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Tiping at the Hostels and Resturants

Tim-the-fat-Canadian

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP (2010); Leon (2012); Leon (2013);SJPP Sept 2018
In North American, it is custom to tip at resturants between 10 and 20% of the cost of the meal. Often you leave a tip in the room if you stay in a hotel.

What is the custom on the Camino?

Tim
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Re: Tipping at the Hostels and Resturants

No tips for anything, ever. The posted price includes everything. I did not believe it until I had asked several service providers. They all confirmed that they expect nothing beyond the price. Quite amazing to an American!!
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Tipping is not common in Europe. In the US, it (not used to tipping) may cause us Europeans problems: I was in a bar in San Fransisco with friends once, and after a while we were being really shouted/badmouthed at by the barman for not tipping after a round: We did not understand a thing why he was so mad :!:

I understand now that it's a part of their pay... My impression is that this system exists in order for employers to keep wage costs low, shifting some part of the responsibility over on the customers. Not nice: I like to pay what the menu says, period.

I prefer the European style... On the other hand, if you receive very good service and environment/friendliness, tipping will not be looked upon unfriendly :wink: ;i may tip on such occations, but it is entirely up to you, and most times not expected.

Tim-the-fat-Canadian said:
Often you leave a tip in the room if you stay in a hotel.
What's the point? You're never coming back. No relation-building; only an expense. Ref. the salary issue I mentioned above. That being said: When in countries where tipping is a part of the play (USA, some 3rd world countries), I tip according to the norm. I must be frank and say that never have I felt the tipping pressure worse than in the US. Extra dollars/expenses hailing out of my pocket each day. Don't know about Canada: Never been there.

I also tip the room maids where I am on holiday stays, because we often become on talking terms; they walking in each day for cleaning and servicing my surroundings.

Buen camino! And remember: Donativo in Spain does not mean free: It means give what you value it for.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
I agree. Whilst the instinct of visitors may be to tip, if you look at what Spanish people do in restaurants you will see they rarely leave anything other than the smallest coins in the change.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Tipping never came comfortably for me, possibly because if someone tips me (Canadian public servant), they are committing a criminal offence, but I have always tried to follow local practice as best I can. As others noted, in the US (and to a lesser degree, Canada) it is a significant part of the waiter's pay.

I simply emulated what my Spanish friends were doing, which was to leave a few smaller coins on the tray (the brown money, I was told, not the silver money)-- they told me that the service charge was included in the price. I would occasionally not pick up the change from a banknote (such as 80c from a 10E note) and I always left a euro coin on my pillow for the camerera, possibly on account of my gratitude for someone else cleaning up after me.

What seemed to be appreciated more than the coins were expressions of thanks and gratitude. Positive comments on the food and the local wine always went down very well, and would bring smiles from staff.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
Alex, you sounded pretty bright until you chatised the Americans on how bad their system is. Some like it the way it is. We get good service, and even with tip, an entire round costs less than a single drink in Norway. :)

Anyway, the thread is about Spain, not whether or not North American restaurant owners are "not nice". I find tips in Europe, while not needed, are appreciated. When I get good service, extra portions for hungry pilgrims, etc, I leave something. The staff won't go hungry if you don't.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Re: Tipping at the Hostels and Resturants

Not to argue with newfydog, but I was told by a twenty-something Spaniard in Villadangos del Paramo that a tip can be (not necessarily is) an insult. He explained it this way: waiters view themselves as professionals (in the U.S. this is the exception rather than the rule). They take pride in their work, and view themselves as properly compensated. When a tip is left for merely doing their job, they view the money as charity, alms, if you will. They are proud enough to view charity as what the poor and unemployed need, and the implication by the patron that the waiter needs charity is insulting to them.

Leaving a few cents so that you don't have to wait around for small coins that will weigh you down or fall out of your pocket, and a tip for EXTRA service, for example making a phone call for you, are viewed in a more positive light. Several times I have tried unsuccessfully to get a bartender to accept just the amount of the phone charge. He viewed helping a pilgrim as part of his job, and nicely refused the compensation! The French and Spanish do not EXPECT a tip as in the U.S., so do not do it out of guilt from old habits. Be sure that the recipient will feel the tip is for something out of the ordinary.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
I agree with you falcon. It is a complex issue. I remember getting a lecture from an Australian who explained to me that in the US we have a master-slave relationship, and that their tip free system allowed more dignity for employees. The same guy, (who incidentally had never been to North America) was putting together bike tours, would tell the owners hotels and restaurants he was lining up, that he'd bring in North Americans who would leave nice tips. Go figure.

