Tipping etiquette

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Tipping etiquette

Post by Singapore Newbie » Sun, 23 Apr 2006 10:34 pm

Questions regarding tipping etiquette:

Is it customary to tip above and beyond the 10% service charge at restaurants? I realize if someone goes above and beyond their duty, then yes, but what about for average service? What is the norm?

What percentage do you typically tip service people (like hair dresser, masseuse, taxi driver, etc) who don't charge a service charge?

Lastly, we've been staying at a Service Apartment for a month and are moving into our new apartment this week. Should we tip the staff at the front desk (who order taxis for us, etc) or the housekeeping staff? If yes, how much?

Sometimes, I get strange (surprised) reactions when I try to tip someone. I appreciate your feedback! Thanks.

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Post by briceloh » Sun, 23 Apr 2006 10:40 pm

Generally you don't have to tip them if you don't want to. If you want to thank them for their service, just a small amount (e.g. $5 ~$10) is enough. Too much will cultivate greed, maybe? But if i'm not wrong, that they asked for a tip, you can complain to the management as it's against the rule here.
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Post by earthfriendly » Mon, 24 Apr 2006 9:27 am

Tipping is not the norm. However, I will tip if I get exceptional service as I believe in rewarding people for good service / behaviours.

Yes, I know what you mean. Some taxi drivers act surprise when I tip them and on one occassion, the driver even refuse. I think it is about being humble. He feels that he does not deserve it and hence refuse it. But he was doing a good job and got me to my destination safely though.

My SG family (parents and siblings) will tip if we get "free" service. E.g. a contractor came to my mom's house to see if he could drill a hole for washing machine hose. He could not do the job as he did not have the right equipment. My mom did not let him leave empty-handed and gave him $10 for cha ma fei (gas/mileage/transportation reimbursement) even though he did not ask for any. We were paying for his time and transport.

Having lived in the USA, I learnt not to take SGeans for granted. Everything comes with a hefty price tag and nothing is free. I literally learnt the meaning of the phrase "there is no such thing as a free lunch" :wink: .

After I installed central AC in my house, I noticed the master bedroom was not benefitting from it. I phoned the company trying to find out if it was installation problem. They told me they would charge me USD80 minimum per visit, even if no work was done. The guy came and concluded there was nothing to be done as we had high ceiling which made it harder to cool the room. He was only here for 5 minutes, took a look at the room, rendered his opinion and I had to write the check for 80 bucks.

We lived in condominium and my neigbor installed cable dish. It was after the fact that she realized 80% of the dish was protruding into our "airspace" blocking our view. She called the company which was going to charge her hefty sum for relocating the dish, even though the contractor was at fault. He should have known better than to stick the dish in a spot that trespass into our space. She disputed with them and they eventually waived it.

My point for above stories, even though tipping is not the norm, I think we should tip if someone is going out of their way to help us. Just because he is giving it for free, it really isn't free. After all, that person's time is precious too.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 24 Apr 2006 11:45 am

Just to add a bit more to EF's excellent post.....

Tipping of doormen who load baggage, show you to your room, taxi drivers, servicemen, etc. It is always appreciated and warrented if the service was good. The amount is up to you (not like the US where sometimes your graciousness may well be considered miserly depending on the amount).

But, on the other hand, please remember that if it is a service establishment like a bar, restuarant and so forth, the Service Charge is built in and in addition all cash tips will be put in a collective container and if the service staff are lucky they may get a portion of it at the end of the night. That said, a lot of local employers keep the tips as revenue for the establishment. This is one of the reasons why the hospitality industry has such bad service normally. It is as sad fact that I wish I could change. The best was would be the elimination of the Service Charge being built in as the employee never sees a cent of that at all normally.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by earthfriendly » Mon, 24 Apr 2006 12:52 pm

SMS, glad that you understood my post so well. I know you have been away from USA for a long time. But it can get pretty expensive out here, especially when human labor is involved.

Who can blame the mexicans (willing to work for lower wage) for crossing the border to seek out the "opportunities" and wanting to build a better lives for themselves. Americans need the mexicans as much as the mexicans need the jobs :wink: . JMO.

Sorry for going off topic here.

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Post by tiki » Mon, 24 Apr 2006 6:23 pm

Been through what you went throught EF back in the Sates.

I tip now and then if the service is good and most importantly if the service staff knows when to leave you alone and when to suggest stuff.

