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Tipping is in the culture


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#121 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 12:58 PM

I see this discussion is still going on. Just to relate a couple of recent experiences....and for those who don't know, I'm a Canadian, I call Canada my home but I was born and raised in SE Asia, specifically the Philippines, so I have sufficient exposure to both cultures.

1) I was in New Orleans on a business trip. Had drinks with a client at Pat O'Brien's. I misread the tab(turns out the bill was folded over and I wasn't seeing the full total) and only put down enough money to pay for the booze but no tip. (Note, I thought I put down a 15% tip.) Upon seeing the money, the waiter, in a not so good tone, immediately started questioning if we had problems with his service. At first, we had no clue why he was being so testy. Now, for all he knew, I could have still left a tip prior to leaving the table, as my client and I were still nursing the Hurricanes we bought. When we finally cleared up the situation and did give a tip (around $10 bucks), the waiter never apologized and left.

2) I was in the Philippines last month, diving in Puerto Galera. I had the same guide and boatman for 1 week. They always set up my gear, lug it down to the boat, pull it off my back at the end of the dive, refilled tanks and did it over and over again for 1 week. My dive buddy asked the resort owner what was a fair tip. The owner replied, "They'll be happy with whatever you give, of course a bigger tip is appreciated but you'll still get treated the same regardless". We tipped the guide what came to be about $50 and the boatman $20.

Where's the equity in that? Who deserves the tip? Some young kid who plops a couple drink down on my table and still expects to be compensated beyond his salary for what would amount to about 10 yards of walking and carrying 1 lb of liquid or 2 guys who carry 40 lbs of gear on and off a boat for a full week, show me critters that I would not have normally seen let alone found....

Tipping used to be in appreciation for service above and beyond the expected level. Now it's pretty much mandatory (at least in North America). It's not the fault of US clients that dive staff have now come to expect a tip, but if you don't feel comfortable tipping as "generously" as some, then any tip will still be appreciated.

Just my rant.

Stu

Edited by scubastu, 06 February 2008 - 01:06 PM.

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#122 DeanB

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 03:44 PM

My tips are..

Don't eat yellow snow and don't put your colours (colors, another argument) in with your whites...

Here in blighty ite a mixed bag... Some restaurants don't mention tips but I usually drop them a wedge if the service / food was good...if it wasn't they get nowt., some put the gratuity on the bill always check because i've been duped before although i was blasted :) .I was told, by law if you didn't enjoy your meal you don't have to pay..Although that could be wrong...

I always get pee'd off when you go to a restaurant with friends and the foods great and the waitressess are cute and the service is friendly and then people moan about tips... "its only 10% you've put in way to much" i've heard after the same persons said "that was the best meal i've ever had" bleeding cheapskate.. And their usually the richest buggers on the table..

I think it should be a personal thing worldwide it should be up to you, if I've paid thousands of pounds to get to a destination and do some diving that should be it in my books they rip us Brits off for everything anyway... But If you don't like the pay you get, get another job.. its a dream job for god sake diving everyday in a tropical country that should be reward enough...Whoever tipped the miners for living in darkness and eating coal dust all their working days... ;)

I don't think all yanks are rude..although i've met some ripe ones before but I've met some arrogant Brits abroad as well...

Dive safe, tip if your happy to...

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#123 BoatMoney

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 05:51 PM

I don't think all yanks are rude..although i've met some ripe ones before but I've met some arrogant Brits abroad as well...

Regardless of the country people come from, it is almost always the floor-shitters you notice most. The gentle souls tend to melt into the background and it is seldom that they, or their country, ever get credit for their kindness or respectful behavior. No country is without their fair share, and in my estimation similar percentage, of each.

Of course judgements made upon other countries or cultures are often predicated upon an overweening and vainglorious opinon of one's own. This particular thread is evidence of that. My experience is that to the good or to the bad we are all not a 1/4-step different from one and other.
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#124 Drew

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:31 PM

"They'll be happy with whatever you give, of course a bigger tip is appreciated but you'll still get treated the same regardless". We tipped the guide what came to be about $50 and the boatman $20.

