Saturday, 6 June 2009

Keep The Change

I've toyed with this one for a while... my concern though is that people are gonna read it and immediately label me 'tight'!
I really don't 'get' tipping. Why is it almost obligatory for some jobs, but unheard of for others? Why would I feel incredibly guilty creeping out of my hairdressers having paid the exact money, yet wouldn't have a care walking out of my dentists, having accepted my 10p change??!

The usual response rolled out is the classic "these people are on minimum wages, they rely on tips". I completely buy that reply, and it's why I will always leave a good tip in restaurants (almost regardless of the service provided). But this argument is inconsistent... if we tip the service provided to us by minimum wage staff, why don't we tip the person on the checkout in the supermarket? or the person picking up rubbish in the high street? or even the child care workers who look after your kiddies at nursery?

And if we are tipping to top up low pay, what the hell are we doing giving it to taxi drivers, hairdressers, plumbers, electricians etc etc???! I pay £22 a go for my haircut... not bad money for an hours work, but I always give £25... yet I've no idea really why i give that extra £3 (other than the aforementioned feelings of guilt!). I guess in this case, the tip is for having done the task well, and yeah he DOES do a good job.... but surely that's what the other twenty two quid is for!!

So if we're now tipping for the 'quality' of the work provided, I'm not sure why we do it for some of the appalling service you get in restaurants these days. You can't have it both ways surely??! I've had waiters and waitresses who don't smile, offer no eye contact, make no attempt to hide their boredom, and almost throw the plate down in front of you... excellent work my man, have 10% extra for your trouble!
But if all of this confuses (and on occasions bugs) me, then it's nothing in comparison to those places that automatically ADD the service charge to your bill! Sometimes it's done so surreptitiously that you could be forgiven for adding another tip on top. You are of course within your rights to remove the added charge... if you've got the balls...
So, do you tip? If so, who to (and who NOT to)?? How much do you give, and if you don't do you feel guilty??

PS - if you've enjoyed this post and would like to show your appreciation, you can send me a 'tip' payment to my e-mail address via PayPal ;-)


Anonymous said...

Great post. Just got back from having a very rare meal out (if you don't count coffee and a bit of caramel shortbread in Costas). We left a tip but when I think about it it's for no other reason than 'It's the done thing'. The service was ok but not exceptional. I have in the past refused to leave anything if I felt it was exceptionally bad but generally speaking the waitress only has to turn up with something close to what I ordered to qualify for what appears to be the almost obligatory tip. Can't help feeling it's largely down to tradition, guilt and a bit of emotional blackmail. We also leave a Christmas tip for the postman and dustman mainly because I just seem to have carried on what my parents use to do. Mind you, if a few quid at Christmas saves your letters being left hanging out in the rain and guarantees your rubbish ending up in the cart instead of down your driveway then I guess that's a good investment.

Cocktails said...

I'm completely with you. I don't understand tipping in the slightest. We never used to tip in Australia so it's also a 'difficult' concept for me in that sense.

I only ever really tip waiters and even that annoys me as I know its usually just making up a minimum wage that the employer is too stingey to pay. As far as I can see, a decent wage should be included in the price of the meal.

I round up the change in other places, but I rarely tip bar staff, hairdressers or anywhere else really. People probably secretly hate me behind my back...

Mondo said...

You should get to Johns the Barbers P (Bridgewater Drive),tenner for my rooster-cut trim, and I give a £2 tip.

I do feel tipping is out of guilt, and rarely feel it's genuinely earned. Cabbies are the worst, what have they done? Driven you from A to B - great! Does anyone tip bus drivers for the same thing?

Tightwad said...

It's time to stop tipping. Money is hard to come by these days. Besides, nobody ever gives me fuck all so why should I bother givign them extra?

Istvanski said...

Nobody has ever tipped me in ten years spent driving trains so why do cabbies get away with it?
I do tip in some restaurants but not in places like McDonalds or the local pie & mash shop. But I never feel guilty if I don't tip 'cos they haven't earned it.

Anonymous said...

