Hotels and Tipping

Hotels. They get on my tits at times. Last night I stopped in a certain hotel at Manchester Airport. Although it has a very posh name it really, really doesn’t live up to it. This particular chain of hotels is usually fantastic, but the one at Manchester Airport is a 1970’s relic with furniture and a sweet bleachy smell to match. The furniture is brown and chipped, the wallpaper is a mouldy green colour and for some strange reason they’ve decided to use the thinnest glass possible for the windows … never a good idea when you’re virtually underneath a runway.

The exterior of this particular hotel – which is neatly tucked behind far better and more glamorous ones – looks like a block of cheap council flats built sometime in 1973. It’s had a “recently refurbished entrance and bar area”, which – if we’re honest – isn’t too important unless you decide to sleep in the reception. Sure – the front of the hotel looks alright, but once you peer out of your room it feels like you’re trapped in a concrete shed.

Anyhow, we decide to get room service and some geezer decides about 45 minutes later to appear with the food. He’s obviously tried to get sympathy by wiping his hands on my beer glass and mopping his brow to try and fool us into how hard he was working. Arse. My arse. He then almost leaped at me when I got up to check the food – he was after a tip. Now, I’ve stopped in many hotels across the world and I know that there’s various different rules about tipping. New York, for example, is a place where you simply must tip everyone with some sort of note. Give them change (as I found out to my cost when we ran out of cash) and they’ll look you up and down like you’ve just shot their mother.

So I can understand it in some places, especially where the staff are given low wages and rely on tips to see them through. However I’ve never really tipped in the UK unless I’ve seen someone doing something worth tipping. If we go out for a meal and the waitress / waiter is quick, helpful, happy and friendly then they’ll get a good tip. If they’re not, they won’t.

At the end of the day I know that here in the UK there’s a minimum wage and I know that people like this guy have obviously got a good thing going with lots of wealthy business-men / reps giving five or ten quid tips with their expenses. Me ? Well, I’m paying my own way, so I’m a tight arse at times :).

So it annoyed me slightly when he stood in the middle of the room saying, “Is .. err.. that it then?”

Yes, I’m thinking… sod off now.. I want my chips.

Is it me ? I’ll be the first one to apologise if I’m wrong here but this guy is obviously getting tipped well in every room – and this is a fairly big hotel with 300 rooms. Even if he only gets ….. say…. 30 people ordering room service with an average tip of 3 quid in his shift then that’s a nice 90 quid in his back pocket on top of his daily wage.

What has he done for this ? He’s gone into the kitchen with a trolley, put the plates on the trolley, walked to the lift, pressed a button, pushed the trolley to the room and then knocked on the door?

I gave him 2 quid in the end. Stuff it, and he didn’t seem pleased with that. I couldn’t give a stuff. Will the cleaners be getting a tip for cleaning the room ? Will the cleaners hang around for a tip for taking that tray off the table ? Will they get a tip for putting it on their trolley and taking it back downstairs again ?

No, they don’t.

So tell me why I have to give some guy in a suit a tip for bringing me food, when the people who seem to work the hardest get no tip? I’d rather tip the cleaners – they probably need the money more than “Mr. Pushy Waiter Man”. I doubt I’ll see him take his tip and share it out amongst everyone else.