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Yet another tipping question

  • m

I spent last night in one of those clean, respectable chain hotels that offers decent value and a complimentary breakfast. No one will ever mistake it for gourmet cuisine (oh, the sack for scrambled "eggs" going round in the microwave) but there's actual food in a pleasant surround.

There was a pleasant, hard-working young lady, bustling about, microwaving those eggs, topping up the coffee carafes, foraging for hot sauce, arranging apples and bananas in a bowl, wiping down the tables between guests. And it occurred to me that while I always leave money for the person who cleans my room, I don't tip the breakfast room lady. Nor have I ever seen anything, like a tip jar, that suggests other people do. Yet she's working hard to make my morning much more bearable.

So. Any thoughts? Does anyone tip in this circumstance? How?

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  1. I tip in that situation, a few dollars handed directly to the person.

    1. I do too. Anybody that makes my morning more bearable deserves it.

      1. I've always tipped 'em... Leave it on the table with the dirty dishes and in many hotels, the tips get pooled and shared by the kitchen staff.

        1. yep always hand the her/him the money- dont leave it on the table..it gets taken by the busperson or worse someone who passes by!

          1. There's a place we stay frequently on the beach in Cambria with a complimentary breakfast room. Aside from the scrambled "eggs" (which are tolerable) most of the fare is pretty decent, and the staff stays busy keeping things cleaned up and the items replenished. The tipping question has been met very straightforwardly by the addition of a tip jar set on the coffee/juice counter. I think some folks figure that if you bus your own table, as required here, then no tip should be expected, but those kids work hard and never let the food run out until the 10 AM cutoff.

            1. At least a $50 tip each instance.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Chinon00

                $50?! Dude, where do you live? I'll come to your house every morning and microwave you some eggs for $50 a pop.

                1. re: tracytrace

                  I'm not being serious. I think tipping has gotten way out of hand. And then the outrageous claims some make as to what they tip standard. I'll give that money to my kids.

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    Ah, ok. I was planning a breakfast-making business in my head LOL.

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      I totally agree. This is a person who is making a wage for the job, whose position calls for them to replenish items that guests have depleted. I'd no more tip them than I would the guy/gal who's restocking the broccoli in my supermarket.

                      1. re: pinehurst

                        Don't get me wrong I tip at restaurants typically 12-20%. I don't tip the cashier at Duncan Donuts.

                        1. re: Chinon00

                          No, I've got you, Chinon. I am a solid 20%-er in restaurants, bars etc. The breakfast nook replenisher is doing his/her job for a living wage (albeit low), kind of like my days as a fitting room attendant. No one tipped me for turning their clothes right-side out and re-hanging them, not did I expect it for my 4 bucks an hour.

                  2. re: Chinon00

                    My biggest tip was 3k, different circumstances however. I usually tip cleaning staff and any hard working hotel worker $5 each per day.

                    1. It's never occured to me to tip on a breakfast included in my hotel price.

                      48 Replies
                        1. re: alkonost

                          It occurs but it won't be anything I'll be acting on.

                          I did recently stay 4 nights in a hotel, where breakfast and dinner had been included in the rate and I did leave a few coins in the tip box. First time I'd ever seen a tip box in a hotel dining room - they weren't making a big thing of it, it was just on a table near the doorway (at least I assumed it must have been a tip box as there was always a few coins in it)

                          1. re: Harters

                            I hope you change your mind not tipping, then. Working in food service and hospitality can be a very thankless realm with low wages to boot. It's made even worse when those who go above and beyond are taken for granted or go unrecognized by the clientele. It's very good manners to tip for good work and excellent service, even when there's no tip box to imply that it would be appreciated. If you have an extended stay, the ones whom you tip will take even better care of you. I am a big tipper, and I'm so well taken care of wherever I go that I chuckle when I hear a colleague complain about common things- it taking a while for the cleaning staff to get around to their room, or wanting more towels or toiletries then come by default. My first question is usually "did you leave a tip with a note asking for extra towels or shampoo? And make sure you leave a tip every day?", the answer is always "no". When they take my advice they're usually taken back by how the staff suddenly bends over backwards for them.

