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Tourists who insist on tipping regardless of the custom

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11. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 8y

Quoting outcast

As a rule I do not tip, ever.
The same in Pakistan with an auto rickshaw struggling to find a hostel, we agreed a price but it took ages to find the place. In the end they had no room and it was late. The guy went out of this way, so I tipped him, again when he did not ask for anything.
)

A sincere thank you and an imitation of the Japanese bow will be appreciated. A warm smile, a tap on the shoulder, a hand shake... ANYTHING BUT CASH OR COINS...

We dont want to put a tag price on generosity or hospitality. We are training locals to put these cultural values to oblivion. They will expect all travellers to do the same. If you are a teacher, how would you feel if the students TIP you... That happened to me. My ultra wealthy students assumed that I am underpaid, so they wanted to pay me. I told them I am not teaching for the money. That was very insulting. Even if the intension is good. I am overpaid!

12. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 8y

I actually think it's quite important to gear your tipping to cultural expectation.

I tip as a matter of course in the US, for example, unless the service is terrible as it forms a part of the expected wage of the service staff who are going to get poverty wages if people don't tip them. I usually tip restaurants in the UK, unless service was poor - but not on top of any service charge, unless the service was excellent, and I tip taxi drivers and bar staff when I've had good service.

On the other had I don't tip in countries where there is no cultural expectation - it quickly leads to the expectation that any foreign tourists will pay a bonus rate. It's important to be aware of what a sensible rate is too - the expected baksheesh in some parts of Egypt, for example, is a bit out of the backpacker price range now, due to the prevalance of package tourists handing over 20 dollar bills for the smallest favour.

13. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 8y

Quoting Swept Away

A sincere thank you and an imitation of the Japanese bow will be appreciated. A warm smile, a tap on the shoulder, a hand shake... ANYTHING BUT CASH OR COINS...

A sincere thank you was given, as did I speak in Urudu to him in thanks too. I don't believe a Japanese bow in Pakistan would have been appreciated given the context of that night nor location. The money covered the cost of his fuel, his dinner, and his time not to mention lost earnings from the amount of time he spent helping me.

Quoting Swept Away

We are training locals to put these cultural values to oblivion.

I understand you point (i think, and hope). But disagree under the context of the above.

Quoting Swept Away

If you are a teacher, how would you feel if the students TIP you...

I have been a teacher, I have been given tips by students, parents, education staff and government officials. These tips came in the form of money, home cooked dinners and paid dinners, music, movies, free transport, laughter and friendships. I have felt very good about it.

14. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 8y

a resort in CEBU, Philippines, BANNED tipping. The logic is that the staff should treat everyone with the same hospitality.

15. Posted by nics26 (Budding Member 55 posts) 8y

Just thought I'd add my thoughts ... I'm a hairdresser and live on my tips. I don't expect them, but I know if I get tipped then I've done my job well!

The amount tends to differ by age group I find, the older clients tip minimal and the middle aged tip very well, with the youngsters in the middle. I dont ever expect a percentage.

Plus I dont kiss ass to get tipped, if I have done my job well then I can usually tell by the look on clients faces, this sometimes means so much more, because I know I've made that person happy and good about themselves!

I only tip we're I think it's deserved, if I receive bad service then no way would I reward it!

16. Posted by Danielsw25 (Budding Member 50 posts) 8y

Hmm, nobody seems to be on the other end of this! Now, let me start by saying that I am not one of the "typical ignorant Americans" or what have you that do not pay attention to social customs. If I don't get a place, I sure as hell buy a book, learn some phrases and about the social norms, and adhere to them...

However, things in the US, and all of North America I take it, are a little different. There are minimum wages, but especially in the East Coast, they can be set lower if you can reasonably expect tips. I am better off than most servers I come across (and I don't make much money at all) and I have been in their situation before, so why not throw them a tip? Most people that don't get this don't seem to realize, we are NOT the norm in some cases. There are so many extremely rude people that come through that treat servers and other service industry people like garbage. When they get a nice and normal person, they are probably thrilled. If you are a nice customer, often times servers won't care if you don't tip well. I am generally a great client to have, and I generally tip well because I have been in their shoes, and you never know when that generous tip I gave them makes up for all the crap they have had come through their door that day (I can't believe how common dining and dashing is!).

As a bartender, I have been threatened by gang members and treated like garbage, among other things. Luckily, the bartender is one of the FEW jobs where the customer isn't always right. You treat me badly, well, I guess you will be waiting a LONG time for your drinks. You don't tip? Well, that is fine. Most of the time my job isn't that hard really, it can be a lot of fun, and I get to meet a lot of people. But when that guy next to you just walks up and has already dropped $20 in tips, you can bet that he is going to get served before you, sorry. That is just the way our culture works.

To touch on the actual issue though, I must say that I WANT to tip those people that help me or seem to go the extra mile, but I know it is considered "wrong" by their social norms. I don't do it in most cases, but when I get better service than I could expect at home and they don't even expect added compensation, it just makes me want to tip them more. It isn't me saying "here you did a good job and I know you don't make that much", think of it more like "man thanks for your help, let me buy you a beer without actually going out and buying you a beer". Of course, I have only done this once, when I was just blown away by my treatment. Sometimes, I just get a feeling that I have it really well off, though by US standards I am small potatos. That cake bartending job can make me $400+ on a good night. Why should this guy who makes $5 an hour and shares a flat with four other people their age just to get by feel bad that someone wants to say "you are doing a good job and I know it is tough" in a monetary way? Again, I pay attention to the social norms, but next time you criticize a tourist for tipping in a culture that they shouldn't, maybe you shouldn't be so critical... What is wrong with spreading the love and wealth after all? Of course, maybe they are just ignorant idiots. I just wanted to impart that there could be alternate reasons.

17. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

I had this discussion with my in-laws, who were just over from Ireland. Seems they left a 5% tip instead of the usual 15% and the waitress politely informed them of their oversight.

What happens in Canada is that people who work in the service industry--like waiters and waitresses--are paid a salary that takes into consideration that they'll be tipped 15%. That means many make a base salary that's less than minimum wage. Plus, at the end of the year, they're taxed on the assumption that they consistently made 15% tip all year. So when people leave them less, the difference comes out of their pockets. Not great for someone struggling to make ends meet.

I agree that bad service deserves a bad tip. But try to remember that tipping isn't just a custom here--it's someone's livelihood.

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 7, 2008, at 4:01 PM by tway ]

18. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 8y

Quoting Danielsw25

but next time you criticize a tourist for tipping in a culture that they shouldn't, maybe you shouldn't be so critical... What is wrong with spreading the love and wealth after all? Of course, maybe they are just ignorant idiots.

The reason why people shouldn't tip in a culture where it is not the norm is because it then changes the whole culture of this place. For example, in the majority of Asia, tipping is not a cultural norm and if people consistently tip, then it becomes expected of everyone and you get rolled eyes, huffs and people generally hanging around after helping you, demanding money because they have told you where a pharmacy is! It drives up the basic cost of everything...not just for the tourist but for the locals that live in this place as well.

If I were to visit the US or Canada, I would tip the 'expected-but-non-mandatory' 15-20%, I would factor this into my budget as this is a cultural norm but here in Asia I don't tip because this is not a custom here, my return to their restaurant is enough of a tip (locals have told me this).

What has annoyed me in the past is seeing two Americans finish a meal (in Asia) which cost the equivilent of $2 and they tipped $4! This was in a restaurant that we visited often...the staff looked at each other, grinned and then when they brought the change from the bill to other customers started saying, 'change for me'. Needless to say this restaurant was then empty of customers over the next few days because of the hassling from the staff for tips.

19. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 8y

Quoting loubylou

Quoting Danielsw25

but next time you criticize a tourist for tipping in a culture that they shouldn't, maybe you shouldn't be so critical... What is wrong with spreading the love and wealth after all? Of course, maybe they are just ignorant idiots.

The reason why people shouldn't tip in a culture where it is not the norm is because it then changes the whole culture of this place. For example, in the majority of Asia, tipping is not a cultural norm and if people consistently tip, then it becomes expected of everyone and you get rolled eyes, huffs and people generally hanging around after helping you, demanding money because they have told you where a pharmacy is! It drives up the basic cost of everything...not just for the tourist but for the locals that live in this place as well.

If I were to visit the US or Canada, I would tip the 'expected-but-non-mandatory' 15-20%, I would factor this into my budget as this is a cultural norm but here in Asia I don't tip because this is not a custom here, my return to their restaurant is enough of a tip (locals have told me this).

What has annoyed me in the past is seeing two Americans finish a meal (in Asia) which cost the equivilent of $2 and they tipped $4! This was in a restaurant that we visited often...the staff looked at each other, grinned and then when they brought the change from the bill to other customers started saying, 'change for me'. Needless to say this restaurant was then empty of customers over the next few days because of the hassling from the staff for tips.

Thanks LL, an excellent answer, and an excellent argument!

20. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 8y

Quoting Daawgon

Quoting loubylou

Quoting Danielsw25

but next time you criticize a tourist for tipping in a culture that they shouldn't, maybe you shouldn't be so critical... What is wrong with spreading the love and wealth after all? Of course, maybe they are just ignorant idiots.

The reason why people shouldn't tip in a culture where it is not the norm is because it then changes the whole culture of this place. For example, in the majority of Asia, tipping is not a cultural norm and if people consistently tip, then it becomes expected of everyone and you get rolled eyes, huffs and people generally hanging around after helping you, demanding money because they have told you where a pharmacy is! It drives up the basic cost of everything...not just for the tourist but for the locals that live in this place as well.

If I were to visit the US or Canada, I would tip the 'expected-but-non-mandatory' 15-20%, I would factor this into my budget as this is a cultural norm but here in Asia I don't tip because this is not a custom here, my return to their restaurant is enough of a tip (locals have told me this).

What has annoyed me in the past is seeing two Americans finish a meal (in Asia) which cost the equivilent of $2 and they tipped $4! This was in a restaurant that we visited often...the staff looked at each other, grinned and then when they brought the change from the bill to other customers started saying, 'change for me'. Needless to say this restaurant was then empty of customers over the next few days because of the hassling from the staff for tips.

Thanks LL, an excellent answer, and an excellent argument!

It takes 4 dollars to turn a restaurant to a brothel. Then they start developing stereotypes... Japanese tourist, oh extravagant! Koreans, stingy! Americans, stupid and rich,.... Southeast Asian keep- go eat someplace else.

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