I’m a huge believer in taking care of the people in the hospitality industry, be it airlines or hotels. And by that I don’t just mean tipping, but also constantly saying thank you for their hard work, and occasionally also bringing a gift, if the situation warrants it (for example, I’ll sometimes bring a bottle of champagne as a gift for some of my favorite hotel employees, just as a small token of appreciation).
But let’s talk about tipping for a second. Is the US tipping system perfect? Absolutely not. I don’t tip because I love the system, but rather because I realize many people rely on tips to make a living.
I have one small problem, however, with some regularity. I’m not someone who carries a ton of cash around, since I pay virtually everything by credit card. So it’s not unusual that I have either no US currency, or if I do have US currency, it’s in larger denominations. For example, here’s what I have on me right now:
Not surprisingly I have tons of non US currency, but in terms of US cash, I only have a single $20 on me.
I do everything I can to have smaller bills, but sometimes it just happens that I don’t. And then I find myself in a situation where I know I’m supposed to tip (like having someone “special deliver” something to my room), but all I have is a $20.
In those situations do you:
- Just tip $20, and chalk it up to needing to be more prepared next time?
- Give the person a $20 and ask for change? If so, what happens if they don’t have change?
- Not tip? If so, do you justify why you’re not tipping, or just not say anything?
- Leave the room? That way you feel less guilty and don’t have to confront the person.
I know this shouldn’t happen because I should always have smaller bills, but I do find myself in situations fairly often where that’s not the case. And perhaps that’s the real moral of the story, to be more prepared.
But I assume I’m not the only one this happens to, and I’d be curious to hear how you guys handle it!