Jump to content


Photo
* * * * * 1 votes

Tipping is in the culture


  • Please log in to reply
296 replies to this topic

#1 Steve Douglas

Steve Douglas

    Humpback Whale

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2840 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Diego
  • Interests:filming/editing/exotic travel. l write reviews of editing software, books, tutorials and Mac based NLE related products for the www.kenstone.net and www.lafcpug.org sites as well as articles for Asian Diver Magazine and wetpixel. I am one of the founding members of the San Diego UnderSea Film Festival

Posted 28 July 2006 - 02:58 PM

Dave,
My email address is; steve-sharksdelight@cox.net so if you see Thomas I'd appreciate it.
Dumagette is much quieter than PG, no town nearby to get a drink. To be honest, I wasn't much impressed. While the staff was excellent in their attitude and service (Gloria and Randell in the restaurant received especially good tips) the dive staff didn't seem to want to take the skiffs very far. One couple told us they had gone to one spot 6 times within one week. We were hoping to get out to Apu island, afterall this was a fam and we thought they would want to impress us, but we never got out there. The night dive was ok, some nice sea snakes but anything we saw in PG or Dumagette, we could have seem much more of and with more frequency and diversity by going to KBR.
Please don't tell Andy in PG that I said this. He is a heck of a nice guy and I wouldn't want him to think that I don't appreciate his hospitality. Its just that business is business and when my partner and I lead a trip we really are concerned that our guests get the very best diving in. Most of them are repeat guests and extremely well traveled so their expectations of the diving are as high as my own.

Now, here is another thread that probably doesn't belong here but 'tough". While we were in PG we asked some of the staff about tipping. My partner and I usually tip pretty darn good as many of these people work very hard for very little. In the conversation it came up that generally, only Americans really tip at all. They said the Asians from either Japan or China never tip and neither do most Europeans. Is this true? Most everyone here is a seasoned diver and traveler and you're not all Americans so what is the scoop? I don't want to judge, I just am interested in other's perspectives on this issue.
Steve B)
www.kenstone.net
www.lafcpug.org

Steve Douglas
www.worldfilmsandtravel.com

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.

#2 Nick Hope

Nick Hope

    Sperm Whale

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1966 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Thailand

Posted 28 July 2006 - 10:06 PM

Yeah that's true Steve. You Americans are far more generous with the tips. When there are American guests on the liveaboards here there's usually a bit of competition amongst the divemasters to be the one that leads that group.

#3 Steve Douglas

Steve Douglas

    Humpback Whale

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2840 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Diego
  • Interests:filming/editing/exotic travel. l write reviews of editing software, books, tutorials and Mac based NLE related products for the www.kenstone.net and www.lafcpug.org sites as well as articles for Asian Diver Magazine and wetpixel. I am one of the founding members of the San Diego UnderSea Film Festival

Posted 30 July 2006 - 10:37 AM

Why is that? We were on the Angyun in Thailand when the Tsunami hit and on it the year before as well. Had wonderful service and thought the crew deserved a tip. Why do you think the other nationalities don't tip? Are the Americans looked at as being dumb for tipping?
Steve B)
www.kenstone.net
www.lafcpug.org

Steve Douglas
www.worldfilmsandtravel.com

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.

#4 RebreatherDave

RebreatherDave

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 237 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles
  • Interests:rebreathers, marine life, mountain biking, flying hang gliders, paragliders and sailplanes.

Posted 30 July 2006 - 11:42 AM

I was talking to some of the people who staff hotels, restaurants, dive boats etc in PG. They said anyone who has a job is fortunate....In town I talked with a waiter and he said he makes about 250 pesos a day, which is about $5 USD.

The idea of not giving a tip to a guy or girl who is lucky to make $4-5$ a day doesn't sit right with me. In addition to tips, I gave staffers my hats, bought some t-shirts to give away and some other goodies I didn't want to take back with me and they seemed to appreciate it.

Think about it, a dive guide who might make $10 a day including tips needs to work for a month to buy the regulator he dives with.....

