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  1. #1

    Default Planning Cash Needs & Discussing Tipping Without Starting a Riot

    8 shorts days until our first trip to Jamaica (happy dance) and I want to make sure we are prepared with proper amount of cash or other forms of gifting. The following are the folks who I think I know to bring cash for:

    -Baggage Handler at airport
    -Driver for Airport Transfers
    -Cat Cruise Guys
    -Spa people if we use it
    -Anything Off resort (lenbert for our one love pub crawl on 8/21 - hope to meet some of you there!)

    Unsure:
    -Couples Lounge at Airport
    -Watersports at the resort?? My husband will be getting scuba certified while we are there and he'll probably dive everyday that he can. Are the boats that take people out for diving, snorkeling, waterskiing, etc ran by couples employees or should I plan enough cash for him to provide a daily tip?

    I've read that if I leave a token of appreciation for housekeeping or a favorite bartender that I should leave a note stating that intention. I would hate to leave anything that was offensive by being too cheesy or impractical. I hear people say they bring chocolates. Any other suggestions for easy to bring items that would be appreciated by these hard workers. I worked as a server and bartender through college and a few years after, so I want to show appreciation. I do love the true no tipping policy because I spent about $300 in tips last AI I went to in Mexico. I look forward to being able to save some money and have no worries about finding places to stuff wet bills lol. I loved the place and the workers were deserving, but anytime I didn't have a few dollars on me I felt so guilty. Anyways, I appreciate any insight on what you've been told is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    50

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    1.). Post title cracked me up, and is spot on.

    My opinions (and they are my own). I think the whole chocolate as a gratuity thing is ridiculous. I am not sure why it bothers me so much, but I cringe every time I read it. It seems ... condescending in my eyes. Tipping off the resort is pretty much a given. You hit the most important spots... In the resort, the workers can get in trouble for accepting tips, and that is a subject I just never broach on the board. When you do the pub crawl, you'll be hit up for tips everywhere... Just be ready. Always take a few extra $$ in case you want to buy something on the beach though. My rule of thumb is to always take more than I think I will need... Can always spend it when I get home.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    83

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    I also don't plan to tip because I know if we do, it will only be a matter of time before service begins to favor those who do tip over those who don't. One of the main selling points for Couples is the no tipping policy and if not strictly enforced those of us who choose not to tip to retain the same quality of service for everyone, will eventually feel the pressure to tip or find it necessary to tip to get the same service. That said, I would like to show appreciation in some other way, but like Christianautumn said, don't want to offend anyone by being overly cheap or cheesy. Some have suggested bringing chocolates, and I've also seen school supplies, over the counter meds (advil, tylenol, etc), and lotions for women suggested. It's hard to know who would prefer what, so we're leaning toward chocolates. Can anyone suggest what they've brought before and let me know how well received that was? Also, how many do you leave? I was thinking about halloween size hershey bars or hershey kisses, and leaving at least 5 a day for the housekeeper and another batch for the person doing the turndown service. Should we leave more? Is there a particular chocolate more highly prized? All I know is the message boards say it's expensive there. What would be good to give the bartenders or servers in the restaurants? When is the best time to offer such gifts if not when leaving? I've never been in this sort of situation so this is confusing. I do plan to make sure management knows the names of anyone we particularly liked so they can be recognized by them. I also thought about school supplies, but don't want to go over my weight limit carting down a suitcase full of that! I think all first time visitors would really appreciate your thoughts and experiences in this area. Leaving in one week to CTI, so hopefully will see some replies very soon. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Right, wrong, or indifferent, we have been bringing chocolate for housekeeping for several years now and it has never gone to waste...and I think they really like it and appreciate it. We bring the mini bars and usually leave 4-5 at a time with a simple thank you note.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2010
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    Gap639, you are SPOT ON !!,

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    We have brought chocolate: cases of candy bars from Costco and they were a big hit-especially with the water sports guys. The hands down favorite was snickers. We go around the holidays so have brought fancier candies (like lindor truffles), but these weren't as popular. I have also brought lotions, school supplies and coloring stuff, cool pens (like ones you can draw on windows with that wash off) and things that would be hard to find in JA. I brought some really nice hand cream, similar to L'occutaine, all natural, chemical free, and our housekeeping lady loved it. I also had some bath and body works cream (not quite as nice not all natural) which I gave her the second week and though she thanked me, but she did ask if I had more of the other kind. :-). We have also brought the dive team gifts such as straps for their personal dive masks that don't tangle hair, dive gloves and similar small things not easily obtainable in JA. Sports shirts and hats are also popular. I think these gifts were genuinely appreciated and it did not appear that anyone felt it was condescending. I think it's all in the delivery though :-).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    511

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    If you go to CN, please consider the beach performers. It is a pleasure for me to listen to Donovan Dalrymple...and I love to share my appreciation.

