Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tipping isn't a city in China?!

One of the new experiences gained from living in Manhattan is the experience of having doormen.

Customer service in New York, as a rule, is terrible. Everyone is grouchy, if not scary. Witness the lady in the movie theater who while handing me my tickets, shouted to noone in particular "Oh my GOD is this shift OVER YET?"
Or the guy at Quiznos who, when I asked him to wait a second while I got out exact change (a bad habit from Japan, where coins plague you if you don't use them), muttered "Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not kill". Yes, right there in front of me. I tried glaring, but he didn't make eye contact, and when I said 'excuse me?!',he replied "NEXT", resulting in me getting jostled out of place.

I'm a pretty nice, laid-back person, in my humble opinion, but I can truly believe the story of people going back to Japan from New York and crying in gratitude.

But the exception to the rule of bad customer service has been the doormen. True, they don't do that much, but they are very friendly about it, and always have nice recommendations for restaurants and things to do.

I brought this up to my coworkers at one of our thursday evening drinking parties, and got a nasty shock: "Well yeah, but they're expecting to be compensated at Christmas."

All of them?! I thought...don't they get a salary?
Being new to the service industry expecting tips, (I hardly ever get my hair cut, don't get my nails done, and avoid valet like the plague), I quickly googled an appropriate tip for the doormen. Apparently, unlike 15% at restaurants, there is no 'appropriate' price, and those who do tip keep the exact value a well-kept secret, and those who actually talk tend to exaggerate.
"We gave him the keys to our mercedes-benz to use when we're out of town" snobbed one Upper-east side CEO.

There are six doormen and one superintendent in our building. Apparently Takeshi found out that none of the people who lived in this room before us (placed here by his company) knew to tip. Unfortunately, we didn't have that excuse.
After pacing around, fretting about it, and biting my nails, Takeshi said 'let's just give 'em $20 each and be done with it.' So that's what we did. And now there are 7 twenties missing from our pockets, and I'm still feeling guilty. I haven't noticed any change in attitudes from the doormen, so either they didn't mind, didn't notice, or are very swell gentlemen.:) Hats off to the doormen!


Blogger Catherine Weaver said...

Thanks for the new Gemini, very beautiful!
-maybe I should give you a tip...

12:08 AM  
Blogger Kyra said...

always appreciated, ma'am ;)

8:12 AM  
Anonymous dust said...

hrm... That's interesting. that explains all those movies in New York where the doorman gets like really expensive wine or bourbon or something... I never understood that before.

Then again, I've never had a doorman either. Strange NY Culture huH?

12:17 PM  

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