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Tipping Maids - Cash or Products?

[quote=@eeeefarm][quote=@rfint]
I think 5 CUC at the end of the week for the maid if she has done a good/great job is fair ;)[/quote]There is a practical problem to tipping in one shot at the end of the week…the maid you intend to reward may very well be on her day off. (in the case of Cayo Largo, she may be on her 10 days off!) I prefer daily smaller offerings…[/quote]

Hay I’m on Vacation and if that happens o well, maybe things work out on other tips that are left. People worry way too much about what to bring down and how much to tip, IMO ;D

To be honest most days I put the DND on the door as I don’t need a clean every day, maybe every other if that, maybe only once in the middle of our stay. :wink:

Sorry … didn’t mean to dis ‘all’ dollar store stuff as crap. Some of it is indeed fine (school supplies, etc). Some of it is useless, including batteries that last a few hours (and then end up in land-fills), toys that do not meet safety standards, ‘knock-off’ toothpaste, etc.

Some people over-tip, some people under-tip, some people give gifts appropriately, and others toss candy to kids over the fence at schools. In reality, each person does what they feel most comfortable doing / giving.

I think ontgunner has it right. Tools, work stuff, feminine products and maybe some chocolate too.

YVRck learned an important lesson about the expectations some workers have. Good for you to change tables!

Cash for tips (25 and 50 centavo coins are ok), some nifty stuff for maids, hats and tools for the gardeners and a load of school supplies for the local charity.

we go for 2 week and we leave 1 cuc plus some gifts every day do the same for bartenders, plus tip cooking staff, waiters, gardeners and so on and give a gift every 3 days to them

YVRck - I believe you have the VAT and “service added” confused. As I understand it, the VAT is an actual tax that is included in the price, similar to GST only “hidden”. The service charge on a European meal bill/check is noted to show you whether the “tip” has been included or not. I have noticed that in the resorts where the Canadians only slightly outnumber the Europeans, the Europeans are less likely to tip as it is not as ingrained a custom for them.

Another senior’s moment :wink: .

Thanks for the correction valleyguy!

While I was replying, I could only think of the german and italian words for the service charge which applies to hotels & restaurants.

It’s not that europeans are cheapskates, it’s just that tipping isn’t ingrained or as much a part of their culture as it is for North Americans.

Australians are the same. Gets them into lots of trouble in North America until they get the hang of it…

Trust me when I say I was more than ticked off with this guy! We are multiple returning guests and had gone out of our way in previous trips to bring a couple of very expensive and specialized items for this fellow and his family.

Some of the staff are really taking things to the extreme with their requests for gifts. Because the resort has a very high percentage of returning guests, clearly many have been totally spoiled. I observed and overheard a few too many negative comments from staff when other guests offered what I considered to be nice gifts.

agreed …tip as you always would…I always have a special tip to one or two employees that made a difference to our vacation. $10 or $20, I like to tip people that work hard at serving us, say alacart or buffet and always am aware of people that don t usually get anything …like gardners! hey your on vacation…do and feel what you like :slight_smile:

[quote=@yvrck]
Some of the staff are really taking things to the extreme with their requests for gifts. Because the resort has a very high percentage of returning guests, clearly many have been totally spoiled. I observed and overheard a few too many negative comments from staff when other guests offered what I considered to be nice gifts.[/quote]

I wonder if maybe that’s just the flip side of tourists not understanding what stuff is worth in Cuba…similarly, a lot of Cuban workers don’t understand that individual tourists aren’t necessarily “rich” in their own country and don’t exactly have name-brand products to spare for people they barely know. The tourists seem rich…hey, they’re wearing a nice pair of Nikes and sporting some bling (a nice engagement ring or a watch) that is totally out of the question for an ordinary person in Cuba…so what is it to them if I ask them for a little favour. Cell phones and Tommy Hilfiger shirts grow on trees in North America, don’t you know :-).

[quote=@yhz][quote=@yvrck]
Some of the staff are really taking things to the extreme with their requests for gifts. Because the resort has a very high percentage of returning guests, clearly many have been totally spoiled. I observed and overheard a few too many negative comments from staff when other guests offered what I considered to be nice gifts.[/quote]

I wonder if maybe that’s just the flip side of tourists not understanding what stuff is worth in Cuba…similarly, a lot of Cuban workers don’t understand that individual tourists aren’t necessarily “rich” in their own country and don’t exactly have name-brand products to spare for people they barely know. The tourists seem rich…hey, they’re wearing a nice pair of Nikes and sporting some bling (a nice engagement ring or a watch) that is totally out of the question for an ordinary person in Cuba…so what is it to them if I ask them for a little favour. Cell phones and Tommy Hilfiger shirts grow on trees in North America, don’t you know :-).[/quote]

I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. I don’t think they realize that brand name items are expensive. I may own a few items that are brand names, but it really is a few. It’s not so much that I couldn’t afford them, its that I choose to spend (or not) my money elsewhere (vacation in Cuba more often then I could otherwise ;D) so if anyone is looking for brand name clothing from me, they will be disappointed.

