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Bloviator

Jun 25, 2006, 11:06 AM

Post #1 of 38 (7150 views)

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Who and When to tip?

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I'm constantly confused as to who to tip and who not to tip. I tip gas station attendants, though many say not to. I tip grocery baggers, obviously waiters in restaurants, nursery help, some people who come in to provide services - fix phones, etc. - and lower level people at a lot of stores. When someone goes out of her/his way to be helpful, I tend to tip unless I think it would not be received well.

I don't tip the nursery or hardware store owners/managers if I know that is what they are. I do tip owners of small restaurants when they provide service. I don't tip higher level personnel, though I have bought dinner for a couple of real estate people who have been particularly helpful.

Police who are helpful on the street? Airline personnel at counters and gates? People who "help" me by motioning me to a parking place at Costco, etc.? Salespersons at upscale stores - Liverpool etc.?

What is the custom? What can one say to find out? I often ask if it is permitted to leave a propina if I'm not sure. Is that OK?



Oscar2

Jun 25, 2006, 4:12 PM

Post #2 of 38 (7107 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Who and When to tip?

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While in Costa Rica and Mexico we’ve noticed and have been told by those rendering a variety of services that you can spot who is European by the lack of or no tips given. I hadn’t noticed this prior to an all day rapids ride in Costa Rica where our guide and very good helper at that, received nothing from the Europeans after a whole day of wonderful service.

He went on to say, you can always tell whom the Americans are by the quick and size of the tip given. Due to our conditioned generosity and quickness in tipping for good service, I must admit I was a bit miffed at witnessing the Europeans just walk away with a sort unconcerned attitude. But then again, my sense of disappointment is probably due to my conditioned upbringing.

Out of curiosity, has anyone else noticed this or was it something said in error?


pipjane


Jun 25, 2006, 5:29 PM

Post #3 of 38 (7087 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Who and When to tip?

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I think this is due to a lack of cultural knowledge on behalf of the Europeans. In Europe we pay our 'help' a living wage. We respect the work they do in restaurants etc as real work, properly remunerated, and therefore they don't necessarily need tips to live on. A tip is an extra appreciation - not an essential part of their salary and a customer can give one, or not, without any feeling of obligation.
People like myself, who have lived all over the world, understand that tips are not really tips at all in many countries but help to ensure a decent standard of living for people.
I have seen this most clearly when I lived in the USA where restaurant staff are often paid really badly and a huge tip, by European standards, is expected and earned. And I'm happy to pay it there and in Mexico.
But, who to tip in Mexico? I tip almost everyone and sometimes they refuse to take it e.g. when I've mistaken a manager for a bag filler! But I don't throw money around. My tips tend to be smaller than I would give in the USA but more than in Europe. I don't think I'd tip a policeman anywhere though - is that expected, do you think?
Pip


Ed and Fran

Jun 25, 2006, 6:06 PM

Post #4 of 38 (7078 views)

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Re: [pipjane] Who and When to tip?

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I don't think I'd tip a policeman anywhere though - is that expected, do you think?


Only if he offers to let you off without a ticket........... ;-)


jennifer rose

Jun 25, 2006, 7:01 PM

Post #5 of 38 (7051 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Who and When to tip?

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When it comes to tipping, I try to take my cues from other Mexicans. If they’re not tipping, I’m not.

Whom do I always tip?

Parking lot attendants.
The person who loads my purchases into the car.
Waitpersons.
If I’m a houseguest, the host’s maid.
Skycaps and bellboys.
The guy who delivers the new phone books.
The mailman on Postman’s Day.
Beauty salon personnel.

Whom do I tip on a variable basis?

The grocery sacker. That depends upon the sacker and what others in line ahead of me are doing.
The Pemex attendant. I don’t tip them for routinely filling the tank, but if they perform additional services, then I’ll tip them.

I never tip:

Workers from CFE, Telmex and the cable company. Well, I did tip the cable guy once when my modem was broken, he insisted there wasn’t an available replacement, and I told him that there *would* be a sizeable tip if I was up and running in 2 hours.
Cab drivers.
At a hotel or restaurant where a service charge is already imposed.

Would I tip the police? Only if he let me off without a ticket or changed a flat tire for me.

See also http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/dttipping.html


Oscar2

Jun 25, 2006, 7:10 PM

Post #6 of 38 (7045 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Who and When to tip?

