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MrdeRastignac

Please rename the HSC or even change the system

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1) If you are injured while onboard....have someone get a manager. Write up an injury report. DO NOT STAND AROUND IN THE LIDO...SIT DOWN TO WAIT FOR YOUR GROUP.

 

2) If your sheets are dirty have the steward change them....CALL HOUSEKEEPING. If the TV does not work properly....CALL THE FRONT DESK.

 

3) The people working on the ship are living where they work. IF THEY ARE NOT ON DUTY LEAVE THEM ALONE. If they want to chat let them come to you.

 

4) YOU ARE TOLD UPFRONT WHAT THE HOTEL SERVICE CHARGE IS. IT IS PART OF THE COST OF YOUR TRIP. Leave it alone. Can you remove the resort fee from a hotel visit on land?

 

If you have issues on the ship take it up with the department manager (you may have to bypass the front desk) if the issue is not resolved quickly and to your satisfaction. Then you can enjoy the rest of your trip.

 

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My thoughts exactly:)

 

Joanie

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To the OP, I think that your decision to reduce the HSC was appropriate. You described repeated incidents of poor service that did not warrant a financial reward.

 

HAL has established the HSC as a reward for all crew members, and that unfortunately includes those that provide exceptional service and those who do not. A passenger who receives poor service such as yours often faces a quandary - do you pay the full HSC and possibly send the wrong message or pay nothing? I think that going to the front desk, explaining your experiences and reducing the HSC was the right thing to do.

 

Unfortunately, the HSC is built upon the unfortunate premise that the actions of one can affect the actions of many. And while some passengers may not be comfortable with that, it would appear that HAL's crew are.

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For something to FAVOUR THE CREW the HSC should be included in the price of the cruise. The crew would then get at least some reasonable recompence over and above their board and lodging.

 

If you then felt that someone went over and above the requirement of their job description, you could then tip them extra. I find the US tipping culture of tipping everybody for everything that they do completely incomprehensible.

 

and if they do that (include the HSC in the price), if I recall correctly, that means that a mandatory amount must be sent to their Government despite what they make or their tax bracket and gives them less to send to their families.

 

My understanding is that the HSC is treated differently, freeing up the money for the crew to use as they see fit.

 

Tipping is common in many places, including Europe despite what the OP says. It is sometimes built into the restaurant bills and sometimes not. It has been appreciated in every part of Europe I have been in and the list is extensive.

 

Including the HSC in the fare would make HAL non competitive since no other cruise line does (other than a luxury line or two where "tipping is included").

Edited by kazu

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As several posters have mentioned in Europe a service charge is automatically added to restaurant & hotel bills, but because they are added on ships bills people still complain.. These complaints have been going on ever since I joined CC..

 

Following is a post by Bruce Muzz, who was a senior officer on a cruise line , written 9-04-2007 on TIPPING & OPEN DINING in the IN THE “ASK A CRUISE QUESTION FORUM” - TITLE OF THE THREAD IS “CREW EARNINGS” ..You can read the entire thread here..

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=620368&page=2 (POST NO. 21)

 

Quote iheartbda-,

You ask a very intelligent question. Many ask it, but very few get a straight answer.

 

For the past 100 years or so (since 1911), the cruise lines have arranged for the passengers to pay the salaries of the crew during the cruise. There are many arguments about whether or not this is a good idea. In the end, it really doesn't matter - because that is the way it has always been done, and it is extremely unlikely to change anytime soon. Anyone who does not like it should either get used to it or choose another type of vacation.

 

Since 9-11 the mass market lines have struggled a bit to ensure that their ships are always completely full. In doing so, they have made cruising affordable to the masses. There are also many arguments as to whether of not this was a good idea. Once again, it really doesn't matter at this point. That's the way the market has developed, and will take quite some time to change to any great degree - if it changes at all.