This is not a purely Cuban phenomenon, I recall family living in former a communist country asking for such items, and well, sorry, but I don’t buy that for myself so why would I get it for you. Everyone back there is wanting the latest in brand name items as some kind of status thing. We see it here in Canada, but mostly with teenagers, but in Cuba or back home, even adults want to showcase a label. They really don’t have much, so they will wear the one thing with a label as it somehow makes them feel that they are not so poor ???

i have only been asked for 1 thing well kind of i gave a bartender a motorcycle magazine i had finished reading as every time he came by me we would talk about the motorcycle he had and i would tell him about the one i have so in the book he saw chrome polish and was amazed so i said when i come back this year i will bring him some it only 5 dollars no big deal, but i always bring him and his working partner some nice things like brand name clothes so this year i want to get them something really nice and i know they love and play baseball so i got them each a new rawlings baseball glove so i hope they really like them and i always give them a birthday card with a nice gift so the card will go with the glove

[quote=@yhz]

…similarly, a lot of Cuban workers don’t understand that individual tourists aren’t necessarily “rich” in their own country and don’t exactly have name-brand products to spare for people they barely know. [/quote]

So true yhz!

I’ll never forget the shock for my Cuban brother-in-law (now ex BIL!!) when he arrived in Canada back in 1995 and realized he actually had to work, and at a minimum wage job no less. My sister never prepared him for the true reality of immigrating to Canada because for the 3 years they “dated” a few times a year at the Marea Portillo resort, she perpetuated the myth of being a “rich” foreigner.

Before going back to Cuba for his first visit after several years in Canada, my BIL racked up thousands of dollars on the credit card to buy all brand name clothing and expensive gifts for his buddies. Taking the regular kinds of stuff was just not an option! He too was determined to perpetuate the falsehood so it’s no wonder that many Cubans are very confused about the financial status of tourists.

Most important thing to remember is that you are going on a well deserved vacation. Tip with what you personally feel comfortable with.

[quote=@madrugada]SNIP>>>> In reality, each person does what they feel most comfortable doing / giving.

[/quote]

I believe the 3 quotes above are the Coles Notes of this thread and can be classed as the highlights. Great comments

tommy hilfiger is no big deal now, there not very expensive i bet over the last 4 years i have given at least 30 to 40 peaces of Hilfiger clothing to people in Cuba and will be bringing more this year

Do you mean not expensive here or in Cuba? I didn’t think it is available in Cuba.

For me it is expensive, especially as a gift to resort workers as a tip.

I think for me, if I was to go to the extent of paying $20 for a gift for the Cuban hotel worker, I would make sure my $20 gift is a bit more practical, or would even be inclined to give the $20 as cash, cause I just can’t see anyone with limited resources considering the TH t-shirt as being more coveted as $20. Even for resort workers that receive lots of stuff, they still have homes to maintain, and I’m sure $20 would be significant enough to at least put a dent in some kind of home improvement/maintenance project.

I’m not sure how much you pay for the items, but whatever it is, I’m curious if you were to ask whomever you give these things to what they would tell you they prefer cash or t-shirt. Maybe you have asked and they rather the t-shirt. In that case, I would (personally) switch recipients and stick to my practical gifts or cash.

not expensive here, the Hilfiger cloths are just gifts this year i also got 2 new rawlings baseball gloves for two of my friends but as i said there just gifts i tip them every day for the great service they provide, so far i have 2 large suitcases full of things both weighing 50 LBS i like to help out and i also believe everyone should have nice things no mater were you live and if they didn’t want then they could sell then on the black market but i know they keep them as there no different than most people and like to have nice things

[quote=@domeco]I’ve been to several Cuban resorts and I’ve always wondered what the service staff really want/need: a couple of pesos daily or products we bring from home such as dollar store stuff, hygiene stuff or clothing…etc? Although specifically I’m wondering about the room service staff, this question also goes for waitress and bar staff.

I’m sure a lot of people will reply with what they have done or think is best but I’d really like to hear from someone who has first hand knowledge from the Cuban people.[/quote]

We tip 1 CUC per day for the maid…no gifts. We tip 1 CUC per meal, except at the ala cartes where we tip more as you get more one on one service. Although we return to the same resort, yearly, and have come to know some resort workers quite well, we have NEVER been asked to bring them any type of gift. Quite the reverse; we have had to prod to get some indication of what would be of use to them. One request…dvd movies for kids which was a cheap gift for us to fulfull as I had someone make copies of movies they had and took them down. The worker was thrilled and his little girl and all the neighbours kids are very happy. Music cds are well received and books.
Personally, I think if you are visiting a resort for the first time forget taking “gifts” and stick to tipping for service provided, discreetly, please. If you go off resort on tours, etc. don’t forget to tip the tour guide & driver a couple of CUCs. A lot of people have the impression that waitstaff at the resorts make a killing in tips. That’s not the case. We asked one waiter and he said that about 1 in 5 tables he waits on leave a tip. Same goes for the bars…most people don’t tip. Any CUCs the workers get are of great value to them and their extended families. The upside of sticking to cash tips is you don’t have to stress about weight allowance and, in the long run, tipping will work out cheaper than buying “gifts” to take down. Instead of passing out gifts to non waitstaff employees, a couple of CUCs to gardeners, store workers, etc. will be happily received. To steal a line from Cabaret “money makes the world go around…”.

you are right that money makes the world go around but if you want something and you got the money but it cant get it in Cuba or its to much its sure nice to bring it for them and help them out, buy the way i go to the same resort every year

As far as dollar store stuff … I’ve found some great stuff there. Last year one maid was so thrilled to get one of the fancy scarves I picked up at the dollar store - she brought it back into our room and thanked me a few times. I honestly believe it depends on the individual. Some of them seem grateful for whatever they get and others don’t say a whole lot. They definitely seem to appreciate things for their children. I think the “dollar store stuff” you have packed will be appreciated. I suggest saving some of it for any outtings you do off the resort. There are definitely locals that can use the gifts.
Enjoy your trip.