Where's the equity in that? Who deserves the tip? Some young kid who plops a couple drink down on my table and still expects to be compensated beyond his salary for what would amount to about 10 yards of walking and carrying 1 lb of liquid or 2 guys who carry 40 lbs of gear on and off a boat for a full week, show me critters that I would not have normally seen let alone found....

Stu, you're spoiling the market in PI :blush:
While I'm sure many people in all parts of the world won't say no to more money, it is still more than just what you feel is good. I dive with many Pinoy and they don't like it when I tip way beyond what they would do in PI. Is it a 'face' thing? Or do they really notice a lack of service when they arrive at the same place while I get 'preferential' treatment because of my previous generosity. They say they can't afford the same and tipping a guy 3x his normal wages for a week's work is just overdoing it.
I also remember in Africa when I hired a guy to help with carrying gear. I paid ZAR40 a day which was ZAR15 more than the going rate was, despite being told off by my local hosts it was too much. At the end of the trip, one of the other people on the boat tipped him $100 without my knowledge!!! Which way more than what I paid him for his services. He didn't even understand what that 'tip' was for but sure didn't argue about it too much. The next year, there were more guys not working their odd jobs and trying to work for me.
I went on a trip once where a person in my group would help carry the tanks from the boat back to the shop. I asked him why and he said the DM/Boat guys were doing their jobs but they aren't servants to be left with menial work. He was very popular with those guys even when we had a big tipper in the group, who like me, was more worried about his camera setup than rapport with the crew. It's not just all about money sometimes.

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#125 zippsy

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 11:25 PM

I reckon that anyone who has to count on tips and always expects one from every customer is in the wrong business. If your salary is not enough for the job you do, go get a better paying job. All IMHO.

#126 Troutbum75

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 12:11 PM

So What would be an adequate tip for a week of diving in the Caymans. 17 Dives during the whole week? I'm just curious?

#127 eskasi

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 04:18 PM

Crap...this thread just too the fun away from my dive trip to the Caribbean and the US...... Funnily enough, it was a trip to Miami that saw me get my OW cert.....

I will tip probably 10% on my upcoming trip....... However, I feel that to pay 15% on a day trip out on a boat where the guides earn it is a lot more fair than paying a percentage of my accomodations value which the guides/staff did not earn...

I have no doubt that the guides work hard.....but how is it that the guy that works on a cheap liaveaboard gets paid far less in tips than one living on a luxury boat? I would think that the staff on a cheaper liveaboard would have to go through more hardship than the better boat! The guy on the $1200pp boat works harder and lives in less desirable surroundings for $180 from me....but the one on a $4000 boat gets $600??? The percentage system is wrong IMHO.

#128 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 03:19 PM

Stu, you're spoiling the market in PI :(
While I'm sure many people in all parts of the world won't say no to more money, it is still more than just what you feel is good. I dive with many Pinoy and they don't like it when I tip way beyond what they would do in PI.


Hey Drew,

$50 for 22 dives in one week? He found us critters galore and froze his butt off hanging out with my buddy and I for the 90+ minute dives we'd do. He had to borrow another suit from the dive shop to keep going! ;)

But, he was VERY happy with the tip. I've known him for a long time and it goes a long way towards helping out his family.

Just this Easter, my family was charged far "Services and Gratuities fee" for the wait staff at my Dad's country club...for a buffet meal! Where's the fairness in that. All for giving me a glass of water and taking my..uhm...2nd plate! :D .

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#129 meister

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:46 PM

The last two written issues of Undercurrent have a two-part tipping article, much of what's been covered here, but excellent reading as too.
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#130 nudibranch

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 01:53 PM

I just read this....well after the fact and couldn't agree more. As a dive pro, itis a welcome thank you that makes up the salary (some of which have not changed here in 15 years). However going to work expecting a tip is not going to get you anything. You do a good job, and hopefully you will recieve a gratuity.

