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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

TIP - To Insure Performance

In general, most Singaporeans have lost the Art of Tipping. (Or to be precise, never knew it from the first place!)

We can see the fumblings some Singaporeans make when they travel to cities where its expected that you tip.

Many, many years ago, I was on a date to watch the musical Jesus Christ Superstar (she tricked me) at World Trade Centre Expo (now known as VivoCity; and yes, its that long ago). 

After the muscial, there were a long queue for taxis as we were walking towards the taxi stand along the sidewalk.

Right then, a taxi stopped beside us to alight his passengers.

I looked at the taxi driver expectantly.

He pointed to the taxi stand.

I took out a $10 dollar note. 

The taxi driver waved us in.

That's why some people get the best tables at restaurants. The best rooms with a view in hotels.

Many of my customers who are salespersons or business owners themselves will make an effort to look for me when they've decided to buy sofas (now home appliances) from me when they come back after their 2nd or 3rd visit.

They want me to get the sales commissions. 

I do the same when I do my shopping. 

I want the salesperson who treated me well to be rewarded. 

And if the service is exceptional, I'll write a compliment letter.

You should see the service I get next time I revisit the retail shop or restaurant. Wink.

Professional property investors don't do DIY property transactions themselves to save a few dollars. They treat their real estate agents well.

No surprise they get first hand information from these real estate agents when a buying or selling opportunity pops up.

The same for brokers when it comes to IPO allotments, price moving news, or best deals before the rest of the retail investors get wind of it through the media.

Anyone who gets their financial news from the media (or financial bloggers) knows they are at the bottom of the information food chain...

TIP - To Insure Performance

There is a fine line between tipping and giving a bribe. 

That's why I say some Singaporeans fumble at it.

No, they don't teach you in school for this. And please don't blame schools and big daddy for everything.

Do they teach you how to be a good parent in school? (See, drop literature lah!)

So don't say no one teach you financial literacy (hello, there's math), how to be entrepreneur (can teach meh), and how to tip others (watch successful people behave).

Those of you who attend prosperity churches may recognise tipping.

Law of increasing returns. Sound familiar?

The more you give; the more you'll receive.

But do note a MAJOR difference:

Tipping is the more you reward others; the more you'll receive in service back.

The other one is where the more you give; the more the shepherd will receive.

Not the same OK?

Shepherds tip.

Sheep give wool, milk, and meat.


  1. Hi SMOL,

    What do you get when you combine tip with church? Kanon Tipton.

    Kk, bad pun >.<

    1. Unintelligent Nerd,

      We got child labour...

      Child actors and child singers...

      Now we have child preacher...

  2. The tipping culture is not that common here leh. Got GST, no need tip? I learnt it from the "ang mos" when my wife and I visited and hopped around resorts that Singaporeans/Asians don't visit.

    It's certainly one way to boost service from "great" to "exceptional" . If we take a look at the atas resorts, many of them have the concept of a personal butler. How do you think they maintain that amazing level of service 24/7. Don't be surprised if they get paid more than their guests make back home haha!

    Hospitality industry is fun :D

    1. Kevin,

      Eh, GST is for big daddy. How can that be a tip?

      As for the 10% service charge, that's a scam by the restaurant owners.

      It goes straight to the pockets of the owners; not the waiters :(

      That's why we still get the glum faces from waiters...

      But if we are regulars who know how to "tip", we'll get the VIP treatment ;)

      This is the trick to doing business entertainments with clients. Or impressing the panties off your dates ;)

      That's why I say successful business owners, salespersons, and of course politicians all know how to "tip".

      Its part of street smarts. Or EQ. And whatever you want to call it. Charisma points?

      I always like to say - if anyone and everyone can do it, what's the point again?

      And its not always about money.

      It can be compliments, acknowledgements (remembering and calling the names of the service staff), treating people with respect, not putting airs, etc.

      P.S. If you ever had a good boss to work for, can you spot the techniques he/she had used To Insure Performance (TIP) from you?

      No "tipping" culture my foot!


  3. Such is the state of the service industry. Can't blame people for not wanting to work in retail, hospitality etc. Coincidentally, I've worked in both :D My personal experience is that non-Asians can be very really, really generous! And I don't mean money only. They are generous in compliments as well (which matter more to me)- one of the things I learnt from them many years ago.

    Once in a while, I still come across some shining stars. There is a particular salesperson peddling luggage cases at Tangs. My wife and I bought luggage cases from her once. Quite a few years later, we returned to find her still working there - and bought two more :) And I like to make a mental note of stores/restaurants that address me by name after I've made payment by credit card.

