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Tipping guidelines #313840
02/18/2024 11:04 PM
02/18/2024 11:04 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,703
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content OP
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SXMScubaman  Online Content OP
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Auburn, WA
found this posted on Facebook
Tipping Rules in Restaurants
Sorry for having to inform you: Proper tipping is not an easy task on our multi-cultural island. The Dutch side very much follows the American style, where a service charge is not automatically included into the meal price noted on the menu, and the staff depends very much on tips. The French side follows European law, where waiters are making a decent salary independent of tip. Add a third element to confuse the issue: scruple less restaurant owners, who keep tips for themselves and pay their staff only a pittance. We hope that this article is giving a bit of guidance and helps to protect hard-working service personal.



Tipping in Dutch Side Restaurants on Sint Maarten
Restaurants on St Maarten's Dutch side follows the American system for paying wait staff: very low base salary, service charge not included in prices on their menus, and the expectation that the guest is adding at least 15% to the check. There are a few establishments which try to confuse the issue; they use standard US forms for their checks, which include a line for "Tax". In many cases, a 15% charge is added to this line. This is a service charge and NOT tax, as there is no such tax on the island! To make matters worse, service staff is NOT getting this fee in many restaurants!

Don't be shy: ask your waiter or waitress if they are getting their tips paid out. In some restaurants, they are instructed not to give an honest answer. If you feel this to be the case, ask for the manager to get to the bottom of the issue.

Tipping in restaurants on French St-Martin
Even though European laws states that the service charge has to be INCLUDED in the price of a meal, most restaurant owners on French St. Martin are relying on the American way of handling this issue. Legally, the price posted on the menu includes service and there is no obligation to pay more. Most European just round up and leave a few Euro, pretty much what an American guest would pay on top of the customary 15% in the US, in order to show extra satisfaction.


The truth is: the staff of the restaurants on the French sided expects American visitors to tip well (or over-tip) and doesn't expect too much from their European countrymen.

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Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313842
02/18/2024 11:17 PM
02/18/2024 11:17 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,637
United States of America
bdeeley Offline
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That post has no real value, who knows who wrote it and what is their agenda. Are you trying gin up, another mostly useless conversation concerning tipping? 😁


Be Happy! Simply because you deserve to be. 😁
Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: bdeeley] #313843
02/18/2024 11:54 PM
02/18/2024 11:54 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,703
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content OP
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Nope. Just sharing some info that I thought was interesting and on a lot of posters minds concerning tipping. I pretty much agree what the author said.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313844
02/19/2024 07:28 AM
02/19/2024 07:28 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,584
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MotownTim Offline
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I’m afraid that it’s already outdated since more and more Dutch side restaurants are adding 15% to the bill.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: bdeeley] #313846
02/19/2024 07:38 AM
02/19/2024 07:38 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,515
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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I agree and when I see it mentioned to "Don't be shy: ask your waiter or waitress if they are getting their tips paid out. In some restaurants, they are instructed not to give an honest answer. If you feel this to be the case, ask for the manager to get to the bottom of the issue."

You are opening yourself up to all kinds of misrepresentation.


J.D.
Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: ruralcarrier] #313847
02/19/2024 08:02 AM
02/19/2024 08:02 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,085
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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Yup...not my place to get into a tipping discussion with the waitstaff or manager....If it is added automatically then it is a gratuity and that's that. Lee's added it to the printed bill in pen so it was obvious...no issues with that. I just add 5% more in cash

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313848
02/19/2024 08:04 AM
02/19/2024 08:04 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,414
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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I find it interesting that you chose that particular response to share here. My response to the newbie question was much more accurate and less deceptive:

"On the Dutch side, you will often find that 15% service is added as a separate line item on the check. Your server may tell you that's not the tip, but it is. If you choose to add more, that's up to you. If there is no service charge added to the check, then tip as you would in the US. On the French side, service is included in the cost of the meal. Again, if you choose to leave a little more, that's up to you."

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313850
02/19/2024 08:22 AM
02/19/2024 08:22 AM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 45
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rickjames Offline
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My last 2 meals: Tap and Still-20% added to the bill, clearly marked gratuity. Last night, 3 Amigos- 15 % clearly on bill. At least they aren’t trying to use the S/C disguise. BTW , in both places food was good for those style of restaurants.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313855
02/19/2024 08:50 AM
02/19/2024 08:50 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,679
Newtown, CT
kim Offline
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kim  Offline
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In January two servers at 3 Amigos shook my friends down saying they don’t get the tip and they need to leave cash for them. If I wasn’t sitting there I wouldn’t have believed it. It got real ugly. I won’t go back!

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313872
02/19/2024 11:41 AM
02/19/2024 11:41 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,645
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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This whole tipping question on Sint Maarten is a pile of donkey-do IMPO.
SERVICE CHARGES ARE NONSENSE AND SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE MENU LINE ITEM PRICES.
Personally speaking, I think all waitstaff should be paid in the French manner and the tipping question would come to an end.
I wouldn’t pay a sc at Walmart or Piggly Wiggly but someone has to stock those shelves…….same analogy, no?
But. Back to the opening post, it’s more in error than factual and I hope people don’t take it too literally.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.

Last edited by pat; 02/19/2024 11:43 AM.

Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313874
02/19/2024 11:57 AM
02/19/2024 11:57 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 964
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CrazyCanuxx Offline
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Can you clarify, is SC mandatory or a suggestion?

Where not warranted, is a lesser amt acceptible or do we pay it and forget it?

