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Tipping is in the culture


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#101 Big Blue One

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 01:49 AM

Do you tip the pizza delivery guy?

Do you tip the hotel redcap for carrying your luggage?

Do you tip the valet for parking your car?

Do you tip your waiter/waitress?


Nope. Nope. Usually. Not as standard.

... but then again i'm not american - in the US a tip is not a tip - it appears to be more of a tax

Out in SE Asia I generally don't tip any expat instructors / DMs / Shop owners but always tip local DMs tank carriers and dive guides.

We always give our tips directly to our DM and put generic staff tips in the relevant staff tip box.

We also tend to tip towards our own means rather than the means of the locals not because we are showing off but just because we CAN and we enjoyed our stay.
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#102 Drew

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 03:10 AM

I think the situation is reversed as well. When some people go to countries with tipping as part of the culture, they don't tip because it's not in their culture to. My friends from Asia detest packing a 15-20% 'tip' on top of a bill on meals in the US. It's definitely cuts both ways.
Most asian dive staff hears american, they brighten up because they know from experience, the american gringos tip bigger than others. But then they realize I'm there and adhere to local tipping customs and also know what they make as salary.
There are many countries who throw in a service charge (5-10%) at restaurants, which is then split between owners and employees.
Obviously, in a perfect world, thoroughly professional staff should give equally good service regardless of tip. In the real world, the person who tips more gets better treatment many times in many places. But that isn't universally true... much like giving gratuity.

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#103 zippsy

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 03:46 AM

So we are in agreement then. It is hereby resolved that:
1. Bars, restaurants, pizza shops, barbers, dive shops should raise their prices so they can afford to pay a wage appropriate to the position and market;
2. Bartenders, waiters, delivery boys, barbers, DMs, etc. should be paid an appropriate wage based on the market rate;
3. No tipping or adding on of a service charge is allowed;
4. If Americans or anyone else tries to tip someone, they will be arrested for bribery;
5. If the bartenders, waiters, delivery boys, barbers, DMs, etc. don't like their new market wage (which may not be much higher), they should quit their profession and go back to law school; and
6. Further mention or discussion of tipping on forums should be banned.

Did I miss anything? :P

#104 loftus

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:50 AM

So we are in agreement then. It is hereby resolved that:
1. Bars, restaurants, pizza shops, barbers, dive shops should raise their prices so they can afford to pay a wage appropriate to the position and market;
2. Bartenders, waiters, delivery boys, barbers, DMs, etc. should be paid an appropriate wage based on the market rate;
3. No tipping or adding on of a service charge is allowed;
4. If Americans or anyone else tries to tip someone, they will be arrested for bribery;
5. If the bartenders, waiters, delivery boys, barbers, DMs, etc. don't like their new market wage (which may not be much higher), they should quit their profession and go back to law school; and
6. Further mention or discussion of tipping on forums should be banned.

Did I miss anything? :P

In a perfect world where everyone provides 100% effort, every time, providing a service, there would be absolutely no reason to tip. The world is not that way, in any country, or any culture. We all know that service can vary from poor, to adequate, to exceptional. I like the fact that as a consumer I can have some input into the overall reward (salary plus tip) that a service provider receives. Sure one can argue that boat owners should pay better, or better yet provide profit sharing plans, but they don't.
And I have been in countries where initially a tip was declined, but when I persisted, it's always been graciously accepted.
Another thing, I'm amazed at all these holier than thou threads going on, whether it's tipping, underwater photo licenses etc If you want to tip, tip - if you don't, don't.

Edited by loftus, 07 January 2008 - 05:17 AM.

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#105 zippsy

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:35 AM

I have several accountants working for our company. Some work harder than others. These ones get better raises, bonuses and promotions. If anyone is really bad, they get fired or demoted. None of them are allowed to get tips from their customers (the other departments). In case it needs to be said, the raises / bonuses are paid by the company. That system works pretty good for our service people. Why is a bell hop treated any different?

#106 loftus

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:28 AM

I have several accountants working for our company. Some work harder than others. These ones get better raises, bonuses and promotions. If anyone is really bad, they get fired or demoted. None of them are allowed to get tips from their customers (the other departments). In case it needs to be said, the raises / bonuses are paid by the company. That system works pretty good for our service people. Why is a bell hop treated any different?