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There are occasions when service is so superlative, one feels exceptionally obligated to be more generous than normal. Money is one way of binding a sense of gratitude. However, there is one approach that not only brings overwhelming smiles with a need for them to want to even do more for you and that is as follows.

While being friendly in the coarse of conversation, I express my deep appreciation to the person for rendering the service and I ask them if it would be okay with him/her if I spoke to their superior on their behalf because quite frankly, I feel his/her ability, kindness, talent or whatever is not being justly recognized or rewarded.

Thus if he’d call his/her boss over to the table of wherever I’m at, with a friendly smile, I point out the merits of this individuals efforts and ultimately suggest this person should either be given a raise or a promotion but that definitely something good on his/her behalf should be done. If you’re having dinner or some other service, this effort takes no time at all.

When done, in the future this person doesn’t forget and hence greets you with smiles and openness. I’ve experienced occasions when the person/s I gave a boost too actually comp’d me meals, a cocktail or something else nice.

Once I emailed the corporate office in regards to something getting accomplished by a very nice young man of my athletic club. He called me later expressing his deepest appreciation and to inform me he not only got a raise but a promotion to assistant manager. Yes, a little expressed appreciation to the right people can bring very favorable results and appreciation.

This is just another way of giving a tip that can work. Laugh


Bloviator

Jun 27, 2006, 5:59 AM

Post #7 of 38 (6915 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Who and When to tip?

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We just had a series of slapstick adventures on an airline trip. We tipped two people who we would never usually tip - airline professionals - because they went way out of their way to help us. They seemed to accept it without rancour. I hope they were not offended.

We did not offer to tip anyone when I was put on standby because the airline personnel did not do their work properly. If I had done so before getting a seat, it would have been a bribe. I don't want to get into another discussion of the immorality of bribery, but I do tend to want to avoid it.

Bribery is not a tip. As pointed out by others, a tip is for either appreciation of good service - or NoB, as the means to pay for the services of people whose livelihoods depend on tipping due to the economics of their positions - ie. restaurant waiters cannot get along without tips as it is considered part of their regular compensation.

Incidentally, I never fail to tip NoB. A couple of times I have left penny tips. I wanted it to be very clear that they were getting stiffed for bad service rather than just forgetfullness on my part. They really provided horrible service to get the penny tip.


(This post was edited by dlyman6500 on Jun 27, 2006, 6:03 AM)


Oscar2

Jun 27, 2006, 8:02 AM

Post #8 of 38 (6888 views)

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Re: [pipjane] Who and When to tip?

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I noticed you are a British subject and no doubt have more insight as to indigenous convention and habits routinely exhibited by some European travelers. The experience I spoke of in my previous post, involved folks from Spain and some other foreign speaking language which sounded like German.

This young man, our guide and our well-experienced helmsman not only displayed his skill in forging a blistering, very scary category “4 & 5” rapids ride but spoke “practiced” English exceptionally well. One could clearly see his pointed effort was to be informative of the surroundings, including but not limited to cultural habit and also entertaining regional trivia.

More important, his unyielding effort to please came across in an affable, pleasant manor. Frankly, the six in our party were more than pissed at the flagrant disregard displayed toward this young man (whose wages in Costa Rica we knew are definitely sub-standard).

I feel my previous initial post was too all encompassing. It should have been clarified and more country specific to the occasion. That is not to say I don’t believe the whole country is this way but it did cause the guide to exclaim with a sense of resignation, “Europeans usually don’t tip.” I’m sure these European conventions very widely based on convention.

On another front, personally the wife and I enjoy dancing considerably and this being the case we know when we go to a certain nightspot and occupy a table, the waitpersons tips depend on quick table transition.

If we’re there just to dance, we’ve learned not to imbibe too much or we’d be swaying and stumbling on the dance floor kind of uncontrollably, so we limit our drinks to two or three at most.

Knowing well beforehand, that we’re going to nurse drinks for a considerable amount of time, we try and become friendly with the waitperson and up front, table a much larger tip than normal with each drink that follows, as a set aside for our table occupancy for the evening. It’s like playing rent a table. Smile

It lends toward greater waitperson rapport and covers table occupancy if it comes under question. I agree with the issues that under paid waitpersons need additional compensation and as such, the waitpersons type of service plays heavily into promoting that end.


mazgordon


Jun 27, 2006, 1:02 PM

Post #9 of 38 (6852 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Who and When to tip?

