A question about tipping...

Old Oct 18th, 2007, 05:24 AM
  #1  
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A question about tipping...

Greetings from Firenze Fodorites!

I have a quick question which I'm hoping someone can help me with. As I mentioned in another thread, I decided to add a couple of days on to my stay in Florence. I had contacted the owner of the B&B where I'm staying to ask about availability on these days, but he did not have any. However, he contacted the manager of a hotel in the same building and was able to provide me with a room (actually, an entire apartment) for the same rate as the B&B. (As an aside, its my understanding that if I had booked the apartment in the hotel on its own, it would have run 2-3 times the cost that I paid, so they did me a big favor.)

Anyway, the manager of the hotel is an extraordinarily nice gentleman. In spite of the fact that I was getting the apartment at a massive discount, he went out of his way to make me feel at home. He's provided a number of tips about the area (e.g. restaurants, tips for getting last minute reservations as some of the museums, etc.) and offered some terrific advice. This, in spite of the fact that he is the hotel manager and not a concierge.

As I left the hotel this morning and stepped into the elevator to go up to the B&B where I'm spending the next four days, it occurred to me that I didn't tip him. Nor did I leave a tip for the maid who cleaned my apartment yesterday (this was a big faux pas on my part, as I ALWAYS tip maid staff, regardless of the customs in that country).

Anyway, I'm feeling bad about not tipping the manager or the maid. I have not problems putting a few Euros into an envelope and taking it downstairs and leaving it for the maid. But I'm wondering if and how I should go about tipping the manager. I don't want to just hand him 20 Euros, because I think he might be insulted. Is there a tactful way of going about this? In lieu of money, would a gift be more appropriate?

Your advice is much appreciated.

Ciao!
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 05:30 AM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi S,

>... I'm wondering if and how I should go about tipping the manager.

Don't. He is not doing anything extraordinary for you. He has an empty room and is doing a favor for the B&B owner.

Do tip the maid.

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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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starbuck1105 wrote: "... I ALWAYS tip maid staff, regardless of the customs in that country..."

If you have your own tipping policy, that's your choice. But then why ask people here how to do things?
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 05:49 AM
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Padraig wrote: "If you have your own tipping policy, that's your choice. But then why ask people here how to do things?"

Had you read my post a bit more carefully before commenting, the answer would have been self-evident. My policy of always tipping maids applies to MAIDS, not HOTEL MANAGERS.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 05:51 AM
  #5  
 
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Buy him a present. Something nice. And tell him why.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 05:58 AM
  #6  
rex
 
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I don't think that Padraig read your post carelessly.

You made it clear that in _some_ cases - - presumably, these are arbitrary and capricious choices on your part... you decide to make your own tipping policy for some people, regardless of local custom.

Thus, asking others what (they perceive) local customs might be - - or how they might approach a similar situation... seems a bit incongruous to me also.

Why don't you offer a gift (tip) to the hotel manager - - or not offer one... using the same "how you feel about things" guidelines that you're comfortable with in other circumstances?

While you're at it, share with us how you decide to tip the people who clean the exam room at your doctor's office, the restroom on the airplane, the coffee machine at your accountant's office?

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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I cannot read Padraigs mind, but I read his comment in the way that since you do not care about local customs when tipping maids, why would you care when it comes to hotel managers?

You have probably already thanked him in person and told him what a great help he was.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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rex wrote: "You made it clear that in _some_ cases - - presumably, these are arbitrary and capricious choices on your part... you decide to make your own tipping policy for some people, regardless of local custom."

Again, if you read WHAT I WROTE, I explained that I always tip MAIDS. Maids are typically the most poorly paid, least appreciated people in the hotel industry. And having worked alongside maids for a number of years when I was working my way through college, I have a special affinity for them, and a particular understanding of how many people d*ck them over, given the opportunity. (If you think about it, my affinity for maids is not dissimilar to the attitude that many people who've worked as a waiter or waitress at some point in their life have with regard to generously tipping waiters/waitresses.) But more to the point, MAIDS are not HOTEL MANAGERS. My question was in reference to the HOTEL MANAGER. In attempting to say that because I always tip maids, I should or should not tip the hotel manager, you're comparing apples to oranges.

Furthermore, a more careful reading of my initial post would suggest that my question didn't pertain to "local customs" but rather, society in general.

Honestly, I'm not about to spend my afternoon in Firenze with people who cannot see my forest for their trees. For the folks who responded with useful information, thank you.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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Cowboy1968 wrote: "I cannot read Padraigs mind..."

