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On tipping


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#81 SimplyRed

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 07:52 PM

Since this has encompassed tips in lots of different situations, we had one recently that I'm still puzzling over.  

 

Dining at a very top end restaurant with another couple, we evenly split the bill on two credit cards.  Although we were fine with the split, the other gentleman offered to put the entire tip on his half of the tab as a way to even things up a little.  Their meals and drinks were a bit higher in cost than ours.  I now think that the net results had the appearance of his being an outrageously generous tipper and our being complete stiffs.  I hadn't given it a lot of thought, until the waiter made a point of coming all the way out to the lobby as we retrieved coats to shake our friend's hand with a huge "thanks".  He gave us a rather cold shoulder.  So now, I feel like we can never return while our friends will get the royal treatment whenever they dine.  LOL!

 

My point is....give your own tips.  I agree that collective tipping can go wrong.

 

'Red


Edited by SimplyRed, 31 March 2015 - 09:52 PM.

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#82 graceland

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 09:55 PM

Tipping envelope for the manager is one of the most absurd things I have ever read about. Are you sure this wasn't a joke?

I would gladly give the manager a tip if she was guiding on a walk or something similar, but this...?

I am not kidding, though I am known to kid around a bit on this forum..

 

It surprised me, and maybe it is gone by now because i never saw any of those envelopes disturbed ;) or anyone reaching for them.

 

Same trip, different camp (and ownership) I am chatting with the manager at that lull before dinner with a glass of wine - family talk, camp talk, normal stuff...a Swiss man comes in ( I noticed as he was striking, and had a great accent :D ) and asked here where the "general tip box" was located. He puts some money in and as he walks away, she says......"No one ever gives me a tip" - This was our first night; and first day on safari in that country....I was taken aback; and said something to the effect, maybe people think  you receive it from the box?" I did not pursue this but I felt awkward. I did not know if I should offer one at the end of our trip - thank goodness she had to leave camp the next day for a family situation. Actually I did not think the guide deserved one at that camp so he received a note saying so. And a follow up letter to the company and the TA. BEST part of that camp was looking at madaboutcheetahs photo album on the table.

 

In hmm. six countries of safari in Africa, I've never been asked but that once to give a manager a tip. Though I aways write a lovely note in a guest book.

If I were quicker on my feet, I'd say take it out of the "thousand " or more I paid your company for tonight!

 

But I also try to be polite. So I keep my mouth shut. Until a thread comes along B)


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#83 Tdgraves

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 10:06 PM

I guess I'd always assumed that they'd get a share of the general tip. However, I think the lower paid behind the scenes staff are more deserving and this is probably where people think their money is going to, rather than the managers. I'd probably reacted the same way as you to her comment, i.e. Keeping quiet, but due to a lack of a pithy comeback, rather than politeness. No one ever tips me either..... ;)
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#84 xelas

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 03:41 PM

Read this thread, and got some answers to my "tipping" question ... and more answers to ask to myself and to others!!

 

If "tipping" is paying for excellent service, why it is not named "rewarding"? My english is poor, I admit, so there might be a better word to describe this payment.

 

If lodges are "eco" and "sustainable" and also "luxury" isn't it expected that they are paying their staff accordingly? If not, if they pays lower salaries i.e. they exploit their staff isn't it right thing for me to just avoid such businesses?

 

If a certain hour or week or month salary/wage is prescribed by the state, do I have the right to interfere with those laws (by giving additional salary/wage)?? How much disturbance it might cause between the staff (some of them being able to receive a tip, and others not being able to receive, due to their different jobs)?

 

How to distinguish between "excellent service" and "ordinary done job" when on the guided safari for the first (or second or third) time? One can easily spot a sloppy job, but an excellent one?

 

If a travel agency puts out Rules for tipping, isn't it that tipping is not anymore at the discretion of the guest, but a norm? Wouldn't then be better, more fair to the potential guest to have those costs included, or listed under the Rate section?? Because "tipping" can add a substantial amount to the total budget of a average safari trip.

 

Too many questions/dilemma for a poor European guy, specially the one that was raised in a socialist/communist country (where every work was a paid work). It seems to me that not tipping I will make problems only to myself, and by tipping I could make "problems" to others. I prefer the first option. Maybe Japan and Iceland should be the countries to be visited next  :blink: ?!