                            1. re: alkonost

                              Again, I'm sure that I've never tipped housekeeping staff in a hotel.

                              1. re: Harters

                                Tipping housekeeping staff is pretty common assuming the service was good. Did you not think to tip due to bad service?

                                  1. re: alkonost

                                    It may be pretty common where you but it isn't where I am.

                                    1. re: alkonost

                                      FYI you have to understand this is an international site and many members are from Europe. Harters (to the best of my knowledge) is from England, tipping in most European countries is much different than here in the US. (Assuming that is where you are from alkonost)

                                      ****Edit this post was made before reading below....apparently this issue is discussed, wasn't trying to be obnoxious.

                                    2. re: Harters

                                      i always tip housekeeping. always.

                                    3. re: alkonost

                                      Alkonost, you do realise that tipping custom varies according to nation? So no, it's not inherently good manners to tip.

                                      (And this American insistence that everything merits a tip no matter where is actually unsettling. There's a bit of the imperialism attached, and when we consider how tipping is a way of placing obligation for care of employees onto the customer, it becomes a strangely impassioned defence for business.)

                                      1. re: Lizard

                                        I feel this way about tipping sometimes and I also think it's derogatory to waitstaff and others who depend on tips to think that they will only work hard if you tip well. As I've said, I receive tips as a ski instructor, appreciate them but do I give better service to someone who tips well? No, everyone gets great service because that's my job. I think the same of other teachers--just because a student doesn't give a big present doesn't mean he/she will be cheated out of an excellent education. Tips/gifts are a show of appreciation, not an incentive to do a good job. It's almost like some people use their tips as a bribe.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          (not aimed at your post, Chowser)

                                          What I feel is derogatory is the common (especially on this board) assumption that everyone deserves a tip no matter how lousy or minimal the service. If you feel moved to tip the breakfast room attendant then feel free, I won't fault you for it, but don't assume that everybody should.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            I'm so glad you brought up the issue of the relationship between job performance and tipping, because I do think that some people incorrectly think they are bribing or motivating others with their tips. And that is a really insult to many workers. Most people I know are intrinsically motivated, whether it is to do a good job or to not care about their performance. The former tend to be glad and delighted when they receive a good tip, almost as if it's a surprise and gift, and the latter regularly blame the customer for their poor tip.

                                            1. re: Cachetes

                                              I believe you are right, Cachetes.

                                              Good servers will give good service in tipping cultures and non-tipping cultures. And the reverse applies. For example, I have eaten at high end and "high-end-ish" places in several countries. Some of those countries have tipping cultures, others don't. Yet I have always had top notch service at these places. Poor service comes when staff are poorly paid, poorly managed and poorly motivated to do a good job. And the reverse applies.

                                              1. re: Cachetes

                                                Exactly. I tip well but don't need recognition for it. I add a couple of dollars to the breakfast lady's area and she has no idea it's from me. I often add the tip at the desk so don't get or expect recognition. I want the person to know the service is appreciated. This makes me think of Seinfeld where George tries to get back his tip so he can get credit for it.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  Agreed. In my case, it is more reward than incentive. I make certain I get the person's name and leave an envelope at the desk when I check out (unlike housekeeping, who I tip daily). Even if I sign the note she won't know who I am and even if she did, I'm long gone by then.

                                                2. re: Cachetes

                                                  If you're a repeat customer that tips well for good service your servers will be more motivated towards maintaining a high standard of hospitality with you and perhaps others. I wouldn't call it bribing, I'd call it incentive. If you do a good job, you get rewarded. I've had bad service, though not often, and I certainly don't leave much in those cases, although I have left two pennies with a few who were particularly dreadful.

                                              2. re: Lizard

                                                Yes I'm aware tipping customs vary per nation and it's assumed we're talking specifically about the USA (as no one thus far has mentioned other countries), are we not? If not, let me know I may have missed a post or two.

