When Airline Employees Cross The Line In Requesting Tips?

Filed Under: Qantas

There’s no denying that the US tipping culture can be tough to navigate, as there’s no rhyme or reason to it. While I know tons of people hate the US tipping culture, the reality is also that many people in the US rely on tips to make a living.

When it comes to tipping in the US I ask myself one simple question — “does this person rely on tips in any form to make a living?” If the answer is yes, I’ll typically tip. Therefore many might say I over tip. But I’d also rather live and let live, rather than trying to prove a point about how I disagree with the US tipping system.

That’s why I spend a fair amount of time on the blog talking about tipping (it’s also something I receive a lot of questions about). I’ve talked about tipping in airline lounges, tipping in hotel club lounges, tipping airline chauffeur service, tipping housekeeping in hotels, etc.

Australian Frequent Flyer recently wrote about the “Qantas Lounge Tipping Scam,” which I found interesting. It involves the Qantas First Class Lounge LAX. Here’s how the “scam” works:

The scam appears to be targeting customers using the showers in Qantas’ Los Angeles lounge. As recently as last week, a lounge attendant picked up a sum of money that had been left in the room while showing a customer to their shower. The attendant was then seen surreptitiously placing the cash into another room, ready to be taken in full sight of the next customer when they arrived. Our members suggest that the sole purpose of this practice is to subtlety pressure every customer into themselves leaving money. Even if the previous customer had left a tip, it would have been collected while the shower was being cleaned between customers.

Qantas First Class Lounge LAX shower room

While I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a “scam,” my first reaction was that this is pretty “low.” But then when I thought about it more, I’m not sure it’s much different than a lot of the other stuff I see.

For example, all the time I see hotel shuttle bus drivers put their own dollar bills in the cup holder by their seat as a way of prompting people to tip. And when they are tipped, they’ll place the money in the cup for everyone to see as well.

Australian Frequent Flyer quotes a Qantas spokesperson as saying that tipping isn’t expected or encouraged in any Qantas Lounge. While the former is true, I spoke to the (Australian) manager when the lounge first opened, and asked exactly that. He said it certainly wasn’t expected, but that at the LAX lounge staff to some degree do count on tips to make a living. Of course that will likely come in the form of US guests tipping, while most foreign guests likely won’t.

Qantas-Lounge-LAX - 21Qantas First Class Lounge LAX dining area

Bottom line

I certainly tip in airline lounges for some types of service (I’ll tip the bartender serving me drinks, in nice lounges I’ll tip those serving me food, and I’ll even tip those who clean the showers). I don’t do it because I love the US tipping culture, but rather because the minimum wage in the US is extremely low, and in many instances that’s what these workers are paid. And they rely on tips to get by.

While I think the above technique is sneaky and it would sort of rub me the wrong way if I caught on, I also sort of can’t say I blame them. And I also wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “scam.” Now, if this has been addressed by Qantas and they’ve told the attendants to stop, then it’s of course a problem. But if that hasn’t happened, I can’t say I blame them.

What do you make of the technique used by the shower attendants at the Qantas Lounge LAX? Is it a “scam,” sneaky and questionable, or just plain smart?

  1. They were told months ago not to do it and it recently started up again. So it has been addressed in the past

  2. There should be no tipping in airline lounges. It does not matter how much employees make, it is their decision to do the job. By tipping, we are letting employers off the hock to pay reasonable wages.

  3. I dont have a problem with tipping and it is a help to folks who work in the US. The shower “scam” is not an issue for me it’s no different than the dollar bill trick. I used to watch people who had a tip jar take out coins because they just wanted $1 bills. it’s an old technique and I dont consider it a scam. It is hard enough working with the public there are some real ahs out there. I agree with you Ben that I like to help folks who use tipping to supplement theyre income

  4. By your reasoning, you should be tipping in McDonalds, TJ Maxx, and every other fast food/ retail store. They are all making minimum wage too. What is the difference?