I tip more when I'm drunk though....

:)
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Do you know the name
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 24 Apr 2006 10:01 pm

tiki wrote:Been through what you went throught EF back in the Sates.

I tip now and then if the service is good and most importantly if the service staff knows when to leave you alone and when to suggest stuff.

I tip more when I'm drunk though....

:)
It's also probably directly proportional to how good looking the girl with you is as well. :wink:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by earthfriendly » Tue, 25 Apr 2006 5:40 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The amount is up to you (not like the US where sometimes your graciousness may well be considered miserly depending on the amount).

.
SMS, this is not directed at you. I am just discussing the difference between SG and US system and specifically, tipping in restaurants. In USA, most waiters are paid very low wage, usually minimin wage, and hence it is understood that the customers should "do their part" and tip appropriately. The tips usually exceed their salary. The waiters are dependent on tip for their livelihood. I think it is very appropriate to tip them the "right" amount so they can make a living out of waitressing.

It is quite different in SG. Waiters are paid higher, measured in local standard of living, and hence not as dependent on the tip. It is not vital to tip the waiters. However, if a waiter is exceptional, I think it is good idea to compliment him for a job well-done via tipping.
sundaymorningstaple wrote: But, on the other hand, please remember that if it is a service establishment like a bar, restuarant and so forth, the Service Charge is built in and in addition all cash tips will be put in a collective container and if the service staff are lucky they may get a portion of it at the end of the night. That said, a lot of local employers keep the tips as revenue for the establishment. This is one of the reasons why the hospitality industry has such bad service normally. It is as sad fact that I wish I could change. The best was would be the elimination of the Service Charge being built in as the employee never sees a cent of that at all normally.
I think once again, it is different system at work. Even though the tip is not distributed to the waiters individually, it still goes back to the waiters in the form of salary. The restuarants account for the service charge as revenue and since tipping increase the pool of revenue, they can afford to pay a higher salary to waiters in SG (as opposed to US).

On the other hand, if American customers start tipping the waiters lowly, the restaurant will find a way to compensate their waiters. Either incorporate a service charge or increase the menu prices. Once they collect the higher "revenue", they will re-distribute it to their waiters.

I think we are talking about the same issue, reasonable compensation for waiters. It is just the methodology that is different.

I only worked a few months on a waitressing job in SG when I was a teenager. The first time I got a tip, I did not know how to handle it. Was it supposed to go into a pool or into my own pocket? I asked my manager and she said to keep it for myself, since there was no official policy on how to share this tip with other people within the system.

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Post by Vaucluse » Tue, 25 Apr 2006 11:47 am

Mrs 'Cluse generally discourages tipping unless it's been briliant service here - - - - :D :D :D . . . . hmm . . . .

Taxi drivers will always say not to bother if it 10c up or down so I make it a point to pay the difference.

In the US I'd tip, but not the 20% or so prevalent in the world of IT MNC expense account life and the 'servers' would every now and then make a comment - to which I'd give them a second tip:

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Post by tiki » Tue, 25 Apr 2006 11:50 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
tiki wrote:Been through what you went throught EF back in the Sates.

I tip now and then if the service is good and most importantly if the service staff knows when to leave you alone and when to suggest stuff.

I tip more when I'm drunk though....

:)
It's also probably directly proportional to how good looking the girl with you is as well. :wink:
SMS when the day comes and I have a bar, a bevy of gorgeous handmaidens will be waiting for you Sir!

It's true here being that 'tips' are actually included in the service charge and all. True also that not all the places share the 'tips' amongst the staff.

And it's not like you can write a check in that person's name to ensure he or she gets the tip ( actually you can... ).

Still I guess it won't be too much of a pocket pincher to tip some...

I miss 'em diner days where the staff would come over and ,"So what can I get you hon?".

I had actually wanted to stint as a short-order cook.

Hmm..will that concept work here I wonder.
'If you feel alive
in a darkened room
Do you know the name
of your solitude..'

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Post by Cheekybeek » Tue, 25 Apr 2006 12:08 pm

tiki wrote:
I miss 'em diner days where the staff would come over and ,"So what can I get you hon?".

I had actually wanted to stint as a short-order cook.