I've worked for tips, my wife has worked for tips, and we always looked upon it as pay for job well done. Never felt like slaves. It makes us crazy in Europe when we see our glasses empty and food getting cold, drawing flies while the staff gossips with their buddies.

In France and Spain I don't leave tips for everyone. When someone takes extra good care of us I tell them it is a great place they own (whether they own it or not) and leave something. I've yet to see them insulted, and have had them follow me to the door to shake hands and wish us a good trip. I guess there is a way to tip without talking down to them. I'm sure I don't always get it right.
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
One thing I noticed last year on the Camino Portuguese is that there is often a box where your credentials are stamped. They were almost always empty (I am a curious soul by nature). Leaving a few coins will go towards the upkeep and maintainance of the everyday running of the Albergue (especially when these are rin by a local associaion of Amigos del Camino) and it is a nice gesture of thanks. Not "tipping" just appreciation.
In bars and restaurants it is customary to leave some change from your bill though I try to leave 10% if I am happy with the service and meals.
Tracy Saunders
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.com
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Re: Tipping at the Hostels and Resturants

Luis Ferrer, a Spanish citizen and representative of the Spanish Tourist Office in the US, had this to say on the subject:

"The fact is that in Spain, it is not usual to leave a tip. Many Spaniards are puzzled when they first come to the US and need to leave a 20% tip – this cultural difference leads to many funny situations in restaurants. Some argue that it is the owner of the business who should give a proper salary to their staff just like any other job.

"You usually leave the coins of the change, which is usually less than 10 or 5 EUR. If you are going with friends and pay separately, you usually leave the money that can't be divided, so it is not much.

"In Spain, waiters have traditionally been provided with a good salary and health coverage like any other professional. There are even waiting schools, where you learn about dressing a table, serving wines, clean the fish, etc. In this sense, waiters have been paid accordingly, so you don't tip them as well as you don't tip, say, an architect for his work."

Minimum wage for a waitress in the U.S. is $2.13 per hour (yes, $4,430 per year)!!!! No tip, no rent.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
newfydog said:
Anyway, the thread is about Spain, not whether or not North American restaurant owners are "not nice". I find tips in Europe, while not needed, are appreciated.
Sorry if I worded myself badly: Didn't intend to insult anyone. But as you say, this thread is about, as Tim-the-fat-Canadian asked:

In North America, it is custom to tip at resturants between 10 and 20% of the cost of the meal. Often you leave a tip in the room if you stay in a hotel.

What is the custom on the Camino?
The answer is: not expected.

falcon269 said:
...They are proud enough to view charity as what the poor and unemployed need, and the implication by the patron that the waiter needs charity is insulting to them.
Indeed.

However, if you re-read my original post, you will find that I am in line with the rest here: I tip when it is above-average/when I feel I'm receiving great value, etc. But I am careful, as it can be interpretated as a top-down attitude by some. Falcon quoted a few very dignified views on that.

But there is a huge difference between appreciating good service, friendliness, and willingness to help, versus the attitude of a US waiter who is bad-mouthing you for only paying what's on the bill, as I have been, forgetting that it is mandatory to add 10-20% to the amount being charged in Your country, without notifying me... In my original post I called it not nice. I was being polite. Actually, I find it rude and personally insulting to visitors like myself, unfamiliar with this custom. Not all the fault of the waiter, but also of the tipping system, IMHO.

Since then, I have been visiting +25 states in the US and accepted the practise, as I do in countries some other places in the world. I still don't like it. I feel like being squeezed for money wherever I go. Sorry, but that's a fact.

In another post, you said:

newfydog said:
...The same guy, (who incidentally had never been to North America) was putting together bike tours, would tell the owners hotels and restaurants he was lining up, that he'd bring in North Americans who would leave nice tips. Go figure.
Easy to figure: Easy money from a bad bad habit of mandatory tipping.

I think falcon put it very nicely.

