Tipping in Italy

Old Sep 8th, 2006, 06:15 AM
  #1  
Xander
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Tipping in Italy

I had a question regarding tipping the concierge for services performed which I have answered by doing a search.

In reading all of the replies to past questions, I noticed a consistent statement, by one person in particular, that wait staff and housekeeping staff in Europe are paid much more than in the USA and do not expect tips. While I have no reason to doubt that he may be right, I wonder what is used as a source of information for this sort of statement. How does a person know that service personnel are paid a livable wage in Europe, while they are not in the USA?

The same person said that you NEVER tip the concierge, that performing services is their job. I have never used the services of the concierge, so I don't know what they expect. It does seem to me that when you ask a person to do a favor for you, some type of gratuity is in order.

Fodor's tipping guide suggest €0.75 a day for chamber maids. Personally, I think I would be offended if somebody left me a tip like that for cleaning up after them, better nothing at all than such a trivial amount. I don't think that we are especially messy travelers, but I never leave less than €3 a day for housekeeping, although I must admit it never occured to me to leave it daily in the event of a change of staff.

 
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 06:55 AM
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This probably isn't answering your question, but I feel that it doesn't matter how much someone is making - if you like the service and want to tip, then tip your heart out. Leave what you think is appropriate in light of the circumstances. Of course, one of the circumstances about which you want to know (as you are trying to find out - someone here should be able to answer your question) is how much of that person's income is derived from tips....

I take issue with being told how MUCH to tip, however, which happened to us in Italy with more than one waiter. Or with having an amount added to my bill that I did not approve for a tip.
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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I think its all just a matter of personal preference.

I agree with cantstayhome. I tip if I think its appropriate and if the service is good or acceptible. I don't usually go by those tipping guides. If our service is excpetional we tip more. If its acceptible we tip adequately enough, usually rounding off by a few euros.

I'll be honest; I never tip hotel cleaners. I just never heard of this practice until I started posting on these boards, and most people I know looked at me strangely when I asked if they do it. It never even crosses my mind, so I've never done it. We do tend to stay in apartments in Europe, so its usually a non-issue anyhow, but I'm sure I'll take some heat for this one.

Tracy
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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I have traveled to Italy many times, have friends born and living in Italy. Each one maintains the point you question, that staff are paid a living wage. On a recent trip, an Italian confirmed that waitpersons and others are paid as much as office workers.

Some would answer your comment "It does seem to me that when you ask a person to do a favor for you, some type of gratuity is in order" with the response that when you ask a concierge to do you a favor you are just asking them to do their job. Their job is to help guests at their hotel.

I'm not trying to argue one point or the other, just trying to help you understand another viewpoint. As cantstayhome said, tip as much or as little as you want. It's always your choice.
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 07:21 AM
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Tracy - I think the hotel cleaning staff tipping thing really varies by region and hotel. If we're at a resort and staying all week and develop a rapport with the service staff, I am definitely inclined to tip (a decent one, too!).

But growing up in the midwest, never experienced leaving a tip in a room at the Travelodge (or wherever) on one of our treks across the country! Of course, the cleaning staff at one of those places probably needs it the most.
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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Seems to me that if Fodors people, who know more about travelling than most people, say to tip so much (in the ordinary situation), then that is the reasonable amount to tip.
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 07:39 AM
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Wages paid to (and respect given to) those who clean/housekeep hotel rooms varies by country. In Italy, the job is very secure (a VERY important factor there), and therefore prized, and, while not perhaps esteemed by those who are educated beyond high school level, not looked down on by the majority of workers. It is decently paid work and, while tips are always accepted, they are not considered an essential part of a living wage.

My observations of North American hotels do not suggest to me that these jobs are sought after. They are often the first jobs immigrants can get, are not looked up to and are eschewed for other postions as soon as possible. Tipping is expected but staff are often disappointed- a friend in the industry tells me that in resorts the rate of decent tipping-(NOT cast off small change left in the ashtray) is 60-75%, and in city hotels, about 50%.

Concierge in both countries are better paid than housekeeping staff, but tips are helpful if you are asking for more than dinner reservations. This is expecially true in North America, where tipping well is rewarded with extra effort ,as is being known as a good tipper in a hotel you go to frequently.

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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 07:47 AM
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Hate to say it, but a relative of mine says that the guide on how much to tip is based upon whether you expect to return - ties directly to LJ's point about becoming known as a good tipper! Yes, you do get better service if you are a good tipper!

(For the record, I don't follow the rule of basing a tip on whether you expect to return)
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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they are probably getting their information the same place you are getting yours, when you say that you know what people are paid in the US in such jobs. Do you really know that, and if so, where did you get your info?

The housekeeping staff in main hotels where I live in the US make around $10-12 an hour, for example. I know that because of reading statistics on it in the newspaper when they were doing articles on local labor issues.

What's a livable wage, anyway. I don't think any country anywhere pays low-level service personnel a salary high enough to support an entire family, if that's what you mean. Businesses in the US encourage tipping so they can get out of their own responsibilities and pay people less and make more profit. Other countries have different mindsets and don't believe in excusing businesses as much for their own business costs.
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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oh, I agree with the above comment that asking someone to do their job isn't asking them to do you a personal "favor". Why do you think a concierge is hired by the hotel? To get the hotel more revenue. People ask me to do things for them all the time whom I work for, and I don't call that doing them a "favor" or expect a tip. Hotels hire cleaners to clean the rooms which they are charging a lot of money for people to stay in. When you pay money for a hotel room, having it cleaned isn't some favor they are doing for it, it's part of what you are paying for.