  5. The tipping culture in America is ruining the cultures around the world since Americans will tip everyone and then encourage them to start expecting tips.

    That’s why US restaurants are starting to stop tipping.

  6. if it works, more power to them i suppose. i over tip all the time, usually 50% for bartenders and waiters as i did both jobs when younger and i remember the awful customers you have to deal with sometimes. but i haven’t really used cash much in years, so the chances of me having some singles on me in an airport lounge are pretty nil.

    the tipping culture in the us is quite frustrating but until voters demand some sort of substantive change in wages, we’re stuck with it.

  7. In airline lounges -in the US – I’ll tip $1 or $2 per drink – whether the drink is complimentary or not. I would do the same in a bar – so I see no difference in this situation. In other Airline lounges, say LH F terminal or the CX Wing I would never think to tip the bartender. As I type this – I’m not sure why I make the distinction – but there you have it.

  8. Went to a restaurant in NYC and only tipped 12% because I am not happy with the service. But when I left the restaurant, the waitress stopped me and directly demanded 18%.

  9. People in the US don’t make enough money which is why so many people are fleeing the US to get to other countries where there is more opportunity. Soon Mexico is going to want to build a wall at the border to prevent people from taking their resources.

  10. I leave cash on the counter as I exit from flight club showers. No Idea what is the excepted amount is. I leave usually $5 or EU3. Is it too low? Is it too High? No idea.

  11. FYI, I just heard from a bar tender who told me he works in at hotel in the US making $18.50 an hour (excluding tip), would you still say the minimum wage is extremely low in the US ? (He wasn’t working in a hotel in NYC or San Francisco or LA) And do you know how much is the minimum wage in other countries ? Just to give you an example, you had been to Hong Kong multiple times already, do you aware the minimum wage in Hong Kong is only equal to US$4.19 ? The living cost in Hong Kong is extremely high comparable to NYC or Tokyo, yet in the Hong Kong culture, locals only do round ups rather than a set percentage except in hotel restaurants, no one there would complain about if one tip more or tip less, the service will remain the same even if there is no tip.

  12. This tipping in the US is complete nonsense. What’s next? Will we have to tip flight attendants? Check in counter clerks? Pilots? Why am I supposed to figure out what the wage structure of a job is? It isn’t my businesses. Sorry, but this has to end. I pay for a service, should include all costs associated with it. You take a job, demand a fair pay.

  13. I don’t see tipping culture ever changing. The people are too lazy/indifferent to force the radical idea of an employer paying its employee (it’s much easier to sit back and pretend you WOULD do something but those politicians are too darn corrupt to bother) and a macho culture has developed where people like to boast about how generous they are by tipping (while completely ignoring low paid employees in other sectors where it’s not traditional to tip).

  14. I think the cleaning staff are the ones who need it Most. That’s why i usually tip Around 5euros in the equivalent currency.

  15. I hate tipping and everything involved with it. (Personally I only like giving a tip when it’s not expected so that it’s actually appreciated and warranted for good service) I would rather all costs be included upfront so I can properly evaluate different providers. Everyone has started trying to get tips these days – where does it stop? Hell, I would love tips in my job, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate. I hate wasting time fretting about if and how much I should tip….. As for the waitress in Alex’s story my 12% would have gone to 0.

  16. Isn’t the affected lounge the oneworld business lounge LAX (operated by Qantas), rather than the Qantas First Class Lounge LAX as listed in this post?

  17. My problem is — I never ever carry cash. And I’ve been quite happy not doing so. I don’t mind being generous with a credit card tip line, but I don’t keep used toilet paper in my wallet. Why would I then keep dollar bills?

  18. If I would find myself in a first class lounge or even a business class lounge I would not tip, you have already paid for the privilege of being there. The US style of tipping needs to stop, what is the current tip? 15% 20%? it is stupid. You tip when you have great service and for no other reason, an airport lounge never deserves a tip.

  19. Note that in most states employers pay LOWER than minimum wage for jobs where tipping is the primary expected source of compensation, e.g. waiting tables.

