I Will Tip When I Darn Well Feel Like It
The majority of FlyerTalk members who responded regarding two articles posted recently at The Lobby have been leaving scathing comments.
One article is about why you absolutely must tip at a hotel property; and the other article responded to the overwhelming amount of bluntly critical comments posted by FlyerTalk members — which in and of itself received its own share of vociferously trenchant rebuttals.
I Will Tip When I Darn Well Feel Like It
It is no wonder that those articles authored by Peter Gunn — who once was a doorman at a boutique hotel in Manhattan for six years — received such an enormous response, as discussion of the practice of tipping is one of the more controversial topics which has been debated for years on FlyerTalk. A search using the word tipping in the titles only of discussions posted on FlyerTalk amount to 374 results; while the words tip and tips yielded 492 results and 466 results respectively — but to be fair, the results include the meaning of the word tip as advice rather than gratuity.
By the way, the word gratuity revealed a paltry 18 results.
My rebuttal to Peter Gunn — whom I have never met, by the way — is that I will tip when I darn well feel like it. What do you think of that?!?
Before we continue, let us look up the definitions of the word gratuity, which seem to support how I feel about tipping:
- Something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary
- A sum of money given to someone who provides service or a favor as a way to show graciousness or thankfulness, according to yourdictionary.com
- A gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop, according to dictionary.com
- A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service, according to education.yahoo.com
- A gift or reward, usually of money, for services rendered; or something given without claim or obligation, according to Collins English Dictionary
Oxford Dictionaries claims that the origin of the word gratuity is a “late 15th century (denoting graciousness or favour): from Old French gratuité or medieval Latin gratuitas ‘gift’, from Latin gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’.”
Voluntary. Gift. Reward. Hmm…none of those words imply obligatory or required. Assuming that none of the above definitions are considered obsolete, I would like to know since when did a gratuity become expected — and even obligatory in some cases? Am I missing something here?!?
There are some FlyerTalk members who believe that the word tips is derived from the acronym to insure proper service. Perhaps — but I have consistently found that politeness and respect towards the service provider goes a long, long way towards ensuring proper service, and can be far more effective. Most people deserve to be treated with respect and addressed politely. Respect and politeness can be far more valuable than mere money, in my opinion. Throwing money at someone who does not earn or deserve your respect — let alone perform the service in question properly or at all — should be considered insulting to a person with moral character.
I realize that giving a service provider a gratuity in advance can grant you greatly improved service. I will sometimes do just that — although it could result in the service provider fawning all over me. I abhor that. Just please do what I need for you to do, do it well, and then leave me alone and let me go about my business.
By the way — service is another key word.
I myself am an “IGI” — which stands for “I got it” — when it comes to services provided at full-service hotel properties. I do not need someone to hail a taxi cab for me unless I specifically request it. I do not need anyone opening a car door for me. I do not need anyone to carry my bag, which is small enough for me to handle, thank you very much. As I said before, just leave me alone and let me go about my business — and do not expect a tip for a service which I do not need or did not request. I will decide whether I want or need the service, and I will further decide whether or not you earned or deserved a tip.
Unfortunately, tipping is not solely an American phenomenon, as some may erroneously believe — although the procedures and policies of tipping do vary from country to country. In some countries, an obligatory service charge of ten percent may be levied on a restaurant bill, for example; while in other countries, tipping may not be customary at all and — as previously mentioned — may even be considered an insult in some cases…
…but as it is said in the old cliché: when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Besides, leaving a gratuity for service in a restaurant is a debate for another time.
I understand the argument that service personnel — mainly in the United States — depend on gratuities due to low and even sub-standard compensation paid to them by their employers. They do deserve to earn a living and be compensated for their work. If those service personnel choose a job or profession which is reliant upon gratuities, then they need to perform their role as best as they possibly can — and unfortunately expect the occasional deadbeat to not leave a well-deserved tip. Others may argue that service personnel earn more than people think as a result of gratuities — but I am not about to tackle that debate here at this time.
The point I am attempting to make is that a tip should be deserved, not expected; earned, not required. If you are a service provider, did you offer a service of value to your customer — and did you do it exceptionally well? If so, that is how you will get a tip out of me. If not — well — that is up to me to decide. Not you.
Am I wrong?!?
I may post articles which go further in depth about the practice of tipping for other hotel staff members, restaurant workers, vehicle drivers and other professions related to travel. What articles would interest you pertaining to the earning of gratuities by service workers in industries related to travel? Please let me know.
By the way — please leave a gratuity for me in the Comments section below, as I cannot add that to your final bill.
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.