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Tipping, revisited

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Brah
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Tipping, revisited

Postby Brah » Wed, 31 Aug 2011 11:29 pm

A few years back we had a thread on this, I'm thinking it's time to revisit the topic. The influx of more Filipino staff and with them in most but not all cases, much better service, has leveled the playing field.

Restaurants

There seem to be more restaurants who don't charge a service fee (Brewerkz, Jones) - what do you do in those cases?

- for those places that charge a 10% service fee, for good service do you give a tip on top of that?

- if so, how much?

- if 'sometimes", when and when not?

- for expensive restaurants, where you actually get waitstaff who know what they're talking about, do you automatically tip?

Would you prefer the 10% fee be removed, and if so, would you always tip? If so what %?

Barber / Hairdresser
Do you tip your hairdresser? (this got some interesting responses last time)


Taxis
Do you always tip (as long as the service doesn't' suck)?

If so, do you round up, and if so, how much? What if it's a $5 fare and the meter says $4.20?

How much do you tip for trips to the airport?

Do you tip if there's a $3 CBD charge added on automatically?


Any other categories?
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This is not asking advice, this is soliciting feedback to see how much variance there is person to person.
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Postby sammone40 » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 12:28 am

You sound like you're from New York

In bars I just tip before I get served as it really pays in Singapore

Restaurants maybe give the 10% which is what other places charge anyways?

Cabs sometimes I give a dollar or two then either the guy gives me the coins or offers them returned..
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Re: Tipping, revisited

Postby x9200 » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 8:16 am

I don't really get the concept behind the tipping for a standard service so I only tip for an extra (happened only few times). Why should I tip a waiter and not tip a shop assistant or a MOM's clerk (leaving aside possible corruption issues)? It is in fact demoralizing. I believe nobody should be extra paid just for doing the job right.
No service charge is for me just a marketing trick with no real impact on the working staff. For the taxis, home delivery etc I typically round it up (unless it really sucks) but this is for my own convenience.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 9:20 am

The problem with that is you are shafting the wait staff. This type of service industry depends on tipping to make up a portion (in the US the MAJOR portion) of the wait staff's salary. In fact, according to the IRS, if you don't report any tips and you are a full time wait staff, they will deem your income to be at least three times the amount of salary you show. Of course, in Singapore, it's a different story. The wait staff are supposed to "share" the "service" charge and "tips" that they receive with the busing staff as well. What actually happens is the owner collects all service & tips and then takes about half of the "service" and then distributes the balance to all the staff equally, which makes a joke of serving the customer and that's the reason there isn't any "service". Clerks, Store sales personnel and the like aren't really there to add value to your shopping experience, per se and instead, tend to hover around watching like a hawk to make sure you don't shoplift anything. To me, two different kettles of fish.

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Postby sensei_ » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 9:31 am

I tip where required in singapore. for restaurants that include the service charge, no additional tip is given unless service was exceptional.

taxi's i round up to the nearest dollar or two for convenience sake.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 9:34 am

The problem with the 'service charge' is that it is taxable income to the business, no different than any other income source (per IRAS). I've asked waitstaff at places that have a service charge if they get an extra 'bonus' and the answer has always been 'no'.

In essence the service charge is a convenient way for restaurants to tag 17 percent onto the listed price (don't forget GST, which is inclusive for most everything else). I'd like to see the service charge stamped out.

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Postby sensei_ » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 9:36 am

Strong Eagle wrote:... I'd like to see the service charge stamped out.


this would be nice to see. my old man refuses to eat at places with a service charge in sg, as he sees it as double dipping.

