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#7280 - 08/04/04 01:00 PM Should we tip the chamber maid ?
CarlosV Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 4
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Hi !
We will be staying in hostales. Should we leave a tip for the maid. If so, how much per night ?

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#7281 - 08/05/04 06:12 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Hmmm.. in "hostales".... It's my impression that most people don't tip in "hostales" and probably only occasionally in hotels. But if you have a Euro or two coin in your pocket upon leaving it's always nice to leave it in the ashtray or on the counter as a token of your appreciation.

Anyone else? I doubt those that DON'T leave tips upon leaving won't speak up here for obvious reasons.... And while I don't know for sure, I doubt "hostales" expect tips to be found in the rooms when they clean up. If you leave a tip, it's more customary, I think, to do so on the day you check out.

Saludos, MadridMan
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#7282 - 08/06/04 12:41 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Mongo Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/17/01
Posts: 582
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I allow 1 euro per day as a gratuity to the room cleaners. I leave it the last day. I think about what they do and with all the details they attend to it is the least I can do. (I do it in every country)

Secondly, I believe that Javier, Vlad and Alex at Hostal Adriano might resent being called chambermaids! wink

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#7283 - 08/06/04 03:44 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Anonymous
Unregistered


It's not customary in Spain. You don't need to do it, and I believe it's not one custom we should import. I hate having to tip in some places only because the tourists' customs have made it popular, like taxis or bars. Fortunately, an inmense majority of spaniards don't tip at all anybody at the hotel.

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#7284 - 08/06/04 10:09 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Booklady Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 1680
Loc: U.S.A.
I always tip the hotel staff. I not only tip the chamber staff, but the desk staff as well. These people help make my trip enjoyable and see to my comfort, it is the least I can do to repay their many kindnesses. smile
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The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
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#7285 - 08/06/04 11:32 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Is it possible that, like in the USA, tipping in restaurants and hotels may actually drive DOWN wages for those working at these establishments? Maybe not if the person serving you is the person who owns the business.

Tips are a nice extra bonus for the person serving/helping you, I agree, and I always tip well at restaurants here in the USA and also the recommended amount abroad. But tipping can give EMPLOYERS reason to lower wages of those working for them because part of their (the workers') income would come from tip. Employers will start PROMOTING tipping to patrons & to society so that THEY (the owners) won't have to pay so much in salary. This makes the worker dependent on tips from customers and, well, as we all know, not ALL customers tip the same and sometimes not at all.

In my opinion, I've always appreciated the policy in Spain which seems to have existed for many many years. I love seeing "Professional" waiters whom, it seems, have worked at XYZ Bar/Café/Restaurant for the past 20 years, always being paid a living wage and rarely receiving tips. This, to me, is the responsible way to employ people. Pay them a living wage and they'll provide good service, be happier & more responsible with their jobs, and will respect their employers more. If employers pay their employees less and force them to depend on tips for survival, the employees will be less happy & less responsible, more stressed, and have more resentment towards management/owners.

So, in the BIG PICTURE of the economy and salaries and happiness, is tipping REALLY a GOOD thing? (Hmmm.. Maybe my discussion on this topic would be better located in the "About Spain" forum of the message board) Maybe if you secretly/quietly put a tip directly in the hand of that person helping/serving you directly but..... I don't know.

Saludos, MadridMan
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#7286 - 08/06/04 12:44 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Anonymous
Unregistered


True. I guess that's how the custom begun in the USA and other countries.

Here, many times they make publicity like "600 euros plus tips", maybe nobody would taks the job (at least a quality waiter) for 600, but maybe yes with 200 euros in tips. Thus, the employer is saving 200 euros and the consumers pay 200 euros more. The waiter sees his wages became variable. frown

That's in Spain. Obviously in the USA, tips are a ore important part of the wages, and these consecuences for the three actors are more intense.

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#7287 - 08/06/04 01:20 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Booklady Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 1680
Loc: U.S.A.
The problem MM is that the competition is fierce in the food industry. To truly pay a living wage to an individual, the restaranteur must raise the cost of the meal. Many are unwilling to do so because they are barely breaking even due to increased competition.

The question then remains, do the wait and chamber staff earn "living" wages? Generally, here and in many countries, the wages for ordinary wait staff are minimal.