 

This new cruising public is composed of nearly every segment of humanity. Many still cannot really afford to cruise, but it is so attractive that it often is a better financial option than staying home. How do these people manage to afford their cruise? Many smuggle their own alcohol onboard to avoid paying a bar bill; many take a bus or taxi to the pier in their home town to avoid paying for air tickets; many take a guarantee or a lower priced inside cabin to avoid paying a higher passage fare. And for the past 10 years or so, about 30% of these cruisers (on average) saved a bundle by not tipping the staff during the cruise. (Bolding done by Serendipity)

The fallout from this was devastating to the cruise lines. Many experienced ship service staff began to realize that working on a ship was no longer the financial opportunity it had once been. Many of my best service staff came to tell me that they were now able to make the same amount of money at home, staying home with their families, and not working 18 hours a day, seven days a week, taking abuse from ungrateful passengers, for many months at a time. The cruise industry lost many of it's best service staff over this issue. (Next time somebody complains about the declining service levels on cruise ships, you will have a good answer for them.)

 

The cruise lines realized that they needed to do something quickly to save their remaining star employees and reduce staff turnover due to shrinking salaries. So they introduced auto-tipping. In most cases, one still has the option to reduce or eliminate the auto-tip, but in most cases it can be difficult or embarrasing to do so.

 

The results have been very encouraging. On most mass market ships today, less than 5% of the passengers reduce or cancel the auto-tip. This results in a substantial increase in salaries for tipped employees. And there is another bonus. Passengers still want to hand money directly to staff who have done a great job. So on top of the auto-tip, staff often receive additional tips for great service rendered. They still do not earn as much as they did a few decades ago, but the increase has been enough to stop most of the staff turnover due to decreasing salaries.

 

Does open dining on ships denigrate the relationship that passengers have always enjoyed with the service staff? It certainly does. Breaking that relationship makes the service appear to be less personal and friendly. Americans generally do not like that, as they frequently confuse and equate friendliness with excellent service.

Every public opinion poll done by the cruise lines tells us that about 65% of today's cruisers want an open dining option on their ship. That percentage of the cruising public cannot be ignored by cruise lines that want to stay in business and make a profit. Open dining is here to stay for a long time.

 

But at the end of the day, the auto-tip system keeps salaries up to an acceptable level - keeping the remaining experienced service staff working on the ships, rather than in hotels back home.

The open dining concepts keep a new and hopefully endless supply of new cruisers coming to cruise ships and keeping us profitable and in business.

unquote

Edited by serendipity1499

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After reading this I've thought about what to say. As one of those "invalids" on a scooter I really took offense with your attitude. I've met more than my share of people that seem to feel I'm of little importance to them. They stand in my way, they walk in front of my path and then they get all upset if they get hit. I try to warn them they're in my path, I say excuse me, but I somehow have to be the responsible one and prevent the accidents that others create. Pay attention to your surroundings, don't stand in a walkway and block others, you're not the only person on this cruise. So I have to ask since you had so many bad experiences what you did, you are the common denominator in all of those situations that went wrong, what type of attitude did you present? I feel an air of self entitlement and unrealistic expectations when I read what you wrote. But I will admit I may be biased since I'm just am "invalid" confined to a scooter or wheelchair.

Edited by sherilyn70

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It is interesting to think of all those people who serve us but never get any tips - grocery store clerks, people working in doctor's, dentists etc.

offices, the woman that puts all our mail in those super boxes, and on and on.

We are pensioners and don't have a large income so we don't cruise as often as we would like to so the HSC is a lot for us to come up with. It swallows all the money we could spend on tours etc.

 

The staff onboard get everything taken care of - food and lodging and uniforms and their own doctor. So why make it an automatic charge and not something people can do on their own according to the quality of service they do get?

 

On our next cruise they would not give us the OBC because we booked before they offered it and now this cruise is 2000 pp less than we paid - as they try to fill the cabins and they want us to pay the HSC on top of that?

 

 

That's what puzzles me, how come some who give a service get tips some don't and how do you decide.

 

Your Doctor give you a service does he get tips.

 

The train driver gives a service how does he get his cut.

