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Gratuity charges, optional or mandatory in the US


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#21 Vondo

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 12:43 PM

 

Can you assume that? I once went on a liveaboard where another passenger told me the captain/owner of the boat took a cut of the tips. I was a bit shocked but didn't have a chance to investigate further at the time.

 

I've seen rumors to that effect in these threads. I have no idea, but I suspect it is a rare boat that does so.

 

Unless I get truly exceptional service from someone, I either tip in an envelope to all or, for day trips, give it to the DM. I assume there is some agreed upon tip-sharing program and don't try to second guess that by tipping every single person on the boat with my assumptions of what each person "deserves"



#22 loftus

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 03:48 PM

kun; unless it's clearly stipulated as part of the fee, in other words stated as gratuity added, you don't have to tip if you don't want to. But it would be nice for the crew.

Even in Europe, restaurants frequently add a gratuity that's not optional.

In this situation it is optional so be glad for that. So just do whatever you want. Nobody needs to justify things either way, it's neither right nor wrong, it's just the way it's done here.


Edited by loftus, 24 March 2014 - 03:50 PM.

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#23 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 12:17 AM

Frankly I find your comment offensive that you (who have enough money to fly transcontinental and then drop $3K on a live aboard and dive with many thousands of dollars of gear) cannot afford to tip an extra 15%. But to the people taking care of you (who are probably just scraping by) that same amount of money is "nothing to the individual". It means a lot more to them than it does to you.
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I find it offensive that a business owner is not prepared to pay the staff who earn them the money a sufficient wage to get by on ;)

But in seriousness it's an interesting quandary.

- in some cultures/professions, the employee is paid a decent wage, the service charge is their personal bonus for service above and beyond, in others it's an integral part if their basic wage. How are we to know which is which?
- where the service charge is added to the bill, the money doesn't always go directly to the people you'd expect
- in the UK, if it's a business expense then a compulsory service charge is tax deductible, a discretionary surcharge isn't. That adds an extra 21% as a minimum to the tip you pay.

Wouldn't it just be easier to inflate the charge to include service and pay the staff what they deserve? Then everyone would know exactly where they were!
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#24 diverdoug1

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 11:58 AM

It may be easier, but easier frequently does not define the customs of a certain culture.



#25 Vondo

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 01:39 PM

 

 

Frankly I find your comment offensive that you (who have enough money to fly transcontinental and then drop $3K on a live aboard and dive with many thousands of dollars of gear) cannot afford to tip an extra 15%. But to the people taking care of you (who are probably just scraping by) that same amount of money is "nothing to the individual". It means a lot more to them than it does to you.

 

To clarify my comment (because a couple of people picked up on it) means this: The OP was multiplying out his total contribution to make it seem large ($300-450 over the week). And dividing the amount to the staff to make it seem tiny: $10/day. In reality if everyone on the boat declined to tip over the course of a week, we're talking about something like $500-$800 each staff member would be missing from their expected pay (and it is that on US boats) for the week. That's a significant amount of money and certainly means more to the staff member than to (probably) any of the clients on board such a boat.

 

Remember, in the US/Caribbean most of these places where boats are based from are *not* inexpensive places to live. SE Asia may be different, I don't profess to understand those economics.



#26 Kelpfish

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:26 AM

 

Can you assume that? I once went on a liveaboard where another passenger told me the captain/owner of the boat took a cut of the tips. I was a bit shocked but didn't have a chance to investigate further at the time.

 

I was just on a trip and the dive shop owner took all the tips and said, "we will distribute, don't you worry".  I don't know if my money ever made it to the workabees.


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#27 uwxplorer

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:05 AM

You learn. Remember that there is no health insurance paid for for these seasonal and temporary jobs (in addition to all the horror stories you have already heard about the US working class). When you are a local, you come to appreciate a boat that goes an extra length to find the better spot. When you have expensive or heavy gear, you appreciate that they help you with it and take special care of it. And when you are a rude, ignorant and arrogant European, you should acknowledge that it takes a special kind of zen attitude to overlook your pettiness :-) [Edit: I realize some might be missing the humor. This is not, I repeat, not addressed to the OP].
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Edited by uwxplorer, 26 March 2014 - 06:18 PM.


#28 marcw

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 09:09 AM

 

I was just on a trip and the dive shop owner took all the tips and said, "we will distribute, don't you worry".  I don't know if my money ever made it to the workabees.

 

A few years ago I was finishing up a week of diving.  There was 2 dive helpers( not sure what they really were, but they helped out).  One of the helpers said he was the head of the group, so I gave this guy the tip and said to spread it evenly.  As I was walking out, I saw the other guy and said thank you and I gave your tip to the head guy to split with him.  He thanked me and than ran after the other guy to start a fight.  The other guy lied, there was no lead and going to steel the money.  



#29 uwxplorer

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:19 PM

When there is no tip jar, something is fishy... best to tip each individual separately.

#30 BDSC

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 08:08 AM

 

I was just on a trip and the dive shop owner took all the tips and said, "we will distribute, don't you worry".  I don't know if my money ever made it to the workabees.

 

I never participate in "group tips" because you never know what happens to the money. I know of a dive shop owner who collected a group tip at the end of the week and then told another employee at the shop the guests gave enough so he didn't need to. On all the trips I put together, I never collect a group tip. I will try and find out what is the norm and if anyone asks I just tell them what I found the usual or customary tip to be.



#31 Vondo

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 08:14 AM

 

I never participate in "group tips" because you never know what happens to the money. I know of a dive shop owner who collected a group tip at the end of the week and then told another employee at the shop the guests gave enough so he didn't need to. On all the trips I put together, I never collect a group tip. I will try and find out what is the norm and if anyone asks I just tell them what I found the usual or customary tip to be.

 

Interesting. On several occasions (non-diving trips, safaris) I've been asked by the other clients to collect the tip since "as the American, you're used to that sort of thing." I usually do as you do, find out what the norm is and let people know if asked. I'm usually up front about how much I'm tipping and why.



#32 diverdoug1

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 02:13 PM

I tip via my credit card when on a liveaboard because I don't like to travel with big sums of cash.