    We have some favorite staff at the resort and my wife keeps an eye out for deep discounts at Kohls. We like to bring Rutgers stuff (hats, shirts) for our friends. It's not that we feel they are in need of hate and shirts, but we want them to know that we think of them and appreciate them (and the Rutgers part makes it a little more personal).

  8. #8
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    Aug 2010
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    913

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    [QUOTE=gap639;222953]1.)My opinions (and they are my own). I think the whole chocolate as a gratuity thing is ridiculous. I am not sure why it bothers me so much, but I cringe every time I read it. It seems ... condescending in my eyes.[QUOTE]

    We did this without prior planning on our trip in 2011, because I always bring Halloween candy on our November trips, but I'm not a chocolate person. After the Skittles and Starburst are gone, I've had Snickers, Godiva, Lindor, Ferrero Rocher, even some Twizzlers, etc., so we left them for the housekeepers and they loved it. Always a big smile and little special surprises were left for us here and there. I was a bartender for 4 years, and a bus boy and golf caddy in high school, so I would never go around handing out chocolates to other staff at the resort. Somehow, people got the wrong impression of this experience and made that into a bigger deal than it is. It's not ridiculous, when it's an unplanned, spontaneous, thoughtful thing to do, and it was received that way. It seems a little narrow-minded to assume that's condescending, especially, when you have not seen the conditions under which most of the staff live. It's not like they're walking in and out of office lobbies all day with big bowls of candy at every receptionist's desk.
    "Brutalize me with music..."

    CN: 11/2007, 11/2010, 11/2011, 11/2013

  9. #9

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    We found that the bite sized Snickers bars were popular at CTI. You will also make some good friends in the dive shop with a couple of full size Snickers. We don't go overboard and usually set out candy in the room with a note to help yourself to the candies. We had no problem giving away 1/2 to 1 lb a day. On our last day, we usually leave school supplies with a note also. You will most probably get to know some of the staff and will get a feeling of how to divide the appreciation gifts.

    We don't tip but look at the candy in the same way we would look at a bottle of wine when visiting a friend's home. A small token of appreciation.

    I too love the post title

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    307

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    My husband and i always bring 500.00. Lots of small bills. If we dont use it' we can always bring it home. We never tip anyone at the resort. Nor do we give gifts. We always get amazing service. Just write the names down of the peoplewho gave you great service. There will be a questionnaire at departure.
    One Love,
    Mya

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    I have never taken chocolate for fear it would melt before we got to the resort (or that I would eat it!). Last winter when I was shopping for our Spring trip, I picked up a lot of rx items including small first aid kits (1.00 at Walmart). Victoria Secret was having a buy one, get one free on beauty items so I stocked up on lotions, body scrubs, body butters and lip glosses. I brought about 10 bottles of things and left a smaller bag of goodies for the turn down service and all the rest to our sweet housekeeper, Nysah. One thing that I will bring next year for the girls are headbands. I have long hair and wore a cloth headband (Prana's) everyday for breakfast. I would have at least 5 young ladies tell me everyday how much they loved them. Go figure, I would have never guessed!
    Question for repeaters, can you leave a chocolate bar or small gift on your breakfast/dinner table or do you need a 'gift' card every time?

  12. #12
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    Jul 2009
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    [QUOTE=dank120;223004][QUOTE=gap639;222953]1.)My opinions (and they are my own). I think the whole chocolate as a gratuity thing is ridiculous. I am not sure why it bothers me so much, but I cringe every time I read it. It seems ... condescending in my eyes.

