Mark Jones: Tipping has got out of hand – and we can blame the US for that
Something to Declare
Sunday 23 September 2012
Some things never get less stressful however much you travel. Tipping is one of them. I am English; hence the simple act of pulling out some change and handing it to a grateful hotel employee fills me with dread and horror.
But now my attitude to tipping is changing. Gone are the feelings of shame and confusion. Instead I'm getting cross. The US is the problem. Tipping has fallen for the supersizing epidemic. At a resort in South Carolina earlier this year, I could have dropped 20 or 30 bucks before I'd even got to the room. Someone opens your car door; someone else picks up your bags; a third opens the door to reception; a fourth shows you to the room; and a fifth brings in your bags. Five bucks every time.
Tipping is no longer about generosity. The economics of the US hospitality industry is cynically built on the tip; gratuities can make up at least 50 per cent of your server's wages.
Our European response is simple: when you add that 10-15 per cent to the bill, that should be that. "But then there's no incentive to give you outstanding service," a US hotel executive responded.
This is just not true. There's enough competition among hotels and restaurants to keep everyone trying hard. Under the American system, meanwhile, relations between guests and customers have become palpably worse post-crash. Once those beaming South Carolina welcomers, concierges and door openers figured out I wasn't going to stump up, the smiles disappeared and bleak looks chilled the air.
Maybe the world can agree on some International Gratuity Protocol. Or maybe everyone who waits on a table or carries a bag should be paid properly.
Mark Jones is editorial director of British Airways' 'High Life' and Best Western's 'Do Not Disturb' magazines
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
- 5 Mrs Doubtfire 2: Robin Williams set to star in sequel to 1993 comedy
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...