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The tips thing, revisited

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The tips thing, revisited

Postby Brah » Sat, 17 May 2014 10:59 pm

Since there's mostly a new batch of posters here since the last time this subject came up, and because I just came from such a situation, it's time to ask these questions again.

When in Singapore, do you tip when:
1. You are at a high-end restaurant, get good service and a >$200 bill?

2. You get your haircut, and it's not the kind of place that uses vacuums on your head?

3. You're in a taxi and get good service, and there are $3-$4 charges on top of the regular fare?

4. insert your tip related question here


I'm mostly ok with 2 & 3 and not giving anything, and in the case of 2, no Hong Bao at CNY, but I struggle with #1 in some cases, more on that following any responses

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Sat, 17 May 2014 11:40 pm

In Singapore I don't tip, I can't afford it..! But I will leave loose change occasionally.
service quality in restaurants is often pathetic.. Yesterday a waiter has the ignominy to tell me that corn is a seasonal vegetable instead of apologizing that there were no veggies so they took the liberty of serving corn instead.
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Re: The tips thing, revisited

Postby JR8 » Sat, 17 May 2014 11:54 pm

Brah wrote:Since there's mostly a new batch of posters here since the last time this subject came up, and because I just came from such a situation, it's time to ask these questions again.



When in Singapore, do you tip when:
1. You are at a high-end restaurant, get good service and a >$200 bill?


If the place is presumptuous enough to add a Service Charge, then I am presumptuous enough to leave nothing further. [I've known people who consider they've had poor service, simply delete this sum from the bill, both in SG, and in Europe (and in NYC but from what I hear....woah!! it can kick off a fight there). Doesn't make you popular, apparently, but since you probably weren't planning on going back ...]. If no Service Charge is added, I'll happily tip 10% for good service at a higher end place (or even the 2*sales tax = circa 20% in say NYC)


Brah wrote:2. You get your haircut, and it's not the kind of place that uses vacuums on your head?

In London, I'd give them £1. Over here I get $10 blowjobs


Brah wrote:3. You're in a taxi and get good service, and there are $3-$4 charges on top of the regular fare?


The extra charges aren't to do with the cabbie. If he's done his job well i'll say 'keep the change'. Or I'd give him a dollar if he helps me with a bag or similar.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 18 May 2014 8:21 am

I can't really answer #1 and #2 since my experience is limited. I think with restaurant bills there is no need to tip as service charge is included. However for taxi rides, I will tip if drivers have to make great efforts such as:

- assist with lugguages
- go out of his way to pick me up from isolated locations e.g. East Coast beach area, Sentosa
- waited in a long queue to pick up passengers
- short distance ride e.g. less than 10 km

I have been told by by my sister that if taxi picks you up from airport and drop off is nearby area e.g. Tampinese or Bedok, I should tip them at least $10. And that was a decade ago. The tip sound abit exorbitant compared to the fare. Reason being, poor taxi uncle had been waiting in line to make his fare and the airport location is abit out of the way and the low fare does not do him justice. Of course, the taxi drivers should never demand a tip. It should be up to the passengers.

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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 18 May 2014 10:42 am

I hate the mandatory 10% SC. It's not a legal regulation or requirement. I try to patronize places than advertise "No SSC".

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Postby ecureilx » Sun, 18 May 2014 11:33 am

PNGMK wrote:I hate the mandatory 10% SC. It's not a legal regulation or requirement. I try to patronize places than advertise "No SSC".


if you know F&B here, the 10% service charge goes to profit sharing with staff, including kitchen crew, who all dont earn high pay, most of the times, and only rarely, sometimes with stealing bosses the SC goes into the bosses pocket ...

for tips, most places consolidate the TIPs and split, with all, including kitchen crew and carefully monitored to ensure all get a fair share.

and, in a few places, the waiter pockets it .. so the rest of the crew who made your meal great don't get rewarded ....
Last edited by ecureilx on Sun, 18 May 2014 11:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Beeroclock » Sun, 18 May 2014 11:47 am

PNGMK wrote:I hate the mandatory 10% SC. It's not a legal regulation or requirement. I try to patronize places than advertise "No SSC".
me too, and charging for tap water is an even bigger pet hate too!

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Sun, 18 May 2014 12:05 pm

Beeroclock wrote:
PNGMK wrote:I hate the mandatory 10% SC. It's not a legal regulation or requirement. I try to patronize places than advertise "No SSC".
me too, and charging for tap water is an even bigger pet hate too!


I never quite understood that concept either.... tap water should be free of charge and charge for bottled water.
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Postby ecureilx » Sun, 18 May 2014 12:18 pm

rajagainstthemachine wrote:
I never quite understood that concept either.... tap water should be free of charge and charge for bottled water.


that's because a lot of restaurants are struggling ...it is either keep increasing the price and lose customers or find other ways to add revenue

see how much soft drinks cost nowadays in little India restaurants ...

one restaurant will give you a bottle of water and waive the charge if your bill exceeds 10$, or charge for the compulsory bottle of water if below 10 $

like the KTVs like K Box, when you walk in, peanuts, and other stuff included ...whether you like it or not, in exchange for low hourly charge ...

