Tipping is one of those practices, which often divides opinions among people. From when should one not tip, to how much tipping is too much; it makes up for an interesting discussion and on some days a delectable argument to witness with munchies at hand. However, in Indiawe are yet to get over the very basic premise of this argument; that of whether or not one should tip at all. So the world can keep its share of debates on percentage and fractions of the bill one is supposed to tip, because the desis are yet to pass the verdict on the practice’s very necessity.

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • To tip or not to tip is a pertinent argument that we are yet to resolve in our country. 
  • Most Indians thing good customer service is their right.
  • Jobs like waitressing etc. do not pay much, at least in ordinary set ups and that is universal. 
  • When a person goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable, a little extra money, can mean a lot more than a thank you.

Tipping is one of those practices which often divides opinions among people. However, in India we are yet to get over the very basic premise of this argument; that of whether or not one should tip at all.

In a recent tweet, author and editor Veena Venugopal shared a snippet from a conversation she witnessed on one of her Facebook groups. A bunch of people were commenting on how much should one tip, if one avails hair salon services worth 5000 to 8000 bucks. Astonishingly some people recommend no tipping at all, because then it becomes too expensive. Oh and also tipping was a western concept. If your middle-class sensibilities manage to look past the stated expense of the salon services, let us discuss why us Indians are okay with spending 2000 plus amount on food and, spa treatments and salon services, but suddenly it becomes too much to tip?

Firstly, most Indians think of good service as their right. We believe if we are shelling out good money for fine dining or getting a spa, we are paying for the overall experience. Why should I dole out extra cash when am already footing a hefty bill? Besides, won’t the waiters or beauticians be earning a paycheckfor their services? Why should then I spoil their habits by “pampering” them for merely doing their job well? This is an argument I hear from a lot of people in restaurants, whether in a dhabaor a high-end eatery. We have the same standards for people serving us at bhojanalayand at a five-star restaurant. Little do we take into account the fact that tipping is more of a courtesy, from one human to another. A something extra for their good service.

When a person goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable and serve you promptly despite their job not paying them well, a tip can mean a lot more than a thank you.

Jobs like waitressing etc. do not pay much, at least in ordinary set ups and that is universal. Which is why people make it a point to appreciate good service by leaving a tip. When a person goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable and serve you promptly despite their job not paying them well, a tip can mean a lot more than a thank you. One has to remember that someone may be obliged to provide you a service, but not to a great experience. For example, a waiter may be obliged to get the food to your table before it gets cold, and serve you. But they aren’t obliged to be nice to you. But sadly, we take certain traits of a job profile for granted.

Having said that the practice of tipping stems from courtesy, the perception also changes a little as we move up the hierarchy. For example if you are paying a servicecharge, should you be paying your usual share of tip? If customers think that they are paying more for the experience, which includes exemplary service, should they be expected to top their bill with a hefty tip?

I’ll leave this open for discussion, but say this, that one of the finest services I have ever enjoyed is at a five star restaurant in Indore where customers are literally asked not to offer a tip to the waiters. (They have it displayed in their hotel’s lobby). Those who have taken care of us on our multiple visits were both enthusiastic and prompt, and I may dare to say, proud to do their work. Perhaps it was a good paycheck and treatment from their employers, which motivated them. But basically it boils downs to this, those who provide their services to us, need to be taken care of, not only to help them survive on their paychecks but also as a token of both encouragement and appreciation. If our intention is to appreciate a person’s service, things like their pay check and our bill shouldn’t come in the way, no?

Picture Credit: HT

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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