  20. Tips are awful, they encourage people to stay on the bottom rung of society and work minimum wage jobs instead of trying to do something valuable with their lives. The only people who should be working those crappy jobs are teenagers or college students. I get that when some is having a hard time, they take whatever job that they can to make ends meet but its not permanent solution and tipping often encourages them to think it is. I’m probably going to end up with a lot of boogers and spit in my food if I go to the US but nope, totally disagree with the whole premise.

  21. At a point where tipping becomes expected and almost mandatory, like in US restaurants and bars, it’s no longer a tip. It’s the proprietor getting out of paying fair wage and forcing customers to pay the difference. I’ve greatly cut back my dining out in the last few years because I noticed my effective bill was 25-30% higher than posted prices due to taxes and tips, and I’m just not cool with that.

  22. I saw the same thing at the QF business lounge in LAX 2 weeks ago. Coming from Australia, my first thought was, “you have to tip?”. I had no cash on me (I was leaving the country and had used all my cash) so felt a bit guilty – when I read the AFF post I was pleased I hadn’t tipped. My last cash went on a tip for the shuttle bus driver who grabbed an un-returned (therefore free) luggage trolley from one terminal, hauled it onto the bus and saved it for me so that I didn’t have to pay for a trolley (I did not ask him to do it). I gave him the $5 I’d set aside for the trolley. Off on a tangent here – what it is about US airports that they charge for luggage trolleys? I’ve travelled to a lot of places over the last 5 years and it is the only country I’ve encountered that does it.

  23. As an Australian, I can tell you from the start that tipping is (thankfully) not part of our culture since wages are much higher for low skilled jobs than in the US. I would imagine that Qantas, as tight-fisted as they are with money, would pay their US employees above the minimum wage, which would compensate barmen et al for the fact that they will receive very few tips from their Australian guests. It is not a slight on their service, we just don’t do it. Some non-frequent travelers may be intimidated into tipping as they haven’t got a grip on when to and when not to. As soon as said employees hear our gorgeous accent they will adjust their expectations accordingly.
    As to the bathroom scam, any attendant caught once would be warned, second time they’d be out the door.

  24. A few points:

    1) in some states tips make up the gap between the salary and the minimum wage. The staff is paid less than minimum wage expecting the tip will cover the shortfall. This is pretty low. This was specifically passed by 999 Herman Cain aka republican assholes who think it’s ok to pay wait staff less than poverty. However this is not allowed in states like California. Thus in California the tip is really a bonus, and the liberal Jerks in that state think it’s their birth right.

    I was asked for a tip at a take out counter where the woman put some clam chowder in a cup and handed to me. Tip for what?

    2) people that say they tip the bartenders are just looking for a stiff drink. Maybe they are generous but let’s not give them the benefit of the doubt. Not all tippers are generous as opposed to just playing politics to get a good deal. Everyone is nice when the cameras are on.

    3) tip jars in the usa? What is that if not a low life scam to pressure people to put a buck. It’s everywhere. Starbucks, restaurants even grocery stores.

    Pay the wait staff what they are supposed to be paid (living wages) and do away with the tip. If someone does exceptionally well they should be tipped above and over their living wage. Nowdays we have to tip the wait staff just because they bring the food out and most Americans try to emotionally blackmail each other to tip more. Idiots.

  25. This happened to me on the 30th December in the LAX Qantas Business Lounge. The attendant grabbed a small pile of cash (looked to be $8-9 dollars) out of the shower room while showing it to me. I had spent every single US dollar as was heading home to Aussie so felt bad not to leave anything. My husband had a shower soon after and they didn’t do this to him but luckily I’d told him what happened and he had $3 left so left that for them. I think the management need to make a call on this so customers like myself don’t feel like we are ripping the attendants off. Either a sign saying ‘tipping welcome’ or ‘tipping not necessary’ so everyone is clear. Also attendants need to understand a lot of people spend every single dollar before hitting the lounge so sometimes it’s just not possible at the end of a holiday.

