As you can see from the tagline of my blog, I travel a lot. In doing so, I have been afforded some very nice comps along the way… in addition, I have been given gift cards as thank-you gifts for various items where I have donated time or expertise. These are great to have and use, but they come with a price.
I was in Las Vegas for my 40th birthday a few weeks ago and stayed at The Cosmopolitan and fell in love with the place – I highly recommend it. Being my 40th birthday, the hotel gave a few comps here and there – better seating at restaurants, credit for meals, etcetera. Las Vegas is the land of comps (short for complimentaries) and many people talk about them on websites, blogs, Facebook and the list goes on.
One of the first comps you think of in Las Vegas is a free drink when you gamble at the casino (no, those standing behind the gamblers don’t get one, so don’t get cheap and ask). Gamble a little more and you may get a comped dinner or show. A little more may get you a free night on a return visit… all the way up to comped rooms AND airfare. But, you have to gamble a lot to be the next Nick Papageorgio!
Still, these are not totally free… even if you DO gamble like a World Poker Tour ace, someone has to take care of you. In speaking with people in the service industry members of the public, in general, are cheap and feel like they deserve something for free.
Yes, the drinks are free in the casino… however, the cocktail waitress is working. Making money. So, that means you need to get off your cheap butt and at least give a few bucks to the cause. I saw waitresses at several casinos when I went to bed AND the next morning when we went out to breakfast.
Sure – free casino drinks are easy enough… how about that waitress handling your table at the restaurant where you received the comp? You live it up and order $200.00 worth of food and walk out… yes, she IS getting paid for her services (a measly $2.13 plus tips), but not much more when you walk out. I’m not getting into the area of good or bad service – YOU GOT THE FOOD FOR FREE! You should at least give the customary 15%, or $30, for that $200 worth of food you just gouged yourself on.
Free hotel rooms? Someone has to take care of you during that time as well. How many times have you left a tip in a hotel room? If they bring you towels… do you tip? Forget your toothbrush and someone brings you one, do you tip? I personally feel it is customary to do so… so do most in the hospitality industry.
The bellman carrying luggage. The taxi stand operator that hails a cab and opens the door. The cab driver that gets you there early. If they do their job – or go above and beyond – they are serving you… and should be compensated.
Have you ever been on a cruise? For some reason, the cruise lines make sure to give guidelines on good service tips…
Gift cards are another area where I see people being cheap. Just because the meal was $100 and you had a $35 gift card doesn’t mean you leave a tip on the $65 you had to pay out of pocket. I applaud the waiters and waitresses that give the original receipt with the new one minus the gift card… educate the people, I say! Quit being so freaking cheap!
As to tipping, everyone has their own “philosophy” about how to do it: before the tax, after the tax, I start at 100% and work my way down, give the customary 15%. Whatever. Just do it. Personally, I give 20% because I like easy math… it also gives me the opportunity to reduce to the customary 15% if the service is bad for some reason. Many times it is out of the server’s control and they get gigged for it… think about the old adage and don’t shoot the messenger!
Just think about it the next time someone offers you something for free. You may live it up at someone else’s expense… just make sure to take care of those around you!