Hmm..will that concept work here I wonder.
I'm sure you could do it Tiki, so long as you wear one of those aprons with the big plastic boobs- I'd come just to see that! :mrgreen:

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Post by tiki » Tue, 25 Apr 2006 12:21 pm

Cheekybeek wrote:
tiki wrote:
I miss 'em diner days where the staff would come over and ,"So what can I get you hon?".

I had actually wanted to stint as a short-order cook.

Hmm..will that concept work here I wonder.
I'm sure you could do it Tiki, so long as you wear one of those aprons with the big plastic boobs- I'd come just to see that! :mrgreen:
Which reminds me to get it back from Vaucluse...

he's pulling double shifts, being a father and 'mother at times '.
'If you feel alive
in a darkened room
Do you know the name
of your solitude..'

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Post by Cheekybeek » Tue, 25 Apr 2006 12:27 pm

:lol: Oooh so that's why he's been so preoccupied he can't spend time on the forum... too busy doing double duty- maybe he could serve as the diner waitress or making milkshakes...

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 25 Apr 2006 12:41 pm

earthfriendly wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:The amount is up to you (not like the US where sometimes your graciousness may well be considered miserly depending on the amount).

.
SMS, this is not directed at you. I am just discussing the difference between SG and US system and specifically, tipping in restaurants. In USA, most waiters are paid very low wage, usually minimin wage, and hence it is understood that the customers should "do their part" and tip appropriately. The tips usually exceed their salary. The waiters are dependent on tip for their livelihood. I think it is very appropriate to tip them the "right" amount so they can make a living out of waitressing.

In the US the IRS will assume that you make a certain percentage of your gross income in tips if your sole source of income is in the service industry. This has not changed in 30 years (I was a tax accountant in Washington DC from '69 to '77). As far as the "rightness" is concerned, that's why levels of service are generally presumed to be higher there. They ARE considered professionals in an occupation of choice (which it is for quite a lot of them unless they are aspiring actor & actresses :wink: )

It is quite different in SG. Waiters are paid higher, measured in local standard of living, and hence not as dependent on the tip. It is not vital to tip the waiters. However, if a waiter is exceptional, I think it is good idea to compliment him for a job well-done via tipping.

The reason that they are paid higher in Singapore is because of the miserly contemptable way service staff are treated by the local population. If they weren't paid higher they wouldn't do it because there is no way that they could survive. The Service charge was implemented originally to help to offset that discrepancy. Unfortunately, the employers just keep it instead of paying it to the staff as it was supposed to do. It's a tail wagging the dog type of thing. If service staff were given the respect that they deserve then the service charge and higher? salaries would not have to be paid. Are you sure we are talking about the same waiters & waitresses here (have you checked the salaries of service staff in the last few years? )
sundaymorningstaple wrote: But, on the other hand, please remember that if it is a service establishment like a bar, restuarant and so forth, the Service Charge is built in and in addition all cash tips will be put in a collective container and if the service staff are lucky they may get a portion of it at the end of the night. That said, a lot of local employers keep the tips as revenue for the establishment. This is one of the reasons why the hospitality industry has such bad service normally. It is as sad fact that I wish I could change. The best was would be the elimination of the Service Charge being built in as the employee never sees a cent of that at all normally.
I think once again, it is different system at work. Even though the tip is not distributed to the waiters individually, it still goes back to the waiters in the form of salary. The restuarants account for the service charge as revenue and since tipping increase the pool of revenue, they can afford to pay a higher salary to waiters in SG (as opposed to US).

On the other hand, if American customers start tipping the waiters lowly, the restaurant will find a way to compensate their waiters. Either incorporate a service charge or increase the menu prices. Once they collect the higher "revenue", they will re-distribute it to their waiters.

I think we are talking about the same issue, reasonable compensation for waiters. It is just the methodology that is different.

I only worked a few months on a waitressing job in SG when I was a teenager. The first time I got a tip, I did not know how to handle it. Was it supposed to go into a pool or into my own pocket? I asked my manager and she said to keep it for myself, since there was no official policy on how to share this tip with other people within the system.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Vaucluse » Tue, 25 Apr 2006 5:32 pm

Cheekybeek wrote::lol: Oooh so that's why he's been so preoccupied he can't spend time on the forum... too busy doing double duty- maybe he could serve as the diner waitress or making milkshakes...


Thanks, tiki!
Actually one can combine the two and swirl those boobies when you're walking - - - milk shakes!!!! Boom boom! Hacha cha cha chaaaaa
......................................................

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