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Tourists who insist on tipping regardless of the custom

Travel Forums General Talk Tourists who insist on tipping regardless of the custom

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61. Posted by Danielsw25 (Budding Member 50 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

So I avoided this for a while, not wanting to be the person sticking up for tipping, but I just wanted to mention that the post earlier about ignoring the American custom of tipping was very sound. That is a pretty interesting thought that it is considered rude to tip when it is not expected, but those that don't tip when it is are supported, and even lauded for their willingness to stick to their guns.

Regardless, I was pretty surprised to see this thread grow like this, especially considering the OP stated that they didn't forsee much debate over the matter.

But the thread has got a little off track. I think it is pretty safe to say that the VAST majority of people on this site are not going to tip when they are not supposed to. Unfortunately, even when we feel it is appropriate or when we have the desire to say "thank you" in a more substantial way, it just isn't socially correct in some areas. I understand that I must swallow my discomfort at this because it is the custom and right thing to do . I am sure many of the North Americans agree, especially when $1 is a HUGE contribution to the server/driver/tour guide/etc. After all, it is only $1 to us...

Now the tipping issue in America is a wholly different orange to peel. Even in our own country, we are mixed on our feelings. That is sort of the point of the USA though right? To have so many conflicting ideas... Regardless, I tip well and welcome those who tip well. I recently went out for drinks and tipped $3.50 on a $9 dollar tab - 38%! It really isn't a big deal for me, as I made $150 in tips Saturday. I support the idea of tipping and honestly believe that you can earn a lot more than you otherwise would by being good at your job. I have in the past, and look forward to in the future, made $400+ in a night, on top of $10 an hour... Yeah, most people won't start making that kind of money, but you never get the best job right off the bat. You start as a hostess or busser, or you start at Denny's, and then you work your way up.

To comment on the "complicated math" and such, that is a bit of a hyperbole. A reasonable restaurant will run you $10 a person for some food, which you can turn into 11.50 pretty easily if you want. You just go into it knowing you are going to tip and add it to the price. Also, many people only tip on the price before tax, so that saves you a few pennies.

What is even more ironic, is I have had discussion recently, and most bartenders end up going into sales. We talk about tipping in this thread, but it goes well beyond that in the USA. Salesmen can make a salary, a base salary plus commisions, or be paid completely on commisions. These jobs can be extremely high paying jobs, $200k a year plus, but you have to be good at them ;).

I am curious to know if other countries have this idea as well. It seems very similar to tips, but on a much grander scale!

But to recap, I don't think anyone is arguing that it is OK to tip regardless of custom. However, in the USA and other places, it IS the custom to tip, and so shouldn't be ignored except dire situations. I once left no tip because my girlfriend pressured me as our service was terrible.

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 16, 2008, at 3:46 PM by Danielsw25 ]

62. Posted by joffre (Respected Member 157 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I've heard the sub-prime mortgage sales people did really well with that commission-only model.

63. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

....Erm....I'm just kind of curious...naturally, ....on what , :JOE THE PLUMBER, thinks.....

Because, I must be way too stupid, to figure this out on my own.....

(Joe...not really his name....."plumber".......not yet, I think...)

Open up a business with no money, no merit.... Um....

We are heading into this depression, and I want to talk about Joe....somebody?

64. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

OOPS, Sorry,

This thread is about tipping.

So...still curious, the person on the street, who makes their money off of tips? No one has really responded to that.

I understand good service as opposed to bad.

What about musicians...street performers, etc? Culturally, what are your thoughts?

65. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2001 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Yes, it might be true that the culture in the US demands universal tipping, but my "not so educated" observation is that this world is getting smaller by the hour, and eventually customs will more or less merge into a common tipping custom - it is already, much to my distaste! I see these high rollers (just look on sites like Frommer's or Fodor's or Tripadvisor) tipping regardless of custom, basically spoiling it for the rest of us, and eventually changing the system. Look at Thailand for instance, or even Australia - customs have changed over the years. I just wish we could roll back history and enjoy an earlier time.

66. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I always tip because I am British and it is nice and the right thing to do

67. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Daawgon

Here's the list of minimum wages by state/territory in the USA. Glad to say that soon Oregon will have one of the very highest at $8.40.

Canada seems to pay much better:

These are the minimum wages throughout the world:

It does appear that Canada pays their workers a bit more than Americans do, but you must take the worth of the Canadian dollar into consideration. Right now, the Canadian dollar is worth about 80 to 85 cents on the American dollar, making the minimum wages in Canada actually comparable to some of the minimum wages in the United States.

That said, minumum wage in Canada is for their workers an amount below the poverty line. In Alberta, as you have seen, the minimum wage is $8.40/hour Canadian. However, the cost of living is much higher. To live above the poverty line in Alberta, one needs to make at least $13.50/hour and work a full 40 hour week. Consequently, many of my friends work two or three jobs just to make ends meet, even while attending University or College. About four months ago I was offered a job as a busser in a busy diner-style restaurant in Calgary. Ultimately, I turned it down because a) it is really hard work b) I would only be making minimum wage plus about 1-2 dollars on average in tips and c) I had a problem with the uniform.