Yeah, it is their job to serve guests and lug our stuff around, but getting rid of all our leftover currency is not going to kill anyone.
Inspiration Closed Circuit w/Vision electronics
Sony HDR-FX1 3CCD HiDef
Amphibico Phenom
Amphibico dual 35-50 HID's
whatever other toys I can
accumulate b4 I die

#5 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10631 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 30 July 2006 - 12:14 PM

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.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#6 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10631 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 30 July 2006 - 12:18 PM

A discussion in the video forum ignited the touchy subject of tipping. There are many cultural attitudes towards tipping in general. Would be interesting to see how other forum members feel about it.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#7 RebreatherDave

RebreatherDave

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 237 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles
  • Interests:rebreathers, marine life, mountain biking, flying hang gliders, paragliders and sailplanes.

Posted 30 July 2006 - 01:08 PM

Scubadru, that was an interesting perspective......you made points that hadn't occured to me.....

I personally don't like any of the concept of tipping...I think it should be included in the service price....and he employee who has the best service/performance should be recognized and rewarded by the employer...


I think tipping is more of a back east thing in the U.S....the concept of trying to figure out how much should go to the waiter, the maitre' de, the busser, etc, I think is lame....

On the other hand I hate to see a guy or girl bust their tail and not get rewarded by their employer....that is a disincentive.
Inspiration Closed Circuit w/Vision electronics
Sony HDR-FX1 3CCD HiDef
Amphibico Phenom
Amphibico dual 35-50 HID's
whatever other toys I can
accumulate b4 I die

#8 bvanant

bvanant

    Orca

  • Team Wetpixel
  • 1499 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Los Angeles (more or less)
  • Interests:Science, photography, travel

Posted 31 July 2006 - 10:33 AM

I am not so sure that we tip because "We think it's the best way to show appreciation for good service" but rather that tipping is built into the American service culture at least in restaurants and things like taxi rides. In the U.S., restaurant workers need to rely on tips because historically tips were a major portion of compensation for these workers while in Europe at least there is a much larger cadre of professional waiters and other service folk. In terms of diving, many liveaboard workers do indeed rely on tips for the bulk of their income at least the ones catering mostly to Americans. I wonder how the Red Sea guys the bulk of whose customers are English/European pay their folks. As for spoiling the divemasters and their wages relative to other professionals like doctors, I think is a moot point. I don't worry too much about that aspect of society, if the marketplace i.e. divers value divemasters more than the market values doctors then the really smart people will lead dive trips. Carrying tanks from the boat to the fill station is something I do occasionally, to help when the dive team is short, but I don't think it made any difference to the dive crew at all and in light of the recent suggestion that DCI might be related to strenuous activity, I think I will pass. Anyway, I am happy to tip folks who do a good job and I am greatful that I can do so without too much stress on my family finances.

Bill

Bill
Canon 7d, Nauticam, Lots of glass, Olympus OMD-EM5, Nauticam, 60 macro, 45 macro, 8 mm fisheye, Inon, S&S, Athena Strobes plus lots of fiddly bits.
www.blueviews.net


#9 yahsemtough

yahsemtough

    Great Canadian Mokarran

  • Senior Moderator
  • 3495 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canada

Posted 31 July 2006 - 11:49 AM

An interesting point that was conveyed to me from one of the LA and resort operators is that if you tip such a large amount (standard by American) the employee may take the next month off because they do not need to work due to the tip amount which thus makes it hard on the resort to maintain a regular staff.

Just food for thought.
Todd Mintz
tmintz.com
all photographs posted © Todd C Mintz

#10 Stewart L. Sy

Stewart L. Sy

    Great White

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 915 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond, BC

Posted 31 July 2006 - 12:03 PM

As this thread directly refers to an area near and dear to my heart... PG and having spent exactly half my life in Asian and Western cultures (I grew up in Manila and moved to Canada), I'd like to throw in my 2 cents...or 1 Philippine Peso :)

Tipping:

To this day, when one tips at most restaurants, hotels, resorts in the Philippines it is never a percentage of the price of the meal/stay/service. One would have a family dinner totally over $100 and the tip would maybe amount to a couple of dollars. Most of the higher end establishments do automatically add a service charge and in those cases tips are not required. When I first moved to the West, I was shocked at how much I had to leave as a tip, having been used to giving a minimal percentage (if you can even call it that) as a tip. Now, having gotten used to the minimum of 15% tips, I feel a need to re-adjust my thinking whenever I'm back in the country of my birth as tips of that amount is just never really done.

