Are you the kind of person who leaves a tip?
Have you ever been chased down for a tip on leaving a restaurant or told by an irate waiter your tip was insufficient? Here are some first hand acouunts on Tipping Etiquette from across the globe
Let’s face it; the tipping system in North America is downright fickle, and at times flawed. I resent being exploited and inveigled into making up the shortfall of a poor salary. I feel sorry for the porters, water boys, waiters, and service staff in general who are at the mercy of the public’s generosity. I would rather see wage’s raised and service charges included, instead of carrying the guilt of having been foolishly generous or a stinky miser.
While travelling in North America I spend my time calculating how much I need to give for tips, and believe me, I was never very good at mental arithmetic. Instead of ogling the luxuries the New York department stores have to offer, I’m busy glaring at the bullet head of the aggressive taxi driver, trying to calculate how much tip to give him at the journey’s end so as not to ignite his wrath. I’m nervous all the time when in the States, less so in Europe, they are more civilized about tipping. Although, in some parts of Europe, where they see heavy tourist traffic like Venice, they too are very hostile if you have been less than generous. I remember vividly, slinking away from a second-rate restaurant in Venice, after failing to leave a “tip for the table” as we were instructed by the gorilla-like Maître D, “Flea bitten Australians” he flung after us as we scurried into the night.
I’m more relaxed travelling to countries that don’t necessarily expect a tip. It is not customary in the Asia Pacific, although the practice is gaining acceptance. India, China, Korea, and Taiwan discourage gratuities; at one time it was against the law, like most things, in Singapore. In Japan it is considered an insult, I like Japan’s attitude! Australia and New Zealand are more relaxed, preferring to put the onus on the customer, most establishments now include a service charge, although I have never seen anyone actually turn down cash!
Bangkok has come to expect tips from foreigners, our own fault perhaps, and 10% service charge is now the norm, but I often wonder if it is distributed fairly to the staff. I actually don’t mind tipping in resorts such as Thailand and Bali, the service is so good and the resorts are so physically beautiful. The locals earn very little and rely on the generosity of returning guests; I always try to remember the little people behind the scenes, give a tip to a gardener at the end of your stay, and his smile will stay with you until you return!
If you want to avoid tipping all together, go for high-end all-inclusive. Silversea luxury cruise lines discourage tipping, in fact everything is included during your cruise, if you wish at your discretion to single out exemplary service you can leave a tip in an envelope on your departure.
So Round up and relax!