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Profile of vovin
Well another thing to take into consideration, is how the guy is dressed, if he's wearing an Armani suit and $400 Italian loafers, than I'm definitely taking the tip and his Rolex watch, if I can get it off. Smile
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Profile of espmagic
When I am in my opening, I say that I have been paid by the hotel/restaurant, and so they don't have to tip me. But then I add that if they choose to tip me, their tip will be included in the total that is being sent to charity (which charity depends on the day I am working). So, if it seems like I am soliciting tips, I can say that it goes to a worthy cause! I get applause from the client, from the customers, and from the charities! A win-win situation!
Brandon Harper
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Austin, Texas
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Profile of Brandon Harper
I think that it totally depends on the situation. For instance, when I am working at this one restaurant, I am paid well by management and therefore try to convince the audience to tip the waitstaff instead of myself. This makes the waitstaff very happy, and they tend to recommend you to the tables. On the other hand, when I am doing bar magic, I do not solicit, but I do accept without question. Just be sure to not come across as pushy or arrogant. There is a fine line between cocky and confident and I can guarantee you that confident gets more money.
Brian Proctor
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Profile of Brian Proctor
When doing magic for people, I've never asked for money. But if people want to, doesn't hurt me to say no. But I do magic for the pure enjoyment of making people remember a moment in their life that day.
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Hobart Tasmania Australia
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Profile of amagician
A special thanks to Vovin for the origami money link, unfortunately the plastic notes we have in Australia don't work too well.
I started by not accepting tips (and tipping is NOT the default behaviour here though it is becoming more common). In part, I didn't want people to put off return visits by the thought that they might have to tip the entertainer.
But the vibes I got encouraged me to accept what was freely offered. Emphasis on FREELY.
Now, what's others' experience with being offered drinks?
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Joe M. Turner
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Atlanta, Georgia
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Profile of Joe M. Turner
I do not hustle tips, nor do I expect them. I do politely accept them when offered directly. It is nice to get them, but if I go home with no tips, I still have the paycheck I came to work for.

In my restaurant, sometimes a table will try to tip me after the fact, sending the money with one of the waitstaff. I never accept money by courier like that. I just tell the waiter or waitress to keep it.

I once came in and one of them had held a tip for me for a whole week, waiting to give it to me. I told them that they should keep it. I don't expect them to hold money for me or keep up with my tips.

Sometimes you hit the good tips, sometimes you get nothing. Sure, it can be exciting when the tips are high and you are about to double your pay for the night, but that is not my motivation. I frequently go home with very few tips and I'm still excited by the job.

One of the waiters asked me why I didn't focus on the tips more... he thought I should press the issue. I told him that the tips were gravy. It's different for me... those folks DEPEND on the tips as part of their pay.

Anyway, it's good to be back on this board and participating again. I joined and then pretty much drifted away last summer, but decided to give it another go. It's a little hard to find discussions -- so many little cubbyholes to peek in -- but fun nonetheless.

Joe M. Turner
Mark the Balloon Guy
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Tampa Bay Florida
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Profile of Mark the Balloon Guy
I guess I will be the designated hustler of the group. I accept and expect to be tipped.

Yes, I am paid by the restaurant, less than my private party rate. My tips maybe as much or more than my pay and it can be zero. It varies.

I am known more for my balloon hats and the magic takes a second to that. I also wear buttons that say "I accept tips" "tipping is Okey Dokie"

I also wear a garter on my arm with a $20, $10 and a $5 fixed on to it. Bold? Yes it is.

As for honor, if someone asks "do I have to tip you" my answer is no, but you may if you like what I do.

Dishonest? no I do not think so. I have been a tipped employee most of my life. I consider it performance pay, if I do good my pockets bulge.

As for the climate in a restaurant .... the waitstaff loves me. I make them more money, I also turn tables for them faster, I make kids eat, and I control children and make them sit down. Sometimes I chuckle to myself cause I feel like the "Balloon Nazi" (think Sienfeld) I use the balloons and entertainment as a reward system.

In a private or corporate setting, none of the buttons or garter is present. If I am offered tips I will gently decline, with a whisper "I am paid to do this" If they persist, I will accept and pocket quickly to not alert the other guest of the action.

A final word on tipping in general. I am originally from NY/NJ I had "uncles" that were just like Steve Martin in my Blue Heaven. They tipped for everything and tipped big. People tended to be happier and more responsive to their needs.

Here in Florida we live off the tourist industry. Tips are income. Many tourists have a philosophy similiar to Peter Maruchi's. I am not saying he is wrong just a little misguided. In Canada and Europe most waitstaff is paid a working minimum wage. Here in the States and especially in Florida, waitstaff are paid $2.13 per hour. The reason they are paid that is so the government can tax them on a minimum of 8% of their sales. One stiffed tab significantly cuts into your profit margin. Most waitstaff live barely above poverty level, some do well but not unless they are well disiplined in their money.

They have to sell over $500 worth of food just to break a $100 for a shift, that is if people tip out at 20% meaning they are good at what they do.

I do believe the trend is about to change, but not any time soon.
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark theBalloon Guy
"Bad to theBalloon"
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Profile of rnaviaux
On a related note. I was recently at "Cold Stone" (Ice cream shop.) I noticed a jar for tips and had made up my mind to tip when another customer put a buck in the jar. All of a sudden all the staff came out singing this horrible song. My frame of mind changed to "I'll tip if it gets them to shut up", otherwise no way!

