“Tip” that sinks the Ship!

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Despite doing justice with work and caring for quality of service, often certain workers solely work for fetching extra money from clients.

There is a trend in Qatar for giving away amounts of money to people involved with low paid jobs like taxi drivers, waiters, cleaners and barbers and such at the end of receiving their services. Usually these people do not ask their clients; they provide adequate service and it is up to the customer to either give something additional or just go away. I have had a bad experience at Barber shops where there is visible pressure for giving some tip amount. After hair cutting or shave, they start to give unnecessary elongated final touches and also start massage without asking. The customer usually feels compelled with this and gives some tip thereafter. After roaming around and seeing a lot of disturbing people, I settled with one barber who had just one bad habit i.e rather than deducting amount as per charge rate; he used to return change for the money note given by the customer asking them to give amount of their own will. Anyhow, I managed to go along with him after taking promise that he will deduct exact price of service and giving the tip would solely be on my discretion and I just forbid them to carry out massage after hair cut.
In 2014, we found a very gentle and seemingly holy lift operator on the Lahore Airport who started giving a lot of prayers and well wishes to me and my family. His style and voice were so touching and it seemed that his prayers were something special for us; I peculiarly gave him Rs.100. “What a nice man, I feel personally connected with him” I told my wife. Interesting after having lunch, we were returning close to the same lift again when we saw that same man blessing another family in a similar tone and affection. “Ahh! so this was a professional thing not anything personal” we thought!
A recent journey enticed me to write this article. I had a chance of extensive traveling from Qatar to Pakistan and then back within about 30 hours and observed many faces of this forced tip thing. Airport taxi service was having a tight schedule the day I reached Karachi and I had to take a yellow cab that overcharged by taking Rs. 950, and I had to go in a very bad conditioned taxi; so there was no question of any tip. On the same day, I went to Lahore and took a taxi from airport to Daewoo Bus stop. Driver was a sleepy, fat, seemingly lazy but witty character who recounted types of services he could provide including private travel between the cities of Punjab. At the end of journey, further to telling Rs100 extra (which ultimately was rectified by me) with respect to mileage he refused to accept Rs.50 TIP, he insisted on Rs.100 as according to him was a usual and must thing. I somehow managed to get rid of him giving away Rs.100. I had around 1 hour of waiting time at Daewoo stop’s waiting area; when I used washroom, cleaner there was doing the similar duty i.e. offering to provide special care to customers enticing for as much tip as possible. As I left the washroom/ablution place, he presented Tissue Paper box like in a waiter style and honoured me with an attentive army styled salute and obtained a well deserved Rs.20. Daewoo travel from Lahore to Sargodha was a great one indeed, commanded by a fine hostess who was in total control of proceedings and carried out a wonderful job; I specially thanked her for great effort. I again had to travel back within 2 hours but performance of the hostess this time was nowhere near to the former one. “Doing justice with your duty is really scarce” I thought! Then I went to Lahore airport for finally traveling to Doha-Qatar; 2 converse examples were waiting for me there. After our baggage screening, while we went to the officer doing baggage inquiry. He asked about amount of money we had in our pockets to keep by Pakistani rule of maximum amount of money while on the move. “I hardly have Rs. 1000-1200 and wife likewise”. “Alright open that bag” he asked and while I was about to bring my bag he said “Why would you take so much headache, leave it Sir jee give us Rs.400-500 and go ahead”. This was something unexpected for me but I insisted to him to do his work and said” I am already short of cash and cannot give you money”. “Alright then open your bag” he remarked and as I carried my bag down, he left us without checking. As we moved towards the Check-in counter, my wife saw him doing similar things with other customers as well. Authorities must check such black sheep who do not obey their duties and leave the baggage without checking for Rs. 500 only or so. We can very well judge the opposite situation at foreign good airports where they treat families as preference and do not keep an eye on their pockets like this. Thereafter, when we went to the Polio Vaccination counter, we found a very nicely behaved gentleman who gave me a good advice as per his past experience to make vaccination certificate for myself despite of not staying for a month or more in Pakistan.
As per my experience/understanding, people would still continue giveaways to people involved with such jobs as we have majority of kind hearted customers understanding financial constraints involved with low-paid class. But having such behaviour of fetching maximum out of the customer’s pocket and treating client as per expected amount of tip wastes whole effort and ultimately lose goodwill of clients. Instead of pleasing the customer, such people become a headache for them and ultimately earn disrespect for their profession.
One of the main ways to curtail such behaviour is that companies should take care of their employees maintaining rational wage standards and government must also take some measures to flourish balance in society. Various job related training programs can be arranged and moral training for on job behaviour should be arranged for a pleasant dealing with customers. A well trained individual deserves to charge as per his/her standard and would certainly not be interested to expect extra payment. People complaining about bad reputation of particular professions should take a note of such teasing behaviour which infiltrates earnings with dubiety.

Muhammad Sultan Shah is a Civil Engineer working for a private firm in Qatar. His areas of interests are mainly Ideology of Pakistan, Pakistan and world society, Social behaviors, Literature & Education. Can be reached [email protected] and tweets at @msltn.

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