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A guide to tipping at your local concert venue

According to a June 16 report from the Sydney Morning Herald, it can get quite confusing for customers to figure out who to tip and how much. Tipping is especially confusing at concert venues, being that its out of the realm of ordinary life. Most people know to tip waiters and waitresses when they go out to eat, but what about food runners at a performance arts venue? The average person probably isn't so sure how to handle tipping in that situation.

Concert venue staffers often rely on tips
Photo by Eric Holden

Here's the thing: Since federal minimum wage in the United States is just $7.25 per hour, many concert staffers rely heavily on tips to earn a living wage. Figuring out who to tip is as simple as deciding who has been helpful. If a bathroom attendant at a concert venue hands you a paper towel, its okay to leave a dollar as a tip. If he or she goes above and beyond by giving out gum, cologne or mints, leave two dollars.

While it may seem silly to tip bathroom attendants, its important to note they do far more than just hand out paper towels. Bathroom attendants at concert venues make sure the bathroom is clean from beginning of the show, to the end. They also maintain the peace, and make sure there are no fights in the bathroom. They also help with security, by keeping on eye on people trying to smoke cigarettes or do drugs in the bathroom. To be honest, its important for attendants to be there.

Elsewhere, a one or two dollar tip is perfectly acceptable for coat check attendants at a concert venue. Since a standard tip is 20 percent, one dollar would be enough to cover the three or four dollar charge for coat check. They are performing a valuable service, so a tip is expected. When it comes to beer and food servers in concert venues, it gets a bit more tricky. Food runners often get tipped out by waiters and bartenders at the end of the shift, so they don't usually get tipped by customers.

Tipping a bartender is essential though, and one dollar per drink is the standard. For waiter service, its typical for customers to tip 18 percent for good service and 20 percent for excellent service. Elsewhere at the venue, there may be security staff. They do not need tips because they are paid handsomely with an hourly wage far higher than most of the rest of the concert staff. Finally, parking attendants deserve at least two to three dollars in tips.

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