Side note, I have ordered drinks at a bar... no SC. Next time, drinks and food. SC on total bill. Both scenarios am sitting at bar at same beach bar.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: rickjames] #313876
02/19/2024 12:24 PM
02/19/2024 12:24 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 183
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WLE Offline
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Been to Tap and Still three times never had tip added to bill, but I did give one.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313894
02/19/2024 04:12 PM
02/19/2024 04:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 25
Michigan
Clifford Offline
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Michigan
i heard on the French side "i won't go to the Dutch side and pay 25% service charge". I only went to one Dutch side restaurant. The service charge was 15%. We left 8% tip. The service charge needs to go. Especially if the service is sub-par. Many places seem to have new staff.
On the French side there is a small tax. About 4%. Several servers mentioned to add tip before charging or leave cash. We tipped about 10%.
Dutch side seems to have a more price conscious customer. French side are willing to pay for perceived haute cuisine.
Restaurant in Miami airport had 18% tip on bill with a +/- line to raise or lower.

Last edited by Clifford; 02/19/2024 04:14 PM.
Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: WLE] #313895
02/19/2024 04:46 PM
02/19/2024 04:46 PM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 45
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rickjames Offline
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It was there for sure, I paid it and waitress said
thanks and we left.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: rickjames] #313899
02/19/2024 05:15 PM
02/19/2024 05:15 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,703
Auburn, WA
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Unless it's stated on the menu somewhere a "SC will be added" I see no obligation to pay it. I'll tip but have them remove the 15% SC or consider that 15% SC the tip. That goes for all restaurants on Dutch side.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313901
02/19/2024 05:39 PM
02/19/2024 05:39 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,379
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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RonDon  Offline
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Gosh, we even tip the "bag boys" who hang around the markets and offer to carry your bags.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: RonDon] #313903
02/19/2024 05:52 PM
02/19/2024 05:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 168
Allentown, Pa
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bobbarb Offline
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Those bag boys don’t get paid by the store they work for tips, if you use them you should tip.
Bob

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: RonDon] #313904
02/19/2024 05:53 PM
02/19/2024 05:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,703
Auburn, WA
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Originally Posted by RonDon
Gosh, we even tip the "bag boys" who hang around the markets and offer to carry your bags.

So do we. They are very grateful and polite. We even tip them if we take our own to the car.

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: RonDon] #313913
02/19/2024 06:32 PM
02/19/2024 06:32 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,689
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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bag boys are a total different situation. We definitely use them and tip when we do.


Carol Hill
Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313924
02/20/2024 12:13 AM
02/20/2024 12:13 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 365
Carib_Ian Offline
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Quote
Don't be shy: ask your waiter or waitress if they are getting their tips paid out. In some restaurants, they are instructed not to give an honest answer. If you feel this to be the case, ask for the manager to get to the bottom of the issue.


I am not sure how many people are going to go that far…..

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: rickjames] #313925
02/20/2024 05:28 AM
02/20/2024 05:28 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 410
the Long Island
the captain Offline
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the Long Island
3 amigos has a great mushroom chicken

Despite the service charge, our waiter told us the restaurant keeps the tip. Scams!

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: the captain] #313926
02/20/2024 08:10 AM
02/20/2024 08:10 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,515
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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That is why you never ask.


J.D.
Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: the captain] #313933
02/20/2024 08:54 AM
02/20/2024 08:54 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,679
Newtown, CT
kim Offline
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Newtown, CT
Of course they tell you that! But is it true?? My understanding is that 3 Amigos is now owned in full by the two local women - hate to say it but it’s gone down down hill - we won’t be back. Really wish Jay and Mannix had stayed on with their partial ownership!!!! Of course this is all island gossip and could
Be completely wrong!!!!!! But doesn’t negate the fact that something is up with the staff shaking down patrons for extra tips! And if the house is keeping the SC in full
Shame on them!!!

Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: SXMScubaman] #313956
02/20/2024 04:23 PM
02/20/2024 04:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,302
Vancouver, WA
Todd Offline
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If I order an item listed at $20 I expect to pay $20, not $23. So anything above the $20 is part of the service charge, gratuity, tip, or whatever you wish to call it. Not negotiable.

Dutch side:
I have zero issue with a 15% clearly spelled out gratuity added to the tab, even 18% is acceptable but I do think that is pushing it a bit. We usually add to that to get it to 20% or more. MJ and I just did 8 days in the Bahamas, not a single place we went to did not add at least 15% as a gratuity line, one listed 18%. Not hidden, plain view and it was just the norm. I was just in Ft Lauderdale (on a jet back to PDX from FLL while writing this) and every tab had a 15% or more gratuity added to the bill, and I would note in plain site and one was even highlighted in yellow so you would not miss it. I think anywhere that you have a high percentage of international customers where there is a US style tipping custom you are going to find more and more of this. Less seasoned travelers are going to miss it, the price of less educated travelers.

Also, the restaurants on island did not create the US style tipping system nor bring it to Sint Maarten, they have to figure out how to make money and take care of their staff with this employment system. If it is clearly marked I think it is short sided to penalize or look down on an establishment looking to take care of their employees. Do your best to ignore the people that try to spin a story on the extra charges and move on, no need to ever have that conversation.

13 days back in Florida, 19 days until back on island!


I prefer the Isle seat
Re: Tipping guidelines [Re: Todd] #313961
02/20/2024 05:07 PM
02/20/2024 05:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,703
Auburn, WA
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"If I order an item listed at $20 I expect to pay $20, not $23. So anything above the $20 is part of the service charge, gratuity, tip, or whatever you wish to call it. Not negotiable."
I concur.


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