Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gratuitus Gratuity

Since when did a gratuity become mandatory? I have come across several services where the gratuity is automatically added to the bill. I always thought a gratuity was at the discretion of the customer.

Restaurants, many times, have a policy of adding a gratuity to large parties. While I do not agree with this policy I can accept it because I get the bill after all is said and done and if I really wanted to I could argue for not paying.

I have a problem with a company charging me a gratuity before the sevices have been rendered. I needed to hire a car service to transport some people around. The company was going to charge me the hourly rate plus 20% gratuity. I would have to give my credit card number to reserve the car not knowing how the service would be. What if the person was late, rude or something happened? I would not have any recourse in not paying the gratuity because the company already had my credit card number and I paid in advance. Now, the likelihood of the company charging me the full gratuity if something happened and I complained serverly might not happen, but it could, and in principle I am opposed to this.

The same goes for a service known as Waiters on Wheels. It delivers food from restaurants that normally do not have delivery service. When ordering from Waiters on Wheels it automatically adds a gratuity. This is before the food arrives. How am I supposed to pay gratuity for something that has not occured?

I am not a cheap tipper. I tip according to service. Not before. After.

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