The other side of this coin is the lovely cruise ship crowd. want everything from you and beyond, hold their hand as they have not dived in 15 years, yet expect to be able to jump in on a "certified diver dive", and stiff you on a regular basis. Yet they are told the waiter will receive $10 per person per meal per day from your table, and the room service is to expect $10 per day... do we or do we not keep you alive, show you wonders and schlep all your stuff around?

The Europeans as a rule don't tip as it is supposed to be included in the price, thankfully it is now changing. When I travel I try to leave a tip every day, dependent upon service. its a little but adds up through the duration of the holiday. I know it is appreciated as I busted my behind to make it.
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#131 michael12

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 06:14 AM

Here is my take on things.
Americans tip a lot because it is ingrained into our culture. We think it's the best way to show appreciation for good service. It's appropriate that many American invaded places like Mexico, the Carribbean etc expect good tips.
However the world at large do not have as big a tipping culture as the US. For eg in the Philippines or Thailand (where I've been going to both places for over 15 years and spent a year as a kid in Manila), the culture is decidedly different. Sure $5 is nothing to most US tourists but think of the local culture. Tipping too much not only creates tension (as Nick pointed out) but also disrespects the locals who most probably cannot tip like the tourists do. By spoiling the market as it were, we as US tourists garner the better service, food etc while the ones who tip less get crappier service. It's human nature to want more money.
It is imho, distasteful and disrespectful of the local cultures to assume 10% of the costs is "standard". There are 2 prices in the philippines, local and gringo. I don't know about others but giving a guy triple his salary for doing his job is just not right. As for thinking of compensating for that particular person's social plight, there are many much more worthwhile charities that do a lot more work that affect a lot more people for that $20.
A well travelled friend once said "I can't give a guy 400% of his salary as a dm, a doctor makes less in this country." The social and cultural implications of generous gratuities are a little more complicated than just getting rid of change, imho. Money isn't always the only way to show appreciation. One of the guys who has travelled with me actually helps carry all the equipment back etc and yaks with the crew all day, always treating them as equals. I think he was definitely more liked than the other guy who smiles and throws a C note as a thank you.

#132 Steve Douglas

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 07:02 AM

Here's a story that might be of interest. My partner, Bruce, and I were on a fam trip covering many of the safari camps throughout Kenya and Tanzania. Our last stop was on the island of Pemba, north of Zanzibar, where we dove only a few times as the diving wasn't worth the effort during that time of year(July). We were at a place called, if I recall correctly, the Manta Lodge. The young man behind the bar worked about 16 hours a day and always had a smile, friendly demeanor and our rum and cokes at the ready. For this he was paid $1.00 a day.
He was married and had a couple of children. We were told by the manager that before our arrival the bartender's 2 yr old daughter had died. He went to the manager and asked permission to take a couple of hours off of work to attend his daughter's funeral. Imagine the desperate need for a $1 a day job and having to request only 2 hours off to go to his own family's funeral. Fortunately, his boss, an expat from the UK, told him to take a couple of weeks off if he needed. At any rate, Bruce and I tipped him several months salary and were happy to do so.

I have been on numerous live aboard boats and several resorts over the years. I don't mind tipping for the good service I get. I do mind,however, the assumption that I will tip no matter what, as if it was mandatory and expected. The crews work hard and it is my privilege to reward them for their efforts. The only time I had an extraordinarily lazy crew was back in '95 on the Galapagos Aggressor. At the end of the trip, I told the one crewman who actually did try, to meet me down by my cabin and I tipped him personally. Damn if I was going to tip the rest of that lazy crew.

Another side of this has been my 3 experiences on the Nautilus Explorer going to the Socorro Islands, Alaska and the Great Whites of Guadalupe Island. At the end of the trip, when everyone settles their account, we are then handed envelopes to put our tips in. That's ok I guess, but it feels very awkward when you want to use your credit card to make the tip and the girl say's, in front of everyone else in the salon, 'How much of a tip do you want to put on the card?
Steve

Edited by steve, 11 August 2009 - 07:33 AM.