And as you said yourself:

When I get good service, extra portions for hungry pilgrims, etc, I leave something. The staff won't go hungry if you don't.
Exactly. So do I, but carefully. I prefer a system that's taking care of its employees without mandatory 10-20% add-ons from the customers in order for the staff not to stay hungry.. As I see it, a bill presented to me is a bill, and extras are entirely my/your own choice. If there are extras, then they should be added to the bill, thank you. And please warn me beforehand, because I don't like places with hidden costs.

Only my 0.02 USD/2 cents. :lol:
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
Alex:
"I prefer a system that's taking care of its employees without mandatory 10-20% add-ons from the customers in order for the staff not to stay hungry.. As I see it, a bill presented to me is a bill, and extras are entirely my/your own choice. If there are extras, then they should be added to the bill, thank you. And please warn me beforehand, because I don't like places with hidden costs."


Good for you Alex. Stay away from places which don't warn you of their customs beforehand. Avoid countries which might view things differently than as you see it. And certainly, don't eat in a restaurant which doesn't compensate their employees through what you consider to be the proper channels, even the system is understood in that country, insures good service, and has long been accepted by the people who actually live and work there.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
The original poster had a query about what the tipping custom was on the Camino and it seems like his query has been answered. Perhaps if you want to discuss what you think about tipping customs in various countries generally, you could take it to PM, as the discussion seems to have left the Camino now....
Margaret
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
I would like to second what KiwiNomad has said. Please answer the question on this site and if you wish to discuss side issues keep them on PM. Sometimes a topic moves off the original topic but stays on Camino related questions which is fine if not ideal but we most often get into problems when people use this forum to "discuss" topics in no way related to the Camino.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Re: Tipping at the Hostels and Resturants

It all is on topic, as nearly as I can tell. Moderators are getting a bit heavy handed!! :D
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Re: Tipping at the Hostels and Resturants

falcon269 said:
It all is on topic, as nearly as I can tell. Moderators are getting a bit heavy handed!! :D
When the topic has to do with tipping on the Camino, it is an appropriate topic for the forum. When it veers into personal opinions of national practices in other countries, it has veered away from the purposes of the forum. And as has happened in other instances, in this case it has become somewhat personal and nasty.
Margaret
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Re: Tipping at the Hostels and Resturants

If all cultures were the same, this thread would not exist. Therefore, discussing cultures outside the Camino Frances is relevant. You deleted my post that explained why tipping has reached its place in the U.S. Even when the rhetoric warms up a bit, most threads remain useful to those who are posting. If Moderators want to intervene, why not on the cute personal posts that are relevant only to the two in the interchange?

See my edited post above for an explanation of the low wages received by U.S. waiters, or go to the official site:
http://www.dol.gov/wb/faq26.htm
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
I see that this "tipping thread" has gotten a bit warm... this is a topic that we have had once before and it created the same "heat".

I think the problem starts when it becomes personal... and we start to criticize the person and not the topic... were the line is, when does it become personal is always difficult to say... it has be up the our moderators to decide and intervene if they feel it is right..

They are doing a great job and are critical for the running of this forum. It is not an easy job.

The good news is that the thread has answered the initial question! :)

Saludos,
Ivar
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I think that the moderators and Ivar have very valid points here: Tim's question has been answered, and there is no need to hack on different tipping systems, however stupid/unfair they may seem. Each to his own. The good news is that tipping is not a business issue on the Camino: Just pay the bill; if you are overly satisfied, please tip, with a good attitude.

It is a difficult task to moderate a forum: I know; I have my own (in computer science) forum and am also a moderator on a VERY busy external, international forum (like this one) as well. You moderators are doing right in warning/preventing things from getting out of hand :wink:

So my hat off to the moderators.

Falcon: We are in line, thanks.

And Tim got his answer and a buzz :wink:
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
alexwalker said:
there is no need to hack on different tipping systems, however stupid/unfair . :

Yes, and no need to call well established systems in other countries stupid/unfair, when perhaps it would be better to understand that your familiar way is not preferred everywhere.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Please newfydog, can I buy a beer for both of us on the camino :?: I'll do the tipping.

Aren't we pilgrims :?:: Why this attitude :?:
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
No way! My grandparents all came from Sweden, and they told me not to fraternize with those people to the west!
 

