Temas Especiales

16 de Jan de 2021


Beware of the double tip

PANAMA. I am getting really annoyed with restaurants mainly, but dining places in general, who have started installing an arbitrary cha...

PANAMA. I am getting really annoyed with restaurants mainly, but dining places in general, who have started installing an arbitrary charge for service which was may have been poor from the start. Why do we tip or pay an extra service charge in restaurants - at all?

You've paid for the food and the staff is paid by the restaurant, surely you should expect to get good service as part of the deal.

You shouldn’t have to pay a tip for the food, because you have already paid for it and the waiters and waitresses are paid by the restaurant to serve the food. Why do we need this extra service charge?

What is even more confusing is that the restaurants and hotels who implement this charge tend to be in areas which are frequented by tourists.

If you go to the Causeway now all the restaurants charge a mandatory 10% service charge.

Also, in the city the top six hotels also implement this charge. However, if one goes to an up city establishment maybe you should expect to pay extra.

Are we that shortsighted that we think the tourists do not see what is happening?

Do you really think the service is that good in this country that the waiter should automatically get a tip?

I would question how many staff members serving food in the restaurants in Panama have ever even gone on a ‘Customer Service’ course.

This is not the fault of the staff but the management who do not want to invest in the well being of their staff, and are happy to pay minimum wage as they know they will receive tips anyway.

Beware of the double tip possibility.

This is a scam where 10% "Service Charge" is or has already been added to your bill, and then if you pay that bill by credit or debit card the credit card machine then also asks you how much gratuity you want to pay.

Asking the waitress what this is all about they will tell you "Don't you want to leave us a tip?" And then you say to them hasn't it already been included, and they go off annoyed.

I am sure they catch many unaware people by this trick.

The problem I believe in Panama is that it is indiscriminately applied.

In my home country you are generally charged 15 percent service charge so everybody knows where they stand.

Here it may be cheaper but you should be made aware at the outset if this is an establishment which has already included it.

I have noticed sometimes in very small print at the bottom of the menu or even at the back of it hidden under the drinks that you will incur a charge. Also, how many waiters would return your tip stating it has already been included in your bill?

There are hundreds of jobs where there is no custom or practice of tipping the worker concerned.

In fact in most of those cases if the worker were to solicit tips they would be in breach of the terms of their contract of employment, and suffer disciplinary action, and possibly face the sack.

There's nothing wrong with showing appreciation for good service! However, I think it’s unfair and biased towards certain professions.

Technically, the professions which are tipped are ones which are notoriously underpaid. Hairdressers and taxi drivers also come to mind.

Did you know that tipping is not even practiced in 12 countries -- Brunei, Malaysia, Japan, Oman, New Zealand, Samoa, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Norway and Vietnam.

In Japan tipping is perceived as insulting.

Personally I will tip significantly more than 10% if the service is good but if they have already implemented a charge I certainly would not add to it on principle.