  26. I dislike the practice of tipping so much that It constitutes for me a strong reason against visiting the US. For travellers planning for the spending you need to make allowances for the tips and taxes in the budget. Canada seems to be getting as bad as the US 🙁

  27. A tip should be for service going above and beyond, not 20% of my bill for bringing some food out to me. At that rate of tip the employees are earning multiple times the minimum wage, it has gone totally bonkers!

    Interestingly overhead some Americans at a restaurant in Manly, NSW – they were commenting on how amazing it was to be able to order food, pay, and then just leave and not have to worry about a tip – it was a revolutionary concept to them, but they loved it! 😀

  28. I never tip a person begging for a tip. That includes people who put out a tip jar, taxi, Uber, limo drivers who mention that the fare does not include a gratuity, and others that subtly request a tip.

  29. First, let’s be clear that I’m not defending the US social culture of tipping by saying this, but tipping is not limited to the USA, be that as it may they are the largest contingent who do so. Plenty of countries in Europe, including the Anglophone motherland England, have a “tipping culture” of sorts. I don’t know how most tourists (I’m not just talking about Americans) deal with this – nearest five Euros or so in Germanic countries, 12.5% “optional service” in the UK, etc. – as I’d guess they would understand these customs much less than that of the US tipping culture, and many tourists still don’t precisely understand who and what to tip in the USA.

    And before you jump, I am an Australian. We don’t have a tipping culture here, and I’m thankful for that.

    Back to the topic on hand, one thing that affects this debate the most is that the lounge is, for better, worse or other arguments aside, designed and operated by Qantas, an Australian airline. Plenty of Australian customers go through this port and these lounges, thus plenty of those people are not acquainted with a tipping culture. Notwithstanding that tipping in airline lounges (where most services you are offered is free of charge) is not clear cut in the USA anyway, to many Australians this already bizarre act of trying to subtly hint at a tip by leaving currency behind is shocking and confusing. And you can’t blame them for that, nor when such behaviour is reported.

    Leaving a dollar bill here or there to the bartender (even if you’re not paying for the drink) in the lounge is one undecided thing. For the bathroom attendant? I think that’s a rich stretch.

    I guess if we look at it another way, if someone leaves a tip for a bathroom attendant, even if it is not expected, what should happen? Should the attendant keep it? Should they give it to the front desk and insist they deal with it (i.e. find out who used the bathroom last and give it back)? In most cases it’s probably too late for them to chase whoever it was in there last to give it back to them. In any case, I’d stop short of leaving it there as a hint to the next user.

    Finally, back off the topic a bit on tipping overall… why do we tip because we want the person who is serving us to have a “decent wage”? Why don’t people lobby the company to pay better wages, or those responsible in positions of power to legislate it as such? Is it easier for us just to take the matter into our own hands and directly pay people to live well enough rather than mandate it at a system level? Or is it we just can’t face the reality that prices will go up if people actually get paid a decent wage?

    I understand a tip to be for *service*. I have to adjust my expectations in the USA since service which scores a C is still supposed to get a tip, but nevertheless it’s nothing to do with how much the person getting the tip actually makes.

  30. I realize this is a different job than what everyone is discussing but I started tipping at full service gas stations about 2 years ago. No one at a gas station expects a tip. It’s only $1 or $2 if the weather is bad but I always get a heartfelt thank you. They’re genuinely appreciative.

  31. Tried explaining how we avoid tips in Australia for anything other than ‘over and above’, exemplary service by paying people a fair, minimum wage once to some Americans in the {let’s just say, ‘midwest’}. They almost shouted at me, “But that’s SOCIALISM!”. Um, no, dummkopfs – it’s called fairness and is the right, decent thing to do to ensure everyone has a fair chance to make a good life for themselves. Sheez. Bring on Bernie, I say.

