I will or I will not…..that is the answer, but what was the question? Well, its the age old subject of ‘tipping’. Not the visit to the Council Waste Management Centre – the other type – the will I, won’t I give money beyond the statutory amount required, for services given. This month has been awash with moments of ‘tipping’ madness. Not since Christmas has The Composer and Mrs Composer been out quite so much – due mainly to a high number of invitations from a variety of people kind enough to want our company.

So what is the etiquette? There is a plethora of advice on a Google search, covering almost everything. It does not help. It also has a numerical calculator on one of the advice pages which helps you calculate the most appropriate amount to tip. Great if you happen to feel like browsing your mobile gadget at the dining table in a restaurant or hotel. So, with this wealth of information, The Composer set about deciding on scales of 1 to 10 how good was the welcome, the service, the food, the ambience, the decor, the toilets, the parking, the various ‘customer service assistants’ (oh, I just worked out that we are talking about the waiter/waitress!!) and last but not least the value of ‘the offer’. That is a euphamism for THE BILL!

So having eaten at my favourite Mc’D’s I was staggered to be asked to complete the questionnaire/survey being carried out by the eager young female bearing down on me as I beat a hasty retreat from the self serve counter!!

More recently, Trip Advisor decided I was fair game to complete an online survey asking for my opinion on tipping, how much I gave and what influenced me. And this led me to a rather unscientific conclusion. Tipping is bad – bad for the giver and the recipient who are equally confused by the amount given and received. Was it enough? Was it too much?

Sadly, there is no definitive answer. The argument rages on in the ‘service’ industries. As a small business we appreciate our staff. Our guests appreciate them too, and often a kind word or a small gesture (not always financial) is the icing on the cake of our ‘service’. It has a value far higher than coins of the realm!! Thank you to so many of our guests who recognise the work our service staff do. Next time you are in the ‘will I , won’t I’ mode, think what would be the best measure of appreciation before trying to calculate 12.5% of ‘the offer’. Thats my tip – for what it’s worth!