Tipping Housekeeping is Controversial? (No It Isn’t)

The Marriott hotel chain has begun to include empty envelopes in its rooms to encourage / remind guests to tip the workers who have been folding their towels, making their beds, emptying their trash, leaving mints on their pillows, and generally making everything look like it was arranged by magic elves.

Tipping housekeeping in the US is expected and oh hey more complicated than I realized: etiquette requires “$2-3 per night up to $5, more in high-end hotels. Also more if there are more than 3 people in a room or suite. Leave the tip on your pillow or in a similar obvious place with a note that says thank you. Leave the tip each day when you leave the room, rather than at the end of your stay, because your room might get cleaned by different people each day, depending on staff schedules. If you have additional items delivered to your room, such as extra pillows, hangers, luggage racks, tip the person who brings them $2 or $3.” Okay!

But now that Marriott has provided a convenient way to tip that also makes the practice increasingly explicit, some folks are like, what, you’re gonna guilt me into tipping? Others have even used the word blackmail because times are so hard folks can’t afford dictionaries. NPR explains:

not everyone is welcoming the plan to promote tipping. Some compare it to blackmail. And hard-core business travelers who rack up hundreds of nights in hotels per year say they don’t want to tip in cash, as is customary. Instead, they suggest, the company should let guests add a tip to their room bill. If Marriott wants to see the wide range of responses, it won’t have to look far — people in its rewards program have been debating the issue for the past day. … This is a bit over the top for Marriott to be doing this to us, almost like black mailing us into it. If they are so concerned they should pay these hard working people a better wage! Letting Maria Shriver have this much influence over them is a bit disturbing. – pdyer

What does Maria Shriver have to do with anything? Never mind, DON’T FEED THE TROLLS, sorry. Anyway, think of Jenny when you travel, or that first diner scene in Reservoir Dogs (nobody wants to be Mr. Pink), and tip generously. If you don’t want to tip, don’t travel, or stay in an AirBnB, where I think you can get away without paying a gratuity. At least for now.

The One With the Big Tip

Why don't we start this morning with a WWYD, but have you readers help me this time?

Living on $2.13 an Hour, and Hoping Someone Leaves a Good Tip

There is another minimum wage battle being fought, and it's among service workers who are earning a tipped-minimum wage of $2.13 an hour hoping that customers will make up the difference with the gratuity they leave on the table. They'd like the sub-wage to be eliminated.

Zadie Smith On Tipping Your Delivery Person

Zadie Smith has a charming little essay in the New Yorker -- is that the most insufferable phrase I've ever typed? -- about ordering delivery in London vs. New York. Of course, the focus is on tipping, a topic that just may never get old. As far as I am concerned Zadie Smith can write charming little essays about whatever she wants and I will read them.

Help, a Direct Mailing For a Cleaning Service Actually Worked On Me And I’m Worried It Will Ruin My Relationship

I am using the Billfold to tell you that I paid $29 to have someone come clean our apartment in a few weeks, the day before my mom is coming to visit.

Tipping by State

Quartz looked at tens of millions of food transactions using data by Square, a mobile payments company, to see the tipping habits of diners of each state in the U.S. Of course, not every dining establishment accepts Square, but the coffee shop and food truck data is particularly interesting:

When the Weather Gets Bad, We Tip Better for Deliveries

Have you heard? The Polar Vortex may be coming back. I spent most of the previous Polar Vortex holed up with tea and wrapped up in a fleece blanket. Gauging the number of times the buzzer rang in my building, it seems as if my neighbors coped by ordering tons of takeout. Did they give the delivery people who ventured out into the freezing weather nice tips? The data says yes, according to The New Yorker.

How We Tip Cabbies

NYC cab fare data for 2013 is now publicly available. That means 100 million cab rides, 55% of which were paid for with a credit card. COMMENCE TIP CREEPIN'.

Tipping and Smiley Faces

This week, The New Republic's Alice Robb reports that research into tipping culture has shown that customers have a tendency to give bigger tips not because of good service but because of things like: the waitress is a woman who drew a smiley face on your check, or the even more biased: the waitress had blond hair.

Zagat on Tipping During the Holidays

Zagat put together a holiday tipping survey, and some of the responses are very interesting. At our fancy bar this weekend, a friend asked us how much to tip the coat check person, and we felt $2 would do it.