    We did this without prior planning on our trip in 2011, because I always bring Halloween candy on our November trips, but I'm not a chocolate person. After the Skittles and Starburst are gone, I've had Snickers, Godiva, Lindor, Ferrero Rocher, even some Twizzlers, etc., so we left them for the housekeepers and they loved it. Always a big smile and little special surprises were left for us here and there. I was a bartender for 4 years, and a bus boy and golf caddy in high school, so I would never go around handing out chocolates to other staff at the resort. Somehow, people got the wrong impression of this experience and made that into a bigger deal than it is. It's not ridiculous, when it's an unplanned, spontaneous, thoughtful thing to do, and it was received that way. It seems a little narrow-minded to assume that's condescending, especially, when you have not seen the conditions under which most of the staff live. It's not like they're walking in and out of office lobbies all day with big bowls of candy at every receptionist's desk.
    Well, here is the difference. I am aware exactly how some of the staff live. I agree that conditions are bad in jamaica. However, I do not think 5 Hershey kisses is going to make someone's day. We take gifts for the staff, and one of the other posters pointed out that they have taken dive gloves, etc... Absolutely fantastic idea in my opinion... The name brand hand creams, even the sample sized ones are another great idea if you want to do something. I know for a fact that the name brand toiletries are popular, as I am asked every trip to leave ours by the staff. And nothing about specifically purchasing chocolate as a gratuity is unplanned or spontaneous. It is quite obviously planned out. I simply feel it is condescending, and if the time is going to be taken to plan something out for the staff or your housekeeper, make it something they can us. I made the caveat that the opinions were my own, there is no need to start in with narrow minded statements.

    Then, there's also giving back as we do. We have an entire duffel packed to nearly the weight limit with new clothes, shoes, and the like to drop off at Saint Anthony's this year, on the day we volunteer at the soup kitchen to feed the kids breakfast before school. So, thanks for assuming that I am unaware of the conditions some Jamaicans live in, as I will continue to be a responsible tourist, giving back to the place I have chosen to vacation in every year for the past 15.

  13. #13
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    Mar 2010
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    We did the chocolate thing in Negril & plan on it again this Dec. We tried CSS last Feb. & I was quite surprised at how much tipping I saw at the bars; never saw it in Negril. We were also solicited several times by workers to buy "something to make our trip more enjoyable". Didn't like the vibe, so back to Negril it is for us.

  14. #14

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    When we were in Negril in April we left my husband's Nike beach flip-flops with a worker because he inquired about the cost of them in the US verses the JAM cost which was significantly higher. They were his size so we left them for him. That made us ask, what do Jamaican people need (we asked this guy and a couple of his co-workers). Here's the answers we got.....

    Most Jamaicans don't need food, we have plenty of food (said with a giggle). What we need is Church clothes(shirts and ties for men) and shoes, those things are expensive here. And we love T-shirts from other places.

    Please don't interpret the above as I'm saying don't bring chocolate, I'm just relaying the message we were given. Most everyone loves chocolate, so no harm in giving it away.

  15. #15
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    Jun 2009
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    We like to bring M&Ms. Found out that Jhanelle who was at SSB oru first trip loves them, and she had been our favorite bartender, and now a friend. We would also bring a few bags along with us when we went to eat or to the bar. If we got into a discussion with the staff (which we did often) I would ask them if they liked M&M's, usually a big smile and a huge yes was the answer. I would say ok then here have some. A big thank you and that was it. I never made it seem like a "tip" but a friendship thing, because to me that was what it was. The first year we went we brought school supplies and gave some to our room staff, and they were really gratefull. Now I just leave the school supplies at the front desk, and ask them to distribute it to the staff, or to give it to a school that really needs it. However you feel most comfortable about it if you want to do it. It is not a necessity.
    Linda

  16. #16

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    I don't understand why people make such a big issue about bringing stuff as gifts. The resort is a no tipping resort which many people like (including myself), but you guys are going over board and making this just like tipping only using gifts instead. I will admit that I too have brought gifts for some "special" staff and also have brought school supplies, but just bring what you want or don't bring anything. It is entirely up to each individual and don't make such a "big deal" of it all.Just make it an "individual" decision.
    Thanks and respect
    Karin

  17. #17
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    Aug 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by gap639 View Post
    ... I simply feel it is condescending, and if the time is going to be taken to plan something out for the staff or your housekeeper, make it something they can us...

    ...We have an entire duffel packed to nearly the weight limit with new clothes, shoes, and the like to drop off at Saint Anthony's this year...
    I applaud your goodwill, and would like to make two points...

    1) Shellian and Hytasha both told us that the chocolates we left made their day, and this was confirmed by their assistant manager, Cleo, who we sat with at the Repeater's Dinner. I believe the first barb was thrown in assuming that's condescending.