Tim-the-fat-Canadian

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP (2010); Leon (2012); Leon (2013);SJPP Sept 2018
I am leaving next Friday. Toronto to London to Biarritz to SJPP arriving on the 20th.

Am I ready - no way. But it is time to crap or get off the pot so here I go. I need to thank all of you who have helped me with my questions and shared your knowledge.

I have created a blog and anyone is welcome to follow it. The link is http://what-is-tim-up-to-now.blogspot.com/

Thanks,

Tim
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
My Spanish teacher, who is from Barcelona, says NEVER leave a tip in Spain, it is an insult.

So I don't... I figure she knows.

Different cultures have different rules.

For example, when I was visiting my son in Germany, I went to lunch with his girlfriend, who is German. I would have tipped the waitress a kazillion dollars because she was so attentive.. The girlfriend, on the other hand, commented, "I don't like her.. she's too familiar."

So... who knows? The people where you're visiting.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Looks like your blog has already started well :wink: All the best to your success :!: I will be following your blog, and I wish you everything well. Use earplugs in the albergues and you will sleep well.

An important tip for writing for the Net (your blog): Make short paragraphs. Short paragraphs are easy to read (space between them) while long chunks of text tend to put off readers. Break up your text frequently (Just a tip form a longtime Webmaster and computer engineer :wink: )

And like Annie say: Don't insult. Tipping is not that normal over here. However, a friendly appreciation (and a Euro) may work if the setting is right.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
No. You still don't tip in France or Spain.
Buen Camino
Margaret
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata 2010, Camino de Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo 2013, Olvidado, Invierno 2014
Ok but I wonder if they expect tip in Spain anyway, as sometimes when I pay the exact amount they look disappointed. I think that's odd.
And I also feel a bit insecure about what to do when I buy coffee, and they give me something to eat also, as a gift I suppose as I haven't asked for it, should I pay just for the coffee or do they want tip?

And a funny thing. When I was in Seville, I stayed at a hotel and bought nothing but a drink from the minibar. It cost one euro, according to the price list. I had already paid for the room, so when leaving I told hotel guy about the drink, and gave him one euro. But he looked angry, ignored it, and started to write a bill which he put in front of me. And he had added 9 percent.
So I had to pick up ten cents also. I remember he gave me the smallest coin there is back to me, looking arrogant. Not sure why he did that. It made me laugh, though. :mrgreen:
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
We have always been given our full change when paying for drinks/meals, even when we have been given tapas as well. Sometimes we have felt it right to leave something extra for a really helpful waiter and it has been graciously accepted, but not expected.

One thing to watch in price listings is that the menu says 'IVA incluido' - ie tax included. Most places it is but some hotels/restaurants add it on - hence the extra 9%.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Re: Tipping at the Hostels and Resturants

It takes a while for an American to become accustomed to not tipping. A month into my first camino in France, assisted in the language by a French woman and a Quebecoise, I asked a waitress in the middle of nowhere about tipping. Her response was (paraphrase quote), "I am a professional. I get paid for what I do. I do not accept tips."

My last walking partner spent three weeks agonizing because we were not leaving tips from Leon to Santiago. Regardless of his observations of other pilgrims and my assurances, he never got over his guilt. It is a very hard habit to break. I have never had poor service or a bad attitude from a server. Maybe I am just lucky.
 

mustbjones

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2013
KiwiNomad06 said:
No. You still don't tip in France or Spain.
Buen Camino
Margaret

At all? I know this discussion is about Hostels and Resturants, but what about other service industries: cabs, barbershops, manicure shops, etc?
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
You don't tip at hotels but you most certainly DO tip waiters in Spain. But the tip is much, much smaller than in the U.S. You usually leave whatever coins round up to the next euro. If you got particularly good service maybe you add one extra euro. That is how the spaniards do it and it is what is customary to do. I'm sure many pilgrims don't because they are told about how the Spanish "don't tip" and I'm also sure that waiters are understanding (because they are pilgrims) but it isn't actually correct to say that the Spanish "don't tip". They simply tip differently......and much, much less.

Leaving too big of a tip can, occasionally, cause offense. I witnessed a basque waitress get offended because an American felt they needed to "throw money at her" for doing her job/profession. I witnessed a similar (but less drastic) experience once in Catalunya.

Just round up. Maybe throw in an extra euro if they were really above and beyond. And let it go.
 

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