What is it in Bora Bora?
We were told that people don't expect tips in Bora Bora but if we wanted to tip they would be very grateful. We tipped the same as we would in the states 15 - 20%. They were very happy with what we gave them and we were very happy with service we received from them.
I answered you briefly on your other thread but basically it varies widely. Many people on these forums complain about those who tip at all saying it's ruined the previous "no tipping" culture and that unlike in the States service people in FP are paid a "living wage". I've talked with enough staff, been to people's homes, and spent enough time in FP that I think I'm skeptical of that but regardless no one is getting rich in FP doing the often difficult jobs of housekeeping, waiting tables, etc. I tip for good service, ask if I should tip when I'm unsure (and yes sometimes people say no!) and generally play it by ear. I always tip housekeeping on a daily basis, the equivalent of about $5/day for a couple. I tip the equivalent of about $1-2 per bag for porter service. As I mentioned many restaurants now add in a service fee or will tell you no tipping or will exclude the tip line on their credit card receipts. If none of those are true I generally tip in restaurants for good service, sometimes a percentage, sometimes a set amount. I absolutely tip tour guides and boat/dive staff for good service.
Like any place I value good service and I'm willing to pay a little extra in appreciation and I've noticed people remember and often you'll get extras at the next meal or the snorkel boat staff will take extra care to find somewhere off the beaten path for you next time, housekeeping will be extra attentive. Those are bonuses. But I wouldn't get uptight about it - it's definitely true that unlike in the States service workers in FP are not dependent almost entirely on tips for their wages and no one is likely to confront you or give you stink eye if you don't tip. You should do what you feel comfortable with after getting feedback and depending on the circumstance.
Years ago in the 70s-80s-90s if you tried to tip someone in French Polynesia you insulted them. People don't study the culture of the countries they visit today.
With all due respect I don't think it's about 'studying the culture' at all - I think it's about adaptation and change - usually for the better. What were cultural norms in many countries and amongst many cultures 40 years ago wouldn't even be considered today. Just because it was a certain way at some point doesn't mean it makes sense now!
Like I said, in the States you're a jerk if you don't tip. There's no question that tipping in FP isn't mandatory and you probably won't be negatively judged regardless. I don't think you'll find anyone who will be "insulted" in FP today if you try to tip them although some may politely refuse.
But I think the "way it was decades ago" argument or implying that you're not culturally aware or sensitive unless you don't tip just doesn't fly. Use common sense and you'll figure it out. Most people who just don't want to tip will find an excuse why no matter where they go - even in the States.Edited: 11 September 2014, 00:29
I'll still say study the culture.
If I had not studied the cultures (both Tahitian and French) and how business was conducted in FP I would still be trying the building my home on Moorea.
Yes but presumably you did not rely on a book about business etiquette from 1980 when building your house in 2010.
I think SheaG conveyed the thoughts about tipping very well. While tax and service in French Polynesia is included, many people here have difficult jobs (yes living in Paradise is not always what it seems to be) and will always certainly appreciate a tip. I live here, do know many people from here and I can tell you they are always very appreciative when receiving a tip. Either way, many will go out of their way so you can enjoy your vacation, basically I would say, do what your heart tells you:-)
thanks appreciate the advice.
What I really like about FP is the fact that I don't have to carry small bills around with me like I was in a strip club. I'm happy to tip 5-10% on the dinner cheque if service was good. FP isn't Vegas and let's keep it that way. I find the custom of having to slip everyone a few bucks subtly to be somewhat crass. It's ok to let go of the customs of your country and embrace another's.
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