How much should you tip in Mexico City?
It's a topic that comes up on Expat/Digital Nomad groups in Mexico City every so often as you can see here.
Yesterday, I had an Uber Eats driver bring me Little Ceasers Pepperoni pizza in Iztapalapa.
My total was 151 pesos. I tipped him 10 pesos. Which is 6.6%. He was happy with that, gave me a smile and waved at me wishing me a "buenas tardes!" and a "provecho!"
In other cases, I've given as little as 5 pesos for a tip and gotten a similar positive reaction in Iztapalapa, Pedregal de Santo Domingo or other poorer areas of Mexico City.
Where said 5 peso tip is almost 3% of a tip.
And yet they are happy.
On the flip side, sometimes I am more generous with the tips.
As I wrote here, I accidentally made an Uber driver cry and gave him what was basically like a 25% to 33% tip (whatever is was) because I kinda felt bad making him cry.
When going out to a bar on my 27th birthday in Roma area of Mexico City as I wrote here, they were trying to give us a 15% required tip on the bill.
I think it was 15% but it was some higher number like that.
It was definitely a nicer bar too. Nicer than what I normally go to.
I would've been OK paying it but the girl I was banging stood up for us and insisted we are not paying such a high tip.
She was paying most of the bill anyway since it was my birthday so I didn't argue for or against the 15% as it was her money.
She was also from a relatively poorer background.
Not poor poor as she was an accountant but did live by Indios Verdes.
In one other case, I remember going to a bar in Centro Historico on that Madero street with a former girlfriend.
A very touristy street with tons of tourists passing by every second.
They demanded we pay a higher tip than normal and I got into an argument with the waiter.
He got in my face and we almost got to the point of hitting each other but he backed down and I paid what I demanded.
Obviously, we didn't go back.
Though what I did tip was pretty normal in what you see in other venues.
It's been years and I know I wrote about it before briefly but I think I insisted initially that I give 10% but was insulted when he acted entitled to more and started giving me shit.
So, even though I don't remember right now, I guess I probably gave him nothing but it could've been 10% at most.
Something like that.
In most other cases though, I usually give 10% unless I'm broke as fuck like I was living by Cuatro Caminos as I wrote about here years ago.
On the flip side, I remember living in Pachuca de Soto of Mexico and going to some house party.
Some dude had beer and other stuff delivered to the house and I remember them giving the dude a fairly generous tip of some percentage that was probably higher than 20%.
But obviously it depends on the venue and finances of your friends as you could have guessed by now.
How Much Should You Tip in Mexico City?
I'm going to break this down with the information relevant for those living in 2022 and I'll assume most of what I'll say is relevant for those in the years after (outside of maybe exact percentages).
First, keep in mind that some European types will insist we shouldn't tip at all because they are snobby cunts who can't imagine tipping even 10% despite 10% probably being like 50 cents to a dollar.
Yes. The guy working remotely from Paris, France is crying about having to pay 10%.
These types will also insist that it's the Americans bringing the tipping culture over.
As I wrote here, that's ironic.
These are the people who insist they are well traveled but haven't been to areas where Americans don't go in Latin America like I have and where tipping is still hoped for but less strongly encouraged.
But it still happens.
And, even in touristy areas or non touristy areas, still encouraged by the locals who are not from the US and have the autonomy to demand a tip without it being Americans forcing it on them.
Second, you have some folks who look at all Latin Americans like poor brown peasants that can barely afford to wipe their own ass and so they feel some moral obligation to demand that EVERYONE tip some high percentage like 30%.
Effectively, they just feel sorry for them and want to give them more of their money.
....And probably their wives too.
Third, having said that, it might be the case that you, as a foreigner, think that tipping 20% isn't anything to worry about.
A "why not?" attitude.
After all, it doesn't mean anything to you.
On your 4 dollar meal at some local mom and pop restaurant, a 20% tip is only 20% of 80 pesos and so just 20 pesos for the tip.
Just a dollar then.
So why the fuck not?
When you earn 2000 a month, it's not going to break the bank.
You don't necessarily feel sorry for the locals or see them as incompetent, helpless people but you recognize that their salary is just 300 a month and that extra dollar doesn't mean shit to you given how cheap everything else is.
I get that.
Fourth, what about when the gringos increase the standards of the locals working in the service industry?
Then, without question, it raises the standards for everyone else and sometimes those who conform to the previous standards get shit on or worse treatment.
