Thursday, May 13, 2010

Should we have left a tip?

As part of the package we purchased from our resort in Thailand, we each received a free 60-minute foot massage, so we made an appointment the other day. It was glorious.

The spa was located outside near a little garden with the smell of flowers and the sound of running water. Very relaxing. My masseuse must have really known her craft because although my feet are extremely sensitive and ticklish, I didn’t flinch at all while she was working.

At the end of our session, they said something in Thai and gave us a wai (Thai greeting with hands in prayer position and little head nod) to let us know time was up. Jake and I thanked them both, looked at each other awkwardly and shuffled out – it was so strange to leave without tipping. Our guidebooks say, just like here in New Zealand, that tipping isn’t necessary or expected unless you receive exceptional service in a nice restaurant.

We’re so used to the American way – an obligation to tip anyone who drives, carries food, picks up a bag or opens a door – that it’s hard for us to change. And we’re still not sure we did the right thing, so let me ask our readers: Should we have tipped on the Thai foot massages? Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.


Dave said...

First off...a 60 minute foot massage?! I've got some big feet but I'm pretty sure they could be rubbed numb is less than 5 minutes. As far as tipping goes...when in doubt hand it out!

Anonymous said...

I was over there and had a 60 minute full body massage and offered a tip, but was told 'no,no thank you.' But a second place I went, they took it and seemed pleased.

I felt guilty eating out in New Zealand...wanting to leave a tip, but knowing it wasn't expected. When I didn't I felt like I was sneaking out without paying.

Yer Mum said...

I think you're right, Americans are tuned into the tip game, but if the guidebooks tell you that tipping is not necessary for a foot massage, then I wouldn't lose sleep over not having tipped. What I find hard to believe, though, is that Jamie didn't kick like a mule when someone touched her feet--so ticklish :)

Gwyn Valentine said...

i guess its always nice to tip for good service even though there is no tipping culture in the country. But i've offered a tip before in thailand and they refused it.

Anonymous said...

I usually tip in Thailand.
They are a poor country, and the same rules don't apply.
They are many times too polite to ask, but if they think you are American, they know you usually will.