Because that's the way it is! Service industries around the world function like this. I am a physician, no tipping in my office either, but my staff clearly understand that if they make people happy and they either come back for other services or refer their friends and family, we are busier, there's more profit, and as we have a profit sharing plan they participate in, my staff make more money - their tip if you will. As a business owner, I understand that there's a lot more to making people happy than just being a good surgeon, being nice to them, making things more convenient etc etc, is almost as important as the procedure itself. Because they have choices as to where they can go.
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#107 scottyb

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:08 AM

Parity = Mediocrity. If a restaurant, bar, or other service industry business paid all the employees the same, there would be no incintive to excel. These businesses usually have higher turnover rates so long term reward systems are not as effective. Tipping is a way to self regulate and allow businesses to operate at a lower cost because ultimately the customer pays. I would rather pay a lower cost for the product or service and control the reward based on my experience.

#108 pakman

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:11 AM

So we are in agreement then. It is hereby resolved that:
1. Bars, restaurants, pizza shops, barbers, dive shops should raise their prices so they can afford to pay a wage appropriate to the position and market;
2. Bartenders, waiters, delivery boys, barbers, DMs, etc. should be paid an appropriate wage based on the market rate;
3. No tipping or adding on of a service charge is allowed;
4. If Americans or anyone else tries to tip someone, they will be arrested for bribery;
5. If the bartenders, waiters, delivery boys, barbers, DMs, etc. don't like their new market wage (which may not be much higher), they should quit their profession and go back to law school; and
6. Further mention or discussion of tipping on forums should be banned.

Did I miss anything? :D


yes, what about tipping gogo dancers... :P

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#109 Drew

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:50 AM

Parity = Mediocrity. If a restaurant, bar, or other service industry business paid all the employees the same, there would be no incintive to excel. These businesses usually have higher turnover rates so long term reward systems are not as effective. Tipping is a way to self regulate and allow businesses to operate at a lower cost because ultimately the customer pays. I would rather pay a lower cost for the product or service and control the reward based on my experience.


Scott
The point is that not every country or culture thinks like that. So when you are in a foreign land which prides itself on doing good work for the sake of doing good work, then your own personal feelings about service in general contravenes the local custom. By assuming it's your money so you can do what you want with it, it can be misconstrued as rude. In all probability, the money will be accepted in poorer countries. But what does that say, the almighty dollar rules? Or should cultural sensitivity be part of the travelling experience?

Another thing, I'm amazed at all these holier than thou threads going on


I don't see any holier than thou attitudes here. It's a discussion about cultural roots of tipping. The easy answer is it's my money, I'll do what I want. For all intents and purposes, that's true and obviously everyone is free to choose that course. Still some people prefer to understand local customs and act accordingly, so as not to be rude while visiting someone else's country. I think it's always good to discover and discuss viewpoints to enlighten oneself. Sure you get the odd opinionated posts, but overall I've read some good anecdotal wisdoms here (even from Pakman). Just wait til I start the thread on 'Boycotting dive destinations for human rights/political reasons' That should bring out the crazies :D

yes, what about tipping gogo dancers... :P

Unlike you, I don't consider that a 'service' industry. But that is definitely a holier than thou outlook on things :D

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#110 MikeVeitch

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:59 AM

yes, what about tipping gogo dancers... :wacko:


:D :angry:



Another thing, I'm amazed at all these holier than thou threads going on


Me too..


New years resolutions maybe? :D :wacko: :P

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#111 bartusderidder

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:32 AM

.... the almighty dollar rules?


Almighty EURO, you mean :P :D

#112 Drew

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:41 AM

Almighty EURO, you mean tongue.gif wink.gif


Well, it would be except the general pattern seems to be that the Europeans aren't great tippers :P :D

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#113 bartusderidder

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 10:08 AM

Well, it would be except the general pattern seems to be that the Europeans aren't great tippers :P :D


:D

Tipping doesn't always have to be money....I shared the chocolates I had with me on my last trip and that gave me some super service...in fact, just sent about 4kg of chocolates to the same resort (returning there in February) :angry: Just one of my ways to show my appreciation.

#114 loftus

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 10:51 AM

yes, what about tipping gogo dancers... :P


Maybe we should give divemasters and photopros garterbelts? :D
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#115 BoatMoney

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 10:59 AM

Maybe we should give divemasters and photopros garterbelts? :D

.....it'd get pretty messy sticking a bonbon in someone's garter belt :P
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#116 loftus

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 11:04 AM

it can be misconstrued as rude.

