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Dollar Store Gift / Tips For Cuba

[quote=@eeeefarm]

I still pack something with me just in case I encounter someone who goes “above and beyond”, but I have ceased bringing much more than chocolates, which I do enjoy myself and also love handing out to staff and guests as well. :)[/quote]

I hear this a lot - about bringing chocolates… have never done this, we typically just tip in CUCs… what type of chocolates do you bring along? Do you hand them out when getting a drink, or leaving a restaurant? I think its a sweet gesture… might bring some along this year if the Cubans appreciate it :slight_smile:

small jars of Nutella !

[quote=@eclaire]I hear this a lot - about bringing chocolates… have never done this, we typically just tip in CUCs… what type of chocolates do you bring along? Do you hand them out when getting a drink, or leaving a restaurant? I think its a sweet gesture… might bring some along this year if the Cubans appreciate it :slight_smile:
[/quote]
I sometimes bring a large chocolate bar for the front desk. Otherwise, small wrapped “kisses” or Peanut Butter Cups or similar (small boxes of Smarties are good). I’ll leave a tip for the maid with a chocolate beside it. If I am walking around the resort in the early hours, I might hand out a chocolate to anyone I run into…guests or staff, matters not to me. Security guards are most appreciative after a long, boring night.

The other thing I like to do is to help people out with bug spray if they are stuck…as security guards are…standing around at dusk or dawn when the mosquitoes are bad. I don’t give away bug spray (too expensive!) but I do offer a quick spray to anyone being annoyed by mosquitoes. :slight_smile: (I was very popular waiting for the bus at Cayo Largo one time. It was dusk, the mossies were fierce, and I seemed to be the only one waiting who had bug spray available)

What a great idea… taking that to Cuba next trip :slight_smile: Thanks

[quote=@eeeefarm][quote=@eclaire]I hear this a lot - about bringing chocolates… have never done this, we typically just tip in CUCs… what type of chocolates do you bring along? Do you hand them out when getting a drink, or leaving a restaurant? I think its a sweet gesture… might bring some along this year if the Cubans appreciate it :slight_smile:
[/quote]I sometimes bring a large chocolate bar for the front desk. Otherwise, small wrapped “kisses” or Peanut Butter Cups or similar (small boxes of Smarties are good). I’ll leave a tip for the maid with a chocolate beside it. If I am walking around the resort in the early hours, I might hand out a chocolate to anyone I run into…guests or staff, matters not to me. Security guards are most appreciative after a long, boring night.

The other thing I like to do is to help people out with bug spray if they are stuck…as security guards are…standing around at dusk or dawn when the mosquitoes are bad. I don’t give away bug spray (too expensive!) but I do offer a quick spray to anyone being annoyed by mosquitoes. :slight_smile: (I was very popular waiting for the bus at Cayo Largo one time. It was dusk, the mossies were fierce, and I seemed to be the only one waiting who had bug spray available)
[/quote]

Such a great idea - love it! Going to pick up some chocolates and do the same thing :slight_smile:

I love the chocolate idea! How do you keep the chocolates from melting from the time you get your luggage to the time you get to your room? Do you pack it in your carry-on or checked? What particular chocolates do you get besides smarties and kisses? Just curious

I think it was our last trip (to Santiago de Cuba) that a regular to the resort told me that a certain staff member loved timbits. So, I grabbed a small pack to give to this person who was over the moon I thought to grab her this. I’m amazed they made it there…and not because of melting! :smiley:

I pack chocolates in my checked luggage. It’s generally cold in the cargo section of the aircraft, and I’ve never had a problem with melting en route to the resort. Once there, they go in the fridge. I really like the large, bitter sweet chocolate bars I get at WalMart.

