Alan Eagle is a executive communications consultant. He spent 16 years at Google, partnering with executives to communicate the company’s story to clients, partners, employees, and the public. He is the co-author of the books “How Google Works,” “Trillion Dollar Coach,” and most recently, ”Learned Excellence.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

This is an adapted excerpt from ”Learned Excellence: Mental Disciplines for Leading and Winning from the World’s Top Performers.” Copyright © 2024, Eric Potterat and Alan Eagle. Reproduced by permission of Harper Business. All rights reserved.

How two lawyers worth $2.3 million tackled their biggest money fight

Rachel and Brian are married lawyers with a joint net worth of $2.3 million.

For them, “money has been representative of fun and freedom,” Rachel, 51, told bestselling author and Netflix star Ramit Sethi on a recent episode of his “I Will Teach You to be Rich” podcast. Their last names were not used.

But recently, Brian, 56, revealed he wants to retire in the next year or two.

“That completely paralyzed me,” Rachel said on the podcast.

The revelation led to a major fight. Rachel is anxious that Brian is underestimating how much money he will need to actually stop working and they would become dependent on her income to make ends meet. Brian wants Rachel to feel secure, but he’s confident that he’s well-positioned to retire soon.

The couple earns a combined $270,000 a year. Their only debt is around $96,000 on a mortgage on one of their homes — they own the other one outright. Between their retirement and brokerage accounts, they have over $1 million invested.

Here’s why they asked Sethi for help.

Separate finances, separate relationships with money

Part of the reason for Rachel’s shock when Brian told her he wanted to retire early is that she didn’t know how much money he had already saved. The couple has kept their finances separate for the entirety of their eight-year marriage.

“What separate accounts usually reveal is that the couple never had a series of specific conversations about money,” Sethi said on the podcast. “Almost always, separate accounts reveal that they don’t have a joint rich life vision together.”

That felt true for Rachel. “It was like we were from two different universes and we weren’t even speaking the same language,” she said.

While Sethi emphasized it’s OK if a couple wants to keep their money separate, he wanted to get to the bottom of Rachel and Brian’s differing attitudes toward money.

They both grew up comfortably, with parents who paid for college and grad school. But Rachel’s parents were a teacher and a librarian, whereas one of Brian’s was a bank CEO. This led to varying comfort levels and different money lessons.

“You worked as hard as you could in order to bring in money. You saved it for some indeterminate period,” Rachel said, characterizing her parents’ mindsets. Some of the major financial help from her parents came with a condition, like helping her buy a house so they could get a tax write-off. She was later laid off and struggled to pay her mortgage.

Brian, on the other hand, admitted he was spoiled growing up. And as a young adult, his parents gave him the down payment for his first house.

“I was a little bit more sheltered with money,” he said. “I probably didn’t have the appreciation for it.”

It’s not about the number

Ultimately, “the way you feel about money is highly uncorrelated to the amount in your bank account,” Sethi told the couple.

The argument about Brian’s desire to retire early wasn’t actually about having enough saved. It came down to their differing views on money, the couple realized.

Rachel realized she was holding onto fear and anxiety about losing her house or falling into financial turmoil because she had been through that before. Similarly, Brian’s confidence stemmed partly from the fact that he hasn’t had the same financial difficulties as Rachel.

After speaking with Sethi and walking through their options, Rachel and Brian both see that they could have avoided this argument altogether by talking through their emotions and having regular money conversations.

“There are usually a lot of different paths to a rich life,” Sethi said. “But in order to find the best path, you have to acknowledge how you feel about money.”

Check out the full podcast episode here.

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The salary negotiation trick that works ‘time and time again,’ says ex-Goldman Sachs recruiter

It’s never been easier to see how much a job will pay before you go into an interview.

More than a dozen states, cities, counties and Washington, D.C. have passed pay disclosure laws, where employers of a certain size are required to list the salary range of an open job. And more than 1 in 4 workers in the U.S. now lives in a place where they’re entitled to see pay ranges on job ads.

But once you have that information, how can you actually leverage pay ranges to negotiate a job offer?

It’s as simple as asking one straightforward question in a job interview, says Chanelle Howell, 31, a New York City-based recruiter who’s interviewed hundreds while working for Goldman Sachs, Bridgewater Associates and through her own consulting company.

She recently gave this example: Say you’re interviewing for a position that states the salary range is $100,000 to $150,000.

In an interview with the hiring manager or recruiter, ask: “Can you tell me what skills and experiences separate the $100,000 candidate from the $150,000 candidate?”

This question will prompt the interviewer to explain their compensation strategy for the role. For example, they might say a candidate in the top end of the range has a certain number of years in the field, managed a certain number of people, led specific projects or is an expert in specific skills.

Use this information to then shape what skills and accomplishments you can discuss based on your own background. The key is to repeat these qualities throughout your interview, Howell says, to help build your case for why you’re a star candidate.

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Then, “later in the negotiation process, you can use their literal words to justify why you deserve more money,” Howell says. By the time you reach final conversations and get a verbal offer, it’s time to run through how you meet the expectations of a top-paid candidate, then counter the offer with your desired pay at the top end of the range.

“The key is to push your potential employer to quantify exactly why someone deserves that dollar amount and then to create your story around that,” Howell says.

Put another way, “get them to give you the answers.”

What to do if you don’t know the salary range

Even if you don’t live in a state or city where pay range disclosures are required by law, you can still point out that it’s a growing practice and that you’d like to apply it in your situation: “Given new pay transparency laws, a lot of companies are sharing pay ranges with candidates. Can you share the range for this role?”

Howell says she’s seen this strategy work “time and time again” among the people she coaches. One recent client who works in marketing used this framework to negotiate a 20% increase in the initial offer, or a roughly $15,000 to $20,000 boost.

Of course, in addition to presenting herself well during the interview, “she was the best candidate,” Howell adds.

Some job descriptions may list salary ranges that are too wide to be helpful. In those cases, still ask what puts a candidate at the top of the range. For example, a recruiter might say the top of the range is reserved for someone with decades of experience, or a level of seniority you don’t have yet. If that’s the case, Howell recommends asking what the median pay level is expected to be, and what helps a qualified candidate stand out even a little more than that.

And just because you don’t get the very top of the range right away doesn’t mean you won’t work your way there. Howell says it’s possible the posted range includes the salary growth expected of the role after a few years.

Remember that the base pay range doesn’t always consider total compensation, Howell adds. Other elements like a signing bonus, performance-based bonuses and equity can be negotiated at a later stage.

That’s especially important as wage growth has slowed following a post-pandemic rise.

Ultimately, “your first calls with the recruiter or hiring manager are fact-finding missions to use those tidbits of information to build your case at the end and state why you deserve more money,” Howell says.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.