[quote=@eeeefarm]This is a difficult subject for many. The argument that gifts promote a culture of begging and entitlement has some validity, IMO. However, things are not always black & white.
It sure is difficult!!
I, like many others, have changed my habits over the years. I’d have to say my tipping habits are closer to what sssnakes does.
I learned my gifting lesson the hard way though. After many trips to the same resort where we were usually served by the same waiter, I received a request for an automobile part. I know little about car repairs but agreed I would do my best to get the car part. Since I travelled to Europe a lot, especially eastern Europe I figured it should be easy to get the Russian made part he needed. Well it wasn’t!! Long story short, another forum member who also travelled to this resort regularly was able to help get the auto part (and at great expense- $200+). We split the cost and they delivered it. Next trip for us a few months later, we find the waiter had sold that car, bought another and asked for some more parts. I politely told him no, sorry but it’s not possible this time. He ignored us for the rest of our vacation! What is it they say about “frens” and friends!
The luggage weight restrictions imposed by the charter airlines also changed my habits. I was not willing to pay excess luggage fees, so money was light weight and easier to take. Although our snorkel/dive equipment was transported no charge, I refused to stuff my sports equipment bag with gifts. To me that would be cheating and exploiting the generosity of the airline.
The begging culture was also an alarming experience. We like to explore on foot away from the resort. By our 6th trip to Breezes Jibacoa, there were numerous locals waiting outside the resort gates asking for hand-outs. This was completely new to us. The police regularly patrolled to round up or disperse the crowd of beggars. I could see how this had started though as two of the nearby farmers, whose properties were used for the lookout hike done by the resort animation staff, were benefiting from the tourists gifts/tips while the people further down the road were not. The animation staff encouraged people to bring gifts or leave tips for these two farmers and word got out. If the tourists don’t come to you, then you go to the tourists!
While I’m all for charity and donate to various charities at home, I live too far away from Ontario to give any stuff to the Dubois Foundation. I’m happy for, and laud those Debbie’s members who are able to give hands-on help to Dubois. I almost made it to one of the container packings because I had a layover in Toronto, but the packing date changed. Those of us who can’t be there to help Dubois in person are however no less generous because we chose to take our donations to Cuban churches or orphanages for distribution.
Things are definitely not always black and white! I too get very annoyed with some posters (mostly in other forums) who belittle and lecture members because they chose to do things differently. It doesn’t have to be a case of “my way or the highway”!