Tipping point… who deserves gratuity?
The man who bags your groceries at the supermarket; the guy in red overalls who shines your car for a pittance in the mall parking lots; the gas station attendant who fills the tank and cleans the windshield; the delivery guys who serves when we honk…
The many people who make our life easier, give us services that are considered a luxury in other parts of the world; often underpaid and rarely appreciated.
So what do you tip them? It’s fairly simple when it comes to a restaurant – in most other countries, 10-15% of the total sum owed is the norm for gratuities.
In the absence of this fixed rate, how much gratuity do people pay? Or do people pay anything at all?
People in Qatar have varying beliefs on the custom of tipping. A resident of Al Wakrah said that she bases her decision on the sum on her bill at restaurants. “For me, if the amount exceeds QR100, then I feel the need to tip the server, particularly in upscale restaurants. However, if the bill amounts to less than QR100, I don’t feel obligated to pay anything. I only leave tips at restaurants though, I don’t think it necessary to tip for other services.”
Business development executive Aishah Mageni says: “I leave tips at restaurants, I tip grocery baggers at the supermarkets and the people who deliver groceries to the house. I also tip the men at the gas stations and usually give them around QR5. At restaurants, I usually leave about 5% of the bill as tip unless there is a service charge, then I wouldn’t tip. I think it necessary because I think I feel sorry for the people working here with their low wages and outrageous working hours.”
In the case of restaurants though, not all restaurants allow their staff to pocket the tips, in many cases it goes into a tip pool at the restaurant.
“I usually leave 10% as a tip for good service. However, on one occasion when I was dining at a restaurant serving Chinese cuisine at the Pearl, the server discouraged me from leaving a tip from my credit card as he said that all such payments would go to the restaurant. He was allowed to keep only cash tips though. I’ve had similar experiences in a few other restaurants around town,” commented a resident of the Pearl.
“I do receive tips, small amounts occasionally but I have received amounts as large as QR100 and QR500 from shoppers,” says a grocery bagger at Carrefour. A group of car washers at a local mall smile while they speak of all the handsome tips that customers leave them on a regular basis. “Yes, we do receive tips, many people have been generous enough to pay us QR50 or even larger amounts, but we usually receive between QR5 and QR10 as tips.”
How much do you tip? You tip for the service or you tip because you feel obliged to?