Wanna travel? Save for the tips!

I have travelled, I know, this is it. The employer’s greed turns every trip into a misery. Published in The Witness – 18 November 2014...

Planning to travel and want to know where to start? Well, start by saving, but for a while forget about the flights, accommodation and meals; that comes later. The most important is to start by saving for the tips.

And whose hands are out for tips, their eyes stuck on you the poor wannabe tourist? I don’t mean to frighten you, but well, it is everyone you will come across from the moment you switch off the geyser and lock your house, until you return and close that door behind you.

It starts with the taxi taking you to the airport. At the airport, while you have always carried your own suitcase, suddenly some young man will appear from nowhere and snatch it from your hands and run forward to hold space for you in the queue. Really? Who said you want to be at the front of the queue?

At the hotel you think those uniformed young men meeting you from the taxi are really happy to see you or are at the courtesy of the hotel? No, not at all. You will have a wake-up call on checkout when you have to pay for all their unnecessary running around and fussing over you. After all, who did you think you were when suddenly people started falling over themselves to do stuff for you? Some celebrity?

You will get hungry, right? And that will be at the least three times a day, right? Now just remember, attached to every swallow is a certain percentage of the tip. That decision is already made for you; hence the bill comes with the blank section left for you to do your enforced part, and that comes complete with the suggested amount expected.

For the uninitiated, 10% of your bill is the least tolerated for a tip.

Some so-called popular people experience tough times with tipping. They may be starting out in whatever their field is or are going through a period when business is at a low, but these people have to ensure their reputations are not sullied. It is not at their favour to be associated with substandard tipping behaviour. My all-time tip to get out of such sticky situation is to turn on your hangers-on and let them handle the paying and tipping issues. No parasite worth their salt cares who says what about their not tipping, and in the process your reputation, you popular-but-broke person, remains intact.

Do you think the tipping issues do not affect you because you paid for a travel tour package? Well, think again. Everybody whose services you have already paid for when purchasing the travel package, still expect another tip direct from you to them.

Worse, their employer will plead with you, telling how good and committed they are in their jobs – so please tip them. My question to that employer is, if your employees are the best and this good, why are you not paying them their worth?

Chances are that if you ask such questions, it will not be long before somebody pulls out the “tipping is customary” card.

Really? Whose custom?

What about me whose custom frowns at exploiting and humiliating people by employing them and then not paying them, but instead direct them to solicit their wages from clients.

It is greed that stops the employers from adding the proper wages’ costs to their overheads. They do not want to appear expensive, and instead resort to trapping us, clients. Some of us actually prefer to pay adequately, upfront, rather than be hounded for tips.

Because really what is the definition of a “tip” or “gratuity” in the first place?

Am I still gifting if I am tipping at gunpoint? Isn’t gift-giving inspired from the heart?

And before I am misunderstood and conclusions are reached, may I state it categorically (as our politicians would say) that I do tip – but only from the heart.

The minute my heart is bombarded with instructions or threats, directly or deviously – I do not tip.

And who is the “culprit” in this whole dubious scheme? It is the employers. They dodge their obligation to pay their employees, but instead humiliate and turn them to beggars.

Employers have a standard response to the tipping issue, that it is optional. True, but only “optional” in the small print of their Terms and Conditions. What happens beyond that document is altogether the opposite. So just take my advice, and save for those tips!

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