[a href=“http://filbertsandchocolate.blogspot.ca/2007/04/waterbridge-belgian-dark-or-hazelnut.html”]Chocolate Bars[/a]

Front desk staff are amazed at the size of these things! I should mention that I hand over the chocolate after I get my room, not beforehand as a bribe. :slight_smile:

You can get bags of individual wrapped chocolate kisses and various other types at WalMart as well. I don’t take huge amounts, but I like chocolate myself and enjoy giving it away. Just a little sweet treat that people weren’t expecting. (I suppose if you wanted to stretch the point I can be accused of “willy nilly” gifting, but so far I have not had people following me around begging for chocolate!) :wink:

I really need to check my spelling before posting! :o mistakes in that last post! :-S

Thanks eeeefarm, I’ll look for those! They like the bittersweet over the milk chocolate?

Funny story…one year at the SCG we offered a resort staff friend some licorice (red twizzlers) She said no thank you. Then she told us she doesn’t like it, “it tastes like plastic”! (rofl)

That is what’s nice about the edit function! :wink:

I like the bittersweet over the milk chocolate! :wink: But I’ve had no complaints. :slight_smile:

For me red twizzlers as well taste like plastic and I never eat it lol :slight_smile:

I kinda like twizzlers. A lot more than the black licorice. I know what you mean about ‘plastic’ but the taste is like strawberries and it is easier to chew. The black to me is like petrified rubber, makes your lips and tongue black and but it is also a laxative if you need one!!

What a different “flavor” on this forum, compared to the other forum when talking the “G” word. While most of us are reformed random gifters, I e think we would be criticized on the other forum for having this discussion.

Terry, SOME of the stuff at dollar store, has been quite acceptable. I used to take tea towels, the same ones I have in my kitchen, and my friends were very happy to have them. The quality I know is not as good so don’t take them anymore. I also take night lights and a few extra bulbs. These again are the same ones I use at home.

No kidding! :slight_smile:

Seriously, even the most adamant anti gifters probably make exceptions when it is “them” doing it. (bit like current politics. Whether an action is legitimate depends on your point of view.) When I first started going to Cuba, the debate was all about the “quality” of the gifts, not whether one should take them. Lots of references to “dollar store crap”, which gave me pause when I went shopping at the dollar store to obtain items for my own use. :wink: I have come to the conclusion that random gifting makes no sense and can be harmful, but I have no problem rewarding people for good service, and what other way is there when they start refusing to take money from you, as has happened to me on several occasions.

I agree, some or most of the things can be bought at the Dollar Stores and still be given out as gifts. They are still appreciated. Do the night lights actually work with the difference in voltage? Our Canadian standards are 120 volts. Isn’t the residentials of Cuban homes 240 volts?

Jeffpilot, I believe in the hotels it is 220 and in the homes the same as us. Most of our friends live in the rural countryside and are really happy to get these little lights and battery operated tea lights that are safer in a thatch-roofed house than a candle…They throw off quite a bit of light, enough to illuminate the path to the light house. :slight_smile:

The night lights are a great idea for gifts.

I like wind up flashlights. I always have a couple with me, and have given or loaned them to fellow tourists as well as Cubans. Once time, in particular, involved a bus with a washroom, but the light in there didn’t work. My flashlight became a popular item! (as did my hand sanitizer!) :wink:

Sorry, Jetpilot, I need to check my spelling and keying too.

I go with my gut feelings. If I have been to a certain resort many times, and know a few staff; I tailor my tip or gift. If I’m a first timer at a resort it is CUCs all the way. We’ve been to several resorts from 10 to 20 times each. I’m not taking a gift to a complete stranger, but I will take something special to someone I have known for years. If I want to give chocolate to staff members or other guests - absolutely great - that is not ‘willy nilly gifting’, it is sharing a treat. The willy-nilly stuff usually happens with first time visitors. When we have substantial stuff to bring to Cuba, I do what a lot of Canadians & Brits do. I donate them to Dubois Foundation. My friends know we go frequently and are always giving me stuff. I would need my own plane to bring it all down. Dubois is the way to go. And I’m sure there are other organizations that do the same thing.

If you want more info on how to be a big help in Cuba for those that really need it, I’m sure that eeeefarm or sund0g and others here on the forum can be PMd for a contact email, address, etc. Tax receipts will be provided. OK: I’m off my soap box, Thanks for reading. PS: nothing wrong with dollar store crap; I use it all the time.

And don’t forget about the Spanky organization if you are a pet lover.