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Postby BillyB » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 11:08 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The problem with that is you are shafting the wait staff. This type of service industry depends on tipping to make up a portion (in the US the MAJOR portion) of the wait staff's salary. In fact, according to the IRS, if you don't report any tips and you are a full time wait staff, they will deem your income to be at least three times the amount of salary you show. Of course, in Singapore, it's a different story. The wait staff are supposed to "share" the "service" charge and "tips" that they receive with the busing staff as well. What actually happens is the owner collects all service & tips and then takes about half of the "service" and then distributes the balance to all the staff equally, which makes a joke of serving the customer and that's the reason there isn't any "service". Clerks, Store sales personnel and the like aren't really there to add value to your shopping experience, per se and instead, tend to hover around watching like a hawk to make sure you don't shoplift anything. To me, two different kettles of fish.


I'd gladly tip the annoying 'hovering' shop staff to p*ss off!! So annoying - why do you need help choosing a DVD or pair of socks??!!

Taxi's; I tend to round it up as I don't like coins. Restaurants; if I get good service - I'll usually tip, and always the staff member direct rather than just adding it on the bill.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 12:43 pm

People actually use the help of the shop assistants! Just look around more carefully and you will see that especially the local shoppers ask for their opinions. They also and always nicely pack and cord-wrap-around-with-a-handle what I buy if the item is even a bit bulky (BD, HN, Courts etc). They bring the goods from the back store and serve it to me often carrying it by themselves to the cashier. What's the difference if this is a DVD player or a pot of chicken vindaloo? Service is a service IMHO and it can always add value - or better say, provide some satisfactory standard quality. If it is ok to tip a cabby for a trip with your friends from the airport why it is not a habit to tip a bus driver or a pilot of the plain? Same kettle, at least for me :)

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Postby BillyB » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 1:23 pm

x9200 wrote:People actually use the help of the shop assistants! Just look around more carefully and you will see that especially the local shoppers ask for their opinions. They also and always nicely pack and cord-wrap-around-with-a-handle what I buy if the item is even a bit bulky (BD, HN, Courts etc). They bring the goods from the back store and serve it to me often carrying it by themselves to the cashier. What's the difference if this is a DVD player or a pot of chicken vindaloo? Service is a service IMHO and it can always add value - or better say, provide some satisfactory standard quality. If it is ok to tip a cabby for a trip with your friends from the airport why it is not a habit to tip a bus driver or a pilot of the plain? Same kettle, at least for me :)


I think you'll find they're happy to do the packing because you've just given them commission - try taking the item back and see how their attitude changes. But I thought when you bought an item you always have to pay for it - so I fail to see a shop assistant taking your item to the cashier from the back of the store is value-add?? Maybe if they took it to your car for you - yes.

And not everything has to be about money - back home we used to always say thank you to the bus driver, train drivers etc. Nowadays pilots are inaccessible and so too are train drivers. I'd argue that with taxi drivers the service is much more personable (if you get a good one) so the tip is justified.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 1:32 pm

Now I am confused, you don't pay them to prepare and serve you food or some wine?
Not everything is about money, but this is precisely the money we are talking about or you mean tipping is also by saying "thank you"? In this case I tip all around unless they are a complete disgrace.

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Postby richie303 » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 3:47 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:The problem with the 'service charge' is that it is taxable income to the business, no different than any other income source (per IRAS). I've asked waitstaff at places that have a service charge if they get an extra 'bonus' and the answer has always been 'no'.

In essence the service charge is a convenient way for restaurants to tag 17 percent onto the listed price (don't forget GST, which is inclusive for most everything else). I'd like to see the service charge stamped out.


I have asked the same and received the same response. I have a strong tendancy to agree here with SE. If someone deserves a tip, it should be optional to the customer, the amount should not be set to 10% (could be more, could be less) and it should all go to the people it is designated for.

What happened to the old "Compliments to the chef" type tipping where you could tip and the money would make it's way to the rightfully deserved person?

I have visited restaurants that stink and I have insisted on the Service Charge being removed due to poor service and the inability to resolve complaints.

I also round up in Taxis to the nearest dollar and same in coffeeshops when buying beers (not in bars that are already massively inflated prices!)
Richie - East Coast Superbabe...