 

I am now ready to be abused because anytime you ask a question on tipping that's what seems to happen.

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After reading this I've thought about what to say. As one of those "invalids" on a scooter I really took offense with your attitude. I've met more than my share of people that seem to feel I'm of little importance to them. They stand in my way, they walk in front of my path and then they get all upset if they get hit. I try to warn them they're in my path, I say excuse me, but I somehow have to be the responsible one and prevent the accidents that others create. Pay attention to your surroundings, don't stand in a walkway and block others, you're not the only person on this cruise. So I have to ask since you had so many bad experiences what you did, you are the common denominator in all of those situations that went wrong, what type of attitude did you present? I feel an air of self entitlement and unrealistic expectations when I read what you wrote. But I will admit I may be biased since I'm just am "invalid" confined to a scooter or wheelchair.

 

 

I spent the last 5 years in a wheelchair (am I glad to be out of it most of the time now) and you turn almost invisible to most people.

 

In an elevator they stand with their foot under the wheel of the chair and then complain if it gets run over.

 

They step out in front of you lke they never would a car.

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That's what puzzles me, how come some who give a service get tips some don't and how do you decide.

 

Your Doctor give you a service does he get tips.

 

The train driver gives a service how does he get his cut.

 

I am now ready to be abused because anytime you ask a question on tipping that's what seems to happen.

You decide based on their base pay rate. In the us servers make less than minimum wage and are expected to make the remainder in tips. Many other jobs also pay poorly on the assumption of tops being earned. My doctor makes a fair salary, I do not need to tip him, however because he and his staff give me such excellent care I do give them Christmas presents each year to show my appreciation. When I'm in the hospital I'll bring the nurses treats as well.

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That's what puzzles me, how come some who give a service get tips some don't and how do you decide.

 

Your Doctor give you a service does he get tips.

 

The train driver gives a service how does he get his cut.

 

I am now ready to be abused because anytime you ask a question on tipping that's what seems to happen.

Here's a link to a table of commonly tipped positions:

 

http://changingminds.org/techniques/tipping/articles/tip_job.htm

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You decide based on their base pay rate. In the us servers make less than minimum wage and are expected to make the remainder in tips. Many other jobs also pay poorly on the assumption of tops being earned. My doctor makes a fair salary, I do not need to tip him, however because he and his staff give me such excellent care I do give them Christmas presents each year to show my appreciation. When I'm in the hospital I'll bring the nurses treats as well.

 

 

But how do I know (especially as a visitor) their base pay rate.

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Thank you for that.

You're welcome. I know you were expecting to be abused. Sorry for the let down. ;)

Edited by POA1

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Some of you took your time to just read my post and reply in a thoughtful and polite way. Whether or not we can find common ground, I would like to thank you for that.

 

Others (quite a lot imo) are really eager to call my post offensive, although it just summarizes some of my dissappointing experiences regarding service quality, and I end my post by some of the weak points of the current HSC system imo.

 

However, I get the feeling people are using different standards here.

Is it not offensive to:

-doubt my story

-call me a liar

-put words in my mouth or say I took or didn't take some action (e.g."don't speak with off-duty crew members"....I only described how I just replied to their "how are you, Sir" comment. They were certainly on duty. And if you are not interested in any reply, you just shouldn't ask me how I am doing. That's even regardless of being 'on-duty' btw

-and most rude: am I not allowed to stand up in the Lido?? So, it is suddenly my fault that I got run over? Do you say the same thing for any pedestrian or cyclist a priori?? :confused: I am truly sorry, but if you are driving an electric scooter, you should still be very well aware of your surroundings and really take care, given the mass and speed of the object. That has nothing to do with your actual condition!

 

 

Also all the 'but HSC is included everywhere' is just moot. In most countries which are described, taxes and other charges are included in the price. No relation to service quality whatsoever. You can't change it, or remove it.

And that is actually some of the points I made. Even in favour of the crew. HAL DOES make the relation between HSC and service quality. One IS allowed to change it.

