In restaurants I usually tip fairly well. My calculation trick was always just to look at the receipt and double the GST, more often then not I would also round up from there. Since the GST has fallen so many times I actually have to do more math myself but I try to keep it around that amount. Someone once told me that the tips are shared with those in the kitchen, so even if your waitress wasn’t the brightest, if you had an amazing meal it would still be fair to leave a gratuity.
I also always tip my hairdresser, and a cab driver. There’s no way I would want to attempt to cut and dye my hair like this, or if I did it wouldn’t look half as good. As for a cab, you’re taking the cab because a) you want to get there faster or b) you don’t have a car/can’t drive (at that time or at all) – either way they are truly providing you a service that you have sought out.
When I was in Vegas on another flash-visit of a weekend last summer I felt really uncomfortable about tipping. I got off the plane at the airport and it seemed like everyone from the tarmac to the hotel room had their hand out. First off, I rarely carry cash and second, I hadn’t yet changed any money to US dollars. I scraped together what I could to tip the shuttle bus driver but everyone else was out of luck – hence the rudeness that I was then surrounded by for the rest of the trip.
Yesterday morning I checked out of my hotel myself, using the TV in the room. I wheeled my 21 inch upright suitcase down to the lobby with my laptop bag resting on top. Like an eagle swooping in on his prey the bell hop/valet dude came running up and took the bags from my hands – startling me. He said in one breath, “I’ll call you a car madam, where are you going? It may take a while, please have a seat in the lobby”. And with that he was out the door, loading my bags onto a wheeled cart and I just stood there in the lobby peering out, like a child looking in at the puppy in the window of a pet shop. My laptop bag contained my Macbook, my wallet, and my iPhone, and it was all sitting out there in -20 degree temperatures.
I could have run after it but I was too tired and didn’t want to make a scene.
I didn’t ask him to call me a cab or to take my bags. I purposely bundled up and put my scarf around my head and over my face anticipating the 3 minutes it would take to flag down a vehicle that would take me to the airport. Instead, I was almost sweating in the lobby, watching my captive luggage as he disappeared with it all and sped around the corner. As soon as it was out of my site I rushed through the doors and there he had arranged a “car service” for me – $50 flat he said. Since the cab from the airport to the hotel was around that much I didn’t protest, I was too tired.
He loaded my bags into the trunk (I had to ask for my laptop bag) then he stood by the door of the car, waiting for me to pay him. The man who is paid a salary by the hotel, who swooped in and grabbed my bags against my will and called me this car I really didn’t want to take, was asking for a tip. Incidentally I didn’t have anything other than what I would now have to pay the driver of the car. I ducked in and we took off for the airport. I opened up my bag to make sure nothing had frozen over.
Later on when I was boarding the airplane I arrived at my seat, which was on the aisle, in the middle. The man sitting in the middle of the three seats looked up at me, “are you here?” pointing to my seat. As soon as I replied with a yes he said, “may I help you with your bag?”, “sure”. He unbuckled his seatbelt and lifted my wheeled upright luggage piece over his head then we both proceeded to try and cram it in the overhead bin. “Is there anything precious or fragile in here?”, “no”. So he tried everything he could to get this bag put away, and succeeded. I thanked him and we both sat down and buckled in for the flight.
He didn’t once put out his hand and ask me for a tip.
The man on the plane was far more helpful to me than the man at the hotel yet I was required to pay one of them for his ‘extra service’. We don’t reward chivalry with monetary donations, although sometimes there is an ulterior motive, but the man on the plane just helped me probably cause he knew I’d be there a while, struggling to get the bag in place, and he didn’t want his row-mate to be a burden on other passengers who were trying to get by.
I am made to feel shame when I don’t tip but it seems like everywhere I’ve traveled recently I’m obliged to pay someone extra for something I really didn’t want, ask for, or require.
So here’s the question, you can help me out with or make me feel like a bad person for asking… when should we tip and when did tipping (for everything) become compulsory?