The only time i tip is if i've eaten out and i feel the service is really great. Other wise no. Although i did tip the guy's who delivered our suite, it was a fucking nightmare to get in and they even took bits off it and put it back together so they could get it in, they earned a tip i reckon. Hair dressers and cab drivers charge a mint why should we tip them?.Would you tip your dentist or doctor ?. That said i had a short stint delivering furniture and a tip from a punter was always very welcome (though certianly not expected)funny it was alway's the poor people who tipped never the rich. Bastards :-).


Piley said...

Anon - The 'guilt' trip certainly seems to be the motive, rather than particularly good service eh? To my shame, I had completely forgotten the 'ol Christmas box for the milkman, dustmen, postman, candlestick maker.... No wonder my letters are so bent up these days (my parents used to always do those too).

Cocktails - They don't tip in Oz?? NOW I know why everyone is emigrating out there! ;-)

PM - £2 tip for a tenner haircut? 20%?? Very flash mate! Funny enough, I have vivid recollections of being with you somewhere in the late 80's or early 90's and I said to you "d'ya think we should give him a tip" and you replied "yeah, I'll give him a tip... don't stand up in a boat" Ha!

Tightwad\Col - spot on mate... the tightwad revolution starts right here!

Istvanski - that's what bugs me... other people do the same kind of job (usually for the same type of money, and sometimes less) and get nowt.

Carl - perfect example of when a tip is deserved. They went the extra mile and helped you out... equals a tip. Not just turning up and delivering it with no problems... that's their job!


Nazz Nomad said...

Here in the US of A, tipping is expected almaost everywhere. It's a way for employers to f#ck over their wage slaves by paying em less and expecting the customer to pick up the difference.
I can undestand it for waitresses, hair cutters and cab drivers, but I don't feel obligated to tip the people at the coffee shop when I get my morning fix.

Furtheron said...

Well here's a thought... if the employers actually paid people a fair wage we wouldn't have to tip... just a thought!

Because of this I don't always tip - again like you. I wouldn't dream of tipping in say Costa so why tip at a restuarant? I will tip if I think it has been excellent service where the person has gone the extra mile but if like you say it's nothing special then I won't.

The change thing is funny - clearing my sons room at uni this weekend he had a huge mug full of change. "What is the point in change?" He stated. Just give it to charity or something - which actaully I do a lot in shops i.e. drop the coins in a box on the counter. Well we took it home and our daughter saw it we said "He said just throw it away" She counted it out - £8 something, she has taken it for school tuck... fair enough I suppose keeping it in the family :-)

E F RICE said...

The Reservoir Dogs scene immediately springs to mind Piley ! Not a lot to add but I will tip for excellent restaruant service, where a real effort is made. I don't feel emmbarassed about not tipping anymore and the 10% service charge included thing is infuriating.

There is one constant with me for restaraunt tipping though, both the food and service have to be high quality. You can get great service but shite food and vice versa !

Piley said...

Nazz - I'm sure it's the US of A that makes me feel more guilty! I have family in the US and they are always banging on about tips being obligatory "you MUST leave a tip". In the UK it was always more of a discretionary thing, but I feel we're more like you guys these days, and pretty much feel we MUST tip (in restaurants at least)

Further - £8?! that's decent money!! Funny enough, at the end of every day I empty my pockets and put all my silver and copper in a jar (and pretty much forget about it). I'd been doing it for a year or so before actually thinking of counting it up - man, there was close on £300 in there!! It was cashed up immediately I can tell you!

EF - I've seen you in action you tightwad! (joke!). I DO remember that appalling service we got one Christmas, do you??!! you Know where I'm talking about... little pub, out in the sticks... they were so rude to us, yet we weren't noisy or anything, just a group of couples... We decided not to leave a tip then someone suggested leaving 1p (was that you??!). The reasoning behind it was genius.. If we left nothing, they could think we forgot, if we left a penny, it shows we thought about it, and that's what we thought of em! Yet we still went back!!!


Kolley Kibber said...

I've got much more selective about who I tip. I've stopped going to places like Strada and Carluccio's where the stingy employers grab the tips, to top the poor table staff's pay up to minimum-wage levels (I can't BELIEVE it's legal for them to do this, but it is), so don't have that dilemma any more.