                                                Just curious, why do you think Americans insist everything merits a tip? And how would that involve "imperialism", I'm confused about what you mean by that, would you explain that a bit?

                                                In the case of minimum wage tipped workers, yes you should absolutely tip them if they provide good service, their wages are set low (that minimum wage rate varies from state to state) because it is expected they will make up the difference in tips. There is no rationalization for not tipping these individuals unless the service is abysmal.

                                                1. re: alkonost

                                                  "it's assumed we're talking specifically about the USA (as no one thus far has mentioned other countries), are we not? "

                                                  Are we?

                                                  The OP makes no mention of country and the account could happily apply to just about anywhere in the world. And I respond as such from my own experience and cultural background. I am not an American, nor do I live in America. On a general thread, such as this, where nationality is not relevent, I feel no need to state my own nationality to explain my position - surely it would be odd if I did. I generally do not contribute to threads which are overtly country specific, unless I happen to have particular knowledge or experience of the customs of that country.

                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                    Strange that you're begging the question about your nationality. I'm not going to bite.

                                                    Since the OP chose not to post this thread under a topic of different country, yes I believe we are speaking about the USA. If that's not the case I would love to have the OP clarify that.

                                                    1. re: alkonost

                                                      Wait, so you presume that everything written must have to do with America, and yet I'm the one pressed to explain the 'imperialism' bit of my post?

                                                      1. re: alkonost

                                                        Does it really matter? If they advertise a breakfast and a clean room, why should I pay more for that? I don't care where it is.

                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                          It depends on whether or not you embrace etiquette or manners of the region. Do you observe the manners and etiquette of the places you stay?

                                                        2. re: alkonost

                                                          Precisely: NAF is not a regional board, so there is no reason to assume a priori that discussion is limited to the region that is the USA.

                                                          1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                            There is when the OP lives in Philadelphia and didn't say that he/she was a foreign country. *shrug*

                                                            1. re: alkonost

                                                              I think everyone who read the OP assumed that they were talking about a hotel somewhere in North America, and answered accordingly. No one has answered as if they thought the hotel was in some other country, and no one has said that they refuse to adopt local tipping customs when traveling. The whole point of the OP was to determine if there is an established local custom (i.e. in the US, by assumption) with regard to tipping in this situation. The answer is that there is not. Some people tip, in varying amounts, some do not. In the absence of an established custom, it's a question of individual preference. And since North American hotels generally accept both Americans and non-Americans as guests, it is perfectly legitimate for any American or non-American poster to tell us what they would do in this situation.

                                                              As for the site being US-centric: Obviously, since the vast majority (I'm guessing) of its members are American. This can lead to misunderstandings. The way posters react when they find themselves on the wrong side of a mistaken assumption determines whether this becomes a mutually enriching or at least a cordial exchange, or as in this case, a needlessly unpleasant back-and-forth.


                                                          2. re: alkonost

                                                            No question begging at all.

                                                            My personal details (real name, location and email address) are there for all to see in my profile for anyone sufficiently arsed to look.

                                                            As with any discussion board, you feel free to respond to a post as you wish and I'll do the same. Cultural differences (albeit usually only from different countries where English is generally the first language) are what makes Chowhound so interesting.

                                                            As for the OP posting a tipping thread in "Not about Food", that is the sub-forum where tipping threads are discussed. Try raising a general tipping question on your own "home board" and see how long it takes the mods to move it here.

                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              I agree that cultural differences are interesting, but the OP hasn't left any indication that the question on hotel food service tipping pertains to a country foreign to them. While it's interesting to know what the tipping culture would be for China or Argentina, unless that happens to be the country the OP is asking about the information isn't helpful for their question.

                                                              However, it would be a very nice topic for new thread- "Tipping Etiquette from around the world" for examples- where people can share that info.

                                                              1. re: alkonost

                                                                See my post above. Perhaps you should ask the site owners to make clear that contributions from foreigners, on general threads such as these, are unwelcome, so that the American contribution is not diluted. Personally, I would welcome that greater transparency.