  32. I never minded tipping a waitress/bartender, bellperson at a hotel, etc. but WHEN did the percentages go UP?
    It seems nowadays, people want 18% to 21 or 22% or more! They put charts on tables, doors, bars and even print them on the receipts with the “math” conveniently printed for you showing that your tip on your $20 check should be $3.60 for 18% and $4. for 20% and $5 for 25% and so on, it is RIDICULOUS! The prices have gotten really high. I’m usually one who tips far greater than the minimum but I am really feeling they have gotten carried away, who decided it was time to increase the PERCENTAGES?

    And I am also wondering why there are tip jars literally everywhere for employees who should be getting at least minimum wages. Clerks, counter help, dry cleaners, oil changes, car washes, ice cream shops. I am seeing tip charts in beauty salons and massage therapy clinics and nail shops. These people make much more than minimum wage and it seems to never end.

  33. @Theresa: My local Subway has a tip jar now. I guess the sandwich artists aren’t really in it for the sake of their art!

    @credit: I used to not tip for takeout either. Then my sister became a chef and pointed out to me that the kitchen staff get a share of tips and have to do the same amount of work for takeout as a regular meal.

    As an aside, apparently there’s a big dispute in many higher-end (North American) restaurants between the kitchen and front-of-house staff since the waiters make big bucks on tips (which they don’t fully declare as income) but the more highly-skilled kitchen staff make a lot less despite working harder.

  34. Assuming airline employees working in the lounges also get travel benefits, they really aren’t in the same bracket as a waitress in a diner. Given that tipping (thank God) flight attendants is frowned upon, I fail to see why the few airline folks working in the lounges to accommodate their premium customers should expect an additional dollar. Madness

  35. You need to focus on outcome. Tipping is a scam perpetrated by employees to allow them to continuously lower the amount of fixed wages. Did you know that once an employee starts getting a certain amount of tips, the Federal Minimum Wage for that employee drops to something like $2/hour? As a ruthless employer, I’d do all I can to reach that point and start slashing wages.

    As a responsible citizen, I do all I can to avoid that from happening, and tip only where it’s already an undisputed REQUIREMENT: 18% on the pre-tax bill amount at US restaurants, $1 per bag for bellpeople, and 15% for taxis — but thankfully now I mostly take tipless Uber. All other tip jars, including Starbucks, stay empty to prevent the spread of $2/hour wages.*

    Incidentally, US society went through the same issue with incentives with homeless people a generation ago: the more people gave on the street, the more homeless people showed up on the streets (amazing!) [donating to the correct charities is the way to help homelessness]. Similarly, the more people tip where tipping was not done, the more $2/hour-wage jobs are created (amazing!)

    *P.S. Of course, if service was above standard or a special favor was made, I give a gratuity, often very generous, but that’s not what we’re talking about here — customers being guilted to shoulder wages through fee-like tips.

  36. If there is a request for tips, such as a jar in my face that says TIPS, I probably will not tip. Tipping is totally my choice as the customer, and is for service that is above and beyond. IMO, if you can’t go above and beyond, you shouldn’t be in the service industry. The better the service, the better the tip.

  37. The only tipping I do not begrudge is the chambermaid in the hotel I am staying at, and who can make my stay better, or very ordinary. I do not generally stay in high-end hotels where tipping expectations are thru the roof, and find that $2/day always goes down very well. How much do you leave at a 5 star chain hotel?

  38. I was subjected to the ‘scam’ in the Qantas First lounge at LAX and soon discovered others had too. Reported it to Qantas who re-iterated that tips are not required to be given in their lounges. One would hope that the management tells prospective employees about this policy up-front, but if not, they will soon learn about it. Then its their choice to continue or leave.

    I think ‘scam’ is an appropriate description, as there is deceit involved – the employee plants the ‘bait’ then pretends that it wasn’t meant to be there and whisks it away. Whether or not its similar to the ‘dollar bill in the jar’ scheme doesn’t matter – call both scams if you like.

    When in the US, I tip under the “When in Rome …” convention, but the greater the prompt for me to tip, the less I tip.

