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 Post subject: Tipping
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:35 pm 
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This is a slightly awkward topic, but I am interested in forum members' attitudes and practices towards tipping of staff in Kruger and national parks in general.

At one end of the spectrum, people may feel those working in service & tourism industries, particularly in South Africa, are dependent on tips to make a living, so always tip.
At the other end, people may have the view that staff know their salary and nature of work before they get started, therefore they should not expect anything more.

My own view falls somewhere in between, namely that tips have to be earned, which can be done in different ways - with Kruger staff, that generally means I end up tipping a lot, however I'm more than comfortable not leaving a tip if I don't think its been earned.
However, I have to admit that I apply even my own rule of thumb inconsistently to different services provided.

For example, I will always leave something for ladies who clean the rooms (not relevant to the campers). I will always also give something to the staff who help with the skottels and washing up at picnic sites and give a little bit more if they do it with a smile on their faces.

For night drives, though, I will not tip if the person merely performs the task of driving the vehicle, regardless of what game is seen on the drive.
The drives are not cheap and I believe I am paying for more than just vehicle hire and the privilege of being out in the bush at night, so expect some interaction from the guide beyond the safety rules.
For those who show enthusiasm and explain details about the bush and animals, are knowledgeable in answering questions and provide a good experience, irrespective of the amount of game seen on the drive, I'm more than happy to give up to 50% of the cost of the activity itself.

This isn't a topic created to result in judgements, but hopefully the feedback may even result in a tipping guideline for first-time visitors.

What are other people's thoughts?

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:54 pm 
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I'm 100% in agreement with you, Acekam. We tipped the lovely lady in the Mopani restaurant and the guide on the Letaba night drive totally disproportionately to the cost of the meal/drive, but they went so far out of their way to make us feel like valued guests rather than just something they had to do to earn a living.

We have also not given tips when service was poor or grudging, although - like you - we have rarely found this to be the case in the KNP.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 5:23 am 
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I also agree completely. I usually tip but won't if the service is bad. I am currently on holiday in the USA (wish it was the Kruger but I sometimes have to do as I am told!) - and I really don't like it when they add on a service charge as a matter of routine.

The one difficulty is how much to tip. With meals etc 5 - 10% depending on service seems reasonable but how much do you leave the cleaning ladies? Can one leave too much?

Fortunately the service in the Park is usually excellent - and I think has got better over the last few years.

Richard


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:18 am 
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We tipped about 10% - 15% after a meal. Or we rounded up the bill after having a few drinks. We didn't tip on night drives or morning walks, mostly because we didn't know it was practice. We didn't see anyone tipping either. Is tipping at petrol stations practice? In all the six weeks we were in SA I couldn't find out. I tried tipping someone and he just returned the change. :?

I'm always very insecure about tipping. I think it's because we hardly do it at home. People are not dependant on tips here.

Thanks for this thread acekam. :thumbs_up:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:01 am 
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Wild Boy wrote:
To true, people in SA are dependant on tips.
I do normally tip at petrol stations in SA.

As a few countries in Europe pump their own gas, there is no tipping which be a bit of a new thing for oversees visitors to SA.

I feel a good service deserves a good reward. :clap:


I totally agree :)
I run a petrol station and all petrol attendants are trained to serve petrol, ask to ckeck oil, water and tyres and clean windscreens and even empty ashtrays and take any rubbish bags you want to dispose of.
If they give good service please give them a tip. The minimum wage for a petrol attendant is R6.30 per hour, how can anyone live on that? Needless to say we don't pay minimum and we put lots of incentives in place to encourage better service and give them a decent wage.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:13 am 
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We normally tip around 10% after a meal, dependant on the service received, excellent service more poor less or nil.

At petrol stations we usually give a tip, especially if the windscreen and back window have been cleaned, though I think the practice of tipping the attendant is not as common now, due to the introduction of the petrol card which many Saffies now use to pay for their petrol.

richardharris wrote:
The one difficulty is how much to tip. With meals etc 5 - 10% depending on service seems reasonable but how much do you leave the cleaning ladies? Can one leave too much?
Richard


Also, never quite sure how much to leave for the cleaning lady, tip the guys with the skottle and I try to remember to take a few coins with me to leave in the ablution blocks at picnic spots.

Have never tipped on a game drive, probably due to the fact that on the first one we did we were unsure as to the etiquette of tipping the guide and as no-one else did, we followed suit, don’t remember seeing anyone tip after any of the drives we've done.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:28 am 
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Nothing wrong with the topic Acekam.

