Tipping spinning out of control.

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by jfhscott, Nov 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    I'm at the Long Wharf Marriott in BOS just now, and took a cab from the Logan. Paid by CC, and was prompted as to a tip from a screen in the payment system. I could choose 20%, 25% or to type in my own amount. And mind all readers, 20% or 25% would have been calculated no only on the fare, but the $7.50 toll charge.

    Is it me, or is this a bit overreaching? As much as I deplore the entire North American custom of tipping (which now entails tip jars at my dry cleaner), I recognize there is a bit of a social compact between customer and typically-tipped service providers (which does not include dry cleaners). And I act accordingly. Is it a bit much for a taxi to intimate that a 25% tip - including tolls in the base - is reasonable?

    Off my soap box.
     
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  2. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Similar % on machines in NYC. I know in NYC, the taxi and limo cabal commission used to charge the driver 5% on cc use, but believe when they recently increased fares by 17%, they went to a $10 flat fee/day.

    I usually enter in my own amount, never going by the highway robbery overinflated numbers they offer as 'guidelines'!
    I rarely give 20% and often tip downwards if the driver asks for more! Happened on my trip to JFK (flat rate), driver said I should tip him very well as I wanted to use a non-toll bridge - when I challenged him as to why, he replied it was a special request. When I asked him if the TLC considered it a special request, he quickly said I was allowed to tip him whatever I wanted. Which frankly should always be the case, no matter what the screen tells the passenger!

    here is one article discussing tipping and taxis
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703992704576307124106628348.html
     
  3. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    What's the big deal? If you can enter your own number, what's the problem? Was anyone trying to force you to tip more? If you don't like the 20% or 25% options, just enter your own number. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Santander

    Santander Silver Member

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    The problem is that this attempt to suck more tips out of customers isn't exactly subtle. I don't think it'd be a stretch to say that the majority of people likely would prefer to tip less than 20% most of the time. This will only either inconvenience customers or make them pay more than they want to, neither of which are particularly customer-friendly.
     
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  5. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    It is indeed annoying to see the defaults set so high. For a taxi, unless the driver is super-helpful, I think of 10% or rounding up as appropriate.

    Having to take extra steps to manually enter a lower tip amount is running a gauntlet which ought not be necessary. And singles you out as a low tipper, when historically you wouldn't have been at all.

    And I would agree that Taxi and Limo commissions are the archtype for 'regulatory capture'
     
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  6. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    Assuming we are talking about in the USA, and not countries like Thailand where tipping cab drivers is considered excessive ...

    10% or just rounding up is ridiculously low, Gary. It's insulting.

    15% - 20% would be a decent tip. Not on the toll, just on the fare.

    I agree with the part about ignoring the suggestions on the device.

    This from a former NYC cab driver.

    -David
     
  7. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    David, 20% "decent average" tip for a cab? On this you and I will disagree.

    But then, while I grew up in New York, I really don't like New York. ;)
     
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  8. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    You caught me in mid edit. 10% is insulting. 15% - 20% is fine.

    Is not liking NYC a reason to give crappy tips?

    -David
     
  9. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Reverses the causality, the expectation of large tips for crappy service is a reason not to like NYC :p
     
  10. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    I don't think that's specific to NYC. If you get crappy service, sure, tip less or don't tip at all. But I didn't think that was what this was about.

    -David
     
  11. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    It's not just you. This is overreaching. Sadly, it's not the drivers' (personal) fault, though my own instinct is to respond to the overreaching by under-tipping.

    The reports I've seen say that the credit card terminals in Boston cabs, which the hackney unit now demands, were paid for by the payment processing company, which charges 5 or 6% for each transaction That was supposedly accompanied by a fare increase that more than covered the 5-6% fee. And drivers have been reported to go out of their way to not accept cards, including by pretending the CC device is broken. Here are some news stories:

    http://www.wbur.org/2011/02/15/cab-credit-cards

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/ma.../05/16/credit_card_use_frustrates_cabdrivers/
     
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  12. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    In Boston (and many other big cities) there's an easy work around to the tip the cab driver issue on the ride from the airport to the hotel -- if you're traveling with just carry on's, take the T.