    (… and Romi, please just flush yourself)

  39. Eric raises a good point; Nathan raises tired and misleading ones. By tipping – which I do, and quite well, except at most not traditional places like Starbucks – you aren’t helping the employers, you are helping perpetuate the tipping system and low wages. You are also helping perpetuate tax fraud, as much of the tip money never gets reported to tax authorities. The more tips, the more attractive the job is, and the less the employer can pay. But if tipping is eliminated, then the employer will raise wages and raise prices to compensate for this, so you will pay for it in the end either way – there is no free lunch as Bernie and Nathan seem to think. This is less so in a place like Starbucks where presumably the employees count on only a small portion of their compensation from tips, but restaurants that eliminate tipping are going to raise prices on all menu items or add a flat service charge. That takes away your discretion to penalize poor service or reward good service with a small or large tip. Hence, in non-tipping cultures, you often find indifferent service because so long as they exert enough effort to remain employed, their wages don’t change based on job performance. Most minimum wage (or below) jobs are occupied by people who will eventually move on to something else, or at the very least get some raises and possibly a promotion over the years, so the “living wage” nonsense is just that. Minimum wage jobs should never realistically be expected to enable someone to support a family of 4 and send the kids the college and take them on vacations each year.

  40. @truth I can understand the concept you’re getting at, sadly the reality doesn’t fit with this. In general I have found I have received far better service in Asia and Australia, both areas/countries where tipping is not common. By comparison in the US I have received generally reasonable service but often substandard. However I find the staff expect 20% tips even when providing mediocre service – and in the main they seem to receive it. I therefore don’t see the feedback loop being completed and service doesn’t improve as a result. In a situation where there’s tipping I’d much prefer an explicit setup such as the one shown in comedic form by Third Rock from the Sun – https://youtu.be/TVD5wvJ1ru4

  41. Truth, I suggest your comment:

    Hence, in non-tipping cultures, you often find indifferent service because so long as they exert enough effort to remain employed, their wages don’t change based on job performance.

    … has severe limitations. In non tipping cultures, like Australia (broadly speaking), people are paid much better via a highly structured and union negotiated ‘Award’ system. A restaurant server or a bartender is an honourable job, suitably remunerated and people want to do that job and it can lead to highly sought after positions. Their wages will change based on skill level. PLUS for really good service, they may receive a genuine tip.

    On the whole, I find ‘service’ better in the Australian non-tipping culture as the staff are doing a job they like (on the whole) and they try to do their best. Many times (but not always of course) I find service in the US accompanied by faux friendliness and outright bad – because the person doesn’t like their low paid job and are expecting a tip anyway.

    As I mentioned above, in the US and other tipping cultures I tip, but the scam in the Qantas lounges at LAX is not on.

  42. Bob D says:
    January 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm
    “People in the US don’t make enough money which is why so many people are fleeing the US to get to other countries where there is more opportunity. Soon Mexico is going to want to build a wall at the border to prevent people from taking their resources.”

    @Bob D Uh, dude…not to brag but we are doing pretty ok in the U.S. Lest you forget that we are the world’s largest economy.
    Fleeing? Can you point me in the direction of the huddled masses of American immigrants lining up to escape to other nations for opportunity? Please point me in their direction or, better yet, can I have what you’re smoking? Further, I don’t think there will be a need for “a wall” anywhere. Perhaps what is needed is for you to tear down the one impeding your common sense that seems to block your ability to see that every country is culturally unique and wonderful (as well as with faults).

    Regarding tips? It’s a cultural thing and a societal/economic choice. Tipping is not a city in China but it is part of the American culture. It is not going away anytime soon here no matter how much we argue it. I adjust my tips according to my location in the world. It’s not brain surgery. Just learn the custom and go with it.

  43. I’ll leave the argument about tipping system in US alone. I would say though that the technique used by the shower attendant is closer to “scam”. I can accept leaving a tip jar at the counter even though a good amount of what’s inside the jar don’t come from customers however leaving a note intentionally after the shower has been cleaned is more like a restaurant maitre’d taking you to your table with dollar bills on it. There’s no way it’s something that’s missed when clearing up the table. That’s just insulting people’s intelligence.

