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Do you tip in Singapore?

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Do you tip in Singapore?

Postby BigSis » Sat, 21 Apr 2012 12:31 am

What about your home country?

I was reading some articles recently about tipping etiquette in the USA because I'm thinking about going on holiday there; and there seemed to be quite a few from Australian newspaper sites explaining tipping for those going to the USA and from reading it, it seemed to me that tipping in Oz doesn't seem very popular or widespread. Then I was in the hairdressers a couple of days ago and an Australian guy was in there and I saw him tip the hairdresser so I wondered if other people from abroad do that too.

Singaporeans I know say they never tip the hairdresser and I don't either. I do tip in restaurants if the service is good (and in the USA it always has been), but because of this I rarely tip in Singapore because the service is usually a bit hit and miss and they normally add the service charge anyway.

How do you feel about tipping (and not just here, in other countries too). Do you tip hairdressers, petrol attendants, hotel porters, bar staff?

A friend of mine who lived for some years in the USA used to tip almost everyone - it came naturally to her. It doesn't to me, to be honest I find it all a bit awkward unless I can slip it into the wallet they bring the bill over in, or under a plate. I have a bit of a problem with actually giving someone the cash in their hand.

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Postby harlyd » Sat, 21 Apr 2012 7:30 am

I'm from the US and when at home, I tip anyone that provides a service to me. The reason being is that these people usually make minimum wage and their tip money isn't just extra spending money, it's living money. The reason most of these services are better in the US is because they are actually working for their money and not just getting a paycheck with this money built in. Servers, for instance get paid anywhere from $5-9 USD; as per minimum wage. But some states have a different wage for people receiving tips, usually around $2-3USD. Also, the standard for tipping servers in the US is 20% of your bill. (Also, don't sit at a table for hours and order a few things-you are taking up valuable money making time for that server. Otherwise tip them extra for camping if you do sit for hours!)

Don't feel awkward in the US when tipping. It's something that is expected there. It is usually fine to leave it in the book, if presented one. Otherwise say you have a $50 tab and hand them $60, just say 'the rest is for you'. if you don't tip/severely undertip you are just adding to the stereotype that foreigners are stingy/don't tip.

Hope this helps and I always like to see people trying to gather the info before leaving!

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 21 Apr 2012 4:24 pm

I tip as per the local custom.

When I lived in NYC the going rate was to simply tip double the sales tax on the receipt, that worked out at around 16%. For a bar-man say $1 a round of drinks, or 15%-20% if running a tab.

I used to think this insanely generous, until I learned that serving staff are taxed on both salary plus a projected tipping rate (calculated on the sales by their employer), and so if you don't tip you are actually likely costing the server money.

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Postby nutnut » Sat, 21 Apr 2012 6:30 pm

I don't tip here often, unless food and service is exceptional and there is no service charge. So not often ;)

I do leave a little change with cab drivers here though, I tend to round up to the nearest Dollar or so.
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Postby BigSis » Sat, 21 Apr 2012 7:42 pm

nutnut wrote:I don't tip here often, unless food and service is exceptional and there is no service charge. So not often ;)

I do leave a little change with cab drivers here though, I tend to round up to the nearest Dollar or so.


True I round up in cabs and when having delivery curry/pizza too - in fact I don't have a problem with saying "keep the change", it's just mainly putting another $2 or $5 in someone's hand that I find a bit awkward. I should go and stay with my friends in the USA for a while, I'd soon get used to it.

I was reading an article by a guy from Oz who said his wife went to get her hair cut in the USA when they were on holiday and the girl who made her a cup of coffee put an envelope on the shelf in front of the mirror, then the girl who washed her hair did the same and then the person who cut it, so she had 3 envelopes sitting there, hadn't a clue what they were for and left after paying at the till thinking nothing of it. It was only when she mentioned it to friends later that she found out that they were for tips - LOL. Good job she was on holiday and didn't go back there.

You see, I probably wouldn't have had a problem putting a tip in those envelopes because it's a bit more anonymous........once I'd found out what they were for. But I'm nosey, I probably would have asked :D

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 21 Apr 2012 7:48 pm

BigSis wrote:You see, I probably wouldn't have had a problem putting a tip in those envelopes because it's a bit more anonymous........



