The previous blog entry unwittingly started a discussion into the tipping habits in Sri Lanka. In summary there is NO HABIT, just DO AS YOU THINK FIT. I remember in the US in a posh restaurant, I left a 10% tip once rounded up to the nearest dollar when filling in the credit card slip and the waiter followed me out of the restaurant saying that the tip is not sufficient and that he wants another 2.5% as 12.5% is customary. I was floored by such a brazen request saying that then they should put the service charge at 12.5% as this was not discretionary.
Coming back into the SL context I would really say give what the giver thinks is reasonable for the service rendered, and not be led by any rule. When I use a three wheeler trishaw cab with no meter, if I feel the charge is high I do not tip, if I feel the charge is reasonable I tell them to keep the change.
I customarily tip the person who works on a car repair, but if I leave it at a garage and not know who works on it, then I just pay the bill that is presented. However I know that as a rule there is no tipping done in these circumstances.
I often eat at very cheap joints where I have a meal for about Rs80. ( I might add that those places are probably the cheapest eateries in the land) No one tips there. I only tip if I feel the waiter has accommodated me well and been attentive, sometimes leaving the change out of a Rs100. When I eat with my staff and the bill for 4 of us including a cool drink such as a ginger beer (Rs35ea) is between Rs400 and Rs500, it is keep the change type tip that can vary between Rs 20 and Rs50.
At more posh hotels where all taxes and service charges are added and the couple of thousand rupee bill is paid by way of a credit card, then a hundred or two in cash is left to the waiter. Often however if the tab is charged to the room, then there is often not even a signature and when leaving the waiter is given the room number to charge the tab to with no tip!
When the bags are taken to rooms whether it is one or a whole lot for more than one room Rs100 will suffice.
I notice that in the upper price range eateries people with means customarily tip, but at the mostly poor man's eateries that I eat when I am out in the outstation areas there is no tipping at all.
So in short there is no rule. I would welcome some opinions amongst the readers of their personal experiences.