This is a bit of an imposition and intrusion but please bear with me for a couple of paragraphs. I want to urge and encourage you to correct a serious injustice in our tipping culture, i.e. the fact that most guests in motels, hotels, and other transient housing don't tip the housekeeping personnel. These are mostly women, many times minorities, and too often single mothers raising children, who are earning an average of $10.48 an hour with minimal benefits. This is before taxes and job expenses.
As someone who spent years working and traveling throughout the 50 states I spent a great deal of time staying in hotels and motels and became all too familiar with the hard work and low pay of these employees, who in hotels, for example, do up to 16 rooms a day: cleaning toilets and showers, mopping floors, emptying garbage, vacuuming rugs, making beds, changing towels, dusting, wash windows and woodwork, polishing furniture,, disinfecting, replenishing supplies, some rooms requiring an hour's labor .
Yet, despite these extensive services ,maids are rarely tipped while bartenders, for example, (for pouring a drink or two and walking a few feet to serve it are often tipped in hotels, a service taking minimal time and effort ) in fact the range of other service workers from the doorman to the bellboys to the waitress/waiter are ritually tipped. Somehow the invisible maids are not and their many efforts in making guests comfortable are overlooked. Perhaps the lack of personal contact contributes to this unfairness but I believe it is much more an educational deficit. We do not have a tradition of tipping maids, a situation that I think creates a serious injustice to these workers and their dependents.
As someone who grew up one of three children of an Irish immigrant who worked as a maid in downtown Chicago Hotels I can testify to the grueling work my single mother went through day after day. Tips were almost negligible but I can recall her delight when she received an infrequent tip, one which, at times, made the difference whether we ate and if she had carfare to work the next day.
I am asking that you to join this good compassionate cause by, not only tipping if you are not doing so already, but to encourage your friends and co-workers to do the same. I believe many guests would be willing to tip their maids if they were simply aware of the issue. I know friends of mine never did until I happened to mention it to them in a discussion about tipping and they said they never thought about it but would do it in the future and I'm sure most of them did.
Thanks for reading this and I hope you take it to heart, you would be making the invisible visible and if you extrapolate the dependents of 428,000 maids helping many people in the process.
Best wishes in your travels
Hello Hugheen - this is an interesting post for an international website; there are likely to be many people here who are not from a tipping culture and who don't quite understand why tipping should be necessary in a developed country. These bellboys, barstaff and maids are employed by multi-national companies who charge customers quite hefty rates for a room or drink. Most (non-American) travellers would expect that the price they are paying for the room or the drink would include more than enough for the consumables and the service provided, including the wages of the staff involved.
Perhaps it could be more appropriate for the workers who think they're not paid enough to go on strike until their employers pay them more. Or perhaps they should seek employment in a position which is rewarded more favourably. I assume each state has a minimum wage which the state legislators deem is a sufficient wage to live off. If that is the case and the wage is not sufficient, the electorate ought to vote for different representatives who will act to increase the minimum wage so that it is enough to live off. Or perhaps customers and/or workers should protest against the hotel chains until the employers increase basic wages to a suitable level.
Whether individual customers offering tips of various sizes is the answer is a moot point - it doesn't seem necessary in many otherdeveloped countries. Personally, I'm with Mr Pink!
Tipping culture seems to be spread by American tourists and is bad news for both worker and customer. As a customer I choose to buy from a vendor who gives an honest clear price - I do not want to be expected to worry about the issues described by the OP or to have additions on the advertised price. I want to see a price and choose whether to buy pr not at that price.
These sort of practices lead me away from spending my travel time (and money) in the USA.
Honestly, I don't see the big deal.
Tipping is part of US (and Canadian) culture. If you're against tipping then don't travel to those countries, or choose a style of travel where tipping is largely avoided.
Personally I think tipping should be banned. Tipping culture brings inconvenience and sometimes embarassing for travellers since they don't know whom to tip and how much they should tip. Years ago I travelled to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam. They don't have tip culture there and I felt very comfortable. Not that I'm kind of careful with money, but it frees me from considering how much and whom I should tip.
coreye, with all due respect that's an idiotic statement.
Are you proposing to ban ALL cultural anomalies around the world that you don't personalty agree with?!?!
Some places do already clamp down on it and treat it as bribery. If you tip in nz there's a chance it'll be refused and you'll get told off for eroding their non-tipping culture.
That's exactly my point, Andy.
Simply respect the culture of the country that you're visiting. If you're not capable of doing that then you shouldn't have chosen that country as a destination in the first place.
Just found this (admittedly in a not -too-reputable newspaper) stating that tipping is actually illegal in Argentina.
Tipping illegal in Argentina, haha... that may technically be the law, Boris (I've been told that too) but it sure isn't the practise. I've spent a lot of time in Argentina and have received countless restaurant bills on the gringo trail that come with a big red stamp saying, "tip not included!"
It's certainly not expected all over in Argentina, but in upper class places even most Argentinians tip 10% and tips are certainly expected from tourists.
Lastly, don't confuse the cubierto charge (for cutlery, linen, bread, etc.) at the bottom of the bill with the tip. The cubierto surcharge goes straight to the restaurant and the tip is separate...