In other places I tip if the service has been good, but always leave cash rather than add it to the bill. What I really hate is the hairdresser I go to, where they get a second member of staff to dry your hair - the 'second member' then always pops up at the till as you're paying and bobs around trying to look like they're doing something really important when you know they're waiting for a tip. I got suckered once or twice but don't do it now.

Cabbies are the worst, as lots of people have said. Most of them spend half the journey prepping you up by moaning about how bad business is. Then you round your £5.60 fare up to six quid, and they look at you like you've pinched them in the nadgers. I hate them.

Anonymous said...

I have engaged in this conversation and pondered this before myself. Why do you tip some and not others? Do you tip the person if they own the place? I am a very good tipper, always have been. Gina and I are like restaurant critics lately and have been tipping according to service. If they bring the check before you are done eating, not good. That happens a lot we've seen.


E F RICE said...

Remember it well and we have had excellent service every year since ! Not sure I should admit to full responsibility for the 1p, but I certainly was involved........

Mondo said...

P couple of other tips

Look left and right before crossing the road

Never back a horse on Sunday

Word Verification = rocks
Howzabout that...

Heff said...

I hate to tip. I do it when we go out to eat, but again, I tip based on service. Hell, Donna tips EVERYONE. Just throws money out the window, so to speak. She even tips when she gets her nails done. Those bastards make 30 bucks in less than an hour for doing her nails, and she tips them anyway. It REALLY pisses me off.

I've vented. I feel better now.

Anonymous said...

Ishouldbeworking's comment about cabbies made me laugh out loud, brilliant. I totally agree with you :-).


phsend said...

I tip anyone and everyone, waitresses, taxi drivers, hairdressers, pizza delivery guys, rent boys, etc

I've never tipped the postman though but I really should as I've never had anything I ordered go missing or birthday cards not arrive.

How exactly do you do it though?

Piley said...

ishould - thanks... your comments made me laugh out loud (as it did Carl later on!) the Cabbies and the nadgers line had me spurting hot tea!! SOOOO true tho... The cabbie one does get me, you get a journey full of moaning, "you'll never guess ooo I yad inna backa me cab" quotes, time are 'ard guv sob stories, and if you are really unlucky, a bit of racial hatred thrown in too... and for that they want paying AND a decent tip! That hairdressers sounds like a right 'ol rip-off! And as for the tipping in a restaurant, I never realised until recently that if you put the tip on your credit card it DOESNT go to the waiter or waitress... straight in the coffers of the company!! How wrong is that??!! I used to add it to the credit card a lot too. Never do anymore, cash on the table.. although how about this story (it's almost worth a post on its own) I once saw 4 businessmen at a table in a restaurant in London. When they finished their meal they all put a few quid together and left a fairly decent looking pile of pound coins on the table and walked off... about 2 minutes later one of the men (we'll call him b@stard!), came back into the restaurant and was furtively looking round the table as though he'd left something behind... then when he thought nobody was looking (I WAS) he whipped a good half or more of the stack of coins an trousered them!!! He definitely took more than he originally put in. as i say... b@stard!

Will - the bill before you've finished is VERY off putting. I once had a waiter walk by the table who on seeing I had finished my meal scooped up my plate (fine.. no problem with that), but on seeing that my partner only had about another 2 mouthfuls of food left on her plate, STOOD there and waited for her to finish, then scooped that plate up before she's put the cutlery down!

So, d'ya get many tips left in those motel rooms Wil??

EF - yeah, we showed em who's boss eh??!

Mondo - many thanks... the tip of my boot is heading your way mate!! ;-)

Heff - man you should be painting Donna's nails for her... you could do it for ten bucks easy...

Carl - agreed!!!

PH - ...waitresses, taxi drivers, hairdressers, pizza delivery guys.. blog owners??!

Had forgotten about the takeaway delivery guys - I ALWAYS tip them! Its a waste of time tho... you get these leaflets from the local chinese saying "free delivery" and it is, except you end up bunging the poor bloke a couple of gold ones for his trouble!