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