People hate the cable guy, and not just Jim Carrey's worst movie. They don't show up when they say they're gonna! They don't unscramble all the pay-per-view channels for you like they did back in 1997 at your parents house! And I agree -- bad service does not deserve a tip. But sometimes cable guys go above and beyond, especially the satellite installers, who have to fasten a dish in some hard-to-reach spots, like your roof. If they take the time to install it, and then school you on some tips and tricks with your new DVR, or if they hook you up with some extra HDMI cables for no charge, then you need to break out the wallet. Rewarding thankless work that will bring you and your roommates millions of hours of entertainment in the future is the least you can do.
So, how much? $20
The airport shuttle driver
Airport vans are convenient ways to get to the airport in three to four hours even though you only live 40 minutes away. But they're so cheap! And that's why we love them. But because we're so focused on the cheapness of it, we forget the driver has to make a living. They have to sit in traffic and listen to people's horrific travel stories all day, and that's something you could not pay me enough to endure.
So, how much? Treat your airport shuttle driver like a cabbie, and tip 15-20%.
This is the FedEx argument all over again: they get paid well! They get benefits! Yep, some sure do. But how much would you have to be paid to deal with the kind of shit these plumbers deal with? Literally. I bet it's a lot. While Roto-Rooter says they force their employees not to accept tips, there are plenty of independent plumbers out there who deserve extra for putting up with your shit. Again, literally.
So, how much? 10% of total job, or $10 for a smaller job
Car wash employees
No fewer than 47 people hand-wash the outside and vacuum the inside of my car when I take it to a car wash. It's an amazing sight. The workers are always fast and efficient. But because there are so many of them, and people are confused about who to tip, many car owners are dissuaded from tipping at all. What if you don't give the tip to the right guy? I'm here to help clear that up for you -- give the cash to the guy handing you your keys. And they'll make sure to divvy it up with the 340 people who helped him make your 1993 Chevy Lumina look baller as hell again.
So, how much? $2-$3 for a basic wipe-down, $5-$10 on a more expensive wash
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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and loves knowing when to tip people and how much to tip them. Follow him to common courtesy at: @LeeBreslouer.