On trips I lead to dive the Philippines, I normally recommend that the total tip (DM's, Staff, etc) be a total of 10% of the bill with the guides (if they're good) getting about 50% of the share and the balance evenly split with the rest, though if the guest wants to leave more, it's their discretion to do so...one thing as well to note, NEVER tip until just before you leave, we tipped one guy a day early and when we needed to load up our gear onto the boat, he never showed... I found out later that the total tip from the group was about 2 months salary for him and he drank himself senseless! B)

Diving in the Philippines:

I've never been to KBR, but have friends who've been there. These same friends have gone with me to the Philippines and have told me that they'll never go back to KBR. The diving and variety of life in the Philippines is equal or better plus the costs associated with diving are much lower. Friends who've said they never do repeat trips to dive destinations have done the Philippines 4 times with me....must be something there eh? :( Nudibranchs in Anilao and PG, Threshers in Malapascua, Mantas, gorgeous soft corals in Tubbataha...

I have the benefit of being able to speak fluent Tagalog, I easily converse with the locals. This fact alone gets me and thus my groups better service every time. The locals appreciate the fact that even though I'm from abroad, I still use good manners in dealing with them. I use the proper form of addressing those older than I, or their given names....never use a "Hey You!"

Will throwing money around get you good service...sure...but the Filipinos are a proud people....a smile, a gentle tone will get you a lot more than being a brass westerner looking down on his little brown brother/sister and giving them some extra cash. The 1st year I went with a group, I overheard one of the boatmen say in Tagalog "Look! More white folk! We'll have a great time taking their money!" Imagine their surprise when I came up to them and said "Let's just see you try!" :D After their jaws bounced back from the floor, they said "Oh, you're a kababayan (a local), why didn't you say so?". The service level went up a few notches after that...and of course we did tip them in the end, but not excessively so.

Yes, there is the gringo price and the local price. A friend of mine was playing the haggling game with one of the many T-shirt/basket ladies of Puerto, she thought she got a great deal on a collection of baskets...until I walked up and in Tagalog asked "Is that the best you can do? She's my friend". The seller's face lit up and she said "Why didn't you tell me you were a local? Would she like another 10% off?"

Anyway, I guess I ended up with a bit of a rant here...

back to work!

Stu

www.stewartsy.com
SLS Photography, when your images matter....
Aquatica, Amphibico, TLC, ULCS (Philippines), Stix, iTorch, FIT, Magic Filter Dealer
Philippine Dive Trip Specialist


#11 LChan

LChan

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 240 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 31 July 2006 - 01:04 PM

After traveling a bit around the world, my biggest disdain regarding tipping is the expectation here in America that a tip is to be provided. I believe in tipping if it is warranted, but how many times have we been "forced" to pay tips for crappy service?

Many places in the world (China, South America), service is provided as part of their jobs. Tipping is not necessary. And I have seen much better service at these places than i have gotten here in the states.

anyways my $.02, I had to give the rest during lunch for tips.....
Nikon D200 - Subal housing - 10.5mm, 12-24mm, 17-35mm, 60mm, 105mmVR - Dual Ikelite DS-125 - ULCS arms.
Canon SD550 - Canon housing (pocket videocam)

Larry Chan -- My Webpage

#12 DeanB

DeanB

    Humpback Whale

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3073 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:U.K

Posted 01 August 2006 - 07:53 AM

Here in England I've found that tipping is becoming more and more a 'must do' thing. When I started going out to meals with my mum and dad we used to tip if we thought the service and food were good. Now they get the prettiest and youngest waitress to stand over you so you feel guilty even if the food was o.k... Also is it just the English who never complain. I went ot a meal the other night and the service and food was rubbish. When the waiter came over and said "was everything o.k" we all said "yes, fine thank you".. Strange lot us Brits..

