Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Continuing Miracle Of The Tip

Tonight I took a long taxi ride in my home away from home, Krungtep, Thailand, AKA Bangkok. The fare was 219 Baht, and I handed the guy 260 Baht with a broad smile and a thank you very much.

He was a nice enough guy, a quiet guy, we hadn't spoken much on the way. When he saw the bills that I'd handed him, he fanned them and turned towards me with a confused look, I get that a lot. Thai people will hand a taxi driver forty Baht on a forty-two Baht fare and just expect him to take it without complaint. I smiled at the guy and said, "samrap Khun na-krap!" ("For you!")

He broke into a huge grin, and he thanked me effusively. Now, I ask you, where else can you buy a smile like that for a dollar and twenty cents?

The miracle of the tip!


Anonymous said...

I find that a $5 dollar tip on a $15 dollar fare anywhere in the US, especially in places like St. Louis or Colorado, gets me the friend for life ticket.

Recently spoke to a masseur who chided me for not giving 15% gratuity on my trips to the rub doc. What a rub-- was her sentiment-- after hearing my $5 dollar standard.

Dining with people who need medication to function after long days of work+food+drinking also brings the tipper out in me. The inadvertent 'Who the hell let him count the count' only happened once but finding out your friend can't tell the difference between Jackson and Grant makes me want to go back the next week to see if the waiter gives us silk napkins and gold forks.

Life is good. My motto is, "Republicans don't tip, I do", and why not.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the old joke, "Why is a Jew like a canoe? ---Neither one tips."

Vince said...

I recently took a cab in downtown NYC from one meeting to another in lower Manhattan. It wasn't a very long ride and I used my AMEX card to pay. I didn't pay much attention to the fare, but hit the button for a 20% tip thinking that was a good thing. However, the cab driver started screaming about his $.99 tip. He was very upset with the use of the credit cards! He probably was right, because when people pay cash they just figure at least a couple or a few bucks for a tip, even for a short hop. I threw another dollar at him and he sped off screaming.

fred c said...

I don't know about the Jew joke, but the guy in lower Manhattan was reacting to the traffic more than to you, Vince. I was ok when I drove nights, but when I drove days in Manhattan I was on a hair trigger.

Anonymous said...

Yah, 99 cents is a bunk tip. Especially if it's blatantly taxable. What kind of euphemism could be better there? Especially if it's above the table. Oh boy I'm a righter. Jeeezuz CCCCCCCChris.
My friend who is the observant type tells me "White people" never have cash. He always finds himself astounded at the market by white people buying minimal amounts with plastic money that they MAY or MAYNOT be able to cover this year lol. HAHA. and durr.


fred c said...

There are many factors. When I drove a cab, the amount of my tips was at least thirty percent of my billings. At that, I was doing better than most drivers, and way better than the cranky, old drivers, they got bupkis.

I shamelessly courted tips. Big smile, lots of eye contact, and if the passenger wanted to talk, I'd make sure that they found out that I was attending university, was married and had a son. My advice to other drivers was: if you don't have a sympathetic story, invent one, and smile, smile, smile.