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#133 Damo

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 04:03 AM

Hi folks,

I would definately tip when its deserved...absolutely.....and again be mindful of the local customs and climate.

Personally, the worst place for tipping I have ever experienced...was Cancun, Mexico....when I visited there in 1997
I found that....by and large..nearly every individual I met....even down to the ten year olds packing groceries at the check outs...were very greedy.... and in some cases...downright belligerent ...when it came to tipping (no manners, hand out, scowling faces etc etc.) I knew one couple who were chased into the street by an angry waiter cause they didn't tip enough!

I even remember doing a 'tourist' cave dive there...and was even told jokingly by the guides...that if we didn't tip..... we would be left in there!

Needless to say...I wont be going back.

Enjoyed the diving tho'....by and large....and I fully admit this was just my own experiences.
Wonder what its like now in 2009?
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#134 stewsmith

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 06:46 AM

If you book a trip from the UK on the Deep Blue in the Galapagos you have to pay your tip at the time of booking. How EFFING mad is that. We are not talking £30 or £40 either we are talking £300 per person. I am not saying that I would not tip a crew £300 as I have done so before, the Undersea Hunter crew had that kind of tip from me and from my wife. What eats my goat is that the crew on the Deep Blue ( Antonio wasnt on there for my trip ) were rude, selfish, lazy and did not deserve a tip at all, let alone a tip that is as much as a doctor in Ecuador earns.

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Edited by stewsmith, 12 August 2009 - 06:55 AM.

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#135 Steve Douglas

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 08:14 AM

So much for ever booking the Deep Blue...I never heard of something so preposterous. Tipping before hand? Now that's getting a bit crazy.
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#136 Deep6

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 09:46 AM

If you book a trip from the UK on the Deep Blue in the Galapagos you have to pay your tip at the time of booking. How EFFING mad is that. We are not talking £30 or £40 either we are talking £300 per person. I am not saying that I would not tip a crew £300 as I have done so before, the Undersea Hunter crew had that kind of tip from me and from my wife. What eats my goat is that the crew on the Deep Blue ( Antonio wasnt on there for my trip ) were rude, selfish, lazy and did not deserve a tip at all, let alone a tip that is as much as a doctor in Ecuador earns.

Stew


That is why it is called and should be considered a gratuity (from wiktionary : A reward, service, or payment provided freely, without obligation.). If the service is substandard, then leave then a “tip”; a few pence and an understanding that if they want a gratuity, they need to provide good service.

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#137 Drew

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 11:34 AM

Before we all avoid Deep Blue, let's clear up whether this is a Deep Blue policy or Stew's booking agent 'acting' for Deep Blue. I couldn't find any info on the website about that or pricing for that matter.

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#138 Steve Douglas

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 11:45 AM

You're right Drew. I just sent them an inquiry and will report back if and when I hear from them.
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#139 echeng

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 02:17 PM

Thanks, Steve. Please let us know what you find out. The Deep Blue is my preferred liveaboard for Galapagos, but it has been a few years since I've been on it.

Also, had a tough situation here at Wetpixel once because we had a charter where the gratuities were the lowest EVER recorded for the operator. No-so-coincidentally, it happened to be a trip that was about 50% European guests. I don't want Wetpixel bookings to be known as being the trips where crew don't get tips, and after that experience, I even thought about pre-charging a minimum tip. I didn't do that, of course, but it did put me in an awkward situation.

Oh, on this trip, the crew were great. There was no reason to tip low.
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#140 echeng

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 02:23 PM

The crews work hard and it is my privilege to reward them for their efforts. The only time I had an extraordinarily lazy crew was back in '95 on the Galapagos Aggressor. At the end of the trip, I told the one crewman who actually did try, to meet me down by my cabin and I tipped him personally. Damn if I was going to tip the rest of that lazy crew.


What about the crew that you didn't see? The engineers, the cabin stewards, the second chef, etc?

The reason that I don't like selective tipping is that the ones who are most visible aren't necessarily the ones working the hardest.
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