AAA calls, was I supposed to tip the Tow truck guy?

My week is starting out well. Got 10 feet from my driveway and heard thump, thump, thump. Flat tire. I was dressed for a meeting at work and didn’t want to risk grease/dirt stains on my nice clothes.

AAA guy came quickly and changed the flat. He scanned my AAA card. No charge. He seemed to be disappointed I didn’t tip him. I didn’t even think about it until he was in his truck pulling away.

Are you supposed to tip? Aren’t a lot of these tow trucks run by the owner/operator?

I wouldn’t object to tipping. I was just distracted and concerned about missing this meeting at the VC’s office. Gosh knows what my boss is agreeing for me to do. :smack:

I got to run. I’ll check the thread later today.

No, I have never tipped one or heard of anyone else doing so either.

Me neither. Still, no harm in trying, right?

I have a nephew-in-law who is a tow truck driver. Apparently he gets tipped regularly - he said he made $103 in tips over the weekend.

Which doesn’t answer the question of whether you should tip the driver, but people certainly do.

I have AAA and I always try to tip the tow driver (if I have the cash). I have no idea if you’re supposed to but it seems like the right thing to do.

Was it an actual AAA truck, or a contractor? AAA only actually owns and operates tow trucks in a few cities, otherwise it’s just a regular tow company that contracts with them. It could be that the driver gets paid some percentage commission and was disappointed to see you whip out the AAA card, which means he only gets his cut of whatever pittance AAA has negotiated the price of a service call down to instead of the princely sum they would have charged had you called them yourself.

Never heard of tipping the tow guy, but I guess in certain areas where they don’t make much it is reasonable. Around here they make over 20/hr, so I wouldn’t tip. Also, don’t feel bad about not tipping if you have no idea of whether it is customary. If you don’t know about it then it isn’t customary, really. Everywhere I go someone is accepting tips, and it gets annoying. I guess I feel that if someone is getting paid above minimum wage then there is no reason to tip. They are already getting paid to render the service so the employer is just passing on some of the cost of employment to you. On the other hand, if someone does really really well, then maybe a bigger wage makes sense.

I almost always tip. My limited understanding is that it’s like an auto dealer performing warranty work – the price is fixed by the manufacturer (in this case, it’s fixed by AAA) and sometimes it’s a win for the company, sometimes it’s a lose, but overall it’s a beneficial arrangement. Most of my calls are for tows somewhere near the maximum allowable distance (100 miles), and I know the towing company is losing money if I don’t tip. For a quick tire change, I wouldn’t feel so bad about not tipping.

They may not be making much off of your trip, but they’ll make it up on another one. If being a AAA tow company wasn’t a net benefit, they wouldn’t bother.

No tip from me.

The company’s overall benefit is some small consolation to the driver, who’s often paid a commission of each call. Having to spend 3 hours towing me somewhere might be money out of his pocket. Yeah, he might make it up next week or next month on a bunch of short calls, but that kinda sucks for someone living paycheck to paycheck (yes, I’m making broad generalizations about the finances of tow truck drivers.)

I’ve always tipped the tow truck guys for AAA calls. I’ve never gotten one of the actual AAA trucks, always from a local garage. And they’ve always been nice guys, in the days before cell phones, they’d find me a pay phone so I could arrange a ride if I was away from my home town, and if it was one of the home town guys, they’d even drop me at my house if they had time. They’ve always been great guys who went above and beyond what they had to do, even if I wasn’t going to their home garage.

I’ve never considered tipping a tow truck driver but now I’ll probably be wondering if the guy’s expecting it during any future tow. I’d have a hard time tipping even if I wanted to, though. I have cash on me less than half the time and I’ve never had a car warn me that it was going to have an emergency far enough in advance to rectify that.

I tip the driver when it’s a long tow (>50 miles) but I rarely do so for an in-town tow unless the driver is very helpful or something about towing my vehicle is very difficult ( my vehicle and several others had all of our tires slashed in a parking lot and the driver had a hard time getting my car onto a flatbed tow truck. I gave him $10 for his efforts)

It’s a matter of choice. If you feel that that he/she deserves a tip, then do so. It’s not an obligation.

I feel better that I didn’t tip him. If I get a flat switched out again then I’ll tip $10. Just because it’s more work for the guy then just towing.

At first he just wanted to aid air and I objected because the tire shop I use is 16 miles away. Wasn’t sure how fast the tire would deflate. Turns out I had a 1 inch cut in the tire. Must of been a hunk of metal. Nails don’t make a gash like that.

$160 for a new General Grabber HTS tire (mounting and balance). my van uses 235/75R15’s. light truck tires. ouch. hurts replacing one of those.

Typically it wouldn’t occur to me, but I did give the guy a big tip last weekend because he had to brave the TERRIFYING HELLSCAPE that is Glenwood Avenue by the mall on a Saturday.

As I age, I tend to tip more often and more generously. What’s a few bucks to me, when I’m in a position of trying to decide whether to take just the two or bump it up to three vacations this year?

I tipped the last guy because he spent an hour trying to get my car out. He was from a local shop and knew I was using AAA. To me, the AAA dues plus tip are still way less than a normal tow would be. I had my father give it to him and he said the driver seemed surprised. Maybe it’s a Yankee thing not to tip??

Never heard of tipping the tow-truck driver.

I’ve said this before (probably ad nauseum), but this is my main problem with tipping: keeping track of all the different tipping situations and proper amounts. In a restaurant, I’m a good tipper: 20% as a floor for anything except genuinely abysmal service, and I’ll go into the 30s for good service at a place I frequent. So I’ve got nothing against tipping.

But I’ve got other things to think about besides keeping track of where you’re supposed to tip, and how much. If you were landed gentry in 19th century England, knowing that stuff was part of your job, since you didn’t have a real job. But I have a real job, and a complicated life, and I know to tip in a few frequently recurring situations - restaurants, the pizza delivery guy, my hairdresser, the skycap at the airport. Everyone else is on their own.

The first time I called AAA, I had locked myself out of the car. The weather was horrible, but didn’t involve towing. I tipped the guy, and he took it without batting an eye. Then after asking around (including here), I learned that people don’t usually tip, especially for just getting into the car. So I stopped tipping. If the guy ever does something really extraordinary, I’ll tip, but not for routine assistance.

IMO tipping is appropriate f he does some real labor or it’s nasty out when he is doing the work.

As a side note tow drivers (or more specifically the business owners) on AAA contracts do not get that much per tow. It’s a constant complaint in the tow industry. Do you take the AAA (or other auto service) tow contract and the bundle of requirements involved and get the volume with the fixed relatively low per tow rates, or do you avoid that work? The auto services have very sharp pencils.

Why would someone tip a waitress just for bringing them food? When someone does actual real labor for you of course you tip them! I know I’ll hear the argument that waitresses don’t make much hourly. Why would you assume a tow truck driver, or the guy that delivers your appliances, etc. is making great money and doesn’t count?