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Sun, 18 May 2014 12:26 pm

ecureilx wrote:
rajagainstthemachine wrote:
I never quite understood that concept either.... tap water should be free of charge and charge for bottled water.


that's because a lot of restaurants are struggling ...it is either keep increasing the price and lose customers or find other ways to add revenue

see how much soft drinks cost nowadays in little India restaurants ...

one restaurant will give you a bottle of water and waive the charge if your bill exceeds 10$, or charge for the compulsory bottle of water if below 10 $

like the KTVs like K Box, when you walk in, peanuts, and other stuff included ...whether you like it or not, in exchange for low hourly charge ...


there's a place in little India near chander road that went bust ( Arcot Nawab ) , I used to like that place, really nice clean superb food but the guy had his principles and stuck to them, it was a shame he had to close because he couldn't keep up anymore.
several other places charge 2.50$ for a wet tissue that I didn't even touch!
excuse me but stuff like that makes you not want to tip.
I leave coins at hawker places for the cleaning uncles/aunties, I tip when there a. exceptional service b. I feel the person really deserves it
c. I would never tip if the service charge was included in the bill.
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Postby Max Headroom » Sun, 18 May 2014 12:40 pm

We were in White Coffee last week and had ordered a pretty decent breakfast spread. When I asked for a glass of water, the waitress said it would cost me 60c. I was nonplussed.

I asked her to get her manager. When he arrived, I told him I want a glass of water and I want it free of charge, please get me it. The manager then got me it and didn't charge for it.

Excuse me but after ordering 2 full-on meals, including tea and Milo, I'm not paying for a glass of water.

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Postby Brah » Sun, 18 May 2014 3:30 pm

Wow, many replies - cool.

Re #1, I am mostly referring to very nices resturants with very good food and service; as I would normally tip 15-20% in the States for good service, I am in a quandary here with the 10% SC and the guilt of whether to pay another 5-10% on top of that to keep it in parity with what I would do in the US.

There is a 1a: Places with high prices and no SC, like Brewerkz and Cafe Iguana; the total costs there come to more than you would pay in many other places, and their service is usually very good (for Singapore standards, would be considered average to adequate by US standards). So I feel compelled to tip, but add it all up and sometimes decide not to.

Re #2, in the US I get great haircuts for <$20 USD and for a regular haircutter tip them $5-$10; here it is $40 with no wash or blow-dry (my choice to save time, $5 and water down my shirt); I don't tip though I did a few times in the beginning.

Re #3, I would like to know from someone who actually knows that the extra charges (not ERP but I wonder about that too for taxis) do not go to the cabbie. There are the peak hour, CBD, fuel surcharge, holiday, and probably other fees.

I didn't mention trips involving luggage (no "s" as that just sounds strange) as that is pretty much a given.

In the States it's an unwritten rule of $1 per bag plus some kind of tip depending on the service; and I do that here as well for luggage, and I may round up the 20-30 cents on non-luggage trips if the guy was not a bone head or got us there quickly, but otherwise don't tip that often.

Max Headroom wrote:Excuse me but after ordering 2 full-on meals, including tea and Milo, I'm not paying for a glass of water.

nor should you, IMO

I have a simple policy - if I know they charge for water, I don't go; if I'm already there and have ordered and they pull that crap, I challenge it; if they do not acquiesce, I am very clear about a) never returning and b) writing them up in HGW and Yelp.

This is most unacceptable when you have already ordered other drinks, such as coffee, a glass of wine, juice, etc.

A few years back there was a handy list / blog by someone boycotting places who do this, I know I sent her a few names of places which she added to the list.

Wet Tissues? I won't pay for those either. We almost always bring our own. I like the way many Chinese restaurants try to charge $0.40 for each one. Or for those gross baked peanuts. Pass.

ecureilx wrote:for tips, most places consolidate the TIPs .... and, in a few places, the waiter pockets it .. so the rest of the crew who made your meal great don't get rewarded ....

And this is my other quandary - when I do want to tip, and various people come by to serve, clear, bring the bill, bring the change, etc. then I have no way of knowing that the person I wanted to tip will ever see it.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 18 May 2014 5:31 pm

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bill ... rants.html

Same issue brews on foreign shores too ... If you see the reader comments, they're all pretty much the same as here.

There was a campaign maybe 15-20 years ago in the UK, that you could request tap water in a restaurant (as a right), and that they were obliged to provide it free of charge - it was made illegal to charge for it.*

re: tipping in general. I believe in 'When in Rome'. If you're in the US and you get a professional waiter for the first time; a guy who can run you through the entire menu, tell you how every dish is cooked, suggest what might be good today, and suggest a good bottle of wine to go with your choice/s... that is worth it. They might have been doing this as a lifelong career and they will certainly add to your experience. I'm happy to tip for that. ... You can figure out the reverse of such scenarios for yourself.


* In a similar vein, and around the same time, there was a campaign to stop outlets at UK airports charging the same or more at say Heathrow-airside, as away from the airport. Consider that air-side is VAT-free (17.5%). So you used to get say a £3 sandwich from Pret-a-manger, or Eat, or similar in London and that included VAT. But at Heathrow they'd charge £3 (or even more), despite not being subject to VAT. Suddenly it became £2.55. Good campaign... took a while to drive it through, but it also became law.

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Postby Max Headroom » Sun, 18 May 2014 8:00 pm

That's the thing isn't it; here your chances of getting a pro to serve you are practically zero. This just makes it that much harder to tip, I find. Although I do tip when the waiter/waitress puts effort in, or at least - quick, buy 4-D! - smiles.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 18 May 2014 9:54 pm

ecureilx wrote:if you know F&B here, the 10% service charge goes to profit sharing with staff, including kitchen crew, who all dont earn high pay, most of the times, and only rarely, sometimes with stealing bosses the SC goes into the bosses pocket ...


No, it doesn't. That service charge is ordinary income to the restaurant and taxable as such. Ask any waiter or waitress how much of that service charge they see.

In reality the service charge is a rip off. Not only do they automatically boost their prices by 10 percent, they then get to add GST onto the final total, so in reality, you pay an extra 18 percent over the menu price. I try to always avoid.


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