    1. Kevin,

      Yes. That's how I learnt from observating what others DO.

      I noticed those who "tip" are a happier lot ;)

      Those who complain and make a fuss over small things may have money, but they seem to struggle when it comes to people connections...

      I don't want to be that angry old man in the neighbourhood.

    2. Hi Smol

      Yes I do agree with you for the tip part.

      Had tipped a few times for receiving good service from this junior hair stylist for providing a good shampoo and head massage. As years pass, hairstyle more or less sams, but a good head massage will freshen up your day.

      what is real compliment without tip? Be practical and who knows what will I get back in the end hehe

    3. Small Time Investor,

      Naughty guy.

      Make sure she is above 16 ;)

      Next time you in Shanghai, try the hair salons there. Besides hair-cut, they provide body massage and facials too!?


  4. Smol,
    Let me guess the diff between a tip and a bribe in a non-tipping culture in Singapore

    In tip, I get better service in return, sometimes nothing. Bribe I get money (profits) in return

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Both are the SAME in nature - to influence the behaviour of people.

      One is legal; the other not.

      Remember I said in my early 20s, insurance and property friends offered to pay me $50 for every successful clients I send their way?

      And don't forget advertorials and affliated marketing - "influencers" are no different than those who do business at Orchard Towers.

      It takes one to know one. Its just that I cheaper. Heck! I cheaper than Desker Road. I'll sing for kopi!

  5. U remind me of Philip Yeo,

    The person who goes all out to satisfy the needs of CEOs so that they bring jobs here. And they do return

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Human nature.

      Do we go back to the same retail or food outlet after a pleasant experience?

      If Singapore can't attract business owners to come here, don't need to look far, just visit Taiwan and look at their graduate unemployment situation...

      Some Singaporeans will be shocked at their graduate starting pay... You think why they willing to be our security guards?

  6. When tipping is the norm and expected; then it may lose its TIP.

    1. CW,

      The norm for tipping in the States is 10%. Which is the same for our service charge.

      So to go beyond the norm and expected, of course those who know hot to "tip" will know what to do - be it in the States or here in Singapore.

      Those too stingy or unwilling, will bring up lots of technical reasons why they don't know or can't tip...

      Which is OK. No one forcing them.

      Just don't complain when others get better treatment ;)

  7. Sometimes we behave strangely.

    Scenario: We are on a tour in a foreign country and eat in a restaurant. After we are finished we give the waiter/waitress a tip.

    For what?

    The meal and service is already over by then. How would the tip make any difference? We are not coming back to this same restaurant ever.

    What's the tipping point in that?

    Shouldn't we pay the tip (of course above average) upfront to the waiter/waitress at the point he/she ushers us to our seat in order to secure a better service?

    1. Andy,

      That's why I said most Singaporeans have lost the art of "tipping" ;)

      We tip overseas because our tour guide will "coach" us to during the bus ride when we become "hostage customers"... LOL!

      The art of passing the maître d' a tip during our handshake has to be learned ;)

    2. Jared, got an idea.
      You should create a webinar and share your tipping skills with your eager fan-base.
      I would sign up for it.

    3. Andy,

      You are talking to an IT dinosaur...

      Its a pity our public talks did not go through. It would have been fun working along side you on the topic of "continuing education" ;)

      If someone invited me to give a talk on the Art of Tipping, I am game!

      As investors, the first thing is to make sure our brokers and property agents are well compensated and "incentivised".

      This way, we'll get the best deals before the patsies ;)

  8. Are tips collected into a pool for distribution among service staff?


    1. CW,

      Yes, and no.

      If its a restaurant, tips above and beyond the service charge will mostly likely be pooled and shared by all waiters. Anyone who tries to "pocket" the tip secretly will know the "wrath" of your peers ;)

      Some restaurants will prefer not pooling the tips by encouraging "friendly" competition to improve customer service.

      So it depends on the culture and values of the business owners/management.

      Whether you prize togetherness and "family"; or you go for the American way of Most Valuable Player (MVP) individualism - say team work but you reward individual success ;)

  9. In retail service here, don't get complains good enough already. Don't need to expect tips.
    As a customer, I don't frequent high-end places enough to justify giving tips. :P

    1. Rainbow girl,

      A compliment or smile from customer can be satisfying enough ;)

      Retail is fun! Most of the time :)


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