 

Anyway thanks a lot for all the contributors to this specific thread. It helped me made my mind. I hope I could report back in the near future about the consequences of my decision!

 

BTW, when driving around New England, USA for a month in 2009, the whole "tipping" situation, and reactions from the receiving side made me so uncomfortable after one week that we have not eat at restaurants anymore. Just at diners (with a tip box/jug or fast food joints). "Daughter, how much is 15% out of 55.60?" "Anyone has 1.60 $ in coins?" "Wait, wait, I will give you your tip, just have to collect the cash first!" "Sorry, i am so sorry, I have just made an honest mistake in calculating your tip amount!"


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#85 wildpicture

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 09:35 AM

When I was in China I met a couple that had been chased down the street by a waitress as she thought that they had forgotten their change  :D

Something similar happened to me once in The Gambia, many years ago. I was alone and took some different taxis to get to a reserve to photograph birds. The taxi driver hardly spoke english so I didn't understand how much he wanted. I gave him some money which seemed okay to me, according to what I paid for previous taxis. After I paid him, I got out of the car and started walking. He came after me, shouting at me. I thought he was angry because I didn't pay enough. But to my surprise he came to give me my change. This is not very likely these days in Gambia though. :rolleyes:


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Hans

#86 wildpicture

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 09:44 AM

And, out of the guides' tips they must buy their own guide books, binos and in Zimbabwe their own guns.

On my first safari to Botswana (camping trip in 1995) the guide told us he didn't want money but rather a small present. So when we arrived in Vic Falls we bought a field guide book on snakes for him. He didn't have that yet and had mentioned somewhere on the trip he would really like to have one. He was very happy with it.


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Hans

#87 PT123

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 12:48 PM

Unfortunately tipping is embedded into the safari culture and most guides, camp staff seem to expect something.  I agree with the sentiment that they should be compensated solely by their employers as going on safari is not inexpensive.  Trying to estimate how much cash to bring for tipping and figure out how much to give to whom can be a bit of an annoying and awkward exercise at times. But I consider myself very fortunate to be in a position to go on safari and an extra $10 or $20 dollars likely will mean a lot more to someone working at a camp in Kenya then to me (I can skip Starbucks for a week).  End of first world rant...


Edited by PT123, 06 September 2015 - 12:48 PM.


#88 panamaleo

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 09:38 PM

Interesting topic with many opinions and experiences.  I too believe that tipping is optional and based on service. Although on my next safari, camps range in price from $300 to $900 per night, I think the $8 per day is reasonable ($5 for guide and $3 for general staff).

 

As an American, I am used to the 10-15% expected at restaurants; $1 per bag for an airport porter; same for hotel porter; $1 per day for hotel maids. It's just part of USA culture. But, now living in Panama...things have changed. It is sort-of expected to tip for service here in Panama, but certainly not more than 10%, and NOT for taxi drivers. In fact, there is limited "service culture" in Panama (one of the major adjustments living here), so when I (rarely) do get good service, I always include a tip, and a spoken word thanking the individual for "la cortesia."

 

Funny story from some years ago when I was a road warrior for my company.... At the busy Atlanta airport, in a rush, I left my bag with the outside-terminal porter, forgetting to tip him,, and started to dash inside the terminal. I heard a robust voice call to me "Miss, you forgot Washington!"  Clever man....George Washington is on the face of the US $1 bill!



#89 LastChanceSafaris

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 11:37 AM

Interesting to say the least, and a subject that has followed me around like a bad smell for the last 25 years! As a guide, camp manager, safari operator, etc. I have been asked the question ad infinitum! My answer is to ask yourself the question first...."Did my guide, waiter, room cleaner... go beyond my expectations to make my experience truly memorable?"

If 'yes', then a tip is considered a 'thank you' for a job done well, and/or above expectations. Extravagant tips feed an unhealthy attitude of expectation (alI guides have had their share) and if you do the job for the tip then go find another job. In Botswana, guides, particularly at the top lodges run by reputable operators, earn good salaries that are largely free from living expenses. Having said all this, it does really hurt a guide's feelings if he puts in a strong effort and gets no recognition for it. I recently received one of my best tips in a long while.... a bottle of fine red wine and chocolates to share with my wife when I got home. The fact that the clients made the effort to find out what my favourite wine is and that sharing it with my wife is one of my greatest pleasures tells me that they really appreciated all the effort I put in.  That's a real 'Thank you'!

