My massage therapist is a terrific guy. He’s young, with a young family and I know he doesn’t have a ton of cash. He rents a room in my chiropractor’s office and he’s a Registered Massage Therapist, not one of your spa ladies who lays stones on your spine and relaxes you but can’t give you a receipt for your workplace health coverage reimbursement.
So here’s my question: should I tip him? I’ve been going to him since my car accident in February and I haven’t tipped. My reasoning is that he is a medical professional providing therapeutic services. I wouldn’t tip my chiropractor or a doctor or nurse. In a spa, you tend to tip someone who gives you a massage or a pedicure because it’s not really a health-related service as much as a purely enjoyable one. They even provide little envelopes in which to stuff your tip and it’s part of the culture. He and I never exchange money. After my massage I go to the lobby and pay the fee to the receptionist.
I found a very mixed reaction to this question at work. Some felt I should be tipping him and others agreed with my perspective. I certainly don’t want him to feel that I don’t appreciate him but I believe tipping him is inappropriate. I’d rather give him a Christmas card with a gift card for a nice bottle of his favourite beverage or something like that than risk handing him cash in the very professional and medically-focused environment where I retain his service. But maybe I’m wrong.
What do you think?