  44. I recently visited Qantas F lounge LAX and received fantastic table service in the dining room. I happily gave 20USD to the server (Jeremy) because he was amazing. I like to give a tip to anyone who provides great service and I am not american or live in the US.

  45. Tipping has never been a custom in Australia because they pay their employees in the service industry much better than is the case in the US where this class of worker is exploited by a lower minimum wage than other sectors of the economy (which are equally too low to sustain any household). This is one of the unspoken characteristics of the great American labour exploitation which is finally getting attention from movements towards a minimum $15 wage. Further, we’ve seen contracts with many airports/airlines and these support staff contracted to lowest bidder providers, and thus wages further depressed.

    I was quite surprised on a recent visit to the AS lounge at LAX when I tried to leave a dollar for the barman, he refused to take it…courteously so. This from the most service oriented barman I’ve run into in any US airline lounge…he even cam around later with a bottle of the same wine I had ordered to refill my glass!

    As can be seen by the responses here, few things get peoples’ ire up than the subject of tipping [in the USA]. Seldom do people realize that lower prices come at the cost of exploited labour, and an obligation to contribute to make up the difference.

  46. I usually tip $1-2 in the lounge for a drink served by the bartender or if it’s served to me, even if it may be “free”. Especially if it’s a mixed drink. I normally tip the first drink and don’t the next depending how it goes.

    But the US minimum wage extremely low???? Where have you been? The federal minimum wage is $7.25/HR I believe and that comes out to $1256USD/month before taxes. I know it’s not much considering the cost of living in most big cities in the US but the minimum wage was never intended to be “career” jobs… I know restaurant staff can be paid even less which is completely wrong but still.

    Anyways my point to this is, you seem to be well traveled, well the minimum wage in many Latin American countries is less than $400/month. I would say the “poor” in America are fairly well off when you account for all the government benefits they can receive. I’m sorry but when I see people on government assistance with $30 baseball caps and $100 shoes,free cell phones, housing, food stamps,it just kind of bugs me… Not because they have that stuff but because they aren’t per se working for it. And I’m here struggling to maintain an above average lifestyle… It use to be a way to help people up but now it has just become a complete free for all with multiple generations on these “benefits”…

    Now compare that to the lounge staff person in say Bogota or Peru who is probably earning less than $10 day and actually PAYING for their living expenses with little to no government assistance. And let’s not even get to the Middle East where those workers are basically slaves… I’m not saying it’s perfect in the us or it shouldn’t be raised but let’s take a look at reality in the world…

  47. My airline pays me $30/hour and when I occasionally push a wheelchair for a customer, they insist on tipping me because they “know I rely on it.” I don’t tell them I make $65k/year, but I tell them I’m well-paid but they still feel inclined to tip.

  48. I don’t like tipping cultures because it distorts the true face value cost of things – if someone advertises a $20 main, I expect it to cost $20 – not $20 plus tax plus tip plus whatever else hidden charge is attached to it (that’s drip pricing!). Just tell me the real price up-front and leave the ridiculous +++ In the history books.

    I would think the Qantas lounges are the worst place to shill for tips – given the large amount of Australians travelling through them, to whom tips are something you only give for superior service (not regardless of performance, as it has gotten to be in the US).

    Tips have become really a form of hidden surcharge, and certainly lack any performance lifting incentive (as everyone in tipping cultures simply expects them now, regardless of performance).

  49. @tyler. Not sure where a US waitress makes 50/hr. May be some high calss restaurants but cant make it as an avg. Both of my kids waited in multiple restaurants through college. They made less than 100 a day from tips working about 4 hours a day. The hourly official wage was around $5-6 an hour.

  50. $25/h sounds pretty good to me, I got $40/h working as a locum in the middle of the night as a junior doctor! (my regular pay was much less)

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