                                                                They could easily do it by a "sticky" at the top of "Not about Food", "General Topics" and the like. Wording along the lines of "Threads in this forum are about America unless specifically stated otherwise and contributions from different nationality cultural perspectives tend to confuse the issue as some readers will automatically assume you are an American."

                                                                Whilst it would be unwelcoming to foreign visitors to the site, I think that would be much clearer - certainly more straightforward than me having to explain my ethnic background to another poster. And it would seem to meet your requirements.

                                                                That said, you'll perhaps have noticed that my responses to both the OP and to the question of tipping housekeeping have also been echoed by several of your compatriots (or, at least, on your basis I should assume they are your compatriots). So, maybe the thread is actually one that can be answered by foreigners. Funny old world, innit.

                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  Let me give a specific American experience - based on our last trip (so that all readers may be content). We stayed 5 nights in a hotel where there was breakfast included (Hampton Inn, Mystic, Connecticut).

                                                                  As mentioned in my earlier posts, we did not leave a tip for the staff, who appeared to be diligent in keeping the area tidy and well stocked. It never occured to me to tip. I saw no evidence that anyone else was tipping - no money left on tables, no tip jar. Needless to say, listening to accents, most other folk were north American.

                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                    Yes, that is our experience, as well, Harters.

                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                      Generally, people who do tip leave it on the nightstand or somewhere in the room so you wouldn't see evidence of it. Some hotels do have envelopes or name cards on who cleaned the room. I tip but do wonder what percent actually do. I think it's lower than I'd think. Whether I tip or not, I don't find a difference in the service which is a good thing, imo. Doing your job well should be part of the job.

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        I believe Harters was talking about specifically tipping the breakfast staff. Tipping the housekeeping staff is a different issue, and I'm not quite sure why it keeps coming up here. Unless all of the staff in the entire hotel pools all of their tips, but I've never head of such a thing.

                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          Wondering if those tip envelopes are regional (US) thing or possibly chain thing? None of the "big" chains I have stayed at up and down the East coast have had them-Hilton, Ramada, Quality, etc. Nor have I ever seen them in Italy. However travelling in small places in tourist destinations I see them periodically. However when we travelled thru the Delaware and ESVA areas they were in every place we stayed (no big chains). I also see them in places like the Cape and the Vineyard.

                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                            I doubt whether you'd generally see tip envelopes in hotels in Italy or other European countries - even in those countries which have a restaurant tipping culture. It just isnt how we see hospitality.

                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                              Tip envelope, with name of housekeeper on it, in our hotel (a Sokos) in St Petersburg, Russia, last month. We were only there two nights, and the room wasn't cleaned while we were, but was very nice when we arrived. But now that I think about it, the many staff working the huge breakfast buffet (included in hotel price) might have deserved it more.

                                                                    2. re: Harters

                                                                      The more I read the more I'm starting to believe this is all a ruse. I don't think you are from GB at all.......if you were truly from England you would be too glued to the TV for "Royal Baby Watch" than to be bothered with this whole mess.

                                                                      No......I don't believe it at all.....I think you have made this all up just so you don't feel guilty about not tipping the staff at the Hampton Inn when you stayed there.

                                                                      I bet your in Hoboken right now, watch it Harters....this yankee is on to you!

                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                        NPR did a segment on the Royal Baby Watch and how focused the US is on it vs the Brits. Accurate or not it’s a good listen. The best is when they played Barbara Walters “exclusive” interview with Kate as they toured London. Make that with a Kate impersonator. Seriously? Too funny!

                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                          Damn it all, I am undone and unmasked after all these years posting to Chowhound. Not a Joisey boy though, but a upright Virginian.

                                                                          Truth be told (and I do mean this), I have no idea what is "Royal Baby Watch". Whcih may suggest that I'm actually South African

                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                            Have you figured out the Royal Baby Watch yet? Now we've moved on to "Royal Baby Name Watch".........

