Sunday, March 28, 2010

Need Tips on Tips

I know about cabbies, waiters and whatnot...but am clueless on proper tipping etiquette for bellboys, bellhops, doormen, concierges, etc. By the way, is a bellhop and a bellboy one and the same? Is a doorman a porter? I need a lesson before we check out. Thank God for Google! Anyone else at a loss about this stuff? Give me a minute while I track down the info...

Okay, before the lowdown, here's an interesting tidbit-the word tip is rumored to have originated with a pub owner as an abbreviation for "To Insure Promptness" on a box he provided to patrons! If you want prompt attention, you tip! Maybe we should install a tip jar at the post office, DMV, and my eye doctor's office.

Not surprisingly, women tip men better, and men tip women better. Attractive women get higher tips, and so do attentive men (as long as they don't make mistakes). Tipping goes up when the weather is good, and down when it is bad. Hmmm, doesn't bode well for waitstaff in Seattle, England, Minneapolis or just about anyplace but Denver or San Diego!

This is what I learned via Tip the hopping bellboy $1-2/per bag or $5-10 for bringing in bags and providing a descriptive introduction to the room. If the doorman helps with bags, it seems that he should be thanked with a little green as well. If he just opens the door for you each and every time you come and go, give him a toothy smile, a big thank you, and then hand him $5-10 when you check out. If a staff member or concierge helps with a special request, show him your appreciation with a a few bucks.

If you splurge on room service, a gratuity is usually automatically added to the bill, but it's nice to hand the deliverer a couple of dollars, especially if they come in and set up the food. Same deal for a maintenance worker who comes to fix something or someone who delivers a requested item - like a cot or blanket. Note to self, stock up on ones and fives before next trip.

Yikes, my biggest blunder so far is that I've never really been aware that we should tip the chambermaids. Oops. And that we should tip each and every day, since it might be different gals on different days. Double oops. Okay, now I know.

I must find a way to do penance for all of those poor chambermaids who have had to deal with not only me but my large, messy family over the course of our travels. I somehow knew to tip the few times we've stayed at resorts, but what about all the times when our 3- rooms-at -a-minimum-family just bedded down at a Marriott for a night or two? Why did it never occur to me that we should always tip the maids. They have the toughest job of all. They do what I do at home which is disgusting enough when you're related to the people with the hair. Ugh, what if you didn't even know the people who once belonged to the hair and had to not only see it but get rid of it. My bad. Okay I promise to make it up somehow. Maybe the best way is to spread the word to other dummies like myself!

Next time you stay overnight in a hotel, leave a couple of bucks in an envelope or wrapped in a piece of paper; write 'chambermaid', and leave on the pillow or bathroom counter before you leave each day. And if you or your travel companions shed more hair than the average Joe, maybe you should make it a fiver.

Don't know if I'd rather hear that other folks have stiffed the maids too so I don't feel solely responsible for economically disadvantaged maids of America ...or that everyone else has tipped housekeeping since the beginning of time ensuring their survival despite my gaffe? Regardless, I will remedy this situation before checking out tomorrow. May my tombstone read "she sure learned how to tip".

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