No Service Charge

I have had a very interesting–and extremely pleasant–experience this weekend. I came to Boston for a conference, and was booked into the conference hotel. My room wasn’t ready when I got in, so I left my bag with the bellman and checked in to the meeting. When I returned to retrieve my suitcase, the bellman refused to accept the usual tip.

In fact, none of the waiters or others working here–all of whom were incredibly helpful, took tips.

The checks in the restaurant explained that the hotel paid its staff an adequate wage, so that these workers did not have to rely on tips. I can attest to the fact that this policy made my stay much more enjoyable. It also makes it much more likely that I would choose this hotel for future trips.

In Indianapolis, where I live, waiters and janitors and other hotel workers have been demonstrating for well over a year just to get a raise sufficient to allow them to live decently once tips are included. I don’t know how much the owners are “saving” by refusing to pay even a minimally living wage, but as a consumer I think they’re missing the boat.

I would choose a hotel that pays its people so that I don’t have to every time!



  1. I think you are onto something here. I travel a lot promoting my novel Paper Puzzle and always cringe at the thought of forking over money for what should be basic services from the hotel where I happen to be staying. I usually leave as generous a tip as I can because I know the wait staff depends upon tips to make their month.

  2. In a down economy, easier said than done. You evidently feel there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of people who–for whatever reason–have fewer choices.

  3. . . .and the room rate was what? My guess is much more than in most in Indy. Indy is a bargain and that helps convention business, which helps local hotel and restaurant business, which helps local tax revenue and downtown itself. Sheila Kennedy isn’t one that looks at the big picture as a rule.

  4. You are entitled to your opinion whether I look at the “big picture,” although you certainly could have made your point without the gratuitous rudeness. As it happens, the hotel’s rate was quite reasonable; comparable (at least for this conference) to those charged by the local Hyatt and Marriott.

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