The wait staff is in essence an independent contractor offering his/her services to a particular restaurant. He/she must have a basic "wage" as you mentioned 600 euros, enough to pay the rent, and then the rest he/she must make in tips.

Ignacio, do Spanish wait and chamber staff earn a living wage? That is enought to feed, clothe, and house a family?

Saludos,
Carmen
_________________________
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
--St. Augustine (354-430)

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#7288 - 08/06/04 04:13 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Mongo Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/17/01
Posts: 582
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I am closely involved in the management of two good sized restaurants and I have some knowledge of the economics of tipping in the US. To say that the practice of tipping drives down wages is simply wrong. First off, state and federal law requires the server be paid the minimum wage IN ADDITION to their tips. We closely track the level of tips and have to report to IRS every year. The current level that a server is required to report is, I believe 12%, which means that a server is earning at least 12% commission on their sales in addition to the wage. We don't have anybody making less than $15/hour. In fact one server turned down a management position because he made more money waiting tables.

We consider servers to be like commissioned sales positions. Because tips are based on check prices, they have incentive to sell more product, which is good for the company and the employee.

To say that Spanish waiters are not tipped is a bit of a misnomer. I have many friends that work in the hospitality business in Madrid and they are all at least partly dependent on the service charge that is included in all restaurant prices. They divide it up at the end of the night/week. The more they sell, the more they make just like in the US. The difference in Europe is, the tip is included.

As for room cleaners, I tip them because I appreciate what they do, microeconomics be damned!

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#7289 - 08/06/04 05:08 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Question for debate: What would happen if there was a Global law/rule proclaiming that tips were illegal and from this point forward no more tips would/could ever be given.

Would everyone quit their jobs to find better paying jobs?
And if so, would the jobs & business they left behind close their doors?

Would one-time minimum-wage employers pay higher salaries to make up the difference?
And if so, would patrons pay higher prices if the raise in rate in the XYZ industry was universal?

Would this force more people to take minimum-wage jobs?
And if so, would this simply widen underemployment?

Saludos, MadridMan
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#7290 - 08/08/04 01:59 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
CarlosV Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 4
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Thank you all for the various answers. The question seems to have raised quite a polemic. I guess we will go with our gut feeling but Ignacio's (a Spaniard) comments will be taken seriously since I think we should not impose ourselves on other people's customs.

MONGO - Sorry if the term chambermaid offended you but, since my native language is french I didn't mean to prejudice anyone. For me, the term MAID is neutral such as the term nurse wich applies to both genders.

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#7291 - 08/08/04 09:24 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Diana Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/00
Posts: 516
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
I tip in hotels, cleaning staff and concierge/reception staff, when I know they've gone beyond the basics.

But the problem I have with tipping in Europe is that I feel it is an anachronism, based on a time when the very wealthy threw coins at the poor lower classes who served them. By giving or withholding a tip, or making it small or large, it seems to me that we are continuing to separate those who have and those who haven't in a classist manner. And when I see with what pride so many Spaniards do their jobs, I'm uncomfortable with an old custom that implies that since I am wealthier (and I doubt I am) I should tip, even though this person has skills and knowledge I wouldn't even begin to have. I'm probably being totally unrealistic, but I'd love to see a world where people would respect, admire, and appreciate the work of others without tying it to power and cash.

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#7292 - 08/08/04 09:28 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Diana, thank you for seeing beyond the facade of class society and politics. smile I salute YOU.
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#7293 - 08/08/04 11:43 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Mongo Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/17/01
Posts: 582
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Respect, admiration and appreciation don't pay the bills...cash does!

It reminds me of an old saying:If you want loyalty, get a dog. I work for cash!

It might be a good idea if some of you take time out from your reading of "Das Kapital" and work a bit in the service industry.

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#7294 - 08/09/04 05:00 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Booklady:

I am pretty surprised to hear about such fierce competition. Of course, there may be, for finding and keeping clients, but that doesn't seem to have an effect in prices, neither here nor (as far I appreciated in my stays in the USA) even less, there.

Prices for food in the USA rise from high to unacceptabble in the USA, and I am not talking from my own level of salary but form an american's. You have to eat at home everyday if you are lucky to be able to do so, or bring your lunch box, or eat just a (expensive for it's quality, contents and cost) sandwich.