                                                              2. re: alkonost

                                                                Tipping is a very North American thing and I am always intrigued by the argument that it encourages good to great service. It doesn't (I believe there have even been studies to prove it).

                                                                Generally the service across the US is pretty lousy, from the airlines, through the taxis, to the hotel check-ins and on to the bar staff and the servers in restaurants. You pay tips to get great service but you don't. You feel you must always tip at around 20% to recognise he great service you don't get. Its weirdly illogical.

                                                                Come to Asia or Japan, you will observe there is little tipping (in Japan its considered rude) but the service is good often superb. Even in a lot of European countries service is great and they have a tipping culture based on exception (OK the US isn't a good example). OK many places have a standard service charge/tax added, buts its uniform and part of the bill, so not an incentive to deliver better service.

                                                                I also find it a bit odd you see it as acceptable to need to bribe the room service staff to do their job, after all hotel rates are not bargains in many cities so one assumes you are already paying for the service. If I don't get the "extras" you mention then I usually don't return to that chain of hotels or else I ring up the front desk and complain - seems to work as well as the bribe/tip.

                                                                So from my experience I really see no evidence that service is improved by personal tipping to the server. The few great servers I have had in the US have been the exception and stand-out above the mediocracy of the masses.

                                                                1. re: PhilD

                                                                  The tipping culture is so ubiquitous here (in the States) that I once saw someone put a tip in the penny change bowl at my local supermarket. And don't get me started on tipping at Starbucks.

                                                                  1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                    I can't get over the tip jars on the self-serve fro-yo places. They're asking to be tipped for just taking your money?

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      I do tip at a coffee house where we play music (Irish session meets there once a week), but, then, I ask for a weird drink, well, not too weird, but I like it the way I like it. Just a mocha, but kind of particular. Also, they bring me my drink instead of just setting it on the counter like they do for everybody else.

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        I'm just waiting for a tip jar at the bank.

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                When it comes to staying in hotels I've got a stack of 'ones' and 'fives' always ready.
                                                                Anyone who comes to the door with 'anything' gets tipped.
                                                                When ordering room service it's quite common now for tip to be included...22% is the norm I've encountered recently.
                                                                If there's efficiency in the service for the room service then there's surely an additional tip involved.

                                                              2. This is probably a rare mention of someone cleaning and making a hotel freebee breakfast tidy, I'd tip for that.

                                                                1. The girl/woman who runs the breakfast room at the chain hotel where we vacation every fall is so efficient and genuinely cheerful she makes you want to chase her down and give her money just for being her! Seriously, though, a nice addition to a tip is a glowing email/ letter sent to corporate headquarters (preferably addressed to the CEO). Be sure to include the location and the employee's name. It only takes a few moments but can have quite an impact in the corporate world "food chain".

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                    Absolutely! The best thing you can do for many employees who can't be tipped is write a letter to their supervisor. I've got a few that I hope balance out the complaints ;)

                                                                    1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                      I think it's worth the effort to do this any time I get exceptional service. It is appreciated by all, as you say, from the employee up the rank. I'm a ski instructor, and tips are well appreciated but the appreciation, either phone calls, speaking w/ supervisors, email, etc. are what really make me feel my job is worthwhile. I do realize I'm lucky enough that that means more than the money.

                                                                      1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                        when i was a road warrior, i wrote such letters regularly.

                                                                      2. Someone who is working in the capacity you are explaining is a fully employed person, making the appropriate wage for their job. It's not an instance where they are making the "servers minimum wage" of something like $2.15 per hour. So with that said, tipping is not an anticipated part of their income.

                                                                        When I'm the recipient of hospitality from those who expect it as part of their income or not, I try to show my appreciation for a job well done with a gratuity.

                                                                        In your example I think it's completely an individual decision.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                          Don't really want to make much of this, but you should be aware that there are states (California for one) where tipped restaurant employees must be paid the state minimum wage ($8.00) per hour. Personally, I think tipping doesn't have a whole lot to do with that, but you might want to know if it effects your tips.

