A READER ASKS Do You Tip on a Free Service?

Dear Lily,
              when you receive a complimentary service, should you tip the person performing the service? I received a free bang trimming at my salon and was wondering if I should have tipped the stylist who did it and if so how much?

G from Toronto

Dear G,
            who to tip, when to tip and how much seems to be a bit of a confusing road for some of us. There is a rule I like to follow in these situations; if someone has performed a service where they have personally interacted with me and that interaction has benefited me, pleased me or just made my day a little nicer, I like to tip them regardless of whether I have paid for the service directly or indirectly.
For example, my family likes to occasionally dine at a restaurant that is owned by a friend of ours. Every once in awhile, our friend treats us by picking up the tab (what a nice guy, right!)  but we still leave a tip for the waitress that served us that evening. Regardless of who pays the bill, the waitress is still an individual who performed the service of taking your order, bringing your food to the table and making sure that your dining experience was pleasurable.
If you are happy with a service that you have received, whether you have paid for it or not, the person who performed the service should be tipped if they merit it and you are so inclined.

Lily Lemontree


  1. Great advice!
    I hate those awkward situations!!
    Have a PRETTY day!

  2. Perfect instructions, you have summed it up nicely.

  3. Indeed. You tip the bellman who carries your bag free of charge...its good in many situations.

  4. ... ouch and I got few free eyebrows trims, and never left anything. Anna :)

  5. I always tip... It's not the waitress providing the free meal, it's the owner/manager.