 

Even the form I got stated something like: "PLEASE STATE THE SERVICES IN WHICH YOU WERE DISSAPPOINTED"

 

The reason to change or even remove the HSC is directly related to dissappointment in service quality, according to HAL's own 'ruleset'. So how can anyone ignore this and say you are never allowed to change it?

 

If you ignore this and say the HSC is just salary compensation...do you actually realise that you are agreeing with my post?? :confused:

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It is not a matter of you wanting to sue them. It is just being fair to their standards of operation, for you to report what may be a way to a prevent the same kind of accident happening to others.

 

Yeah, I know. You're right. That's why I also clearly indicated that on my form and on the survey afterwards. :)

 

But, to be honest, just after 'the run-over' I wasn't thinking like: 'step 1: get to management', 'step 2: get to..' :)

I was just numb, had trouble walking and was scared about the actual injury. And when I went to the FO, I thought it just was the right thing to do. And on top of that, I needed ice of course.

 

I know some people have said that the first thing after an accident/incident is to request someone to get management. But I just can't imagine that being true in my case. You're just feeling numb emotionally, you're in pain and adrenalin kicks in massively. :(

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That's what puzzles me, how come some who give a service get tips some don't and how do you decide.

 

Your Doctor give you a service does he get tips.

 

The train driver gives a service how does he get his cut.

 

I am now ready to be abused because anytime you ask a question on tipping that's what seems to happen.

 

Its a cultural issue. In different cultures different people get (or don't get) tips. As long as we remember the maxim "When in Rome, do as the Romans" and follow the local custom in regards to tipping, we should all be fine.

 

For those who refuse to follow local custom concerning tipping (either by over-tipping, under-tipping, not tipping or simply tipping when it isn't expected) do you also flout the local customs as to dress, food, conversation, etc.?

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After reading this I've thought about what to say. As one of those "invalids" on a scooter I really took offense with your attitude. I've met more than my share of people that seem to feel I'm of little importance to them. They stand in my way, they walk in front of my path and then they get all upset if they get hit. I try to warn them they're in my path, I say excuse me, but I somehow have to be the responsible one and prevent the accidents that others create. Pay attention to your surroundings, don't stand in a walkway and block others, you're not the only person on this cruise. So I have to ask since you had so many bad experiences what you did, you are the common denominator in all of those situations that went wrong, what type of attitude did you present? I feel an air of self entitlement and unrealistic expectations when I read what you wrote. But I will admit I may be biased since I'm just am "invalid" confined to a scooter or wheelchair.

Excellent post. This is something that needs to be said, and was said well.

Too often people will look the scooter driver square in the eye, not "see" them, and then walk right in front of the scooter.

If the driver can't stop in time (scooters don't stop on a dime), then somehow it is the driver's fault for the pedestrian's stupidity.

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After reading this I've thought about what to say. As one of those "invalids" on a scooter I really took offense with your attitude. I've met more than my share of people that seem to feel I'm of little importance to them. They stand in my way, they walk in front of my path and then they get all upset if they get hit. I try to warn them they're in my path, I say excuse me, but I somehow have to be the responsible one and prevent the accidents that others create. Pay attention to your surroundings, don't stand in a walkway and block others, you're not the only person on this cruise. So I have to ask since you had so many bad experiences what you did, you are the common denominator in all of those situations that went wrong, what type of attitude did you present? I feel an air of self entitlement and unrealistic expectations when I read what you wrote. But I will admit I may be biased since I'm just am "invalid" confined to a scooter or wheelchair.

 

I agree with much of what you say - my DH is often in a wheelchair but we have always received nothing but politeness and assistance where necessary from other passengers, however, I cannot speak to being on a scooter. But let's not turn this into scooter-users vs able-bodied pax, because there are points both sides, probably equally. From my own experience I have been almost run down by scooter drivers, and hit from behind as well with no warning they are coming up behind. Some are totally unused to using a scooter and obviously have no skills in driving it in confined spaces, especially through a crowded Lido buffet. But this has nothing at all to do with the topic at hand - removing or renaming the HSC.;)

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Yeah, I know. You're right. That's why I also clearly indicated that on my form and on the survey afterwards. :)

 

But, to be honest, just after 'the run-over' I wasn't thinking like: 'step 1: get to management', 'step 2: get to..' :)

I was just numb, had trouble walking and was scared about the actual injury. And when I went to the FO, I thought it just was the right thing to do. And on top of that, I needed ice of course.

