Thursday, January 18, 2007

To tip or not to tip...that is the question

According to this 7Days article, Westerners are better tippers that Arabs. It doesn't seem like it's based on any factual or statistical evidence, but one thing I agree with is that no rules are set in the UAE about tipping, and this can lead to some confusion.

In general, I prefer to tip rather than not tip. And while the below is just an idea of what I feel are right amounts to tip, I may be wrong, so feel free to give your own assessment about tipping.

1) Taxi drivers: I tend to round up the fare, or give an extra 5 dhs (in Dubai). In Abu Dhabi, I round up the fare or give an extra dirham or two. Except if the driver is rude, like the one time the driver screamed at me for getting slightly lost. Then I don't tip at all!

2) Waiters/waitresses: If there's a 15% service charge included on the bill, then I usually don't tip. If there isn't, I give a 15% tip.

3) Food delivery people: depending on the size of the order, anywhere between 5 and 10 dirhams.

4) Hairdresser: I tip the hairdresser (anywhere between 10 to 30 dirhams, depending on whether it's just a blow-dry, a cut, or highlights) and the person who washed my hair (5 dirhams).

5) Nail technician/masseuse: 10 dirhams each.

6) Car cleaning/car drying men at the carwash: 10 to 20 dirhams, depending on how many there are.

7) Person doing repairs at the house: Dhs 10 (varies, depending on the extent of the repairs)

8) Person carrying your groceries to the car: 3 to 5 dirhams, depending on the amount of change I have.

9) Cleaning lady: 10 Dirhams for 2 hours of work.

10) Bartender: I usually don't tip....which is weird because in Canada I'd always leave a dollar per drink. Should I be tipping the bartender?

I can't think of anyone else that I usually tip...I must have forgotten someone. Any thoughts?


nzm said...

Sounds right to me - except the nail lady because I don't get my nails done! :-)

If we pay cash for groceries, we'll also tip the checkout operator by leaving the coins on the counter and taking just the notes.

We'll also tip the petrol pump attendants by rounding up to the next 5dir - more if they do a good job while cleaning the windows. We notice that if you ask them to fill up the car and don't give any specific amount that they'll always put in x+1 dirhams worth to try to get 4 dirhams tip!

Dubai Sunshine said...

NZM...I forgot about petrol pump attendants. I also tip them...3 dirhams in general, or 5 if they clean my windows :)

nzm said...

Also, we tip the valet parking attendants at any of the hotels - but only when we're leaving, not upon arrival. 10 dirhams is the normal here.

BuJ said...

i think westerners definitely tip better than arabs.. especially new expats.. coz when they do the exchange rate thingie they find they are getting a good deal.. so the tip hurts less..

plus i guess some arabs i met have this mentality that ppl in a resto etc are their slaves and sometimes even question why they have to even pay the bill.. hence a tip is out of the question!

once i went with an arab friend of mine.. i paid by card.. then put a tip of about 10% in cash (so it goes to the waiter not the resto) and my friend simply took the cash and gave it back to me! but the waiter was gooood!

moryarti said...

I sometimes doubt if that 15% service charge ever makes it to the waiters..

nzm said...

BuJ: We also do the same - leave a tip in cash so that it has a better chance of getting to the waiting staff. We also make sure that we give the payment and tip to the waiter who served us, and not just any waiter passing by.

secretdubai said...

What I tip:

1) Taxi drivers
Usually around 10% of the fare, with a minimum Dh5 tip usually (but I rarely take short rides these days, it's mainly airport, when I'll often round up a Dh80 fare to Dh100).

2) Waitpeople
10% on top of whatever else, regardless of service charges which I know they don't get. I try to always put it in cash, not on my credit card, because I fear they won't get that either.

3) Food delivery

4) Hairdresser
Waxing lady Dh20-30. I cut my own hair these days.

5) Nails
I don't get manicures, but the pedicure lady I give Dh15-20 (often depends what change I have).

6) Car cleaning
I usually give them Dh5 more than they ask for, sometimes Dh10 if the car is particularly dusty.

7) Repairs
Haven't had any for ages, but probably Dh10 to each man.

8) Groceries
Always carry my own. I give loose change (maybe Dh2-3) to the bag packer if I have any, though I try to pack my own bags because I like to separate fridge and non-fridge stuff, and the packers rarely get this.

9) Cleaning lady
Dh40 for four hours of work.

10) Bartender
Rarely go to bars - might leave the coins left in change.

I thought of one more: 11) Petrol pump attendants whom I usually tip Dh5. It really irks me when they try to push the amount above a round number (eg from Dh60 to Dh61) because I know they're just angling for the Dh4 that I would have given them anyway. When they do this, that's what they get. If they leave it at Dh60, they get Dh5 from me. I have tried to explain this many times but of course they never understand. Sometimes if I've specially requested a window to be cleaned, then I might give Dh10.

Qwaider قويدر said...

My vote is .. to TIP ... Tip people well .. It pays off!
Tip them.... Tip them well!

Anonymous said...

Don't be sure that simply leaving a tip ensures the staff get it. I make a point of asking the waiting staff if they get the turns out in a few places the management just pocket the extra cash.

Anonymous said...

amazing that none of you knows about the tip to petrole pump attentands would never ever reach them , they search them every night for tips and take them away from them....
(Sonia Abu dhabi)

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basmhcleaning said...

i think westerners definitely tip better than arabs.. especially new expats.. coz when they do the exchange rate thingie they find they are getting a good deal.. so the tip hurts less..
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