1. How much should I tip? 10%? 20%
2. Should I tip?
3. Am I overtipping?
4. If I overtip or overpay, am I spoiling it for others?
My thoughts on tipping with regards to these four questions.
How much one tips is an individual matter just as how much you should spend on a birthday or Christmas present.
Of course you should always tip certain types of people if no service charge is included and often extra even if a service charge is included.
There is no such thing in my book as another person overtipping as each has a right to make this determination for oneself. Believe me, after many years of working as a waiter during my college days in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, I can tell you that for every great tipper, there are two who will stiff you.
My friend played for Elvis Presley in Hawaii shortly before he died but received a diamond ring from the great one as did everyone else in the band even though they were making 4000 a week and this was 30 years ago.
While living and working in Beverly Hills, I heard from reliable sources that Tom Selleck gave Porsches for Christmas presents to several members of his production crew on Magnum PI . A tip of sorts you could say.
Don Rickles the great comedian and human being, always left 30% to waiters whenever he dined out.
Sammy Davis junior and many others had great reputations for tipping well.
I've personally seen Steve Martin, the great comedic actor and another beautiful human being hand the owner of a restaurant $100 dollars and ask him to divide it among the waiters
For every over-tipper there are two under-tippers or people that won't tip at all. I'm glad to overtip those who are less fortunate who work harder than I for so little money in Thailand. I had many good role models in my poorer days and now I want to be like them and am happy to over-tip.
4. Am I spoiling it for others? Not nearly as important a consideration to me as am I helping a person who works long hard hours for very little money have a better life. It may be true that people who overpay or overtip get better service but I do not think they do it to receive preferential treatment or to spoil it for others. We simply wish to show some kindness to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
Everyday I give away 50 or 100 baht and sometimes more in Thailand. Many times I've given a taxi driver 60 baht on a 40 baht fare. Or rewarded excellent friendly service in a restaurant with a 200 or 300 baht tip even in far away restaurants where I was unlikely to return within the next year. This is often to waiters or unattractive waitresses so I have no ulterior motives here.
I always give an extra 100 baht to my maid whenever she cleans my room, and often give my spare change to destitute people on the street. I tip the front desk staff at my apartment now and then and give money to the security guards.
One of my main reasons for being in Thailand is to create jobs, additional wealth for Thai people and to contribute financially to those who are less fortunate than I.
I can take a taxi everyday if I so desire or dine in any restaurant I want 3 times a day if I so desire. Its not very difficult for me to make 5 or 10K a month and live well on less than 1/3 of that in BKK.
For many others, its just a struggle to make it through till the end of the month.
There was a time in my life when I had much less money and it wasn't so easy to make a few thousand or more in a month. I always knew I would be generous and overtip someday if I were able. There were many fine people who set good examples for me.
For me tipping is a way to redistribute income or wealth and help someone else who is less fortunate and the same goes for overpaying.
I'm happy that I can give away 100 baht a day. Someday I hope I can give away a million dollars to the poor or uneducated. The money that I use to overtip or overpay over the course of a year can be replaced in a good day for me.
If I'm spoiling it for others, it is almost a non-consideration for me as it is certainly outweighed by the needs of those I tip.
You tip the way you want and I'll keep overtipping and overpaying because I want to help someone or brighten their day even if it's just for the moment.
I'm sorry if this offends some or raises the price for good service but it's my right to tip and pay whatever I want and I'll continue to do so.
I think many Japanese overpay or overtip for similar reasons.
Fair enough. I personally tip taxi drivers very well and anyone who adds to my enjoyment of something. But in bars and restaurants, I tip very little – with the exception of The Londoner where I tip fairly well because the staff are great and in my opinion, add to the experience.