Oi boofhead, how does tipping work?

Posted by in Such is Life

Dear Paul

My only american companion.

As an Australian I find it a ridiculous notion to tip a waitress, maitre d’, doorman or hotel maid oh and not to forget a skycap. In fact, i’m not even quite clear on a skycap’s role in this world. Come to think of it, I am sure the only person I’ve ever tipped before is my coffee barista, but that was due to my change being about 20 cents, which was easier to put it in the glass jar on the counter than to pull my wallet out of my handbag, unzip the coins compartment and place the change quietly so it doesn’t make that scratching noise against the other coins.

Oh I’m having a flashback, I once tipped my poor polish immigrant cable guy in Dublin 50 Euro to work overtime to connect my internet on a Saturday afternoon… but perhaps that errs on the embarrassing side of bribery, so we will not speak of it again.

Recognizing my attitude towards tipping made me realize that my visit to the USA might be tarnished by my hotel bed being changed with the room next doors dirty sheets and that if I visit a restaurant twice I should prepare to eat a boogie or two. A Fawlty Towers experience to have, want I do not! Says Yoda.

Some of you who know me well, know that I am in fact a charitable person and will donate to charities from time to time and would give my loved ones the clothes off my back if they were in need. I don’t withhold my spare change for reasons of greed or the well known disease of deep pockets and short arms and certainly do not withhold spare change from my waitress to express my disappointment at the quality of service. After all, in good Aussie nature, we will just never go back to that establishment again and probably write a poor review on-line and tell all of our friends of our bad experience.

So, why don’t I tip? Well, I wasn’t raised in an environment where this was expected. I was not taught to tip. Some establishments in Australia are increasingly expecting tips or providing a space on a receipt for tips, however, I feel that this is no more than a means to take advantage of American travelers. Let’s be clear, it’s not to say that I think the American system is wrong, I just don’t understand it and need to be educated.

I better learn how to tip.

So, Paul… in all your wisdom, you have from now until 22nd Sep to teach me everything you know so I can ensure I do not inflict a mullet on any innocent children. I’d also like to return home with my bags on the same plane, for I fear If I fail to tip the skycap as is customary then my bags may end up in New Delhi, or worse, an eccentric skycap will be walking around his apartment enjoying the feel of my soft hosiery on his hairy man legs. *shudder*

This goes out to anyone else too, for those of you who may have been to the states before, please share you advice and experience with me. When, how and how much should I tip for Excellent, Good, Ok and Poor service?

Edit: This is how you tip, right??