I have not been to as many countries as you Drew, but I've been to a few. I have had tips graciously declined, but when offered in a spirit of saying thanks, I'm never aware of having offended someone. It's always been declined in a manner like saying ' Well you really don't have to, it's not expected.' And when I've made it clear that I really would like to tip for service I consider to be beyond what's expected, it's never been refused.
I've heard of Americans being considered rude for a lot of reasons, but never for tipping. At best it might be that some Americans might think that if they tip they can abuse.
I would also like to say that I think tipping is a personal thing, and I do not hold it against anyone who does not feel the same way about it as I do.

Edited by loftus, 07 January 2008 - 11:06 AM.

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#117 zippsy

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 03:33 PM

I've heard of Americans being considered rude for a lot of reasons, but never for tipping. At best it might be that some Americans might think that if they tip they can abuse.

I don't think we're considered rude either, just stupid. I tipped once in a Sydney bar 20 years ago and the waitress said "You must me American - they are the only ones who tip down here". Before I could say you're welcome, I realized that everyone around was laughing at me. The waitress said "don't mind them, I'm happy to take all your money". Of course on that trip I also got a scolding from a taxi driver when I got into the back of his taxi. Before setting off he said "I'm not your f*cking chauffer, get up front mate". I was afraid to tip him and we had a great time chatting the whole trip to the airport.

#118 sailfish86

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 03:52 PM

Wow, so many hard feelings out there.

Can I see a show of hands from the posters who recommend dive professionals "taking it up with your employer" re: how much they get paid, how many of you have worked in the dive business?

Sounds a lot like the opening scene from "Reservoir Dogs"...

Anyone want to guess the going rate of pay for Dive Instructor in the BVI? ($70-80/day). How about Saba? ($45/day the last I heard). Want to guess how much our tip was for the Christmas week? $103. How about the week including New Year's? $79. Those were good weeks with averaging 25 divers/day.

I totally agree that showing your appreciation should be based on what kind of service you receive. The problem is, most people don't know good service when they get it. I've worked in the same place for the past 5 years and there's not one other instructor/guide that's been there the whole time. It's pretty difficult to pland for the future on less than $20,000 annually.

And this in a place where a 12 pack of toilet paper is $18 at the bulk package store! Of course, we could go back to using our hands...

Sure, you want more money, no one's forcing you to stay in the business. But what if you love it? What if it's your passion? Maybe the business is better left to a constantly rotating crop of new instructors who can't tell the difference b/t one fish and another. Maybe you'd rather trust your 10 year old (PADI allows 10 year olds to learn to dive) to a 20 year old instructor with the minimum requisite dives (100) rather than a dedicated, passionate professional.

How many of you have over 20 years experience in your fields and find yourselves being paid the same as an 18 year old without any field experience?

I agree the pay scale should be way higher without the tips, but that's just not the way it works. The dive business is notoriously unprofitable (a 46' Newton dive boat is $275,000 bare bones - that's a lot of divers at $100 per two tank dive). Since 1991, Blue Water Divers in the BVI is the only dive operator still operated by its original owners; every other dive op has either been sold or gone under.

Personally, I don't look for tips. The excitement people get after a great dive is what gets me off. That said, the service we provide (ours are all guided dives) is PERSONAL service. Trust me when I say it's a rarity that I'm not dragging someone around by the BC, sharing my air, giving up my lead for a floater, etc. And, yes, these are all certified divers.

I'm not one of those who refuses a tip but I'm also not one who is offended by not getting a tip. As someone posted earlier, tip if you want, don't tip if you don't want.

#119 loftus

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:07 PM

I don't think we're considered rude either, just stupid. I tipped once in a Sydney bar 20 years ago and the waitress said "You must me American - they are the only ones who tip down here". Before I could say you're welcome, I realized that everyone around was laughing at me. The waitress said "don't mind them, I'm happy to take all your money". Of course on that trip I also got a scolding from a taxi driver when I got into the back of his taxi. Before setting off he said "I'm not your f*cking chauffer, get up front mate". I was afraid to tip him and we had a great time chatting the whole trip to the airport.

I'm not American; just live here, and click my heels together every time I get home. It pisses me off that Americans should be denigrated at all for being either rude, stupid, misinformed, or culturally insensitive, when all they are is being generous.
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#120 Balrog

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 12:42 AM

..It pisses me off that Americans should be denigrated at all for being either rude, stupid, misinformed, or culturally insensitive, when all they are is being generous.


I don't think that anyone is calling Americans stupid.
Its just that imo, in a perfect world, the supplement of wages to a decent level by relying on random tipping is not the best business model.
However, we are were we are in this world and I do tip in countries where it is expected. That's not to say I enjoy it though, I like to do the deal up front and pay what it says on the tin.

Edited by Balrog, 08 January 2008 - 12:46 AM.