24 Services You Should NEVER Tip On

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Tipping can be a nice way to show appreciation for good service, but it’s not always expected. Sometimes, tipping the wrong person while they’re working can cause problems, and in certain cases, it might even be against the law.

Government Employees

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Tipping government employees isn’t just discouraged—it’s illegal. This includes a range of public servants from police officers and firefighters to DMV and postal workers. 

Offering cash to a government employee is considered a bribe, which can attract unwanted legal attention. No matter how helpful they’ve been, you really want to avoid tipping them.

Grocery Store Employees


Tipping at grocery stores, especially at the self-checkout, isn’t expected. 

It may feel odd not to tip the person bagging your groceries, but rest assured, tipping isn’t a part of the grocery store culture. These employees are paid at least minimum wage, and tipping them isn’t standard practice.


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When you’re billed for catering services, check if there’s a service charge included. This charge generally covers labor and service, making further tips unnecessary. 

If the service is exceptional and you feel inclined to offer something extra, that’s entirely up to you, but there’s no obligation to do so.

Restroom Attendants 


In upscale venues like fancy restaurants and hotels, you might encounter a restroom attendant offering various services. If you’re just stopping by to freshen up your makeup or adjust your hair, tipping isn’t necessary. 

Even though there might be a subtle pressure to tip due to their presence by the door, a polite “thank you” is perfectly adequate.

Corporate Services

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For professionals like accountants, lawyers, and consultants, their fees cover their depth of expertise and operational costs—tipping doesn’t factor into the equation. 

Offering a tip could misrepresent your intentions, appearing more like a bribe than a kind gesture. These professionals rely on the strength of their skills and formal agreements, ensuring all dealings are straightforward and adhere to professional standards.


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Tipping is not customary in educational environments, as it could potentially undermine the integrity of the teacher-student relationship. Teachers earn their living through salaries, steering clear of the tipping culture common in other sectors. 

If you want to show appreciation, opt for a heartfelt thank-you note or a small gift during special occasions like Teacher Appreciation Week, rather than cash.

Museum Staff


When you visit a museum, tipping the staff isn’t generally something you want to do. Museum guides and other personnel usually earn a set wage and operate in a setting that prioritizes education over personal service. 

Museums, often educational or non-profit, focus on sharing knowledge rather than on services typically associated with tipping. What’s more, many museums have strict no-tipping policies to ensure everyone gets the same level of service.

Mail Carriers


Tipping your mail carrier might seem like a nice gesture, but in many places, it’s actually not allowed—especially where mail carriers are government employees. This rule helps keep the postal service fair and unbiased. 

While you can offer small gifts to show your appreciation during the holiday season, handing over cash is usually a no-go.

Furniture Delivery


If your new couch or table arrives without needing assembly or special setup, tipping isn’t expected. The delivery fee you paid with your purchase is meant to cover all aspects of the service. 

However, if the delivery team goes above and beyond—perhaps navigating a tricky staircase or a narrow doorway—a tip might be a thoughtful way to say thanks, though it’s certainly not required.



When hiring a professional photographer, you’re paying for their skill, time, and use of equipment, so additional tips aren’t typically expected. 

If you’re thrilled with the service, consider showing your gratitude with a positive review or by recommending them to friends. These actions often mean more to them than a tip.

Hotel Housekeeping

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Tipping hotel housekeepers can vary dramatically depending on where you are. In some places, it’s common practice and greatly appreciated; in others, it’s not the norm. 

To avoid any faux pas, it’s a good idea to check the local tipping customs and the hotel’s own guidelines before leaving anything.

Retail Store Employees


When you’re shopping for clothes or electronics, the helpful staff you interact with are paid a salary or hourly wage—part of what you’re already paying for. 

In these retail environments, tipping is not something you’d see very often, plus it’is practically unnecessary. Adding a tip could complicate the straightforward nature of pricing and transactions in these stores.

Employees Working on a Cruise Ship

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The tipping culture on cruise ships can be tricky. Most cruise lines include gratuities directly in your bill, covering the service you receive on board. The employment practices of cruise lines can be quite complex, and adding extra tips can further complicate matters. 