I never tip if I feel the service was bad or performed with a grumpy face because it has to be done. We also tip the guys at the picnic spots a bit extra and also the cleaning lady at one of Skukuza's ablution blocks. But strictly only when I feel I've been treated in a friendly helpful manner.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:36 am 
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If we are only staying one night we usually leave between R5 and R10 depending on how clean the bathroom is :wink: some of those tiles haven't had a wipe in a long time. If we stay longer we leave R20.
We don't tend to tip at the picnic sites, we used to when the attendants took your dishes away and washed them but they don't seem to do that anymore :cry: Washing the skottel is part of their job as it has to be clean for their next customer.
Was great not to have to take dirty dishes back to the camp, thank goodness for those brown bags.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:38 am 
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I nearly always tip. Except when service is lousy.
The attendant in charge of the accomodation always gets a tip. Depends on the lenghness of the stay.
The serviceguy at the Punda Maria petrolstation got, i think, a huge tip and i was ordered to stay put. He came back with water, soap and started to wash the car. When i though he was finished (got hotter and hotter in the car with closed windows :redface: ) i started the car. He got mad and refused to let me go :twisted: He wasnt finished. The car had to be dried with a cloth :D

Will always remember this tipping with a fond smile :D

And i know that we pay a big sum for the walks, put please think of the guides. They also earn a basic salary and also enjoy(need) the tip :!:

Question: Are the tips collection and does everybody get his/her share or do they go into a personal pocket :?:

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:40 am 
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Freda wrote:
We don't tend to tip at the picnic sites, we used to when the attendants took your dishes away and washed them but they don't seem to do that anymore :cry: Washing the skottel is part of their job as it has to be clean for their next customer.
Was great not to have to take dirty dishes back to the camp, thank goodness for those brown bags.


May I put in a good word for Frank at Pafuri again? :lol: He does this with a huge smile. You just have to love this guy. Also the lady at Babalala was really quick on this.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:48 am 
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I think even the staff have a different attitude in the north of the park, I love it up there, changes seem to be happening more slowly and you know I don't do changes easily :roll: :lol:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 2:04 pm 
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I have been on the other side of the coin when the tips I have received are more than my pay.
When I arrived in Canada with no job and a family to protect, I did not care what job I got so within a week I had a job opening a door at a downtown restaurant.
I have always given generous tips.
After a meal we give 15%.
As for gas stations there are mostly self serve.
If you go to a full serve the price is a bit more so no tip is needed.
I always give my newspaper person (generally a person that has 2 jobs) a tip every month.
Even if the service is not the best I still tip, they maybe just having a bad day as we all do and they still need the money, so don't punish them it only makes the situation worse for them and the next person they will attend to.
So please people tip often and large.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:31 pm 
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Great topic!!! I always wondered about tipping guides etc, and no one could give me an answer. I was waiting to go on one, so I could ask a manager.

Regardless of the job people perform, if I get bad service I don't tip. A tip is not a right, it's just that, a gratuity. I was also on the other end of the coin, and it's how the cookie crumbles. You are bad at something, you don't get tips. In real life it works the same. If you achieve, you earn a big salary, if you don't, you earn less.

I tip petrol attendants, even though I pay with a garage card, so if people don't it's a poor excuse, waiters get anything from 10 - 20% depending how good they were, and I come from a managing background in restaurants, and I know the difference. I usually leave R10 - R15 for the guys who clean my hut/bungalow. Give the guys washing the scottels about R5, sometimes, when I don't have a R5 they only get R2.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:39 pm 
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I don't buy the fuel card excuse either. We always save up loose change from shops and toll plaza's so we have money in the ashtray specifically for those fuel pump attendants and car-watchers who (in my experience to date) do a great job, willingly.

I think that the only danger with tipping too much is that it might look like you're trying to either bribe someone or just appear to be overly flash with your cash. I worried about this at Letaba in May after we tipped the guide R100 after a fantastic night drive. It was worth it to us as: a) We learnt so much about things we might not have looked twice at unless they were pointed out. b) We could afford it! When we bumped into the same guide the next morning, I was hoping that it wasn't the tip which made him stop and chat to us, rather that that was his personality and he would have talked to us even if we'd just said thank-you.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:46 pm 
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Firstly:

Freda
Quote:
The minimum wage for a petrol attendant is R6.30 per hour, how can anyone live on that? Needless to say we don't pay minimum and we put lots of incentives in place to encourage better service and give them a decent wage.


I think it is great that you treat your workers so good, :clap: wish there were more people like you in the world!!!

To sum up all the posts, it seems like everybody is for tipping, but just unsure and sort of shy to tip out of the norm, or if no one else is. I think that if you feel good about leaving something (how every much you feel the service is worth) for a service you have been given, be it a game drive, walk or even having your braai cleaned, then go for it. Showing appreciation is something we should do if we have it in our power (and feel the service deserves it), and almost all the time you will get a great thank you or smile, cause the service giver sees your appreciation and that you have taken notice of what they have done.


Krokodile
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I was hoping that it wasn't the tip which made him stop and chat to us, rather that that was his personality and he would have talked to us even if we'd just said thank-you


I understand where you are coming, but showing somebody appreciation as you showed the guide, does sweeten the pot for both of you, as the guide can see that you really did think alot about what he was trying to bring across to you and from yourside you see his appreciation that you felt what he gave to you was worth such a generous tip.

Never feel guilty to tip what you feel is worth and when its worth it, life is to short to not do what you feel is right at that given moment, and trust me, you wont regret it after it is said or done, even if it is just a thank you.

Keep up the tipping for service that deserves it, and tip what you feel you can and want to!!!!! :wink:

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