To add to the disgussion on tipping norms in countries around the world, in Canada it is customary to tip 15% for good service in a restaurant. Twenty per cent would indicate exceptional service and 10% would indicate sub par service. Once I tipped 5%- only once- because the service was especially poor. By the end of our meal, I felt like having a fit. Generally I follow this rule. However, there are quite a few times when I feel inclined to tip 20%. Yes, I know that this seems steep if you are coming from a country where tipping is not culturally accepted, but here it is, and the service industry people in this country would appreciate (not expect, I hope, but appreciate) if you would. As for other places besides restaurants, I think it is safe to apply the same 15% rule. If it is a doorman, or a housekeeper, where a percentage cannot be calculated, then a toonie or a fiver would do.

Most of the time, I do not run into extremely poor service at a restaurant or even at a hair salon. (At least, if I get a bad haircut they usually fix it for free.) Flagrant awful service, in my opnion, should not be rewarded, and I do not support the idea that tipping is mandatory.

Finally, as someone who has worked in the service industry in several capacities, I understand the feeling that comes from receiving a tip. At one point, I was a dishwasher in a mountain resort. The job was incredibly tiring and physically demanding, and I worked hard. One day, one of the servers came in and gave me ten dollars, which is astronomical for a dishwasher to recieve. She told me the patron appreciated my hard work. It encouraged me so much, and gave me a new energy to work even harder. For someone to be so thoughtful, for someone to think of the never-seen dishwasher and tip them, that was amazing. Tips, unlike what many of you seem to be saying, do encourage good service and diligent hard work.


68. Posted by C.Butler (Full Member 6 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Ladymacwil

So...still curious, the person on the street, who makes their money off of tips? No one has really responded to that.

I understand good service as opposed to bad.

What about musicians...street performers, etc? Culturally, what are your thoughts?

I would definitely tip a street actor if I posed for a picture with him/her and he/she stuck out his/her hand (and probably even if he/she didn't). I also regularly give money to street musicians. Since I'm in NY and there's literally dozens everyday I can't give money to all of them, so I give money to the ones I like. I do think that if you appreciate them being there performing and you want them to be able to continue, you should support them.

I'm not a rich person. I just think it's better to err on the side of generosity. In most situations we're only talking about a few dollars, if that. It's good karma and it's good for the economy. It's good for everyone. I don't know if this is preachy enough yet but I am laying down gospel after all. So bear with me. I believe in following the customs of the country that I'm in and when I haven't figured them out (because I'm an asshole), I'd rather be a generous asshole than a cheap asshole.


69. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Thank you C.Butler for your response.

We have discussed people who make "some" kind of wage...and we tip. But what of those people who depend independently on tips? What is the cultural difference?

70. Posted by C.Butler (Full Member 6 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I'm not sure if I understand exactly what you mean by "depend independently on tips." Do you mean people who work exclusively for tips and make no wage? (street performers?) I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at. But if I do understand you correctly then I think the difference is this:

In one case there's a person who has had a service requested or expected of them in a profession where they've been formally employed (a server or a cabbie for example), and the other is performing a service at the request of no one but quite possibly the enjoyment of many (a street musician for example). I would argue that it lies in the individual's agency, or their ability to act and make decisions as an independent person. In the case of the server or the cabbie, it's more difficult for them to refuse you service without suffering drastic consequences than it is for a performer to stop performing. If a server doesn't want to serve you, they lose their job. If they want to go home, they can't because they have to wait until their shift ends. But if a street performer doesn't want to perform, they just don't. They can say no, or move to a different spot, or just go home with little effect. I think the main difference is that the street performer has more of an immediate choice.

Along the same lines, street performers are artists, and so we expect and allow them to choose their material and mode of delivery. No one comes to them and says, "this is the way we do it on this street. You can't play those kinds of songs. Cheery songs only buddy." But with a server or a cabbie, they have to follow protocol and acceptable cultural procedure, which is stringent. Not only do they have to do just about everything you ask for at the moment you ask for it, they have to be happy about it too. Once again, the performers have more choice.

I also think people's personal expectations of a street performer are lower than that of a server or a cabbie. People don't expect every street performer they to see to be fantastic, and they're not as judgmental of the experience as they are of service people. But people expect good service every time they sit down in a restaurant, regardless of the talent and mood of the server. They sometimes even get cranky and condescending if they don't get it. Yet I've never seen anyone complain to a street performer that they don't like their music.

I still think the bottom line either way is this though: If you expect/enjoy/ or otherwise want a particular service to continue, you should expect to pay for it somehow. If you don't want to pay for it (by whatever method there is in a given area), then you can't expect it.

Anyway, I hope I gave my thoughts on the right question, Ladymacwil.