You'd love Germany then lol. In many places when they bring you the bill you have to tell them how much you're paying including any tip :o

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Postby BigSis » Sat, 21 Apr 2012 7:57 pm

JR8 wrote:
BigSis wrote:You see, I probably wouldn't have had a problem putting a tip in those envelopes because it's a bit more anonymous........



You'd love Germany then lol. In many places when they bring you the bill you have to tell them how much you're paying including any tip :o


Aiyoh - nightmare!

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Postby aster » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 2:18 pm

JR8 wrote:I learned that serving staff are taxed on both salary plus a projected tipping rate (calculated on the sales by their employer), and so if you don't tip you are actually likely costing the server money.


Whoa, where is this the case... US?

I know that in Vegas casinos the drinks you get aren't really "free." The waitress is actually charged the base cost for issuing them, so if you don't tip then the drink is actually... on her.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 4:02 pm

aster wrote:Whoa, where is this the case... US?


Last time I checked NYC was still in the US :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 5:26 pm

It's true. IRAS knows what the average tips are in various cities around the country. After doing Net Worth Audits over a long period of time they know the income required to live a certain lifestyle in various places in the US. Therefore, if you work as a service personal in a given area they already know the tipping averages and the cost of living in that city. Therefore if your tips don't jive with the averages and you are still employed with the same employer then they will know that your are under reporting your tips. So they will tax you based on the knowledge that they have garnered over the years. Think about it. It makes good sense. An employer isn't going to keep an employee who cannot earn tips as that person surely will have numerous complaints about them instead, resulting in the firing of the employee. Therefore, if the are still employed, then the probability of them earning the average tips is pretty good.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 5:29 pm

For the same token, that is why the service in Singapore is basically non-existant as there is not any real advantage of going the extra mile for a customer as you have to give all tips to the employer and if it's a good employer, they might split the whole amount up between all the staff. A lot don't even do that, or they retain a large chunk for themselves. Never leave a tip via the charge card or in the book. Always give it directly to the wait staff. Then there is a possibility of them actually getting to keep it.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 6:03 pm

The way I understand it is, say (rough example):

Restaurant sells $1m of F&B a year, and has five wait-staff, each averaging service of $200k. IRS know the average tip rate is 15%, so they tax the wait-staff on the presumption that they each make $200k*15%=$30k in tips p.a.

p.s. I suspect in reality it is not quite as blunt as that, there must be some lee-way, or a somewhat lower presumed tip-rate can be accepted, but the above is the general principle as explained to me...

p.s. Agreed re: service in the US, I have experienced some exceptional service. One place, a tapas restaurant in Philly where the waiter could explain how every item was prepared, including the daily specials board, recommend a selection based on our criteria plus accompanying drinks... all in the blink of an eye. Now that's service. That's why good wait-staff in some places have no problem earning six figures a year. Table service is a serious profession in some parts.

Agreed again service is SG is generally crap. Or put another way, you either get the lobotomised zombie-kid service, or the gushing love-bomb pinay but sadly uninformed over-service.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 6:48 pm

I actually worked for the largest Tax Prep firm in America prior to changing direction in my life in '77. I was the district director for HRB (stock ticker) in Washington DC. Been to over 3K audit in my years with them. They don't really go down to the individual employer, but to "areas" as it would be too much of a manpower drain (even though a lot is computerized) to keep up with changing personnel and companies. e.g., the tip percentages would be considerably higher in Manhattan than in Queens or the Bronx. (By percentages, I mean if they were drawing x.xx salary, then the tips would normally be 50% or 100-300% (whatever) times the reported salary. (can't be done by employee/business except by getting down to hours worked and shifts worked) But I actually witnessed some of the net worth audits being done in another area (closer to home) on the "watermen" on the Chesapeake Bay who sold a lot of their catch for cash off the dock before the balance got to the wholesellers. It wasn't pretty.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 6:52 pm

But yeah, Service (with a capital S) is a time honored profession in the US, as it is with Mason, Steelworkers, Carpenters, and other Time Served Tradesmen.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 22 Apr 2012 6:53 pm

Thanks for the clarification, interesting!

p.s. Yes I imagine the IRS enjoyed 'reeling in' those guys :wink: :roll:


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