    2) A lot of people bring, or purchase while there, more valuable items for specific staff or people they've met outside the resort, including us. Some more useful to their specific career or needs (dive computers, cocoa butter for callused hands, clothing for their children, etc.), instead of broad stroke items, like lotions or pencils. I'm just not going to pat myself on the back for doing so. The chocolates are still a nice gesture for housekeeping and a lot of people do it for that very reason. The bigger the gift does not mean the bigger the heart behind it.

    And, I've never heard of a stuffed duffel bag being used to define a "responsible tourist", but to each his/her own...
    "Brutalize me with music..."

    CN: 11/2007, 11/2010, 11/2011, 11/2013

  18. #18
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    Sep 2010
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    I usually bring body lotions, nail polish, hair bands and hair clips, small toys for their kids, pain pills like advil. We are going to Barbados in November, and not quite sure what to bring there.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by karinjim View Post
    I don't understand why people make such a big issue about bringing stuff as gifts. The resort is a no tipping resort which many people like (including myself), but you guys are going over board and making this just like tipping only using gifts instead. I will admit that I too have brought gifts for some "special" staff and also have brought school supplies, but just bring what you want or don't bring anything. It is entirely up to each individual and don't make such a "big deal" of it all.Just make it an "individual" decision.
    Thanks and respect
    Karin
    Well said.
    "Brutalize me with music..."

    CN: 11/2007, 11/2010, 11/2011, 11/2013

  20. #20
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    Mar 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by grayturtless View Post
    I usually bring body lotions, nail polish, hair bands and hair clips, small toys for their kids, pain pills like advil. We are going to Barbados in November, and not quite sure what to bring there.
    That's my problem also. I brought that kind of stuff to Jamaica but Barbados is VERY different from Jamaica!

  21. #21

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    dank 120, Well said! you wer spot on. WHATEVER anyone chooses to bring to show their appreciation should and will be well recepted by the staff. im sure if the gift comes from the heart it is appreciated. Remember everyone does not do this, and the staff knows.

  22. #22

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    Kudos dank120. I was informed by our wonderful housekeeper last time we were at CN that her children loved the different chocolates we left daily, and it was a treat for them to get something different each day. She was extremely grateful. I really doubt anyone anywhere will turn up their nose at the sight of chocolate. But, as you say, to each his/her own.

    Give because you want to, not because you have to. And thanks for the Snickers tips! We will definitely bring some for the watersports team!

    CN April 2006 (MARRIED!!)
    CN July 2008
    CTI March 2010
    CN April 2012

  23. #23

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    Tipping is always an argurment with people. We have been there twice and we dont tip or let anything. We have had several talks with staff members and they say when we leave letting good reports on the commments cards helps them out. They say they are jsut very greatful to have such a good job and really appreciate us coming. If we want to help them out they say come back. This brings in more money to resort which in the long run helps them out.
    CSS OCT 2009
    CSS OCT 2011
    CSS OCT 2014

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by thecat View Post
    We did the chocolate thing in Negril & plan on it again this Dec. We tried CSS last Feb. & I was quite surprised at how much tipping I saw at the bars; never saw it in Negril. We were also solicited several times by workers to buy "something to make our trip more enjoyable". Didn't like the vibe, so back to Negril it is for us.
    When we went to CSS in March, we only saw tipping happen on two occasions, and no one ever tried to sell us anything to make our trip more enjoyable... A friend of mine went about a month later, and he said the enjoyable stuff was everywhere. Must be we don't come off as people who want to have an "enjoyable" trip.

    While we were there, one of the water sports guys commented on my rasta lion tshirt, asking where I got it from. I told him from Iowa. I have been looking for another one to be able to bring back. We also left my sandals for the boat captain, since I had only worn them once, and they were too big for me. When we go back next spring, I think my wife is planning on bringing some candy, as well as some school supplies.

  25. #25
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    Nov 2009
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    We have in the past brought for the staff small bottles of cologne and perfume spray as they are always dressed impeccable neat and clean in their uniforms and they like to also smell good, on return trips we have brought small gifts for some who we know would appreciate the personalized items we have brought for them, we always inform the manger or team leader ahead of time that we are doing this so as no one gets in trouble or accused of taking anything.

    Also we have done the One Love Bus tour a few times and have never been hit up for tips any where along the trip or at the destinations where we have stopped, we have just tipped the driver and no one else, than again we are not big drinkers and do not have a drink at each stop so we are not in a situation to maybe tip the bartenders at each stop.

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