OK, it’s official. I am a tight-wad. Yesterday I put a survey up on Facebook about tipping in Cabo. A lot of the 99 responses were from the Caboholic Support Group, so we need to start with a big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to take the survey. Now, as promised, here are the results which will make a pretty good guide to proper tipping if you live here or on your next visit.
The first two questions were about rewarding servers, and I was wondering if the guys carrying buckets of beer on a hot beach got any preferential treatment. Absolutely not the case. About half of the respondents tip the beach waiters 20% and another forty percent give them 15%. So it’s almost an even split between those two options. Some of the comments indicated 30% and even up to 40%, and one person makes it easy: $20 per day, which makes good sense if you’re vacationing in an all-inclusive resort.
Asking the same question about waiters in a conventional restaurant the results were much more definitive: two out of three of you tip 20%, almost all of the rest responded 15% but there were a few comments made about tipping as much as 40% depending on the circumstances. WOW.
When at the PEMEX (gas station) the scenario was if the attendant merely pumps the gas and cleans the windshield (and if the driver feels they’re getting all the gas they are paying for). Just over half of you tip 10 pesos, about a quarter tip 5 pesos, and about one in five do not tip at all. If they check oil and water levels or tire pressure about half of you add 10 pesos to the tip. One in three do not increase the tip for more service and one out of five adds 5 pesos. A number of the comments indicated the respondents either live in Cabo or are experienced visitors: they don’t trust the attendants to check anything! You do realize they get a bonus for every liter of oil they sell, right?
The grocery store was very confusing. First, the baggers are typically working just for tips. The stores don’t reward them for their labor but sometimes provide a uniform, in the case of MEGA the baggers are seniors who probably have no pension. Anyway, the most frequent answer was ‘whatever coins I get as change’ (37%). The other options (5 pesos, 10 pesos, or 5-10 pesos depending on whether they do a good job were pretty evenly split. A few respondents indicated they tip more for heavier items. At Costco and many grocery stores there are people who hang out by the exit and offer to help you to your car. I usually tip them 5 pesos if I actually say yes when they offer to help, and the answer here showed me to be a real tight-wad. Almost half of you tip them 10 pesos and about one third say it depends on the size of the order. There were many comments on this question, one saying they pay 200 pesos! Seems a bit excessive to me. And of course there were a number of comments about how aggressive they are at Costco; stalking you to your car, grabbing the cart and hoping you’ll be guilted into paying them. Was there today, and yep, it is annoying.
On the personal services front, I asked how much you tip for manicure, pedicure, massage, haircut, etc. The most frequent response was 20% (just over half of the responses) followed by 15% (40 percent of respondents), and about 10% of you tip 10% on personal services. In the comments one person noted that at the beauty school she tips more heavily: 50%.
When I asked about tipping a delivery person the most common answer was 15%, again just about half of the respondents. About one third tip 10% for delivery and others pay a fixed amount based on distance and promptness.
For the tourists we asked how much to tip a bellman to handle one suitcase or parcel at a nice resort. The answers were pretty much split between 20 and 50 pesos, the higher amount had a slight advantage. Only 13% went over that to 100 pesos.
When asked about valet parking the vast majority of you tip either 20 or 50 pesos, the numbers were almost exactly split in half with only a few exceptions (100 pesos or it depends on where were only selected by 9 percent of the group).
So there you have it. Is it totally scientific? No. But it is a good reality check. Here in Cabo tips are an important part of many worker’s income, not just waiters, and it’s nice to know that you’re treating them right.
Carol Billups is Broker/Owner of Cabo Realty Pros. She has enjoyed working with both buyers and sellers for over thirteen years and still thinks hers is the best job on earth. She is also the real estate columnist for Los Cabos Magazine. You can read more of her articles on the website blog www.caborealtypros.com. You can reach her from the U.S. or Canada at 1-760-481-7694, or in Cabo at 044-624-147-7541. You can listen to our 24/7 broadcast on http://www.livecabo.net for a mix of happy music, weather reports and local information.
© 2014 Carol S. Billups