This is a pet peeve of mine and I am going to rant against it. Please bear with me. I hate tipping. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I hate it. My dislike, however, is not due to stinginess or me being a miser. I hate tipping because too often it becomes a hidden tax on foreigners.
I don’t have anything against people that can expect to be tipped in an almost universal way: bellboys, waiters, and similar others. And I do believe in fair and even generous tipping to people; because people that expect to be tipped in their local business system usually do a very hard work to please you. Besides this, however, there are some very annoying circumstances in the world of tipping:
1. First of all, the kinds of people that expect to be tipped varies from country to country. In some countries you tip the pizza delivery boy; in others, you tip the cab driver. And in others, you tip the barber. If you are new to the place, how in the earth can you tell someone is to be tipped? Tough life, man.
2. Second, there is no sign that says “I should be tipped. Feel free to add x% to the amount of the transaction” with those people. Thus, they quote you a price, you pay it, and you feel that that’s the end of it… But no. And if you walk out right away thinking you have done what was expected of you, you will appear to those people as a jerk.
3. Third, when “tippable” people do not receive a tip, they try to communicate that fact to you by every indirect mean. They will use glances, gestures, double-entendres, whatever… everything but the straight talk that says “Sir, I am sorry if you are not aware of this, but I expect to be tipped.” I am a male human being, naturally resistant to double-entendres and side glances, and it seems that I also belong to some strain that is even more resistant than others (just ask my wife ;-)), and I resent that such an important fact should be communicated in such an indirect way. Ask and ye shall receive!
So, the gist of the matter is this: when you are a newcomer to some place, you are bound to trip into this hidden barrier. You are guaranteed to step on someone’s toes because in some way or another you will not tip to anyone who is expecting it according to local customs. You, as a foreigner, must pay a hidden tax: appear as a jerk and then make the necessary efforts to repair the misunderstanding.
How could we fix this?