You have been served delicious food at a restaurant. The bill is waiting to be paid, you check it and notice that service charge isn’t included in the bill amount. Hence, you leave 10 Rupees tip for the waiter who served the food to you. This is a very Indian way of tipping. The bill amount might be upto 500 or even 700 Rupees but the tip remains 10 bucks, because that’s what we’ve always been doing. Unlike the Americans who tip anywhere between 10% to 20% of the bill amount, we Indians pay somewhere around 2% or less. This is where I differ. In order to maintain a balance and not set incorrect expectations for the waiters I tip more than average but I do not tip an extravagant amount. My tips range from 5% to 10% depending on the service. I ensure that even the bad server is tipped, albeit I do tell him what was it that I did not like about his/her service. I do not tip because I have money at disposal, I tip because they don’t.
You go to a hotel or a restaurant, the server, the bell-boy or the security guards are expecting to be tipped and as disappointing as it is, they do not get tipped often. Their livelihood depend on these tips. An additional 20 Rupees from your pocket won’t make a difference over the bill you just paid which was 40 times more, but it will make a lot of difference in that waiter’s life. 20 bucks could fetch him something that he wasn’t able to buy because of the shortage of money. If you tip the security guard of the hotel you are just checking out of, or you tip the bell boy who brought the luggage to your room, your tip would be the highlight of their day. Every year you expect a 2 digit hike over your salary package from the companies you work for, because you deserve it as you have worked very hard and helped the company make money. Much of the service industry do not have this luxury. A job of a waiter or a doormen is not by choice but usually by chance and the industry exploits these limitations of the aspirants and pay them the least amount possible. In this situation, you can be the good Samaritan and help them out.
I always leave a tip for every person who helps me in one or the other way at a hotel or restaurant. Some of my friends differ by saying that I am spoiling them. To which, I usually reply, “Am I really spoiling them by giving them what they truly deserve?” Some restaurants charge 10% service charge over the bill amount, and we gladly pay it. I am not sure how much of that 10% is actually going to the staff, but technically you are giving a tip of 10% and remember, that is way more than the 1% or 2% you usually tip. So, what’s wrong in making it a habit to tip atleast 5% at all places? You will not get poorer by doing so. Make someone’s day by doing such a deed. Some people pay more money to beggars than their waiters. That is just downright stupid. Begging is an industry we need to stop promoting, it’s just unhealthy for the economy, both your personal and the country’s.
Next time you eat at a restaurant or stay at a hotel, remember one thing “You are probably paying more money for the room than 30% of the bell boy’s salary, or you are paying enough to feed the waiter’s kids for 2 weeks for that one meal in a restaurant”. So, please tip judiciously to help someone who is working honestly and being at your service when you need them.