01/17/2012 02:59 EST | Updated 01/17/2012 03:03 EST

Tipping Etiquette: Is 20 Per Cent The New Norm At Restaurants? (PHOTOS, POLL)


We've all experienced this quandary: we swipe our credit card after stepping out of that salon chair and debate whether to leave a tip... or not. And then, once we walk away, we wonder if we've tipped too much or too little for the new 'do we're sporting.

Yes, tipping has become an anxiety-riddled activity. Thanks to credit and debit card machines programmed to specific denominations, the feeling of guilt may overwhelm some who choose not to leave a little somethin'-somethin' for their favourite barista or fabulous masseuse. And it seems many Canadians don't really understand proper tipping etiquette.

Part of the problem is there's a lot of confusion out there -- especially, it appears, in big cities like Toronto. Common practice has been to tip 15 per cent for service at restaurants, but now, some places across town, are implementing a minimum 20 per cent tip at the end of their bills. And if restaurateurs -- not personal choice -- begin to dictate how much we tip, where does that leave us in the grand scheme of things?

Some people believe if you're at a salon and get your hair cut by the owner, you should forgo the tip. But etiquette experts say tips should be anywhere between 15 and 20 per cent, and never below $5 -- no matter what the person's position is at the salon.

When it comes to hotel services, 15 per cent is usually welcomed, with $1 or $2 given for each bag handled by the bellhop. For takeout, don't feel obligated to tip, and tip jars at coffee shops are usually there for regulars to drop in some change.

And experts suggest even when not completely satisfied with the service you've received, it's polite to leave at least 10 per cent.

So we want to know: when do you think you should tip and when shouldn't you? And if you don't mind being deemed a notoriously bad tipper, can you just forgo the tip? We've come up with some ideas below. And let us know your thoughts on Twitter.

Expert Advice: What To Tip And When