Tipping Traps

Tipping fairly is one thing, but paying more than you think you are with a tip is quite another.
When it comes to tipping, beware of the words: “for your convenience.” If you see them on your final bill, you might want to take a closer look. While you are at it, whip out your calculator to run your own numbers.
Take room service, for example. They innocently leave the ‘tip’ line open, hoping that you will not notice the already included 18 percent gratuity, plus the additional £1.92 to £2.55 room service fee or tray charge.
As a result, absent-minded guests will often add a tip on top of the tip, effectively tipping 40 percent or more.
Tricky, huh?
I find that asking for extra tip, as if these charges did not exist, is unethical and deceiving.
But hotels are not alone. Restaurants are adding tips to their final bills, too. When the time arrived to present and pay the bill before you reach for your wallet to extract the trusted credit card, watch the waiter removed a small device from his belt designed to scan the credit card, authorise use for payment through a touch screen and print a small receipt at your table.


Not so impressive was that it added for his “convenience “, on-screen prompts for gratuities at 15 percent, 18 percent and 20 percent.
Over time, a penny or two could really add up to a business that does a lot of transactions. But maybe more troubling, a system like this could easily be manipulated to pull the old room service trick.
How do you avoid tipping trouble?
Watch for words like “for your convenience” which usually means they have done some funny maths.
Another tip (sorry, could not resist) is to run the numbers yourself. It takes a few extra seconds, but it ensures you are not allowing yourself to be ripped off.