Open Thread

by epi on August 10, 2012

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry August 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

What are your thoughts with respect to tipping a maid who comes to your home?

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Lilli August 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm

If the maid is a person you use often I wouldn’t tip on a regularly basis but would tip at the holidays (similar to regular babysitters, mail carriers, etc). If you hire a company for a one time cleaning job then I would likely tip the maid unless she were the owner of the company.

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Elizabeth August 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I normally tip because usually the people come from an agency and are only making a relatively low hourly rate, similar to a hairstylist in a salon. There are cleaning people who run their own businesses (just like there are salon owners, or stylists who rent chairs and thus are in business for themselves) and the tipping rules do not properly extend to them. However, personally still tip them because I trust and value them, and want to show my appreciation. The tips can range in amount from 10-20%, depending on length of time worked and quality of the work. (This is not really the official answer, just what I tend to do. I should say that I don’t have a regular service, just on an occasional as-needs basis.)

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Chocobo August 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I think that would depend on whether the maids are employees of an agency, or independent workers. If they are independent, then they are the owners of their business; owners are never tipped for their services. If the maids are employees of a larger firm, then I would tip similar to a hotel maid. It doesn’t have to be a large tip, but it would seem appropriate and polite to me. Not to mention the possible side benefits of being the favorite house to clean.

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Elizabeth August 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm

My understanding is that the tipping of cleaning people who come to your home is more along the lines of how much you’d tip a hairdresser (a percentage) rather than how much you’d tip a hotel maid (1-3 dollars/day).

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Pam August 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Just Laura and Elizabeth, just to give you an update: I called my friend this morning and told her that boyfriend would not be able to make dinner tonight. She then called me back and left a message saying that she was hurt, that my boyfriend was mean and that she had worked for weeks to get everyone together and that while our friend who had to back out due to her mother having emergency surgery was an exception, my boyfriend was not an exception. I calmed myself and called her back. I reminded her that I have never, ever called her mean when she had to cancel a plan. I then told her very calmly that I would not participate in a group outing again, that this past week had been very unpleasant as we all feel like we are going to be “in trouble” if we are unable to attend and I took Laura’s advice and said “the world does not revolve around this dinner. My boyfriend has not been sleeping and I would appreciate if you would give him the benefit of the doubt.” It makes me realize that I bend over backwards for her on a regular basis and yet part of friendship is not getting mad at your good friend (me) b/c you aren’t getting your way. It’s amazing how I thought I came so far yet I have allowed someone to dominate my emotions and thoughts for almost an entire week.

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Elizabeth August 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Wow, good for you! How defensive was her reaction? Or was she actually able to hear you?

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Pam August 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm

She sort of just listened and then said “okay so I’m changing the reservation to 4 people then.” Toward the end she said “are we okay now?” She is just very paranoid and I think she has a lot of time on her hands and comes up with notions that everyone she knows is hanging out without her. Thanks for your help!

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Just Laura August 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Reading this was as refreshing as the cool weather we just got. I am so glad that you were able to handle this issue in such a respectful, logical manner. Too bad you don’t live closer; you sound like a good friend.

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Pam August 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thanks Laura! I think a lot of us would make good friends for each other, at least we can help each other on here! We ended up having a nice dinner on Sat. night, but I still feel very drained today from the whole episode, and I have learned a number of lessons! Thank you all for your help, again!

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Eric August 13, 2012 at 11:15 am

Our culture really emphasizes tipping to the point where it seems an obligation. It is not. Tipping should be done when a job is well done or a service is especially appreciated, not out of obligation. If we tip out of obligation, we essentially undermine the meaning of a tip and deprive ourselves of an avenue of showing our appreciation when we may want to. I used to work as a dishwasher and a busboy. Neither is a fun job, but the job was made much more bearable when I collected a tip. It was always a real lift and inspired me to carry out of my job with a little extra zeal. Tipping as a holiday thank you is nice, but a random tip can be ever better. I suggest you gauge the quality of the maid service you are receiving and tip accordingly, but to tip as the norm may do you a disservice in the long run.

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Pam August 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I realized recently that I rarely have poor or “Just ok” service at any restaurant I go to. The reason I realized it was b/c I recently went to a diner in which the waiter was rather unfriendly, took our order and we never saw him again until he brought us our check. He never came to see if we needed anything, and I was going to order a coffee. So, I figured I would get my coffee somewhere else and left a minimal tip. I never give the tip that much thought, I usually give the same percentage and round up b/c usually the service I go in most places is excellent. The fact that I was even thinking about the tip that much made me realize “why am I going to give him the same as I give everyone else, when they go above and beyond?”

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Chocobo August 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Personally I abhor the American tipping system. It brings out the worst in everyone, the worst symptoms are entitlement and an inflated sense of self on both sides. That being said, I disagree with you. I also worked in food services and from my experience, while obtaining a tip was delightful, withholding tip never fixes the problem. Many times the withheld tip punishes the wrong person — i.e. the server or busboy — when the real problem was the kitchen, or poor management.

I think a better policy is to tip moderately when receiving poor service, and then to speak with the management immediately to address the issue. The managers are in the best place to address where the problem lies and mete out discipline where it is due, whether that is a fired waiter or a warning to the cooks.

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Jerry August 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Poor service at a restaurant gets no tip — I’m sure on that one. (Excellent service gets 20%, good service gets 15%.) And no, I don’t care about why I may have received poor service. I don’t care if the waiter was having a bad day, if the restaurant didn’t staff the dining room properly, or if the waiter was new to the job. (Poor service is different than slow service: if the food is slow to come out, that’s not the waiter’s fault.) By withholding a tip at a resturaunt, I’m not trying to teach a lesson or to solve a business person’s problem. I’m just refusing to pay for something (service) that I did not receive.

(And before anyone cries that wait staff works for tips, a restaurant must make up the difference between tips earned and the minimum wage. That a waiter may not want to report that he received insufficient tips to cover the difference is his problem, not mine.)

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