I feel one should politely accept it and don't make a big deal out of it. This is one of the ways an audience will contribute back to the performer. (Applause is another!) I think there is a connection between the two. Just like we wouldn't try to shut an audiences applause down we should just gracefully accept the tip.

Later give it to the staff if that's what you want to do. But don't cut the audience from contributing to you.

Disclaimer - I'm sure there are exceptions to this.

Mark Alan
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St. Augustine Fl.
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Profile of Mark Alan
I do the same thing you do Steve, tell them to pass it on to the waitstaff. the staff can be a great help.
Mark Smile
Peter Marucci
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Profile of Peter Marucci
The argument for and against tips can go on forever (and, on some boards, it has!).
Bottom line:
It's something everyone has to decide for him/herself.
It depends on the venue, your style as a performer, the audience, and a host of other variables.
What works one night may not be applicable or acceptable the next.
I never do, except in street work.
But that's just me.
Others are different.
Use your own good judgment.

Old joke:
"How do you get good judgment?"
"From experience."
"And how to you get experience?"
"From bad judgment."

Peter Marucci
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Profile of M.P.D.
I agree with j.r. on it depends on the place but more often than not I'll accept the tips. I guess I am just used to being a bartender for one, second, I do perform for a lot of bars, restraunts and comedy clubs and when I am offered a tip, I'll take it.

I have not known any server to be upset by it. I also like to tell the group I am performing for, that it was the server whom originally requested that I perform for that table. I have recieved a lot of positive feedback from the servers because of this.
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Profile of jecar
I have always based the amount of my tips on how well I was served. If the waitstaff provides satisfactory service, I'll respond with a nice tip, that's within my means. If I tipped an entertainer, it would be for performing an entertaining show and my tip would be part of my appreciation. If I tipped an entertainer for this reason... and I found out the entertainer handed it over to the waitstaff after I'd already tipped them... well, I wouldn't be too happy and it would make me think twice about tipping in the future.

Just thought I'd add this from the other side of the issue. Smile

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Cheshire, UK
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Profile of Munskin
I once saw a magician accept tips at a private party I was attending, who then seemed to spend most of the evening trying to pick up ladies with his sponge ball routine. The host never hired him again...

My policy is simple: I never solicit nor accept tips if I'm performing at a private party (I'm uncomfortable even talking to potential clients about bookings!). If I'm in a restaurant, I don't solicit, but gladly take them if offered. I know how awkward I'd feel if a tip of mine was refused.
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Profile of Maynooth
In Australia tipping is just not the done thing. I can't see anyone ever offering a tip at a private party here, huh uh, no way!

However, in a resturaunt situation, on occasion, they are offered.

I feel that on approaching a table you need to make it clear that your services are complementary. They are off the hook if you are lousy but willing to watch if it's not going to cost them anything. Then you prove yourself to them.

Would you refuse applause? No.

Would you refuse a compliment on your show/routine? No.

A tip is a way for the patron to show that they appreciated the entertainment you have provided them with.

Would you refuse a tip? I don't think you should. BUT, I also don't think you should solicit tips. A top line magician says on his video that he always tells the customers that he'll do one more trick and then he has to move on. This gives the spectator the chance, if they want to, to find their money before you are walking away from the table.

If you feel strongly about not taking the tip share it with the staff but take the compliment.


Work hard and be good to your mother, Dougie!
Don't worry the other Aussies will understand it.

The race is long and in the end it is only with one's self.
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Profile of kellser121
I always accept tips, as I think that as they are offering it to you without you asking then you must be doing something right and it seems as though it is a way they can repay you for entertaining them.
Just my opinion,
Mike Robbins
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Anchorage, Alaska
447 Posts

Profile of Mike Robbins
For those times I did restaurant magic, I generally did not accept tips. I got more follow-on bookings at higher $$'s than I would have made getting a couple of bucks here or there.

I pretty well kept people from tipping by my approach. I would tell them that my performance was a gift to them from the establishment. When offered a tip, I'd graciously try to avert it. If they then insisted, I'd take it. But my approach made it so that happened to me only once.

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Profile of steve43
I am 16 and live in the UK and am quite new to magic, I especially like card tricks. What interested me in magic was seeing the reactions from people.

From reading the above posts, I think that it is rude to push for tips and will downgrade your performance as they will feel you used them to get money. I feel mentioning tips at the start may create an uneasy atmosphere to perform in, it is brought up do what you feel is right at the time.

I have only really done magic to friends and other students at college. So have not really been in tipping positions at all.

I have one experience in Italy on a ski trip with college. We would all go to the bar every evening and I was doing card tricks. I did one on the barman/hotel owner and he was so amazed that he gave me a drink. On the last night I did the best tricks I had on him and he was blown away. He brought me another drink. As we were leaving I did one last trick and he was so grateful he gave me a sovernir t-shirt. I accepted all of these gratefully (and very shocked) as he was extremly apprecietive and had never seen anything like it. I expected nothing from anyone and did it for the fun of it. Without him noticing I left him a pack of my cards I had used for the tricks with a euro note folded inside as the service had been great there.

Everyone reading this has a talent and should use it for enjoyment, don't forget why you started out in this buisness.

Great site. Thanxs all
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