CULTURE BUMP ON TIP
When we are talking about “Tip”, different people have different understandings. If you are a computer engineer, you may think of it as “Hint”. If you are a ballerina, you may mean ballet tip—a certain skill of dance. The variety of our culture background leads to diversity of comprehension. We are Jasmine-a team of accountants from China, the “Tip” we encountered in Houston here is a gratuity .It is a gift of money to someone who has done something for you, i.e. voluntary additional payment made for services rendered
We are lucky to have a chance to attend the culture bump course taught by Professor Archer, who has already studied in this field more than 40 years. She helps us to find the nature through daily phenomenon with some clear and practical steps. We try to follow this method to analysis the TIP bump we met in United State.
As Dr. Archer mentioned, Detachment is the first stage for a culture bump. In this stage , we need to pinpoint the bump so that we can underpinning this matter. A tip is uncommon for most of Chinese, so we feel the tipping is unexpected, while we have to tip in The United States almost everywhere: in restaurants, cabs, hotels…and even to a tour guide. We found American take for granted that the entire guest should pay at least 15%-20% tips excluding bill price. If we don’t pay, the waiters may look down upon us, and we feel a little embarrassed. However, some establishments will deduct a service fee or tip directly. This causes some misunderstanding. We are confused when we should tip and how much is proper. Alice (one of our team members) told us her story. When she stayed in Days Inn Hotel, the air-conditioner broke and it was very cold in the room. When she called the service center, the maintenance man soon came and tried several times but failed. Finally he came back with a totally new one. It was warmer soon. She definitely appreciated him, but she was not very sure whether tipping was necessary. After that she regretted that she lost a chance to express her gratitude to a nice person. Emma (another girl from our team) followed others’ examples in paying tips. She said it reminds her of the soap opera 《BROKEN GIRLS》. The two protagonists’ life mainly depends on their tips. Without tips, they definitely will not be there.
We try to share our emotion on Tipping. Most of us feel unaccustomed to tipping. All of us feel confused, and some of us feel astonished, embarrassed, shamed and even angry.
In the second stage, we explore cultural relativism among these phenomena and emotions.First, we try to find the universal situation in the incident when it happened. We found tipping is a way to evaluate the services we got, but different people used to express their satisfaction in different ways. In America, tips are the main income, but in China it is not permitted to get extra pay from customers in most hotels and restaurants. The universal situation is the need to express or reward service providers when they render very good service. In The USA, the common way is giving tips to waiters to reward their hard-work. It can be a good way of motivation. However, we have some expectations for that universal: In China, we prefer to give spiritual rewards to our servers, such as a smile, praise, personal and friendly talk or more patronage to their service in future.This is our expectation for that universal situation.
Then we find the meaning for us when our expectations are met. When we give smiles, praise, personal talk or patronage, we are merely acknowledging their good service and encouraging them to maintain it. We have several conversations with Americans about their expectations about tipping. You can see this is our video.
In the final stage, we look for recognition of common humanity. When we feel satisfied with the service, we can choose the tip amount to express gratitude to service provider the same as we express our gratitude and encouragement by giving more visits to the shop. Therefore, human beings have the same commonality that service providers are expecting to be appreciated and praised by their customers while customers are willing to show respect and appreciation to their servers in some way. Ultimately, these simple acts in our two cultures reveal our common human need for altruism.
As Berry (one girl from our team) said, “Tipping makes both of him and I feel good”.