Dive safe

DeanB
Facebook me ;)
NOW ON SKYPE !!! ... deanb69
www.waterwolf-productions.co.uk

#13 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 01 August 2006 - 08:59 AM

I happen to think tips are appropriate, but not automatic. Tip minimally (an insult) or not at all for poor service, and if the service is exceptional then the tip might be exceptional. No question, if you tip well and you return frequently to a place, they make sure to really take care of you. Frankly, I like that when I am on vacation.
I once had a waiter run after me after a dinner in Vail, Colorado, questioning whether I had left the right tip (indicating I had not left enough). I promptly said, 'Sorry I think I gave you too much' and took a few dollars back out of his hand, as his jaw dropped to the floor.
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#14 hoovermd

hoovermd

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 273 posts

Posted 01 August 2006 - 06:57 PM

Karma.
---------------
Mark

#15 davichin

davichin

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1104 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain

Posted 02 August 2006 - 01:23 AM

Having lived in the U.S. for two years and, coming from Spain, is strange that a 15% tip is mandatory and people always used to say "the waiters have a very low salary....they live only on the tips.....etc...." while in Spain is more like what Stu talks about the Philippines, a small amount (no %) or even nothing and you will not get grieve from the waiter or whatever. Here, extra tips are for extra service (service/attention/work beyond what is included in the originally paid service).
Whenever we travel we ask the travel agent how is the country we are going to in this matter. Some operators (like Aggressor) include some info in their website...
D300, D7000. 10.5, 10-17, 16, 10-20, 17-70, 60, 105, 150 Hugyfots, Subtronic Novas, Seacams 350, YS250s, YS-D1s
Aqualung Team
www.davidbarrio.com

#16 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10631 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 02 August 2006 - 04:02 AM

Well that's the point with keeping a tip sane by local standards. Remember that $60 you think is nothing to you is enough to feed many in the countries esp the ones we've mentioned.
As for operators like Aggressor, it's to their advantage you tip 10%. They are in a foreign country making good profit while paying the locals pretty pathetically(relatively). This is especially true in many parts of asia. The local crew get pittance, the foreign crew get quite a bit more and of course the companies make the biggest cut. If they can get the customers to pay the crew more to keep them, then it's more profit to them.
I wish I could tell you how many foreign operators have foreign bank accounts to not pay taxes or to contribute back into the host country. Which is why I always prefer using local owned and run operations.
Stu, my best stories about the exploitation of gringoes all happens on Malapascua. I was walking on the main beach when the ferry came in and the passengers were disembarking. Of course the gringoes pay 35 pesos and the pinoys 15. So one german tourist questions why he has to pay 35 pesos when the guy in front paid 15. He was arguing pretty adamantly until a voice in the back shouted... "you're white, so you pay 60 cents, live with it!!!" It was an american woman who didn't want to wait at the back. :D
Another time, I'd just gotten off my boat from Malapascua when i realized I left something behind. So I chartered the boat again to go back. After collecting my stuff I walked onto my chartered boat, then suddenly locals were climbing on board and paying the boat man too. So I said to him, if I'm paying him, why is he collecting from the other locals. He said it's extra. Obviously he was working me over. So I said to the locals coming aboard that I'd paid for the boat ride and they didn't have to pay. I was quite popular that day in Malapascua. :)

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#17 Kelpfish

Kelpfish

    Giant Squid

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1600 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 02 August 2006 - 04:09 AM

I was booking a liveaboard trip for two that totaled $6,700. I got a tip recommendation of 10-15% of the trip cost (8 days of diving, 10 nights). That's an additional $670 to $1,005. Being on a tight budget, there was no way I was going to fork out another grand for tips that I couldn't afford, and be embarrased that I only gave X, which didn't meet their recommendations. To me tipping gets way out of control. Not all of us have hefty salaries that make it easy to drum up another grand. Would we have tipped? Sure, but not that much. The pressure to tip makes it oftentimes uncomfortable for us Americans too.
Joe Belanger
Author, Catalina Island - All you Need to Know
www.californiaunderwater.com
www.visitingcatalina.com

#18 Stewart L. Sy

Stewart L. Sy

    Great White

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 915 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond, BC

Posted 02 August 2006 - 07:27 AM

On my last liveaboard trip, the charter cost was $1400 per person for 1 week in the Sulu Sea. The average tip came out to $100 per person, 50% going to the guide and the balance given to the captain to be split among the crew. The guests thought that the tip was a bit low but prior chats with the boat manager told me that it was above par.

