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Meanderings of a Working Travel Agent

Tipping Point

When to tip and when not to tip. This is a dilemma that affects us all – whether we are travelling or not. It is pretty much expected that we should tip these days but the argument is that the customer shouldn’t have to subsidize wages. The reason we tip is because the minimum wage is so low in Canada. Take Australia for example. And New Zealand. No tipping there because the minimum wage is liveable.

Tipping in Europe was born in the middle ages, a master-serf custom where servants would receive an extra gratuity for excellent performance.  In the mid 1800’s when rich Americans started travelling to Europe they picked up on this habit. According to Ashlen Wilder in a very informative article

“American travelers brought it back to the states as a way to feel aristocratic. But tipping did not take off immediately in the U.S. There was a high level of resistance to it, and tipping was deemed “un-American”. Eating out was already expensive, so why would struggling Americans have to pay more on top of the bill? It also seemed to enforce classist tendencies, where the upper class left a small gratuity for those in the lower classes that worked in the service industry.” https://www.7shifts.com/blog/history-of-tipping-restaurants/

Now it seems that tips are expected at all levels – even at the pizza take out. There is even a character called Tippy who has his own comic book.

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What’s the biggest tip ever left?

Waitress Phyllis Phenzo at Sal’s Pizzeria in Dobbs Ferry, New York State, helped customer Robert Cunningham choose the numbers for a winning lottery ticket in 1984. He ‘tipped’ her $ 3 million – half of his $ 6 million prize money. The story was the basis of the film It Could Happen To You….. WOW

Although tipping is a bit controversial it doesn’t help when diners are sassy about it – check out what some of these losers left for the server –

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Seriously???? I suppose if she did text him for a date he would make her pay for her own meal.

And how about this tip?

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The whole subject is definitely a hot topic ….. mmmm – maybe we should start putting TIP …… on the bottom of our booking form. I can just imagine how that would go down. Mind you – many years ago I did get a cash tip from a customer. He had booked a package and said that my service was excellent …. and gave me $100 note. Gosh …. didn’t know what to say…

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6 Responses

  1. Another interesting post. I always believed that the word comes from To Insure Prompt (or Preferred) Service – which is why TIPS were traditionally given before the service rendered. Think of the messenger who is going to rush down the street to deliver your love-letter ahead of your rival, or the head waiter who will escort you to the best table.

    However a recent Google search debunks that theory and claims the practice comes from the middle ages and should be shunned as out of step in our modern world.

    I do know that when I worked as a Server during my Uni days, (we were called Waiters back then), the daily Tips totalled more than my wages – and were highly sought. Some tables – and the clients who were seated there by virtue of their Tip to the headwaiter – always received my best service – and returned the highest tip in return.

    My spies tell me that the car jockeys at the best hotels clear more than most department managers.

    I still find it useful to “grease the wheels” on occasion, anticipating a special need or to reward extra service, but I also resent the presumptive tip that is just expected as a wage supplement.

    1. Well that’s so interesting. It makes sense as well. We have found that when we tip at the beginning of a cruise we get the best service from our stateroom attendant. It sort of sets the tone.

  2. There was no tipping in the UK .Even now the UK do not expect a tip, this is in the midlands !.We as seniors do not go out to eat as we cannot afford the tipping. I think this is the case for lots of people and in the end paying the staff a low wage does not pay off as people do not go out so they lose out in the end with less customers. We used to tip for excellent service but now It Is expected. I find the waitress’s only smile when they give you the bill.

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The Travel Lady Blog

The Travel Lady

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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