If you’re ever in doubt, a quick chat with the floor manager can clarify how gratuities are handled. Generally, if your bill already accounts for tips, there’s no need to add more—unless you encounter service that truly goes above and beyond.

Wedding Bartenders


While tipping is usually expected at typical bars, bartenders serving at a wedding or any other catered event usually have their gratuities included in their pre-paid services. While they might still bring a tip jar to the event, rest assured they have been compensated. 

If you’re unsure about tipping practices at the event, it’s a good idea to check with the event organizer about expectations for tipping servers and bartenders.

The Staff in Non-Sitting Restaurants


In places like juice bars and bagel shops where there’s no server waiting on you, tipping isn’t a must. These establishments often have a tip jar at the register, and while the staff certainly appreciate any extra you throw in, it’s not expected. 

Employees in these settings typically earn at least the minimum wage, unlike their counterparts in full-service restaurants where tipping heavily supplements their income.

Professional Contract Services


For professionals such as plumbers and electricians, tipping isn’t part of the equation. These skilled workers bill for their services or are paid a living wage by their employers, making tips unnecessary. 

Feel free to pay your bill knowing that you’re supporting their craft and livelihood adequately without the need for additional gratuities.

Food Truck Workers


There’s no need to tip at food trucks. These operations are often run by the owners themselves, who don’t have servers that rely on tips to make a living wage. 

While supporting your favorite food truck by purchasing their delicious street tacos or artisan crepes is great, adding an extra tip on top isn’t necessary—you’re already paying for their tasty and budget-friendly food. 

Library Staff


Tipping is not standard practice in libraries, which often function as public resources or educational facilities. Library staff receive a fixed salary and do not expect tips for their services. 

Offering a tip in this setting could be seen as inappropriate or even against library policies. Libraries serve as community pillars, focusing on education and public service rather than on service-based gratuity.

Doctors and Nurses

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Healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, are compensated through salaries or specific fees for services. Tipping in medical settings is generally viewed as inappropriate and can violate ethical standards. 

The focus in healthcare is on providing quality care and adhering to strict professional ethics, not on customary tipping practices seen in other industries.



Dentists, like other medical professionals, earn their income through service fees or salaries without expecting tips. Introducing tipping into dental care could undermine the professionalism and ethical standards of the practice. 

Accepting tips could also raise concerns about the fairness and impartiality of the dental care provided. Trust and professional integrity are the foundation of the patient-dentist relationship, not tipping.

Mechanics and Appliance Technicians


Mechanics and appliance technicians, like many skilled tradespeople, are typically well-compensated through their wages. While tipping isn’t a standard expectation, a sincere thank you, a positive review, or referring new customers can go a long way in showing your appreciation. 

Michigan Appliance Repair noted that only a small percentage of customers tip, but those who do usually leave around 10% of the total repair bill. 

Public Transit Drivers


Public transit drivers, such as bus and subway operators, are salaried employees integral to public service infrastructure, where tipping is uncommon. 

The structure of public transit systems often makes it impractical to offer tips, as there is usually no direct financial interaction between drivers and passengers.

Flight Attendants


Flight attendants are salaried employees whose primary role is to ensure passenger safety, which goes beyond standard service duties. 

Tipping is not typically expected in the airline industry and could potentially lead to inconsistencies in service. Their responsibilities encompass safety, security, and customer care, far exceeding the usual expectations of service roles where tipping might be customary.

Servers in Some International Cultures


Understanding tipping etiquette when traveling is crucial, as practices vary significantly around the world. For instance, in countries like Japan and China, tipping can be seen as insulting, as excellent service is considered a standard duty. In contrast, countries like Mexico, Canada, and many in the Middle East expect tips more generously, similar to the U.S.

Europe presents a mixed scenario where a modest service charge might already be included in your restaurant bill, making additional tips unnecessary. If the service was exceptional, a tip of 5% to 10% is generally more than enough, unlike the 15% to 20% commonly expected in the United States.

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Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.