At times, I've actually tipped the boatman more than I have the dive guide, especially if all the DM does is sit on the boat sending text messages to his wife instead of looking for critters! In PG, I don't get a guide anymore because I've been there enough times that I can make my way around pretty well...though if I'm looking for a particular critter then I request someone I know who is a fantastic spotter.

Stu

www.stewartsy.com
SLS Photography, when your images matter....
Aquatica, Amphibico, TLC, ULCS (Philippines), Stix, iTorch, FIT, Magic Filter Dealer
Philippine Dive Trip Specialist


#19 davichin

davichin

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1104 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain

Posted 02 August 2006 - 09:48 AM

What does PG stand for? just curiosity!

I think thatĀ“s the way I go. Call me what you want, but I donĀ“t think 10% is something I would pay as a tip. That would be closer to rent a boat and then pay for the hand labour. For an eight room 2000$ liveaboard thatĀ“s a tip of 3200 $ a week. Say there are two dive guides, captain, two cooks and five more people around, would be 1280$ per person a month, ok not always full, make it 1000$. It sure looks to me closer to a salary than to a tip...
D300, D7000. 10.5, 10-17, 16, 10-20, 17-70, 60, 105, 150 Hugyfots, Subtronic Novas, Seacams 350, YS250s, YS-D1s
Aqualung Team
www.davidbarrio.com

#20 SilvioMarchena

SilvioMarchena

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 82 posts
  • Location:NYC, NY, USA

Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:19 AM

[quote name='scubastu' date='Jul 31 2006, 04:03 PM']

Perhaps I do not understand how tipping would make any of us a "brass westerner looking down on his little brown brother/sister" and "throwing money around". Those two behaviors have liitle to do with tipping. You can be/do each without ever leaving a tip, or you can tip sufficiently to your liking without ever being/doing either.

A group of dive-guides or workers in another country, seeing me (except I wouldn't be mistaken for "white") coming down the road and talking about taking my money is no different than a waiter in a US restuarant seeing me sit down with a large group of collegues and saying to himself..."ahhh...finally, a big table and a big tip".

I buy into that scenario and am more than comfortable with it. Which is probably because I harbor the same kind of thoughts when a great business opportunity comes my way. I am seldom insulted, or feel my cultural norms are being offended, when a possible windfall is at hand. And to date I have not seen evidence of this in any other country or region I have visited or dived in, regardless of it's locations on the globe.

Clearly how we conduct ourselves is important. But simply by offering a tip I am not diminishing the worker nor acting the boorish Westerner. The way the dive industry has been established over the past 30 years is that we the divers are part of the workers remuneration. One can argue against the practice and assail it's premise, but that is the reality and we all know it. The real boorish behavior would be to accept the service without accepting the responsibilty that we know is implied by our participation.

I believe we all have known for a long time that going out on a dive boat is not like going to the electronics store and buying a TV. It is, except for very exacting circumstances, obligatory to leave some money for the workers, because we know and understand that they are paid short in the expectation that guests will assist in the rest.

In the end it is probably less expensive for us to leave a tip, than it is for the operator to pay the workers more and subsequently pass that increased cost to us in the form of more expensive charters.

In any case the person who leaves a bit of money can hardly be impugned for the act of doing so. Though I believe it is important HOW we offer a gratuity. When in doubt, I always leave it or offer it in private rather than making it a public act.
Cheers,
Manaul


D2x in Seacam w Z-240s or SS200s, superdome and flat port, S45 and S180, 10.5, 12-24, 14, 17-35, 60, 105, 200, Seacam Wet Diopters