Neither can I!
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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Making mental note:

Giving an honest opinion on tipping to an American in Europe is as dangerous as any reply to your girlfriend regarding her new hair-do or dress.

At least it helped someone in Firenze/Italia to let off enough steam to make a truckload of foam for a couple litres of Cappuccino LOL
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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Cowboy wrote:

"Giving an honest opinion on tipping to an American in Europe is as dangerous as any reply to your girlfriend regarding her new hair-do or dress."

Honest opinions are one thing. Posting solely for the sake of making smarmy, pithy comments at someone else's expense are quite another. I don't mind it if someone wants to interject a comment or their opinion when it is accompanied by advice (as you and rex did), and if you knew me better, you'd know that I'm HARDLY thin-skinned. Maybe padraig simply didn't read my comments carefully. Or maybe he/she went out of his/her way to argue over semantics. I really couldn't care less at this point, though it does give me a little insight into that Fodors message board snobbishness that I had heard so much about in the past, but had yet to encounter until today.

As for the "letting off steam comment," you believe what you want. But I guarantee that, wherever in the world you are, I'm having ten times as much fun as you right now, LOL.

This horse is dead. I have the answers I want/need and its time to move on, everyone. Like I said previously, thanks to those who took a moment out of their day to offer advice.

Ciao.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Cowboy1968 wrote: "Giving an honest opinion on tipping to an American in Europe is as dangerous as any reply to your girlfriend regarding her new hair-do or dress."

I have done that and survived.

I have the impression that many (by no means all) Americans who participate in this forum are very quick to take offence. Some, when there is scope to interpret a post either as malice or jest, jump unhesitatingly to the conclusion that the intent is malicious.

This is a general comment, and not related to my original answer to starbuck1105, which I would characterise as challenging.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Hi starbuch, I agree with Ira. However, when we owned a hotel in South Beach, we did a favor to a very nice ITalian couple, it was a big favor, actually their credit card was not working and we trusted them for a few days making a big difference for them. What did this Milanese lady did?,S he bought lovely yellow roses and brought them to us. It was a very nice gesture and I still remember this. So what I am saying even though he was not doing you a favor but helping a b&b, you can be nice with him, may be a good bottle of wine, or something like that. Besides making you feel good, life has many ways and one day you might end up there again....
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:12 AM
  #14  
 
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Have a wonderful stay don't worry too much about it...anything you do or don't do will be just fine

If you feel like dropping off a bottle of wine or pasteries (from one of the nice little bareries that wraps them up all pretty )or cash in an evelope...anything is ok...if not, enjoy your trip and don't worry about going way out of your way...send a nice, persoanl thank you note when you get home...and make sure to compliment the cleaning staff I always think that almost does more for the maids than a small cash tip. (and if it is a larger hotel and the manager is not the owner/boss, send a nice note to HIS boss - good reviews are always appreciated by staff that takes thier job seriously!)
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:13 AM
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I've never heard of tipping a hotel manager.

Surely there are more ways of one person thanking another than with money (or does that "not compute" in the US?) ;-)
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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Hi Chris England, I was thinking of you, I did send for a 2 nd time some good addresses regarding Castilla Leon, did you see them? Tell me if they were useful to you...
I agree with the irony of you posting, very true, but there is still hope Casa del Cirpesso thinks as we do.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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Once you rise to the position of hotel manager, you are out of the tip category and into the gift category.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:33 AM
  #18  
 
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A hotelier will always appreciate favorable publicity. Why not write a favorable review on some forum like Trip Advisor, praising the owner's helpfulness in general (you don't have to list what specifically he did for you), and then informing him (or sending him an e-link) about what you did.
travelerjan is online now  
Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:37 AM
  #19  
 
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"Hi Chris England, I was thinking of you, I did send for a 2 nd time some good addresses regarding Castilla Leon, did you see them? Tell me if they were useful to you...
I agree with the irony of you posting, very true, but there is still hope Casa del Cirpesso thinks as we do."

just for the record, I'm an American

(p.s. I too think a nice Tripadvisor review is a terriffic idea!)
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Oh my, tipping questions always sets people off. I work in an industry that recieves tips and many people are uncomfortable giving tips and have strong opinions as to do or not do...

I am comfortable tipping and appreciate good service, in the USA or Europe. I actually don't care what the custom is, I tip because I want to, I appreciate the help given to me.
I would put the money in an envelope with a nice note and leave it at the desk for him. We were just in Beynac and the assistant manager (age 25) went out of his way for us while the manager was out of town and this is what we did for him at the end of our stay. Although a gift can be nice, I have never seen anyone dislike money. Do what YOU think is right.
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