Today, eating out is a luxury, in the USA for a worker.

And eating out in a restaurant is a big luxury, for special days only.

Paying a 15-20% on top of this is just way too much.

Wait staff wages are low. 600 euros is not much, but it's about the same you get in other low qualification jobs. Of course, professional waiters can have 900 or 1000, maybe 1100, and those who serve weddings and big group celebrations earn a high per day: about 50 to 60 euros.

How do people live? Same as the rest of most of spanish workers, they don't live , they just survive . If they are single, they share a flat, even sometimes (usually foreigners, we spanish rarely accept this) room. Use always inneficient public transportation or have an old second hand car or a motorcycle, that they don't use much becuse of the cost of petrol, eat (free, usually) at their workplace sometimes unhealthy food (what's avaliable there) going to "botellón" (that's been recently forbidden but we just don't care) instead of pubs and discos, vacationing home or at parent's instead of abroad or the coasts or the mountain, ... Those married, try to buy a home working both, but those with low salaries rarely can because many times at nowadays prices not even with both salaries can they pay the mortgage, not to speak of putting money aside previously for the first payment (about 10% at least up to 30%), not to speak of those who have children. These poor people have to live eternally in high prices rent because they have no other chance, unless they can slowly save and finally buy something old, cold and rusty 40 miles apart, which makes them spend 3 hours (1h30m twice) each day in traffic jams.

Survivance. No hope. Not only waiters, many workers.

The wait staff is in essence an independent contractor offering his/her services to a particular restaurant.

That's what surprised me a lot in the USA. I think it shouldn't be this way. In fact, it's the only work I know that works this way except for sellers. I had never ever seen any business where workers were "allowed" to work there almost free (free of salary), supported only by people's kind of charity. Although that charity has became nowadays an obligation, since that's what they get for most of their wages.

Ignacio, do Spanish wait and chamber staff earn a living wage? That is enought to feed, clothe, and house a family

NO, but most people don't. So, if you wanted to be charitative, you should have to tip the newspaper agent worker, the one that sells you the tickets in the travel agency, any clerck you see, the national policemen, the dustmen, and so on.

And it's the compulse of a custom that becomes a rule what's bad. In the old times, people kind of "had" to tip the guy that served the petrol. Then Franco forbade, and everybody felt a great reliefto have an excuse not to do it; people was resented to have to tip somebody for doing such easy task, that they could do perfectly well themselves, and many times, somebody who earned as much as they themselves (with tips a lot more).

What owners have to do is give decent salaries and that's all, we don't need to supply owners greed.

MONGO:

the server be paid the minimum wage IN ADDITION to their tips

Shouldn't it be the other way round? eek

which means that a server is earning at least 12% commission on their sales in addition to the wage.

So, they don't EVEN get their FULL tips? eek Because it used to be 15% and lately I am seeing 20%.

We don't have anybody making less than $15/hour

Err... Where do I have to send my application? If somebody works, let's say 200 hours a month that would mean 3000$ a month for a "lower" qualification job... Better than some engeneers I know ... in the very USA.

To say that Spanish waiters are not tipped is a bit of a misnomer. I have many friends that work in the hospitality business in Madrid and they are all at least partly dependent on the service charge that is included in all restaurant prices. They divide it up at the end of the night/week. The more they sell, the more they make just like in the US. The difference in Europe is, the tip is included.

Nobody said waiters were not tipped, what I said is that they are tipped very few, when they are and that you perfectly well can avoid tipping without nobody considers you are not paying him/her his/her wages and when we do, we tip many times 10-25 cents when you have a drink or also a sandwhich or "pincho" or maybe 50 cents to 1 euro if there is 8 people having so.

There is NOT AT ALL "service charged" in 99,99% of the spanish restaurants. You can considered that the bill includes "service" within, but you could as well believe it includes "electricity service", "cleaning service" or "you-name-the-service" within. It's just your way to see it.

What you said about dividing money is the usual thing about the tips.

As for room cleaners, I tip them because I appreciate what they do, microeconomics be damned!

Great! When you use your phone within Spain, don't forget to send me my tip because I am partially responsible of the service you receive. Do that to every service you get... rolleyes

No, seriously. I do my work well because that's what I am paid for, and because I have a pride for a work well done, and that's what chambermaids should do and, in Spain, do.