    We once stayed at the Marriott Back Bay, left our bags with the bellman and went out and did some sightseeing -- came back for the bags and he asked if we needed a cab -- you should have seen his chin drop when we said we'd just go across the street to Back Bay station and take this line, that line and this line.

    DTWBOB
     
  13. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    I'm in cabs in BOS more than I am in my hometown of Arlington, Va, or DC. I've been under a significant amount of "encouragement" to use my employer-issued credit card for all on the road purchases, and the various memoranda specifically identify cabs as being subject to the rule - there is a broad "infeasibility" exception to this rule. And I am aware that cabbies up here get hit for 6%, which seems steep. At times, I just conclude that the sheer amount of time a credit card payment requires justifies cash payment even if my employer does not get cash back from the issuing bank.

    As for other posts here, I know I can enter my own amount, but prompting 20% or 25% is quite presumptuous.
     
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  14. Sean Colahan
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    Sean Colahan Gold Member

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    I have given up on hailing a cab in Boston as much as possible and instead use UBER Taxi when I need it (though my first choice is always public transit)...yes the tip is included, but I feel the customer service is better, I don't have to swipe at the end of a ride so it saves me time, and there is a "higher authority" to rate, review, and complain to (if necessary) ensuring that service going forward it top notch.
     
  15. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    And to drift slightly away from taxis, but still on tipping, about 6 weeks ago, I was reading a story on a travel blog about a spokesman for Wait Staff in New York saying that the tip should start around 25% for meal service and should never drop below 20% of the tab.

    I am still the lame person that goes by a standard 15% rounded to the nearest dollar. (works out to $1 for every $7 on the tab before tax.)
     
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  16. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    Someone make the madness end!
     
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  17. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    Who cares if it's subtle or not? Is it compulsory? Is anyone forcing you to choose one of the higher options? If yes, you'd have a point. If not, this is all just whining. :rolleyes:
     
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  18. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    When I see overreaching, I immediately give zero to fairly low tips as I don't believe in encouraging such behavior.
     
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  19. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    I'm making an educated guess that you never worked in an industry where you depended on tips.

    -David
     
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  20. zphelj

    zphelj Gold Member

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    20% is the maximum allowed under the corporate expense system I use. More than that is automatically disavowed.
     
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  21. Flying Machine

    Flying Machine Silver Member

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    In and around LAX its 15/20/25 or enter your own amount. I find it very convenient to swipe my own card and select the amount I would like to tip ( either a % or other ) Much faster than giving the driver your card after he stops ( then let hom fiddle around with it ) I really like the system. Fast, accurate and Im out the door so much faster. Didnt know that they charge the drivers a fee.. You could use cash as well.. Safe Travels

    Oh and In BOS I have used the Silver Line ( Fast and Cheap ) and connected with the Subway. Try it sometime..
     
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  22. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I truly believe that tipping is getting out of hand. I remember as a kid that 10% was a normal tip for service (not flipping a burger at the local fast food joint), but now my wife screams if I don't leave at least 20% or in some restaurants 25%.

    I understand the ramifications of inflation, but salaries generally rise accordingly. At the rate things are going, my kids will be doubling their bill to leave a tip by the time they are my age.

    I would be thrilled if people were all paid decent wages for their jobs and tips were for exemplary service, not factored into salaries.

    I understand David's comment about taxi drivers depending on tips, and the reality that waiters and waitresses are paid less than minimum because of tips, but I wish that were not the case.

    We seem to have less and less service and more and more tips demanded.

    Does anyone remember pulling up to the gas pump and having the attendant pump your gas, check your oil, fluids and tire pressure and then washing your windows?

    Good luck finding that kind of service today.
     
  23. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    the reality is that it is a subtle means of intimidation.
     
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  24. maradori
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    maradori Silver Member

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    Thank goodness for the Internet. I thought I was the only one in North America who doesn't start at 20%!
     
  25. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    That is the crux of the issue. Living wages would be nice, but tough to implement in this country.

    Next time you go to a normal restaurant, take a taxi and get good service remember that you're not going to miss that extra dollar or two.

    -David
     

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