Service with a smile!

A few weeks back, we visited a textile showroom in one of the busiest areas in our city. Like many commercial establishments in this area, this showroom also has valet parking facility. When the driver alighted from our car after bringing it to the gate, I thanked him and handed him a Rs. 10 note. He did not take the note, but smiled and said, “Thank you, sir. But it’s not necessary,” and walked away. Before I could close the door, the watchman bent towards me and said softly, “Sir, that’s our supervisor. Since there’s a heavy crowd today, he’s helping with the parking.” Only then did I observe that the supervisor was not wearing a driver’s uniform.

I was impressed by the supervisor’s attitude. Dignity of labour is seen among many entrepreneurs, but is not too common among employees. I also hoped that he had not felt offended by my offering him a tip.

Two weeks later, we visited the same showroom again. This time, after we completed our shopping, our car was brought to the gate by a person wearing a driver’s uniform. As soon as he alighted from our car, I thanked him and handed him a Rs. 10 note. The driver did not take the note. He smiled and said, “Thank you, sir. But we are not supposed to accept tips.”

This came as a very pleasant shock to me! Tips are neither mandatory nor forbidden for valet parking. I tip the drivers voluntarily. While the tip is a small amount to the customer, the tips from all customers could amount to a substantial amount per driver per day.

The fact that the drivers willingly refuse tips, especially in these days of high prices and high inflation, speaks volumes for them and for the showroom’s management. I believe that such behaviour and attitude in an organization comes from the top. Obviously, the showroom’s management has instructed their drivers not to accept tips from customers, and has also ensured that they pay the drivers higher salaries to compensate for the absence of tips.

I believe that the additional money is well spent by the management because the gesture of refusing tips has the effect of making customers feel like welcome guests!

What do you think?

22 thoughts on “Service with a smile!

  1. I love this atttitude and feel totally irritated when even in highly priced hotels…from waiters to watchman everybody wants a tip and makes you feel small if you dont give..

    • Some restaurants add a Service Charge (different from Service Tax) in their bill. This Service Charge is in lieu of a tip. I do not recall any such restaurant explicitly informing customers that SC has been included. The managements and staff know that most customers would be embarrassed to ask for a clarification, especially when they are entertaining guests.

  2. this is such a welcome change…..when anybody and everybody in the service industry clamours for small change, these people are a class apart. by the way is this experience at the phulgam textile showroom in solapur? because we had a similar experience there.

  3. indeed it is a great thing. Actually I would like to say one thing here too.. it was a pleasant surprise for me in chandigarh , all the police officers doing their job said “SIR” or “MADAM” .. whenever they spoke.. because I was travelling all the time and that too usually at night, we were stopepd a lot of times for checkup etc but each time the officers were so polite and some even said Sorry for wasting our time ..

    so things are changing for good .. and it feels so very goooooooddddd …

  4. but if customers wants to tip an employee ,they should be able to…I agree that tipping should not be mandated or people who refuse to give tips should not be looked down upon…but if somebody is pleased with a service and is willing to tip ,then why should that be not allowed..after all these valet parking guys and hotel waiters don’t earn much and a good tip is bound to make their day better..don’t you think?

    • Judging by their smiles and their body language, it was clear that these guys were enthusiastically refusing tips. That’s why I’m sure the management must be compensating them for the absence of “tips income”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible for me to confirm.

  5. I’ve had that experience. Of course some people refuse because they expect more, but many organizations are realizing the value of keeping their employees happy – who in turn look after customers well. So nice to hear about your experience!

  6. This is the way it should be – good salaries to begin with so they don’t have to rely on tips from customers. I totally agree that this leaves customers with a nice feeling.

    • Correct. I don’t mind tipping people who provide service. In fact, I tend to tip more than normal. The tips for valet parking are always nothing compared to the amount spent at the shop. However, the drivers politely turning down tips did make me feel good!

      • Not to take away from the mood of the post, but when tipping is “expected” is it the precursor to “corruption” ? In US there is a place in the tax return to report tip income but I doubt that it happens since cash tips cannot be tracked.

  7. Happy that such people are still seen in this world 🙂 🙂 🙂 The noble supervisor, the honest driver and the caring, considerate company – every thing is a happy feeling 🙂 Thanks for sharing this experience with us !

  8. This is a very nice gesture by the shop. Normally they pay very less for these employees and they expect them to earn more from their customers. They calculate this while arranging for salaries for them. This is really a pleasant surprise. Good to know about the supervisor who didn’t feel low for doing this ‘menial’ work. The owners must be very good people.

  9. Tips, chai-paani, bachhon ki mithai ke liye are all excuses which permeate from the top to the bottom. Salary does play a major role, but I feel it is what you teach your employees and how you make them feel respected and be dignified. Wish more and more institutions/employers learn this and implement this.

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