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On parking lot attendants:

$0 pesos - If I can drive out straight ahead and/or the guy's nowhere nearby.

$1 peso - If the guy blows his whistle REALLY loudly in my ear but yet helps me back out.

$2 pesos - If the guy doesn't blow his whistle loudly and helps me when I need it.

$5 pesos - If the guy helps unload the stuff and moves the cart away.

$10 pesos and up - If the guy helps load up multiple large items.

¡Echar todo la carne al asador!


Oscar2

Jun 27, 2006, 3:35 PM

Post #10 of 38 (6814 views)

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Re: [mazgordon] Who and When to tip?

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I especially noticed in the Chapala plaza area there is quite a number of combo parking attendants/car washers milling around hawking business. Dusty roads, dusty cars are inevitable in them there parts and a little dusting by one of these guys, comes in handy.

I don't quite remember what the propina was but I think it was somewhere in the 20 peso range. Not only that but they keep an eye on the car till you return. Does 20 pesos or so, sound about right?


¡Hasta la otra!


geri

Jun 27, 2006, 3:36 PM

Post #11 of 38 (6814 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Who and When to tip?

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It is not customary in Oaxaca to tip cab drivers, but if I have a LOAD of bundles from a shopping spree at Sam's club and the driver helps me, cheerfully, to load and unload, I tip him. Sometimes the drivers just let me me do it myself. No tip. No problem. Taxi rates are really high, by Mexican standards, in Oaxaca. I remember one time, the driver was extra helpful, eagerly assisting me in unloading bundles from the trunk. I was so consumed by the task at hand that I didn't notice until the last minute that he had only one leg! He got a BIG tip!


db52

Jun 27, 2006, 8:15 PM

Post #12 of 38 (6765 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Who and When to tip?

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What about if you buy a couple of tacos and a coke from a street vendor? Tip or no tip? If they have two or three tables and some plastic chairs? If they have no tables/chairs? What about if it is a one-man operation as opposed to a place with a cook and a vegetable chopper and another person who handles the cash-box?

I don't think there are any hard-and-fast 'rules' but maybe I am wrong. I don't have a whole lot of experience in Mexico, but my inclination would be that in a lot of situations it is optional. For example, I was in Chapala/Ajijic for a day or two in March and had a cup of coffee at a place in Chapala and another place in Ajijic. The sort of place where you go up to the counter and odre/pay for your coffee and then can sit at a table and drink it. I seem to remember that in both places I was treated courteously and cheerfully and in both places I think I asked "Are you permitted to accept propinas?"

I have even, when staying at a hotel, asked the gardener who took care of the plants in the courtyard and the lady who was sweeping the lobby if they were permitted to accept tips. (They said they didn't get tips very often, but it wasn't against the rules.)

I don't think I've ever asked that question and been told that it was not permitted!

So my advice would be that if you feel you've been done well by somebody who is 'on the clock' but are unsure whether to tip or not, ask if they are 'permitted to accept' a tip. No matter the answer, you are almost guaranteed to get a smile.

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tashby


Apr 27, 2008, 2:23 PM

Post #13 of 38 (6628 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Who and When to tip?

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I didn't want to start a new thread on tipping as there are several, not surprisingly. The most informative one, titled simply "tipping", got locked up for some reason. Anyway....I'm somewhat solid on the topic, but got thrown off a bit today.

What do you do when the bagboy isn't a boy?

I was at the liquor store next to the SuperLake in San Antonio Tlay today, and bought some beer, and when I looked up at the person who bagged the stuff he must have been in his twenties, at least. Of course, any of the grocery store/Costco kids etc., I always tip a few pesos since I know they get no wage. But I was a little stumped in this situation. Kind of uncomfortable.

Guidance?


Rolly


Apr 27, 2008, 2:29 PM

Post #14 of 38 (6622 views)

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Re: [tashby] Who and When to tip?

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I tip for the work done, not who the worker is. Although I'll admit to being a bit more generous to the senior citizens who bag at the grocery store.

Rolly Pirate


yucatandreamer


Apr 27, 2008, 2:31 PM

Post #15 of 38 (6619 views)

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Re: [tashby] Who and When to tip?