                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                            I didn't realize the min wage was that high in CA for food servers. I would still tip for good service, more for excellent service, but perhaps not as well in CA as I would in other states.

                                                                            In states where the wage for tip-able food and hospitality workers is low I recognize that they are directly relying on tips to earn a living and I'd tip more in such situations. After all when the workers are relying on your tips and their salary is structured for such, failure to tip for good service isn't just being rude it's robbing them of income.

                                                                        2. The last time I stayed at a hotel with meals included, there was an exceptionally pleasant woman dispensing specialty coffees at breakfast time. She was so fast and efficient, "working hard to make my morning much more bearable" -- always with a genuine smile -- that I tipped her at the end of my stay, without a thought for what her hourly wage might be.
                                                                          She smiled then too :).

                                                                          1. If the hard working lay did only what you describe, I would not tip. She is not being paid the legal less than minimum wage allowed for servers in many states.
                                                                            But, if she did anything directly for me, offered to carry my plate to a table, brought me a refill on coffee, cleared an empty plate while I was still using the table, then I'd leave a dollar or two.

                                                                            1. I had never given this much thought, even after reading this thread, until this morning. I was staying at a breakfast-included chain with several members of my family, including 9 kids aged 2 1/2 to 11yo. In return for my not having to suffocate in the steamy inside pool room last night, I agreed to chaperone all 9 kids to the breakfast room while their parents slept in. It wasn't a COMPLETE disaster, and luckily there was only one other guest in there while we were. But, there was spilled OJ, arguing over the last mini-box of Rice Krispies, and a brief tantrum from the toddler because they had the "wrong kind" of bananas. And an unholy mess that I couldn't seem to stay on top of. And the young woman working there was unfailingly smiling, insisted on helping when I tried to clean up by myself, engaged the kids, kept topping up the coffee, and produced an "only for special guests" box of peace-making Cocoa Krispies. I handed her a $20 with my warm thanks, then stopped at the desk to leave a note of praise to the manager. I don't tip everyone, but she really helped save my sanity.

                                                                              1. i always leave a tip by leaving cash either directly in the person's hand (preferable) or on the table.

                                                                                1. Yes, always. I'd give it directly to her.
                                                                                  Conversely, there's a little Inn I stay at when I'm in a particular town up north from me.
                                                                                  There's the same man that stands guard over the bagels, coffee, cereals, etc. where the complimentary breakfast is offered.
                                                                                  He hovers. He watches and he's in the way of every single guest as if they're going to take more than their share and run away with the whole lot. He is absolutely obnoxious.
                                                                                  He gets no tip.

                                                                                  1. I don't tip, and I don't see others tip in those situations, either. But, I do make it a habit to search the breakfast person out, and thank them for their service. I don't see anyone doing that, either.

                                                                                    1. When I check into a hotel, one that advertises a free breakfast and clean rooms, that's what I expect to get for the $150-$250 that I am paying. How the management/owners want to divvy that up among employee groups, that's up to them.
                                                                                      If there was a circumstance where I called housekeeping for anything extra, or asked an employee to go out of their way for me (can't think of an instance), I'd tip at check-out.
                                                                                      But those increasingly present little envelopes for housekeeping? no.
                                                                                      Tipping the hostess at the breakfast? no.
                                                                                      At the hotel restaurant where the server is making a wage of $2/hr, compared to the other workers getting $10-$15/hr? yes.

                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                                          so it would change if they were making less? for example, if you traveled to an all inclusive in cuba or panama [about 50 and 600 a month- at places that charge the amount you quoted]?

                                                                                          1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                            Not sure I can or am inclined to answer a hypothetical question of traveling to a resort somewhere I have never been, nor will probably ever go.
                                                                                            I am speaking of my experience traveling across the country, USA, by car, stopping at hotels for the night that offer complimentary breakfasts.

