Forced to Give Tips in the US – 28 Sep 09


There is another experience from our recent USA trip that I would like to share. I saw that it is part of the culture to give tips and to expect tips. I could accept if someone expects to be tipped. It is natural, you did a good service and put your effort into it. But sometimes I felt that you are forced to give tip. That is too much.

The philosophy is for me that when you are happy, then you wish to give and you give. But when you are not happy you are still forced to give tip? I don’t understand this! If I am not happy with the service, the person is not nice, not friendly, I did not get what I wanted and I am just and simply not satisfied, then I don’t wish to give, I do not feel good with giving. I would love to give tips when I am happy, when I feel that the other person happily helped me. I was told that it is the system in America that people don’t get enough salary because they know they will get tips. And this is how tip is expected.

We also have this part of culture in India. But there, the hope of getting tips makes them give a good service. They want to be nice with you because if you are happy, they know you will give something and maybe even much. But in America it seems that there is a condition like tax: you have to give this amount, this percentage of tip. Then don’t call it tip, call it tax or service charge!

In my mind tip is the word to reward something for a good service because you are happy. Most of the time in America people were very nice. But sometimes I also experienced that the service was not nice but I felt forced to give tip. I just want to say that I love to give if I am happy and we made some people happy with that, too. In this way you share your happiness.

You don’t know the person, so you don’t know what he or she would like if you were looking for a present, but you know he would like to get tip. And in this way it developed. Just don’t keep the expectation. Be happy and share, then others will share with you.

Today we did some sound recording in a studio for the movie that we are making ‘A Journey of love’.

4 Replies to “Forced to Give Tips in the US – 28 Sep 09”

  1. Haha Swami Ji, I enjoyed this insight into Indian culture and this new (for me) way to think about things. It is odd that we use the word tip in the States when indeed you are simply paying a waiter or waitresses salary! It is unfortunate for the waitstaff as well as the tipper in some cases. People don’t always leave tips or good tips and hard workers go home not being able to pay the rent!

  2. It is a strange system that we are expected to pay the waiter’s salary because they don’t make enough already. And some people are stingy about it and don’t tip well even when the service was fantastic. I was a waiter for awhile and experienced the highs and lows of tipping. Because I know what it’s like to deal with the stress of serving and worrying about tips, I always tip well…even if the service wasn’t that great. I can usually see why– maybe the kitchen was extra busy so it took a long time. Maybe the waiter was having a bad day. To me, I’d rather tip them well and make their day better. If they got poor tips from everyone else that day, then I’d rather be the one to tip them well so they will wake up and think… why? Maybe it will help shake them out of their funk and appreciate their customers.

  3. In general the concept of giving tips is useful for both waiter and guest. If the guest wasn’t happy with the service he can express this feeling with giving no tips. And if the waiter tries his best to satisfy the guest, his labour will probably be appreciated. But if you are forced to give tips, then this means that you don’t have anymore the option to express your content on a natural way.

  4. We found the very same thing travelling around India interestingly! On several occasions we weren’t allowed to leave taxis and would get seriously disappointed looks for not tipping when we felt the person didn’t deserve a tip. Sometimes people even asked for more money!