 

I know some people have said that the first thing after an accident/incident is to request someone to get management. But I just can't imagine that being true in my case. You're just feeling numb emotionally, you're in pain and adrenalin kicks in massively. :(

 

Everyone differs of course, but I would think the first thing would be to seek medical attention, not register the complaint to the front desk. It was nice you had your own companion medical attention with you, but a proper medical work up and workplace report at the time, as stated, could have also been productive for the ship's operations.

 

The addition of motorized traffic in the confined setting of a ship with mainly fixed dimension corridors and passageways needs attention for all concerned. I would hate to see this require a "beep, beep, beep" mechanism like we hear at the airports, but certainly everyone's awareness about these potential hazards does need to be increased, if ships are to be truly ADA adaptive environments. More power to those with mobility challenges who can still get out and enjoy life with the restrictions this entails.

 

And the different challenges between ship board use of mechanized scooters, wheelchairs and more recently Segways.

 

But becoming hazards to others due to the imbalance of forces and dimensions that exist between mechanized mobility and non-mechanized mobility needs additional consideration.. I don't know the answers, but suspect special traffic lanes or restricted zones is definitely not the answer. Thank you to those who are making us aware of the challenges of mechanized mobility aids. Important information many of us will file for future reference.

Edited by OlsSalt

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Ol Salt, thank you for your reasoned and diplomatic replies to this contentious subject. Enjoy your 43 days in the South Pacific -- with your attitude, you certainly will.

 

Mrs M

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We have friends from Europe whom ALWAYS remove the HSC from their cruise account. As well as leave a very limited if any tip when dining out. This can be somewhat of an uncomfortable situation for us when dining out with them.

 

While we understand that this is because of the way it is done in Europe it's not the way it is here. And, I must say while they are nice people they are complainer's and request extra from service staff.

When we are visiting in other area's of the world we always try to found out what the local system is - if I wanted to handle it like I do at home then I should stay in my own country. I feel it is my responsibility IF I want to enjoy seeing the world to do what is right for the current situation.

 

Service staff have a tremendous amount of rude and offensive behavior that they must contend with on a daily basis.

 

Our friends come to the US because they enjoy visiting our country and they find that prices are much lower on EVERYTHING here than at home.

Well one reason for that is because we do add a tip to the bill here. And, it is the custom that is practiced in the US. We feel they should be more generous in spirit and $'s when here.

 

However, I also see the point the poster is trying to make. He felt very conflicted as to how to handle the situation. He asked for insight and help as to how to do it from the FO. I KNOW what the policy is for most cruise lines operating out of the US. So I to am conflicted in HOW to help this person make a point - yet not affect other service staff on the ship.

 

In some way I do like the new system - you don't have to spend time doing the envelopes and tracking down the staff to THANK them etc. There is no trying to figure whom to tip and how much.

 

BTW we always tip extra for anyone who has shown us extra or additional service of some sort. We hand the extra tip to the person directly and THANK THEM for a job well done.

 

On the other hand I like the old system in the respect that we were able to truly show our appreciation directly to the service staff who work so diligently on our behalf.

 

We truly enjoy the interaction with the international crew's. They are away from their families and homes - we try to have a quick smile and greeting with them. We are well aware that they do not have the time to spend chit chatting with us. They have work to do. And, on their time off certainly don't approach them. We give a smile and hello - keep going.

 

However, many times we find that they seek us out to talk. I believe that they know we truly like them and are interested in their well being.

We ALWAYS treat them with respect and are THANKFUL for the job they do to make our cruise experience enjoyable.