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My personal opinion is that in a country where many people struggle to make ends meet, you will never go wrong by leaving a tip. This is particularly true when someone has provided you a service like bagging your purchases or guiding you safely out of your parking spot.


sioux4noff

Apr 27, 2008, 2:33 PM

Post #16 of 38 (6616 views)

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Re: [tashby] Who and When to tip?

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Quote
What do you do when the bagboy isn't a boy?

Often times the "bagboy" is a girl, or is a senior citizen, man or woman. I admit I tip the seniors more than the kids, but I always tip something. And the seniors usually do a better job with packing.
So if the kid was in his 20's, I'd tip him. The stores have standards (at least here) as to who can be a bagger, so I'd figure he "qualified." Since they get paid nothing by the store, why wouldn't you tip him the same as others?


(This post was edited by sioux4noff on Apr 27, 2008, 2:41 PM)


tashby


Apr 27, 2008, 2:40 PM

Post #17 of 38 (6611 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Who and When to tip?

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Thanks Rolly, and yucatan and sioux....that's what I kind of figured. I was just a little taken aback/surprised when I noticed the age of the person who bagged the beer, and couldn't be sure if he was a paid employee who just happened to do it, or that was the only job he had there.


Bloviator

Apr 27, 2008, 2:42 PM

Post #18 of 38 (6610 views)

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Re: [tashby] Who and When to tip?

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That is a problem. Chances are that the "bagboy" in question is one of the managers just filling in to help. I don't think tipping him is appropriate. I've had the same experience at that store a few times.

Sure glad you resurrected this turkey (only kidding, tipping is a serious discussion when people depend on tips to live as many do - particularly the old women bagging groceries at Sorianos). It's so old that I've been reborn with a new name since it started.


(This post was edited by Bloviator on Apr 27, 2008, 2:45 PM)


esperanza

Apr 27, 2008, 2:59 PM

Post #19 of 38 (6602 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Who and When to tip?

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If the bagger is an employee, management or not, he or she will refuse your proffered tip. Regular employees aren't usually allowed to accept a gratuity.

Just a week or so ago I paid at the register in Bodega Aurrerá and attempted to tip my bagger. She showed me her employee badge and said, "Gracias pero no, ya soy empleada." ('Thanks but no, I'm an employee now.') I congratulated her on getting the coveted job and took my stuff and left.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









sioux4noff

Apr 27, 2008, 7:27 PM

Post #20 of 38 (6552 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Who and When to tip?

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And the two or three pesos you tip the management bagboy will break you?


alex .

Apr 28, 2008, 7:54 AM

Post #21 of 38 (6497 views)

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Re: [tashby] locked thread

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Over the years the tipping threads , sooner or later, have degenerated to a discussion about Canadians. I'm guessing thats why they get locked.
Alex


(This post was edited by alex . on Apr 28, 2008, 7:55 AM)


dbenoit

Apr 28, 2008, 2:24 PM

Post #22 of 38 (6443 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Who and When to tip?

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Why don't you tip cab drivers,just curious
donna


esperanza

Apr 28, 2008, 2:50 PM

Post #23 of 38 (6436 views)

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Re: [dbenoit] Who and When to tip?

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Custom.

Do not tip cab drivers unless they help with lots of luggage or hauling groceries/other purchases into your property.

DO tip baggers at grocery stores and pharmacies.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









dbenoit

Apr 28, 2008, 4:38 PM

Post #24 of 38 (6409 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Who and When to tip?

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Thanks
Donna


Mexicanbill

Apr 29, 2008, 4:55 AM

Post #25 of 38 (6363 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Who and When to tip?

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Just a note on cab drivers. A lot of those cab drivers do not "own" the cab they are driving. One person owns the cab, and hires it out to others during the time he is not working it. I have a relative that does just that. The non-owner must purchase his own gas, and earns what he earns. 90 plus percent of the time I get a good safe ride, help with loading and unloading, and a direct route to my destination, etc. Once in a while I get a scare from someones driving, but overall I feel safe.
I always tip.

In New York and other places, owners of cabs pay upwards of $100,000 to get a medallion to own/drive a yellow cab and I would be almost afraid not to tip them, even though most of the time, they have taken the long way around to build up the fair. I'm very glad not to have business there any longer.
Chef William aka MexicanBill
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