Quote:
Question for debate: What would happen if there was a Global law/rule proclaiming that tips were illegal and from this point forward no more tips would/could ever be given.
Simply, cafés and restaurant owners would have to pay higher salaries, and earn, for instance, only 22.500 euros a month instead of 24.000(24.000 - 10 waiters * 150 euros). That wouldn't ruin them, but would dignify the job.

CarlosV:

I am just expressing a deep feeling. However, where there is a group of three spanish people there is four different opinions! laugh :p Probably although many would feel like me (say it or not, not to be called mean), some will agree with tips.

Quote:
But the problem I have with tipping in Europe is that I feel it is an anachronism, based on a time when the very wealthy threw coins at the poor lower classes
That's very true.

I only tip when I feel somebody has done something that has helped me a lot that he doesn't need to do because of his duty, and I feel he helped me substantially, like giving me insider counsel of where to eat well and cheap or where is safe and most fun to hang out, or telling me what time does that pretty girl use to go to the beach and what beach, cool . In these cases, I reward him even pretty generously depending of the usefulness of the info. I almost never give a tip for something a person should do in his duty, that is, attending me with the maximum quality within his working duties, just like I do at work. I do my best and expect no aditional reward for doing it the best I can.

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#7295 - 08/09/04 05:21 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
wink While you're all feeling generous, please send your tips and donations to:

MadridMan's One-WayTicketToMadrid Fund
P.O. Box XXXXXX
Anytown, USA

Yes. I'm joking. wink
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#7296 - 08/09/04 06:29 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Anonymous
Unregistered


MM:

smile

Mongo:

I feel curious about the restaurant business in the USA. When I was there I considered it a real Gold Mine, and I thought that, if I ever went to the USA to live, and I had the oportunity, I would start this business. Could you supply kind of a costs description of the business?

I know wages are extremely low related to incomes, then, food is more expensive than here, but again restaurants get better prices, there is the energy, gas, ..., expenses, AND there is the tax matter.

How does this affect a typical restaurant budget?

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#7297 - 08/09/04 11:06 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Diana Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/00
Posts: 516
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
I think the concept of tipping in the US and in Spain needs to be kept separate a bit more than is happening in this thread. We're dealing with two different cultures, with different histories and different expectations.

I tip just under 10% in Spanish restaurants, which my Spanish relatives think is way too high, and I tip just under 20% in the US (which no one complains about). In Spain I tip because I appreciate their work. On rare occasions the service is appalling, and honestly, I get the feeling the tip is not an issue for the waiters in those cases. In the US I tip because I know the wait staff is relying on it as part of their income, and they're going to try to do a good job to earn that extra bit. The service in the US - at least in my experience - is rarely appalling. I think the high expected tip is part of it. It's a slightly different concept on either side of the ocean. (The concept of baksheesh in Muslim countries is yet again another cultural way of looking at sharing wealth and tipping - very different from the US or Europe, but being an all-Spain bulletin board, I'll let that go!)

I'm far from rich, and I work two jobs to pay my bills, both in service industries, and I don't get tips in either. But in one I do work with people in Europe who have traditionally been tipped and who suffer at the whims of foreigners who don't understand the cultural and financial implications of the tips. With their support, we're including the amounts for good tips in their pay and passing the cost on to the clients (the clients are told this - we believe in transparency), and this way we can guarantee that they will get the money they should. In the long run they will come out ahead - they'll never get less than they would have the old way, the clients don't have to worry about what the expectations are, those unfortunate misers who won't part with a penny won't hurt incomes (I've heard some real horror stories), those few who still wish to give something extra for that above-and-beyond service can, and we get the best people working for us because they appreciate the guaranteed good income. Few of us in the tourism industry do this, but I hope we can do our part to make things fairer. As we become more global (at an amazingly fast speed) I believe we need to consider many different factors - especially cultural and financial considerations - and change in ways that work to the best of all involved. And again, let's get rid of class distinctions.

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#7298 - 09/21/04 08:22 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
AJ_dup1 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/07/04
Posts: 40
Loc: Maryland, USA
This is an interesting topic. I´m in Madrid now and still feeling guilty about not leaving a ´real´ tip (just the change) when I eat out. My Spanish friends assure me this is the norm, so when in Rome...

