So the other night I'm out with my ladies eating dinner, and a table-side magician approached us. Before I had children I would have tried to avoid it if I could, and if I couldn't I would just tell him that I wasn't interested. But now I've got a three year old who, although her experience with magic is very limited, her experience with balloon animals is not.
So after it was all over, it occurred to me that I should give the guy a tip for the floating card trick and the pink dog on a white balloon leash. So I handed him $4, to which he thanked me and went onto the next table. But it occurred to me, how much are you supposed to tip the magician?
As it turns out, I happen to know a guy through a friend of mine who is a magician and who has some experience working table-side, so I emailed him (quite out of the blue from his persepective) to find out what was appropriate. As a magician with an MBA, he gave me a rough frequency estimate of what people tend to tip:
$2 (20%); $5 (60%); $10 (15%); $20 (5%)
He said the high-end would be for tables of many adults where he "freaks them out" for 7-10 minutes, and small families like mine with a few tricks and some balloon animals would be $2 - $5. He also said many restaurant magicians are paid by the restaurant and shouldn't accept tips (I've never seen one), and those that work solely for tips usually work it into their act somehow ("A person wanted to leave me a tip once, but all he had was this poker chip...").
So I guess $4 is a decent tip for the situation I was in. And if you've finished this lengthy post about tipping magicians, chances are you have way too much time on your hands.
(A person was looking to figure out how much to tip the magician, but all they had was this random blog entry...)
[Big thanks to Frank from ConnectWithMagic.com - the best slight of hand guy I've ever seen close up.]