 

I will say that we have discussed the fact that we MISS the interaction with the service staff. They have even more of a work load than in day's past. There is a certain air of - we KNOW we are going to get our tip we don't have to go the extra mile from some of the them now.

 

I do feel that the cruise lines have brought about this change in the "experience" of a cruise.

I am not sure if it was warranted or not???

If it's a case of people NOT tipping then I support the change - shame on the passenger.

If it's a case of the cruise lines being able to pay less and pass on the responsibility to the passenger - SHAME on them.

 

This is truly an area with so many variables - I do not know what the answer is -

However, I don't think that this is a black and white issue - IMO.

Edited by hugger

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Hugger, you are exactly right. You said what I tried to say in my earlier post.

 

One other aspect of tipping that neither one of us mentioned is that in some cultures, tipping is considered an insult; that you are really looking down on the recipient.

 

Tipping in Japan, for example, is "not done." Tipping of flight attendants is also "not done," although when food and/or beverages are served they provide virtually the same service as one gets on board a ship.

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...Frankly I like the HSC so much more than HAL's former (and ambiguous) "Tipping Not Required" policy where we customers had no idea at all if we really should tip anyway...The really important aspect to all this is that the policies and the amounts of the HSC are clearly disclosed by HAL so there should not be any surprise at all...

 

I agree, however I also understand the OP's situation. I wish the cruiselines gave the option of tipping the "unseen" workers a set amount, say $5 per day, and then allowing passengers to tip the cabin and waitstaff they interact with directly as they see fit.

Edited by SoCal Cruiser78

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...When we are visiting in other area's of the world we always try to found out what the local system is - if I wanted to handle it like I do at home then I should stay in my own country. I feel it is my responsibility IF I want to enjoy seeing the world to do what is right for the current situation...

 

Well said!

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You decide based on their base pay rate. In the us servers make less than minimum wage and are expected to make the remainder in tips.

 

See this is exactly the issue that those of us who come from countries where everyone is paid a decent liveable wage, don't understand. How is it possible that a very large sector of employed people (the hospitality industry) are legally paid less than the minimum wage??? Why is it a minimum wage for some but not for others?

 

While I always adhere to "when in Rome" and have always paid the automatic gratuities, I would much prefer they would just pay their employees a decent wage and restructure the fare price. I would happily pay an additional tip to anyone I felt went above and beyond. It is interesting that I am shortly to take a cruise in my home country's waters and there are no gratuities automatically added for this cruise. I had thought that this was because of the "no tipping" culture here, but have recently become aware that it may be because when sailing in Australian (and possibly NZ) waters, staff must be paid Australian Award Rates. Obviously if this is true, the higher wages cost for the shipping line has been reflected in the fare. But, as far as I can see this cruise is almost fully booked so the higher fare certainly hasn't deterred people from doing what they want to do!

 

A few years back I went on a European river cruise. It was one where everything (tipping, alcohol, shore excursions etc) was included in the fare. On the last night when the Cruise Director was telling us about filling the the survey form. She asked that if we had nothing to complain about, then we should put Excellent for every question, as putting Very Good or less, would result in the included tips not being passed on to the crew! That left us all wondering what happened to the funds in that case! To me, excellent means perfect in every way, and is a standard that is very difficult to attain. If any holiday, or service I receive, I consider to be very good, then I am more than happy with that and consider it a success! So it seems the so called "tipping included" system has it's problems as well as the automatically added on system where issues like those experienced by the OP occur where he was unable to reward those who deserved it, and remove the gratuity from those who didn't! To me it just logically comes back to paying everyone a decent wage for doing their job in a manner that meets expectations, and then optionally tipping those who exceed expectations and genuinely go out of their way to enhance your experience.

 

Having said all that, there have certainly been times here when having had absolutely atrocious service from wait staff, I have thought that maybe relying on customers tips to earn a living mightn't be such a bad idea!!! :D

 

Regards

Jan

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Edited by NaughtyNanna

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