Tips are for things extraordinary, not the norm. I do tip in restaurants in the US because I know US labor laws allow those people to get paid below minimum wage in most states.
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 10:28 AM
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I'm with you Christine. If I arrive at a hotel for a SINGLE night stay and there is a clean bed that has been made and a room that is cleaned, I really fail to understand why the person who did that should receive a tip any more than the man who mowed the grass out front, the people who washed the sheets and towels, the person who vacummed the hallways and polished the marble floors in the lobby, or even the guy who fixed the plumbing in the room last week, or the guy who last painted and wallpapered the room. All those people are part of the team that provides the basic services of a hotel. Why do people single out the person who made the bed before you arrived any more than all those other people doing their jobs who are paid similar wages?

Now, I'm NOT talking about tipping a housekeeper who cleaned up my room during my stay, especially working around my personal stuff and having to move it, etc. That is a "personal" service that I'm willing to tip for -- but not for an anonymous room clean before I even arrived.
 
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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I guess I was not entirely clear in my original post.

The people who said don't tip in my search of Fodor's almost always justify this by saying that they are paid a livable wage and don't deserve anything extra. I just wondered how they knew this. I know what is paid in my area by reading the paper and talking with people who do ths for a living. I believe that cleaning my room is a personal service, and, if done well, merits a thanks from me with money being the most eloquent form of expressing my appreciation.

I try to tip based on how much I appreciate the service; nevertheless, I think guides are useful in determining the possible expectations of the tippee. Fodors may know a lot about travel, but I think a 75 cent (why is there no cent sign on a keyboard anymore?)tip would offend most people.

It amazes me how defensive some people become when explaining why they don't leave tips. It's a personal choice. I never tip a waiter for ordinary service even in the US especially because most of them act as though you owe them a tip. I once sat at a bar for over an hour and was thoroughly ignored by the bartender who was busily trying to provide for his after work entertainment with his female clients until I left without leaving a tip. He threw ice at me and reminded me that tipping is not a city in China; live and learn.

Bringing me food and drink is not a personal service on the order of cleaning up my messes or getting me a dinner reservation at a restaurant that has no vacancies or tickets to a concert that is sold out. I will continue to tip when I believe it is appropriate. Those of you who believe that service people are only doing their job and don't deserve anything extra won't; that's your right. Thank god I don't know any of you.
 
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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" I never tip a waiter for ordinary service even in the US . . ."

Wow, what an incredible post. Talk about trying to justify. . .

So you're saying that in the US where waiters are NOT even paid minimum wage because tipping is considered their major salary, you don't tip at all? You don't call greeting you, taking your order, bringing you your food, discussing the menu with you, and bringing you your check and cashing it out a personal service. But if you arrive at a hotel you will leave a tip for someone you never see because you consider cleaning your room before you even check in, a personal service?

Wow. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but what a strange and convoluted bit of logic that all is -- particularly not tipping for something that is so totally standard as service in a restaurant.
 
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 02:28 PM
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Sorry, my mind is still reeling from that post.

" Those of you who believe that service people are only doing their job and don't deserve anything extra won't; that's your right. Thank god I don't know any of you."

I'm sorry if I was taking you serious when now I realize you must have been joking with your entire post. You couldn't have possibly posted that above quoted sentence in the same post as one where you say YOU never tip in a restaurant in the US and been serious. Could you? Or are you saying "thank god you don't know yourself?"

 
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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Xander
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Patrick,

You're still a jerk no matter what name you post under.
 
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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Huh? I question someone who states that they never tip a waiter and in the same post runs down anyone who doesn't reward service people and I'M the jerk?

Mind trying to explain that one?

 
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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Xander,

May I ask how you know about the discourse around Patrick if you've only been at this forum since July 2006?

Now I'm with you -- I always tip the hotel cleaning staff in the States and abroad. Wages in the U.S. vary widely depending on whether on not they're unionized. But I don't get why you wouldn't tip waiters/waitresses as a matter of course -- many of whom don't even make minimum wage. The distinction is confusing...
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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fishee, there are a number of people here who love to hide behind various names so they can spew their venom.

I have only ever used one name at a time and have never hidden the fact that Neopolitan is Patrick. And I'm still waiting for an explanation of how that post makes me a jerk.
 
Old Sep 8th, 2006, 03:15 PM
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So it seems like the only mystery is who Xander is and why he has such a problem with Neo...

Any ideas?
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Old Sep 9th, 2006, 05:16 AM
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I went to Italy last year and tipped and tipped well, most people receiving the tips were shocked I could see it on their faces . I am not talking one or two euros I am talking 10 20 euros for taxi rides etc. These are people I will never see again, but I have a big heart, not really a big pocketbook . I always remember Sinatra would give the people who parked his car 2 or 3 hundred for the night I guess that stays with me in an odd way.I met friends in Rome had dinner and left a tip ,these people are a Judge and a lawyer,also his wife is a novelist they wanted to tar and feather me, thats o.k I left 10 extra euros and smiled as I handed it to the waiter.I guess I did it my way.
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