Tipping in India

Old Oct 21st, 2011, 05:21 PM
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Tipping in India

While I plan on carrying many Rs to use for tipping in the streets, small purchases etc. I am wondering how well U.S. dollars would be accepted in the bigger hotels etc. Any thoughts on that would be apprecited.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old Oct 21st, 2011, 06:02 PM
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It would never have occurred to me to tip Indians in any currency but their own. I think it might create problems in ways we can't imagine. Things are not simple in such a stratified society so I think it best to not complicate things for those you wish to reward.
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Old Oct 21st, 2011, 07:59 PM
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joannaay is right, you'll want to tip in rupees. As a rule of thumb, tipping in the local currency is best. The sole exception I can think of is in Cambodia, where the US dollar is used in preference to the Cambodian riel for almost everything.
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Old Oct 21st, 2011, 11:44 PM
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what hotel in your town bob accepts ruppees?
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 07:28 AM
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What does "tipping in the streets" mean? And yes, use the local currency.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 08:14 AM
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I'm assuming he means to give money to beggars or when he takes pictures. Many people ask you to take their picture and then demand 10 rupees. Some of the people merely want to see their picture. We usually kibitzed with them and requested 10 rupees from them if they asked for a picture. It's always fun to interact with the local people.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 08:42 AM
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In my many, many months in India, over four or five trips, up, down, all over, I've had someone 'ask' me to take their picture and then demand money, precisely... once.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 08:55 AM
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What a surprise. We had them asking constantly. Maybe they were afraid you'd growl!
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 08:55 AM
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The first time I went, it was people wanting to have their photo taken with me, not me take theirs. Not the second time though - don't know whether it was a north-south thing, or just that I got older...

Yes, I was afraid the OP might mean beggars. I hadn't thought of photos, I won't pay for them.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 08:57 AM
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Thanks all for your comments...will definitely take alot of small change in R's

Bob
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 01:38 PM
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i won't pay for photos either. But I will ask if it's ok to photograph and I respect people if they say no. Asking for money for photos is just another form if begging. It's sad to see parents asking their children to request money.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 02:11 PM
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I respectfully disagree with the stance that it's somehow improper or encouraging begging to pay a small fee for the opportunity to take a photo of someone. I look at the image as a commodity that belongs to the person in question and that person has a right to give or sell their image as they see fit. Often the people being asked have very little, relative to the person asking, and how can it be wrong to pay a little something for what we receive, nothing sad about it in my opinion, as long as there is good will on both sides of the transaction.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 02:40 PM
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@Dogster: We were asked for 50 rupees (not 10) in Khajurahao after we took photos with a group of young women on their way to the river to fill water jugs. We were without money, but I was a bit dumbstruck. A sadhu asked us for money as well in Khajurahao.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 10:33 PM
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I think dollars wouldn't be much of a worry since it's one of the most common foreign currencies and could be exchanged around the world. But I think they would appreciate it if you give them rupees to take out the hassle. I mean, you're tipping them... don't make them work so hard for it to the point that they're going to have the currencies changed.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 11:51 PM
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"could be exchanged around the world" - and that is relevant how? The tipper is the one doing the traveling, not the tippee.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2011, 02:35 AM
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heya indiana: sadhus are a whole different ballgame. They have the sadhu eye: they can tell if you're taking their picture with a telephoto lens from behind them - and do tend to place themselves picturesquely at temples as living works of art to be worshipped, photographed and paid, simultaneously.

Different rules apply.

It does say a
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Old Oct 23rd, 2011, 03:01 AM
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oops:

It does say a little about our different traveling styles, doesn't it? Some get the clawing palm, some not. Of course, this depends a lot where you go. If you stick to the circuit, you will come across repeated photo opportunities with a price tag: I see that as business, not charity. Like the sadhus, those colorful, perfectly ethnic photo ops are part of the business. Don't confuse that with charity.

In India - not tourist India - a wiggle of the head, a smile, an enquiring glance will get you all the pics you need: distributing money after the event is kinda crass, patronising and culturally vulgar - sets up expectations, particularly amongst the children and turns them into feral beggars. It's the same principle as not handing out soap and pens and sweeties...

So, joannay's kind thoughts are right - and completely wrong, simultaneously. This is about India, specifically - our world view is, actually, not particularly appropriate. The whole issue is way more complicated than that. It is just possible you do more harm than good.

Not that my words are going to stop any of you doing it.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2011, 03:20 AM
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I forgot to add the traditional caveat to my words of infinite wisdom: IMHO.

There are some in this forum who think they should, could and must tip everything that moves in India - then distribute largesse to each beggar individually - after all, they can. You make a lot of instant friends that way. Indeed, all of India will be your friend.

What's wrong with that?
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Old Oct 23rd, 2011, 08:13 AM
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I make a distinction between asking a stranger for something, a photo which is not nothing, and being asked for money for nothing, begging. Neither case applies to me personally as I don't ask strangers for their photos and I don't give money to beggars (the occasional leper excepted as they wait quietly for alms at a distance).

I think it's the tourist culture that promotes a false sense of intimacy that allows tourists to think it's not rude to ask for something they would not ask for from a person on the street in a western country. That, to me, is the height of patronizing. And I'm not sure how it makes me completely wrong, or kind for that matter. It's just what I've deduced after spending a good deal of time in 3rd world countries including India.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2011, 08:40 AM
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Actually, tourists in western countries don't even bother to ask - they just go ahead and take pictures regardless. I ask, and respect the answer "no". If you don't ask strangers for their photos does that mean you don't take photos of people?
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