However, after traveling in Spain I look at tips from a different angle now. My question- do you think servers/wait staff would be more professional/friendlier/nice (whatever word you use) if they relied on receiving ´real´ tips from customers ala USA style?

After a few weeks in Madrid (all over) I think service here is definitely not as courteous as countries were tipping 15-20% is the norm. In fact, most of it has been rude and offhand even when I´ve taken extra steps to be super super polite. confused

I wonder if its the culture or the tipping system. (when I say culture, I don´t mean any offense to Spain, I´m just remembering several of my Spanish friends saying Americans smile too much and are too friendly)

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#7299 - 09/21/04 08:30 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
aurorajinx, you're in Madrid now. Good for you!

You wrote:
Quote:
In fact, most of it has been rude and offhand even when I´ve taken extra steps to be super super polite.
THAT might be the problem. Being SUPER SUPER POLITE is not only inauthentic but they can see right through it and may hold it against you. Your being polite does not necessarily evoke a reciprocal polite reaction in many other parts of the world.

I don't think the % of tip has ANYTHING to do with the courteousness of the wait-staff. First, "courteousness" is relative and definitely cultural. What's courteous to you might be downright over-the-top to a Spaniard. What's courteous to them might be something very very different. There's a long thread here somewhere about Spaniards being rude - at least compared to United Statesens. Again, it's not that Spaniards are RUDE it's just that they're different from US. To another Spaniard, they're not being rude at all.

So now, I don't think waiters would be more (relatively) courteous if they got more in tips. I want them to be themselves and not have to change their culture in order to please tourists. I've heard from so many Spaniards about how United Statesens walk around and interact with others with a falsely happy, painted on smile on their faces. This is an interesting observation and one we should think about.

Well anyway, back to the topic about tipping the chamber maid. Sure! Do it! But probably not more than 1 Euro per night. If you happen to see them coming down the hall as you check out, you can even hand it to them directly and give them an AUTHENTIC smile and a "Gracias por todo" and I'm sure they'll smile back and thank YOU.

Saludos, MadridMan
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#7300 - 09/21/04 11:47 AM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Booklady Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 1680
Loc: U.S.A.
Good points, MM.

If you are in doubt about giving money, you may want to give the chambermaid a nice recommendation at the desk, in front of the managers. Explain why her service made your stay so enjoyable. Praise is seldom eschewed in any culture.
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#7301 - 09/21/04 03:04 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
Eddie Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/05/00
Posts: 1739
Loc: Phila., PA, USA
I'm with Ignacio:
Quote:
It's not customary in Spain. You don't need to do it, and I believe it's not one custom we should import. I hate having to tip in some places only because the tourists' customs have made it popular, like taxis or bars. Fortunately, an inmense majority of spaniards don't tip at all anybody at the hotel.
But I stay mainly in 'mom & pop' type Hostals at which the Owners or the Owners' family do the chores.

As for tipping in restaurants: If there is a 'Service' charge on the bill, my top tip will be about 5%. I don't know if that 'Service' charge finds its way back to the wait staff but I think it should.

I don't tip the bartender if I have a drink at the bar but I might tip a waitress who serves me at a table.

I really deplore the fact that Big-tipping (mostly American) tourists have led many Spanish service-providers to expect tips for just doing a small service, thus ruining things for those of us who prefer to follow the lead of our Spanish hosts.

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#7302 - 09/25/04 02:35 PM Re: Should we tip the chamber maid ?
AJ_dup1 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/07/04
Posts: 40
Loc: Maryland, USA
MadridMan- I think you’re right and its more cultural differences. When I say super polite, it was basically stopping my conversation with companions and acknowledging servers by saying ‘thanks’, etc. when they bought stuff to the table. It wasn’t over the top fake or inauthentic but just remembering manners even when I was engaged in a great conversation with people at the table. Fwiw—I definitely don’t mind people being themselves, but when I’m paying for a service (here or aboard) I would like a soda served without literally slamming the glasses down on the table and a bad attitude.

As for tipping a housekeeper/maid, I think Booklady is on the mark since tipping isn’t the norm. I’ve never heard of praise not being appreciated worldwide. (especially in front of the boss)

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