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Steve Douglas

Tipping is in the culture

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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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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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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

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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

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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?

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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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.

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

 

Maybe we should give divemasters and photopros garterbelts? :D

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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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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

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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.

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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.

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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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..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

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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

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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...

 

DeanB

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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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"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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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.

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