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Tourists who insist on tipping regardless of the custom

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21. Posted by Rraven (Travel Guru 5924 posts) 8y

I only tip if it is part of the culture and only if I get good customer service, similar to Tina's example I was told once upon leaving a restaurant in NY that i hadn't left a tip and I still had time to do so, this was explained to me in a rather loud deliberately embaressing voice, instead of backing down I stood my ground, the restaurant had a service charge, the food had been cold, the waitress was extremely slow, rude and unhelpful, but even after explaining this to the waitress she still wanted a tip, its annoying that someone would think that they can do a bad job and be rewarded for it, and to be honest I don't like the Canadian way, either a service charge should be added or the wages increased, I don't like to think that I have to tip because of government taxes, it doesn't encourage good customer service though that may have been the idea ??

In general my boyfriend (dutch) doesn't tip at all and will not agree to tipping above 10% even if the service is exceptional........though some of my american friends tend to overtip even when its undeserved.............

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 8, 2008, at 5:58 AM by Rraven ]

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

LL, I completely understand your reasoning behind your argument, and I fully support it.

Even in the US, after I took that bartending job, I didn't care at first if I made ANY tips. I remember the older bartenders getting mad for walking with $50, and I was completely stoked to be making ANYTHING (course, I made $10/hour before getting turned into a bartender and after, so I didn't care). After a while, I started to expect more and more. I gave good service, and I was very fast at my job, which is what equates to a good bartender most of the time. Now it is just a weekend job for me, a chance to meet people, make a little extra cash, and get a break from the weekday job, so I am not so concerned with the money.

This was a lengthy explanation of how even in the states we become expecting, and to change another culture in that manner is terrible.

So there is no way to differentiate between a "wow you really helped me out, you really went the extra mile and probably made some sacrifices to do so, let me say thank you in a way that can help make up for that" and a "well I have the money, you don't, and I am used to doing this at home, so here" attitude?

As for western cultures, the part about many making poverty wages without tipping is very true. In California at least, minimum wage is usually not enough to support someone working even full time (hence why I boycott Wal-mart!), and that is what servers make. If tipping were done away with, and everyone got bumped up to $15 or $20 an hour which is similar to what I heard from an exchange student in Australia, I would fully support that. But that won't ever happen... I rarely eat out, and depending on my service and the mood I am in, I will usually tip pretty well, and that is my reasoning behind it. An extra $2 to me is nothing really, but to that server, an extra $2 from every person, can really add up.

Though I don't exactly work in a place where a random traveller will come through looking for a meal or drinks, I am pretty sure that I would fully understand that they are budget travelling and wouldn't expect much of a tip from them. I would much rather talk to them a bit and get to know them and hear some stories. Of course, in the US, a person actually desiring and willing to take the "risks" of travelling are much harder to find than in other countries, so I would doubt many servers have a similar attitude. But to actually go as far as to say you didn't tip enough or something, well that just reflects on the person, not the culture as a whole.

Another question I have. Is it more common to find people expecting tips in more popular destinations? Some destinations I have read up on are very confusing! Tips expected in some cities and not in others... There is no consistency.

23. Posted by joffre (Respected Member 157 posts) 8y

So it appears that tipping is the norm in the States, Canada and the Phillipines for some (?) low paid positions such as bartending... do all low paid workers (eg. cleaners, shop keepers etc.) get tips from their employment?

24. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Quoting joffre

So it appears that tipping is the norm in the States, Canada and the Phillipines for some (?) low paid positions such as bartending... do all low paid workers (eg. cleaners, shop keepers etc.) get tips from their employment?

Speaking only about the US, those types of tips would depend on the type of relationship you have with your cleaners, etc. (I'm guessing you mean either drycleaner or housekeeper when you say "cleaner"). Traditionally, professions such as a housekeeper, would more likely receive a bonus of some sort at Christmas or year-end. (Not necessarily a monetary "gift"). Shopkeepers do not receive such gratuities unless you choose to offer one because of excellent service - it's not the norm.

Wages for wait staff and bartenders is notoriously low - under minimum wage - because of tipping. Because gratuities are normally given for service, the employer takes that into consideration when figuring out salaries. The problem (and it's been one for quite awhile), is that tips are now expected whether the patron received good service or not. I have seen wait staff follow patrons out of the restaurant demanding their tip just because they showed up to work and set down a plate - nothing more. Tipping is a thank you for being served in a timely manner and diligently. But, it is also relatively common knowledge that wait staff are poorly paid so people tip regardless of the service. Typically, the person bussing the tables (clearing dishes) is not tipped by the patron but gets a portion of the wait staff's gratuity, though that's not 100% of the time.

I haven't read every single post in this thread so please excuse me if I am repeating something here. In the US, the services that normally receive tips are cab drivers, bartenders/wait staff, hairdressers (and usually the person who washes your hair as it won't be the same person as the stylist), hotel bellman and (possibly the doormen), concierge (if they have arranged something specifically for you), massage therapists and restroom staff (if they have handed you a hand towel - yes, some higher end hotels and restaurants still employ restroom personnel). Average tipping is 15-25% for most services.

25. Posted by joffre (Respected Member 157 posts) 8y

Actually I meant people who clean your office or workplace when you leave for the day... so what your saying is only some low paid workers (ie. ones you have listed) that have direct contact with the public are eligible for tips...

26. Posted by summer910 (Respected Member 1342 posts) 8y

I'm utterly clueless about tipping, coming from a country that doesn't have a tipping culture - we have the service charge usually written into the bill. So I have no idea when I'm supposed to tip unless prompted by friends.

I didn't know you have to tip cabbies in the States How did that practice come about?

