August 13, 2012

On The Topic Of Tipping

Tipping is one of the more interesting social phenomenons, I think. I find the subject intriguing.


 In America, tipping is expected in restaurants. Wait staff make something like a little over $2 an hour in most states and  they depend on tips for their income. I prefer when the restaurant includes the gratuity right on the check. That way, I don't have to figure out any math. If not, I like to leave 18-20%.  Usually my kids take forever to decide what they want and more than likely make a bit of a mess so I appreciate when the server is patient with them. 

Tip jars are a somewhat newer trend and I think they are fine in places where the staff is serving you in some way. Recently I saw a tip jar at a self serve fro yo place. The cashier just rings you up. What are people tipping for?

Here in Egypt on the other hand, waiters make a wage just like any other employee so tipping isn't as expected but it's becoming more and more common. A lot of places now just add a service charge.

That's as far as restaurants go. On our way out of Cairo International Airport, some dude took it upon himself to "help us" put our bags on a cart when I was perfectly capable of doing so.  I didn't even have Egyptian money on me so I just gave him a couple of dollars. THEN, while we were loading up the car this other guy expected a tip just for standing there and saying "Kol sana wenta tayeb" (meaning, like happy Ramadan kind of). Seriously. He made no attempt to help strap the bags on the roof rack or anything. Just stood there with his sad little broom and dustpan, literally for a good 15-20 minutes. I was like "is this guy really expecting a tip, merely for saying a few words?" He was.  It's like glorified begging.  We backed on out of there and were like "see ya!" That really irked me. 

But it's pretty common here for people to want tips for everything. A guy helps you park your car by standing there and telling you if you have enough room, or when to stop. Tip, please.  Some lady hands you 3 squares of less than soft toilet roll. Tip please. A bloke takes your picture for you at a scenic or tourist site. Tip, please. A lot of things people would do elsewhere, just to be nice or to help you out.

I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they tip. It's never cool when a big group of us is out at a cafe and everyone figures in part of the tip except for one.  It's like suck it up and throw in an extra pound or two. Honestly.  Some people say they don't tip, as a rule. It's mind boggling to me. If you order food to go or delivery, you're paying for the food. If you're dining in, you're also paying for the service of sitting in the establishment, having someone bring you your food and refill your drinks and what not. There ought to be a difference, no?

What are your thoughts on tipping?

8 comments:

  1. I always try to tip. I guess that's just due to my American raising, because I think it's pretty much a must there lol. Usually if service was bad, I would just tip less, but sometimes here in UAE you get random people.. Like one person to take the order, one who brings the food.. So then I don't leave a tip because there isn't really any service. My husband isn't a big tipper tho, he was actually surprised that I find it necessary to leave a tip every time we eat out loool He only wants to tip when the waiter was "very good". :p

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    1. YES its bc your American me too lol my dh thinks tipping is crazy.

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    2. I always get confused at the salon on who to tip but I usually just tip the stylist/colorist.

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  2. I always tip. In Cape Town, waiters don't earn even a salary/wage, so rely on tips. Having said that, if I get bad service, I tip less. And of course, tip more for great service. I do understand your comments about Egypt though, it was very noticeable in Cairo - more so than other countries in the ME.

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    1. Wow, no wage at all? That sucks. I could never be a waitress, I'd lose it on people. Yea even guide books for Egypt mention the tipping madness.

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  3. Oh man its that way here as well. Like the other day I told the guy that cleans up the Starbucks to get my son and I table (it was almost isha) and BUSY. So he does (this is HIS job) and we sit down and he keeps saying small talk (waiting on the tip) and hanging around I was so annoyed. I mean if I want to tip I will but not for you to do your job. A lot of places to eat like you said charges a service charge and on top of it expect a tip its crazy. I only tip one person at one place I go to and thats bc we ask for him to wait on us (my son and I) every week.

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    1. Nah, it's either or for me, a tip or service/gratuity charge. It's crazy to expect both.

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  4. Tipping for delivery or at the resto is normal for sure and I make it about 15% either way. I like when the debit machine has the option of choosing percentage instead of dollar amount for tips, it takes the figuring out out of it! I'll tip less or more depending on service but I think the average I go for is 15%... I'm not a penny tipper for bad service, I guess I'm too shy to show them.

    I also don't tip for at the counter food... They're not doing me any service! I might as well tip the cashier at the grocery store or pharmacy while I'm at it or what?

    I get annoyed with extreme tippers. I don't know anyone who is very cheap in tipping but I know a few people who are really bad at math and go way overboard. Like if the meal is 12$ plus tax (almost 14$) they give 20$! I had to tell my cousin... You tip A LOT, that's a 50% tip pre-tax!!! And I hate how much people are expected to tip for alcoholic drinks. Like 2$ per drink even if it's a simple beer that an ape could serve, wow!

    I can't believe some people get no salary and rely on tips 100%. 2$ is also close to nothing. Here the law for minimum salary is 9.90$ for regular jobs and 8.55$ for tipping jobs. So really if they serve one person one meal per hour they'll likely be making up the difference and everything else is over what they'd be making with a minimum salary job.

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Thanks for commenting!