Like me almost getting into a fist fight with a waiter in Centro Historico where you could throw a rock in any direction and hit a foreign tourist.
In such an area, standards for the tips are higher even though you literally could go walking 10 to 20 minutes in any other direction and easily find a place that is cool and maybe even thankful for a 10% tip.
Therefore, given the higher tourism in any place, you have more entitled locals that get bitchy when you don't act as an ATM machine and will more increasingly see you as such anyhow.
It's not just with the tips but with everything.
It's harder to make friends with locals in such areas because they only see you as an ATM machine or a free English tutor.
Way too many hustlers outside.
Among other issues for everyone.
Ruins the vibe of the place overall.
On top of that, as I wrote here, it makes things worse for the local wanting to visit a place of importance in their own country.
Where they are seated last, not given as ideal treatment, expected to pay the higher tips as the foreigners do and, as you can see here, maybe even get less than ideal seating too.
Sonora Grill Racism Mexico City
Where, above all, the local (especially one who doesn't appear to be as wealthy) is not a preferred client and is treated as such.
It's not just the higher tipping though that contributes to all of this but the general greater ability of the foreigner to pay higher prices.
Their simple existence, in mass tourism, contributes to this also (regardless of how much they tip but that contributes to it).
Fifth, outside of touristy areas, you might find yourself going to a higher end restaurant somewhere.
It could be in a touristy area but not always.
In such a place, a 10% tip isn't going to cut it.
Sixth, who your friends are matters.
If you hang with higher end locals, they will probably tip more because they tend to go to nicer restaurants in neighborhoods that tend to be nicer and/or more touristy.
Also, they are used to tipping more and paying more because they get charged more sometimes for their appearance of having more money for example.
Or they wish to pay more at certain places they see as nicer.
They can afford to do so obviously.
So, when you see another foreigner saying that all their local friends tip more, it's probably because their local friends are relatively better off than most locals.
I'm not saying they live in the nicest apartments of Polanco but they aren't living in Iztapalapa either.
Seventh, assuming your friends are not better off financially and you aren't going to touristy or upper class restaurants or bars, then you'll probably be tipping 10%.
This is also assuming that you aren't in Roma Norte or Condesa either.
Though, when I last lived in Roma Norte on Durando Street, there was one mom and pop restaurant that I went to for years.
Back when I lived there in 2017 and again over a year and a half ago.
In both cases, I could get away with a 10% tip but it was a mom and pop place that I never saw other foreigners eating at despite being in Roma Norte.
So, even in a foreigner heavy area like Roma Norte, you can find some places that are OK with 10% tips.
....Especially if it's just street food but that place wasn't.
Finally, is there anyone else you should tip?
I tip Uber and Uber Eats. Seems expected.
For taxis, I don't tip them. Weird. Why tip the Uber driver and not taxi? Just seems like taxi drivers don't expect it in my experience but Uber drivers do (likely because Uber is a foreign company).
For haircut places, I don't tip or get expected to tip unless it's a nicer place where the haircut is going to be 300 pesos alone and they have pictures of black haired, white Mexicans all over the walls.
Where the staff even asks me if I want a drink before we begin.
I used to go to one place like that close to Metro Chapultepec years ago and they didn't need to tell you to tip.
It was so nice that the energy of the place told you by itself to your mind that tipping is required.
Though they were cool with the tips just being 10%.
It was a nice place but, had it been just a few minutes walking to east in Condesa, then probably they would've wanted 15%.
Outside of that, I more often go to cheap haircut places that charge like 50 to 70 pesos and they never expect a tip but I always offer a little bit.
Like 5 pesos or whatever.
The most I ever tipped was one haircut place in Pedregal de Santo Domingo in Coyoacan at the beginning of Covid and the haircut lady was complaining of the lack of customers casually to me.
It seemed like she was close to going out of business with so many fewer customers.
I think I gave her like a 40 peso tip on a 40 peso haircut if I remember right. It's been years.
Otherwise, I might not tip for haircut places but normally would go for 10 to 15% if I do.
For street food spots, I never tip. They once in a while have some "tip can" on the side but the expectations are never there in my experience.
Did I miss any places to mention?
Oh yeah -- don't tip your landlord either. I know that's obvious but the socially stunted Europeans who don't know when to tip or not might need to be told that.
Anyway, that's all I got to say.
If you got anything else to add, drop a comment below.
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Thanks for reading.