Additional Gratuity: To Insure Prompt Service

Returning home from a trip to NYC with my husband,  I’ve had a couple of days to contemplate many things. My most favorite thing to do on a vacation is sleep.  It occurred to me, as I sat in my catbird seat high above the city, that I could be having this experience closer to home at a Ramada Inn.  I hauled my butt out of bed and headed for the streets.

Deciding to explore on foot, I skipped the cab line and thought about how much money I’ve dropped just in gratuity in the last 24 hours:

1.  Tipped the curb side check in attendant–note that the fee charged by the airline does not cover any gratuity for the people slinging the bags.  

2.  Tipped the cab driver.  On the cool new screens they even automatically calculate 20, 25 and 30 percent gratuity–you just need to tap and it’s automatically added to your total.

3  Tipped the bellhop who took our bags from the car and brought them to the room.

4.  Tipped room service an additional 5 bucks on top of the room charge, 18 percent gratuity and delivery charge already added to my $45 eggs and toast breakfast.  

5.  Tipped the doorman who hailed the cab.

6.  Tipped the guys at Starbucks.

7.  Tipped (?) the guy playing the steel drums in the blazing hot heat near the Statue of Liberty Ferry Boat. 

8.  Added more tip on top of the tip already charged at dinner because we had a group of 6.

9.  Added a tip in the tip line of my credit card reciept at a gelato shop.

It seems like everywhere I turned, there was a plea for additional gratuity. There was even a box to put money in for donations to Lady Liberty.  Afterall, aren’t some of these things listed above just donations?  Not in fact tips?

As a veteran waitress of 14 years, I am very aware of the tipping scene..  I am a fair tipper.  If you give me good service, you will get a good tip, at least 20 percent.  This applies across the board.

If you give me bad service, I adjust the tip accordingly.  If you give me horrible service, you might get no tip and a little note.  Hear me now people working at the mercy of tips–which I have done–you do not automatically get a tip because I show up–you need to show up, too, and fulfill your end of the service bargain.  You need to earn the tip.  

When tips jars started showing up at coffee shops and ice cream parlors, I was wondering how much these people get paid.  When I was a waitress, I got paid $1.65 an hour.  The tip portion of my job was to bring my hourly wage up to the minimum wage.  I’m guessing you must get minimum wage as a ice cream scooper–so I have a little problem with that theory right there.  

Of course I want all of these young kids to go to college. Of course I feel guilty if I’m stiffing someone.  Of course, I feel like service has gone way down.  I hustled, I smiled when I could of spit at nasty customers, I did my best to do my job right and to make the experience enjoyable.   

I think a 30-40 percent tip is too much to ask.  I am all for paying what I owe, but let’s be honest about what we are charging.  I’d rather know that my latte costs $5.00 up front and that it will cost me $20 to have someone carry my bags to my room.  Give me the bottom line, don’t keep me guessing.  I do want you to go to college, I do want to contribute to the ‘Girl’s Nite Out Fund’, but how much is too much?

Maybe I should just have stayed in bed.  I had already paid for the room.  Sleep is both free and gratuity free.  Shoot, forgot that I left the housekeeping service a tip!




  1. Posted July 8, 2008 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    NY will take everything from you.

  2. Mermaid
    Posted July 10, 2008 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Sucked me dry.

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