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

Oh, I am sorry Joffre. I was responding more to LL. To answer your questions:

Yes sometimes these people are tipped as well. It is actually quite common to leave $5 or so for the maids who clean your hotel room, especially on an extended stay. I worked at a hotel in Alaska for a few years, and while it was slightly different than a typical hotel (really they were condos designed for extended stays by seasonal workers), tips would still pop up from time to time (thank god I only had to do 3 days of housecleaning as "training").

More and more commonly, tip jars are appearing in almost all restaurants and cafes. Places like Starbucks and Subways for instance. When I really think about it, I do find it rather funny that we are expected to tip the server in a sit down restaurant, but we don't tip the person who actually makes our food in a Subway because it is "fast food".

I think when it boils down to the essence of things, we tip someone who provides a service or can affect our experience. It is slightly complicated I suppose, but to me it is rather simple because, well, I live here. Probably similar to something I read about the idea of a "mate" in Australia. While the closest thing we have to that is friend, the idea is extremely different. Rather confusing if you don't understand it, but crystal clear if you do.

Servers and bartenders can greatly affect an experience. A server can make my time spent in the restaurant more enjoyable or less enjoyable. If they are very friendly, maybe make some jokes or respond well to my jokes, get my order perfectly and leave me wanting nothing for the hour or so that I am there, then they have earned their tip. As a bartender, I might only be opening a beer for you and taking your money, but when I don't have to immediately turn to the next person, I can make your time at the weddings I work more enjoyable. I have engaged in long conversations with bored individuals, people my own age who felt out of place, kids, etc. I have also run interference and made a bride or grooms experience a little better than it might have been simply by giving away a few drinks here or there. Literally, I would say that I have averted disasters with no more control than I pour liquor. I pour through a 150+ person party nonstop for 2 hours and get a lot of compliments on my ability to keep that line moving. It isn't an easy job at times, and other times it is cake. But the fact of the matter is that I can greatly change a person's experience for the better or worse in some situations, servers a restaurant even more so. For that reason, people tip (sometimes).

Another lengthy explanation by me there, but I hope that clarifies things a bit more. Some of those other individuals you don't see on a regular basis, maids, cleaning folks, etc. and they get the "out of sight, out of mind" treatment. They might occasionally get a tip, but I would say it is much less common. However, people like teachers and postmen, around the holidays they tend to get a lot of gifts from their clients/students. You could potentially look at this as a tip I suppose. If so, then the people who are tippable are nearly limitless.

Some places have begun to refuse tips. Safeway is a major grocery outlet on the West Coast, and the people who bagged your groceries and took them to your car if you needed that service used to get tipped regularly. Now they are instructed to refuse. Of course, in the USA, if I really want to tip someone, I will make it happen, rules or not.

28. Posted by Tsjebber (Full Member 58 posts) 8y

Tipping is and always has been a big issue. I lived in different countries in Europe. i.e. Netherlands, Austria. I've been working in the hospitality business about all my life. Worked in simple restaurants, beachclubs, bars, pubs, clubs and fancy restaurants.
Have done about the whole palette of hospitality :) Of course tipping is a personal issue and everybody should decide for themselves what is good or not. What is comfortable or not but still it's an issue to discuss about.

I actually think I tip for quality and service. What does this mean. When I recieve a friendly service ( i get the feeling I'm welcome) and the quality of my product is good as well ( of course I'm less critic about some fries with a sausage as with a 4-course michelin menu) I'll tip 10% in Europe. Mistakes should be allowed but should be solved properly as well. If service/food is bad i tip way less. If service ignores my complain there's no tip at all. I think it's proper to take a look at a country's tipping rules as well. My 10% would be 20% in the States.

I cant speak for any other parts of the world, but in western Europe people tend to tip less and less over the last few years. Interesting is that a guests expectations get bigger and bigger over the last few years. Here in Austria people also start to say: Why should i tip, I pay enough for my dinner. On the other hand they complain that service got so bad in hospitality the last few years. Fact as well is that proper schooled staff gets harder and harder to find in hospitality. If I worked my hours in another field of experience with my qualities I would earn double the money I'm earning now. I work in one of Austria's best quality restaurants and at the end of the day tipping is in between 3 and 5% of turnover. If this way of thinking doesn't change we can expect that hospitality is going to get way worse than it already is.

Everybody should think for themselves what they think of this discussion, but people that don't tip should not complain about service and quality as well.

My 2 cents :D

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

Here on the W. Coast of the USA (Oregon, Washington and California) I've noticed a trend toward more self-service restaurants, and I will patronize them more frequently because tipping is not much of an issue there. There is usually a tip jar on the counter, but at least you're not followed down the street if you choose to ignore it. We also have a very large food take-out industry in this country and more and more regular restaurants will have a separate take-out counter (no tip expected). When someone orders pizza delivered here, a tip is expected by the delivery person.

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

Tsjebber makes some valid point in his post. And I like Daawgon's reaction by going to self service places now.

I might just incite a riot from the North American service industry here. But when I was in North America I never once saw a 'tipping is mandatory' sign in any place I ate. I seriously follow the rule that if person providing a service, be it taxi, eatery or even tour went above and beyond their duty then they deserve a tip.

I understand the points that restaurant / bar staff do not get a minimum wage before tipping. Which to me sounds outrageous?! But again if some one did not do something to deserve a tip the forget it from me. If some one complains like was mentioned in the thread they'd get an earful from me. If there was a sign saying tipping in mandatory or more like please tip our staff as we are underpaying them then that's a different story.

Adding a 10(give or take)% service charge is a norm in a lot of places too. But again I don't fully agree, just add the price onto the menu and stop adding on charges! Likewise with the tipping. To me it seems some work needs to be done on the minimum wage act in North America?