Just thought I'd revive this one with an article from that disreputable rag the Daily Mail on tipping etiquette
It suggests that bellhops should be tipped GBP5 per bag (so four bags in an hour would take the bellhop's wage to well above the minimum wage in Britain) and the Brits are baulking against it. The comments section at the end is brilliant!! There's a great one about a coach driver who left a note on each seat of his coach stating that a USD15 tip was the norm which would make a total of more than $500 for the one journey - more than many in the UK earn in a week. And there's a Greek waiter who's commented many times stating that we only serves the ones who leave big tips - no wonder Greece is in such a state.
Good article - thanks for posting :-)
It may or may not be necessary, but I always CHOOSE to tip, particularly when traveling in countries where the average per-capita income is $1.25 per day, or less. But I try not to over tip, acknowledging that it could cause difficulties for other travelers. Tipping varies from country to country. In China, there's no expectation of a tip. In Austria, people usually round off the tab in a restaurant; and hand it to the server. There are no hard and fast rules. But for me, I sometimes will tip generously for exceptional service rendered. Here's what I wrote in my journal last year on an encore visit to Ethiopia:
"In one town, before we got to an asphalt road, we stopped at a decrepit hotel for lunch for Zed. I asked to use the bathroom and it was dark and dank and I almost slipped on some human excrement. I tried getting it off the soles of my shoes (luckily only one was soiled), but was only modestly successful (I used a stick). Zed suggested getting one of the shoe-shine boys to wash the shoes for me. I did. You normally pay 2 to 3 ETB for a cleaning; and up to 5 ETB for a full polish. The young guy, who is crippled and is in the 8th grade but shines shoes part-time to make ends meet (he normally shines 20 to 30 pairs each day … busy after it rains), did a good job on my shoes. He used a bar of detergent soap. Zed got his shoes washed, too. I paid 50 ETB for both of us, recognizing the quality of his work."
Two Ethiopian birr is the equivalent of 10 cents. 50 birr is about $2.50. Sometimes I'll break the rules gladly. It's my choice. If somebody doesn't wish to tip, that's their choice. It's as simple as that.
[ Edit: Edited on 20-Feb-2015, at 15:39 by berner256 ]
"... If somebody doesn't wish to tip, that's their choice. It's as simple as that..."
1.) If you're in a tipping culture (like North America) and you're patronizing an establishment where tips are normal accepted practise then it's not up to "choice." As a respectful traveller you tip for good service. Period.
2.) If you choose not to tip then simply go to establishments where tipping is not an expected, normal business practise. There are loads of options, even in the US and Canada.
It really is as simple as that.
[ Edit: Edited on 20-Feb-2015, at 21:32 by CheersT ]
Tipping may be customary, but it's not mandatory. Many Americans, including myself, understand why it's important to tip in the U.S., particularly when they realize that some workers are exempt from both state and federal minimum wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act. These include workers who earn regular tips. Employers are permitted to pay tipped employees an hourly cash wage of as little as $2.13 an hour.
Last year the IRS began enforcing a rule that spells out the differences between a tip and a mandatory service charge. The IRS said: Tips must be made free of compulsion. The customer must have the right to determine the amount. The amounts must not be subject to negotiation or employer policy. The customer has the right to decide who receives the payment.
The following is from the IRS:
"Tips your employees receive from customers are generally subject to withholding. Employees are required to claim all tip income received. This includes tips you paid over to the employee for charge customers and tips the employee received directly from customers.
"Employees must report tip income on Form 4070. This report is due on the 10th day of the month after the month the tips are received. No report is required from an employee for months when tips are less than $20. Employers must collect income tax, employee social security tax and employee Medicare tax on tips reported by employees. You can collect these taxes from an employee's wages or from other funds he or she makes available. As an employer, you must ensure that the total tip income reported to you during any pay period is, at a minimum, equal to 8% of your total receipts for that period. In calculating 8% of total receipts, you do not include nonallocable receipts. Nonallocable receipts are defined as receipts for carry out sales and receipts with a service charge added of 10% or more."
[ Edit: Edited on 21-Feb-2015, at 04:28 by berner256 ]
"... Many Americans, including myself, understand why it's important to tip in the U.S..."
That was the only point.
I disagree with Terry completely.
As the customer, I think the deal is: you list the price and I decide whether to buy your product at that price.
I do not accept that i have accepted a responsibility to understand the scale of unwritten surcharges which differ according to place and product /service. Tapping the customer for extra is wrong. Emotional blackmail about your staff being paid low is wrong - it's your corrupt practice not mine so you feel guilty about it rather than trying to make me do so.
Anywhere that tries to blackmail me in this way doesn't deserve my custom.
Moreover, could you guys stop spreading your awful practices around the remaining decent places in the world. And sort out your signage to include your sales taxes while you're about it - if you post a price that should be an honest price that the customer is expected to pay.
Can you tell i feel strongly about this? :-)
You completely misunderstand the concept, Andy.
It's an accepted cultural norm. You can disagree all you want but that doesn't change anything. Refusing to tip where it's an accepted cultural norm is rude, poor manners and shows complete disrespect for the person serving you. If you don't want to tip then don't go to establishments where it's expected.
This isn't rocket science. It's simply being a respectful visitor in a foreign country.
I completely understand the concept, Terry. That you choose to play along doesn't mean that I am stupid.
This is anti-customer and against the interests of both travellers and service providers, in the sense that it reduces the number of customers they get. I know a LOT of people who are confused by the "etiquette" of tipping in the USA and so they don't go there. I know others who simply distain the experience of staff always having their hand out.
Tipping is one of the three big reasons Brits give for not holidaying in the USA, the others being the flight duration and US immigration.
The U.S. continues to be a popular destination for British nationals, despite a perceived disdain for tipping, the long journey and immigration problems. In fact, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office reports that 3.8 million British nationals visit the U.S. each year. The UK ranks No. 3 among visitors to the U.S, topped only by Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Commerce Department in data for 2014. Japan, China, Brazil, Germany, France, South Korea and Australia round out the top 10, in that order. British nationals shouldn’t encounter difficulties going through U.S. immigration since the UK was the first country to participate in the U.S. visa waiver program in 1988. As for the long flight, London to New York’s JFK airport was the fifth busiest international airline route in 2013, according to the International Air Transport Association. The journey takes about eight hours. To compare, it takes 8.5 hours from Paris and Frankfurt, 10 hours from Sao Paolo; 13 hours from Tokyo; 13.5 hours from Beijing; 14 hours from Seoul; and 20.5 hours from Sydney (with one stopover on the West Coast). Those long hours apparently didn’t deter visitors from those countries.
When overseas friends visit, there is one priority: Shopping. Prices in the U.S. for most consumer goods are far cheaper. Size of market is one reason. The United States is the third most populous country in the world, after China and India. There also is a lot of competition. And net per-capita disposable income is the highest, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Check its Web site: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/income/. One additional factor: There is no value-added tax in the U.S., only state and local sales taxes, ranging from 0-to 11.725 percent. Contrast that to the VAT and GST in many countries, often in the 20+ percent range.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is never to assume. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. To avoid making assumptions, I always ask questions, especially while traveling; and preparing to travel.