The Art of Tipping

I was thinking about growing up the other day and how some skills you acquire along the way depends a lot on where you live.  Living in Thailand, as in any other asian country, life requires one to tip other people every now and then.  A tip for good service, tip for the valet, tip for a good job..etc.. the list is endless.  We live in a country where services abound.  Tipping is not just about how much you give, it is lso a lot about how you ‘tip’ so as not to offend the other person.

I remember when I first had to tip.  I had no clue how to do it.  I’d take out a bill, fold it in half and just hand it out right there and then for all the world to see.  The reaction was often a bit of a startled face, a little step back.  I realized because the person receiving it felt offended because here they were being publicly given money.  No matter how grateful you felt for the service, like carrying your heavy luggage up three flights of stairs, or valet your car, the other person does not appreciate a huge public nnouncement. It is just a no no.  No, they are not receiving charity.

After years of tipping, it now comes to me quite easily.  There’s a simple little gesture of the hand, a little bow and the whole action is done discreetly.  Both are happy and off we go on our paths.

How to do it?  Many of you might already know how (or even have better ways) but for those of you who don’t, here’s how I do it.

1. I fold the banknote bill in half and then once again so that it is one fourth in size.
2. Place it in the palm of your hands, held together by the thumb, index finger and middle finger.
3. Ensure that the thumb is towards the bottom so that the four fingers that line the top will hide the banknote. (Your hand at this point looks like a downward sloping triangle.)
4. When you give the tip, lean yourself forward slightly with your hand slightly outstretched as if you were going to give a handshake and drop the bill in the receiver’s hand.

The person receiving the tip usually knows what to do and will stretch their hand out to receive it will a little bow.  The folded bill allows the receiver to discreetly put the folded bank note away and allows them to quickly get back to carrying the next luggage, or valet the next car.

How do you tip? Do you have any techniques to share?