Beware, a tip can also be an insult. I once was handed, as an afterthought but with great enthusiasm and gushing thanks, a handful of sweets. I would rather have just had the enthusiasm and gushing thanks.

@micheal-ibk advice of $5/day/person for guides and $3/day/person for camp staff is pretty standard and avoids the pitfalls of over or under tipping. However, I also believe that the camp staff (much lower salaries) put an equal amount of effort and deserve an equal display of gratitude, even if the guide is being rewarded for a hard earned skill set (often starting out as a waiter!). 

The old camera/binocular trick! I once met a guide who would do a safari with the oldest most decrepit pair of binocs you can imagine, all the while admiring, and testing, a client's Zeiss binoculars. Needless to say he had a fine collection of optical equipment back home! These Croc Dundee types are sailing too close to the ethical wind for my liking!

Last bit of advice....

If the service doesn't warrant a tip, DON'T GIVE ONE. Rather tell the manager, privately, your concerns and issues so they can be addressed and thank your guide with a polite handshake.


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#90 armchair bushman

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 08:48 AM

@LastChanceSafaris

You've summed up the view of most owner-operator-guides very well.

Succinct and well-written.  Thanks for that.


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#91 Hawaiino

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 02:09 PM

I'm on my first safari (currently at The Motse, Tswalu Kalahari) and am quite impressed with the intelligence, social skills, education, and service orientation of the guides to date. Admittedly I've only been here and Singita Boulders so very small sample size.
To offer a comparable gratuity to what similar services in Hawaii would warrant could definitely skew the averages. I tipped double the guidelines at Boulders, partly fueled by the fact that 5 of our 6 outings were private ( u requested)

#92 Hawaiino

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 02:09 PM

I'm on my first safari (currently at The Motse, Tswalu Kalahari) and am quite impressed with the intelligence, social skills, education, and service orientation of the guides to date. Admittedly I've only been here and Singita Boulders so very small sample size.
To offer a comparable gratuity to what similar services in Hawaii would warrant could definitely skew the averages. I tipped double the guidelines at Boulders, partly fueled by the fact that 5 of our 6 outings were private ( u requested)

#93 Hawaiino

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 02:16 PM

That posting went to print a bit early....
as I was saying, to tip $5-10 ppd to the guides and trackers whilst paying as much as we are seems mean (small sense)
I took off the cost for similar accommodation and meals in Hawaii, the remainder was "Safari" and thought 5% was very reasonable, and yet still double the "guidelines"
The guide here at Motse is college educated, very conversant, extremely dedicated to his craft, and I'll definitely tip accordingly !
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#94 Tom Kellie

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 02:26 PM

That posting went to print a bit early....
as I was saying, to tip $5-10 ppd to the guides and trackers whilst paying as much as we are seems mean (small sense)
I took off the cost for similar accommodation and meals in Hawaii, the remainder was "Safari" and thought 5% was very reasonable, and yet still double the "guidelines"
The guide here at Motse is college educated, very conversant, extremely dedicated to his craft, and I'll definitely tip accordingly !

 

~ @Hawaiino

 

Howzit!

 

What you've written sounds reasonable.

 

I hope that you're enjoying your first safari.

 

Both locations you're visiting have fine reputations.

 

Tom K.        (from Haena, northshore Kauai)



#95 GBE

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 01:12 PM

In our budgeting, we include 10% of our "feet on the ground, in the bush" cost of a safari for potential tips.  We then base distribution of the tip funds based on our experiences with the people providing support and service.  We very much appreciate the various guidelines provided by blogs, TOs, and ST and use them as a guide to common ratios between staff and guides.  That said, our tipping is an expression of our appreciation and reflective of the value we put on the service provided.  

 

I am curious about the "pitfalls of over or under tipping" referenced by @LastChanceSafaris.  Because tipping is done at the end of service, and in the case of lodges is often times anonymous, we have never considered tips on a safari as an inducement for giving us better service.  As such, I'm having difficulty understanding how tipping over the averages listed here could be detrimental.

 

 



#96 optig

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 01:45 PM

I tip more than this because I usually feel that the guides,and staff go out of their way to ensure good service. I feel better when I tip generously.



#97 GBE

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 02:09 PM

@optig - my point exactly, re: "I usually feel that the guides and staff go out of their way to ensure good service.  I feel better when I tip generously."







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