To tip or not to tip?

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Malik Al-Arafat

TIPPING started a long time ago when masters gave their servants a few coins as an expression of their good will. There are no rules when it comes to giving tips, it mostly depends on if individuals are satisfied or happy with the quality of the services that were provided. However, nowadays tipping has become part of protocol and etiquette for some individuals, societies and businesses where tipping is considered a normal business trip expense.

Tipping has become a very popular practice especially during holidays when traveling to countries where giving tips to some service staff, especially those connected with the tourism industry such as valets, bellboys and taxi drivers, has become a custom.

On the other hand, tipping in some countries such as Japan and Hong Kong seems impolite, because a good quality of service is expected and everyone should receive it.

Traveling around the world allows you to observe different tipping practices as they vary from one profession, country and society to another. For instance, keeping the change or rounding up to the nearest figure on your bill are common practices for tipping a waiter. In some cases, customers can contribute at the cashier or the customer may decide which member of staff should receive a tip. In specific situations, the cashier asks the customer if any of the staff provided special assistance and then assigns the designated staff some points which can be converted to cash when they reach a specific limit.

In certain scenarios, some shops, and restaurants in particular, place a box for tips next to the cashier counter where customers can put their contributions while paying their bill. Sometimes, if some members of staff receive a tip individually, they will deposit it in the tips box and at the end of the day tips will be distributed to every member of the team. Personally, this method seems more practical and fair as the final outcome is the result of everyone’s efforts. In addition, this will promote teamwork, sharing joy, and establish a trusting relationship among team members which in turn benefits the entire business. However, an individual effort for a job well done should not be forgotten and can always be recognized separately.

Even though the acronym TIPS stands for “To Insure Prompt Service”, tipping is not always linked to good performance. It makes more sense to tip servers who meet or go beyond a customer’s expectations; however, in some circumstances even servers with a poor performance receive tips, as well.

There are also economical, social, and cultural aspects to tipping. Occasionally, people give tips because they observe good behavior from service staff and want to express their appreciation for that behavior. In some cases tips are given to support servers as many of them depend heavily on tips to make a living wage. This also helps to reduce salary adjustment requests and helps employers to a certain extent in retaining service staff at the same cost. In the end, thinking of the pain and needs of others and making someone happy is a noble deed.

Whether to tip or not, or how much to give remains a personal decision. It is impossible and will become a burden if you are tipping every service staff (bartenders, bathroom attendants, takeaways or grocery deliveries) you meet almost every day. The little extra might means nothing and seems trivial in terms of financial value for some professions, but appreciating their efforts and services is what matters most for them. Under some circumstances motivational words which cost no money can be an effective unconventional rewarding method and make a great and positive impact on others’ emotions and values which in return can be reflected on their life and performance improvement.

Malik Al-Arafat,

Dhahran


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