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Postby BillyB » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 4:00 pm

x9200 wrote:Now I am confused, you don't pay them to prepare and serve you food or some wine?
Not everything is about money, but this is precisely the money we are talking about or you mean tipping is also by saying "thank you"? In this case I tip all around unless they are a complete disgrace.


That's what I said in my earlier post. I'll tip the waitress or waiter direct - as I like the human element of the service. If she/he chooses to split it with the kitchen staff, then great. But I don't tip the chef as he's paid to cook but I'll compliment them if I get a very good meal. Waiters can control the experience to quite a large degree. If the food is bad, but the waiter is very good then it doesn't have so much impact on the experience in my opinion. You can always order something else. If someone is rude and discourteous, then that creates a bad impression and will leave a longer lasting footprint.

I think there is a sensible line to draw when tipping and, of course, you can argue that if a taxi driver gets a tip why doesn't the bus driver. I like to look at things from the human side - what have they done to improve the quality of service beyond the call of duty? A bus driver is paid to drive a bus on a pre-determined route. A taxi driver is the same, but will ask me which route to take, we'll have a chat, I'll ask him questions etc. If he's a miserable twat, then he gets sod all.

And I really dislike service charges that are automatically included. It's pretentious and cheeky. Tips should be on merit and not taken for granted. Using Singapore as an example - the service sucks in a lot of places and the staff don't give a sh*t because they know they're getting something anyway so why go the extra mile?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 6:17 pm

BillyB wrote: Tips should be on merit and not taken for granted. Using Singapore as an example - the service sucks in a lot of places and the staff don't give a sh*t because they know they're getting something anyway so why go the extra mile?


Which is my prime contention. If a wait person treats it as just a "Job" then probably no tip. However, should they give me memorable "service" e.g., the little things that make the experience, just that. An experience. Something we like to call "going the extra mile", "above the call of duty", ensuring the food arrives on time, in the proper order, done the way it's supposed to be done and all served at the same time, then, that's service. Will warrant a tip commensurate with the level of service delivered. This could easily be up to 20% if warranted. If they just deliver the food. Well, it's just a job. No tip.

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Postby Brah » Thu, 01 Sep 2011 8:32 pm

I'm with both of you on this.

But for those of us who do choose to tip, I'm trying to establish the fair game here - 5-10% on top of the 10% service?

But then half the time it gets picked up by a different waitstaff than the one I wanted to reward. And even then, as already mentioned, does it go into a pool, the management's pockets, half-and-half?

I get it that tipping is more of an art in the US (for the very reason SMS clearly stated) than in Europe, and in Asia many who are being tipped don't know what to make of the system, which with the Service Charge already being there, makes it even more arcane.

I'm perfectly comfortable with a 10% Service Charge as is done in Japan, with absolute no tips (as is part of the culture), or, no Service Charge as in the States and to tip as you choose. It's this wacky middle ground that ends up being unfair to waitstaff and customers alike.

The good side of the US system is it encourages and rewards good service. The system here has the complete opposite effect.

BTW no one answered:

[list=]
What about no SC places like Brewerkz, Jones? (I tip in some cases)
What about taxis when you already have a $3 CBD or other arcane charge? (I give nothing further)
What about your hairdresser/barber - no SC there (I used to tip but it felt awkward as I think I was the only one doing it, so stopped, but I sometimes bring her snacks from business trips)
[/list]

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
BillyB wrote: Tips should be on merit and not taken for granted. Using Singapore as an example - the service sucks in a lot of places and the staff don't give a sh*t because they know they're getting something anyway so why go the extra mile?


Which is my prime contention. If a wait person treats it as just a "Job" then probably no tip. However, should they give me memorable "service" e.g., the little things that make the experience, just that. An experience. Something we like to call "going the extra mile", "above the call of duty", ensuring the food arrives on time, in the proper order, done the way it's supposed to be done and all served at the same time, then, that's service. Will warrant a tip commensurate with the level of service delivered. This could easily be up to 20% if warranted. If they just deliver the food. Well, it's just a job. No tip.
Last edited by Brah on Thu, 01 Sep 2011 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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