Dear Urban Diplomat: what’s the etiquette for tipping with Groupon?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what’s the etiquette for tipping with Groupon?

(Image: Vincent Desjardins)
(Image: Vincent Desjardins) 

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I used a Groupon recently to get my hair done at an expensive Rosedale salon. It saved me 65 per cent. When it came time to pay, I tipped 20 per cent of the reduced price and got the stink eye from the counter girl. Was I being cheap? What’s the etiquette for tipping with Groupon?
—Tipping Point, DANFORTH VILLAGE

When you’re using any sort of voucher, it’s good form to tip 15 to 20 per cent of the pre-discounted price, since the stylist, or whatever employee serves you, is ostensibly putting in the same effort she would if you were paying full freight. Otherwise, she’s penalized for simply doing her job. There are probably instances when an employee will be aware that you’re using a coupon and make a half-assed effort, like the servers at Winterlicious restaurants who assume their tips are going to suck. Then it’s okay to reduce the tip. In this particular case, if you’re concerned that your bad tip has exposed you as a tightwad, worry not: the coupon clued them in long before your gratuity breach.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com