                                                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                                                              Its just that I dont consider the employees salary very much and it seems like you do. I tip when I am given service ... when traveling to all inclusives I tip less than I would in Montreal, but in accordance to the value of what I get and local tipping etiquette.. When traveling here if I am served a proper breakfast or breakfast buffet I will tip. Housekeeping I do now but never used to. Just because you pay in advance doesnt mean the tip is included.

                                                                                              1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                Do you tip dental hygienists, bank tellers, police officers, elementary school teachers, and concert pianists when they perform a service for you?

                                                                                                1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                  No but I also dont consider them hospitality staff... if I privately hired them I would though (though I wouldnt hire a dental hygienist privately or need cops to bodyguard me haha)

                                                                                                  1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                    I tip musicians, tour guides, bell hops, door men, building superintendents, fast food delivery people, wedding planners, photographers, and cab drivers if the service is good. I also tip restaurant managers if I've they've done a good job coordinating a large party for a special occasions with a specialized menu.

                                                                                                    While I haven't always given cash, sometimes I give gift cards to people in other service industries for the holidays. I don't know many teachers who wouldn't appreciate a starbucks gift card.

                                                                                                    Not every service job is tippable, good luck trying to get backstage of a NY Pops performance to tip them, or try to bust your hand through bullet proof glass to tip a bank teller. But if the service person is accessible and they've served you well there's nothing wrong with tipping even if it's not a profession associated with tipping (like food and hospitality workers).

                                                                                                  2. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                    I'm speaking from my experience, not yours.

                                                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                      I know Im not being judgmental or trying to disrespect you, I am honestly interested. Isnt that the point in these boards? Sharing ideas... different points of view

                                                                                            2. Yes, I do. But not consistently...depends on whether I have money on me. But I leave $1-2 on the table for the the breakfast folks or the person in the concierge lounge who keeps the buffet supplied and the tables bussed.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: MyNextMeal

                                                                                                I always tip, tip more when I think the individual has made that "extra effort" on my behalf. Also it is always good to follow the old restaurant owners/workers rule, "Always over tip the breakfast waitress". I do not know the origin of that saying but a good breakfast waitress really has to move fast, think on her feet, and start your day with friendly service and conversation.

                                                                                              2. Me again.

                                                                                                A fascinating discussion so far.

                                                                                                Yes, I am in the United States, and yes, I am talking about specifically the employees who manage the free breakfast service in a hotel, not servers in a hotel restaurant, and not the housekeeping staff who clean my room. (My great aunt Anna Centennial worked for 60 years as a hotel chambermaid, while raising her brother's children after their mother died in the flu epidemic of 1919 [yes, I am as old as dirt] and I ALWAYS tip the housekeepers.)

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Meann

                                                                                                  So to answer your original question more directly: Yes, I would tip employees of this type if they gave me outstanding service, were particularly pleasant early in the morning or some other related reason. I'd catch their attention when they were near my table & not too busy; say, "Thank you for _______" and discreetly hand them some cash.
                                                                                                  I also always tip the housekeepers. I know that when I lived in North America, there was a dual scale minimum wage in my area, with a lower rate for any workers who might receive tips (including waiters, chambermaids, etc.).
                                                                                                  DISCLAIMER: I live in what someone upthread called a "foreign country," although for me it's home & the good ol' USA is "foreign" :).

                                                                                                  1. re: almond tree

                                                                                                    When someone does a great job, I tip but also tell them they're doing a great job. I think compliments are important, too. I had a great check out person at Trader Joe's yesterday and while I don't tip, I did tell her. She told me I made her day.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                      Yes, I agree. That's why I suggest saying, "Thank you for ..." and specifying exactly what it was that made their service so outstanding.
                                                                                                      An email of praise to the hotel or restaurant management is also a great idea, as I think was mentioned by an earlier poster.
                                                                                                      When I worked in the hotel biz many moons ago, a customer sent a letter thanking me for helping her. By the time I saw the letter, it had been circulated among, and signed by, all the top brass, and went into my permanent employee file.
                                                                                                      Goes to show how seriously customer feedback can be taken.