Listen to Merle on "Real Talk with Jim Lisa"
January 23, 2021
HOW GRATUITOUS SHOULD WE BE?I don’t know about you but I’ve yet to get a letter in the mail with a check thanking me for making someone’s day or simply enjoying the article that they just read. “Here is a five dollar tip for you.” I’ll never see that. So, why is it that we are given a sort of “list” as to whom we give a gratuity to? Don’t their bosses pay them enough?
I took a trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and decided to see the reactions of those that I did not slap a few extra bucks with. Let’s begin with a car service to the airport. I am standing on my steps with bags and a walking stick noticing that the driver doesn’t even get out of the car to assist or even open the door. That is after having to tell him to move up to a spot so that I don’t have to walk atop the iced snow. His job is to get me to the airport and he did that. So why is a tip expected?
Checking into a hotel. The job of the bellhop is to bring my bags to my room. “If there’s anything I can do….” I didn’t ask for anything more than simply my bags. He did his job. Gratuity?
The hotel has valet parking and it’s not as if it is free, so why are we tipping the guy who retrieves your car. Is that not in his job description?
Restaurants are the worst! Who decided that we need to tip a certain percent of the check? It only becomes logical to eat at the least expensive eateries. We are already tacking on a tax based on the amount. Do you make the mistake of figuring out the tip by including the tax in the full amount? I would love to tip the waitstaff based upon the amount of times they visited me. Let’s say a certain amount for each time that an item was served along with it being the correct temperature and how you ordered it. Another amount for each time that they asked if the food was to your liking and if not did something about it.
Waitstaff will do their best to hike up the check by pushing drinks and desserts, simply because regardless of the service you are expected to fork over a percentage.
There was a time that you gave a gratuity to the person who ushered you to your seat at the theatre. Hopefully their wages increased to not have to rely on the income. Yet, you go to a sports game, someone looks at your tickets, brings you to your seat and “cleans it off” now expecting some money from you. Were you already too drunk to find your own seat?
I took a local tour via one of those pedicabs. Their basic job is to get you from one place to another as they pedal a bike vs being in a taxicab. Sort of a rickshaw with a bicycle. There is a price set for this. Should they be getting a gratuity? In this case they should if they are taking the time to tell you about the area, giving you info about some of the places you pass along the way, etc. I wouldn’t base it upon the cost but rather what you feel they should be tipped.
The area has another form of getting about…a Water Taxi. I noticed that each of the “captains” had a box for gratuities. You already pay for the trip and there can be a full boat. What’s the gratuity for?
I can’t imagine that when my plane lands each of us would be expected to hand some bucks to the pilot for getting us safely to our destination or say, “You’re not getting a tip from me…you were late!”
How about airports that has those trams or carts when you are perhaps physically unable to get to the gate? Are they not employed to do this? If you need a wheel chair are these people assisting out of the goodness of their heart, getting paid, or not getting paid enough?
Going back to the airport from my hotel I took the same shared taxi ride that brought me to my hotel. I was the closest to the airport so the cost was only $11. I shared the taxi with three other people. I handed the exact change to the driver. He counted it and said, “This doesn’t include the gratuity.” I answered with, “Am I obligated to give you a gratuity?” He didn’t know what to say. “Never mind”, he finally said. What did he actually do? He put my bags in the trunk and took them out. Hey, he had to or there wouldn’t have been any room in the car! Did I miss saying that he didn’t even come around to open my door?
Worst experience was going on a gondola ride. The boat was motorized so the gondolier did not have to put effort into “rowing”. A problem was occurring in the waterway that warranted the police, etc. Pierre said that it would cut the ride. I simply sat in the boat. He did say a few things about what was in sight. I didn’t feel that a gratuity was earned. He almost badgered me for a gratuity. I said, “Let the company give you the gratuity”. “They won’t. Why can’t you give it to me?” A bit unprofessional, no?
My tip? Take a trip to Fort Lauderdale and get out of the cold. If not you’ll be singing, “Freeze a jolly good fellow”.
January 27, 2011 - Queens Times
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