As with my last post, I was the author of this post and I am lifting it from the Mandrill Press website where it first appeared.
I arrived at Cairo International Airport and got onto the bus operated by the hotel where I usually stay. The other passenger on the bus was a young Japanese businessman. As you may know, the Japanese don’t tip. They regard tips as an insulting suggestion that the person they are tipping is inadequately paid. However, an Egyptian bus driver knows he is inadequately paid and he won’t feel insulted if you add a little extra. We arrived at the hotel and I gave the driver $2—enough to feed his family for a couple of days. The Japanese gave him nothing. As we walked to Reception, the driver skipped after the Japanese, asking if everything was okay. Yes, yes, all was fine. I said. “Tip him.” “What?” “Tip him!” “Oh. No.” Okay, have it your way. So we walked into the hotel; the driver followed us, speaking to the receptionists in Arabic which the Japanese did not understand; my receptionist said, “Welcome back, Mister John; we’ve upgraded you to a room in the Tower, no extra charge”; and the Japanese’s receptionist said, “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t find your booking.” Okay, she would find him a room eventually because they wouldn’t want to lose the money but she’d make him wait and I might well be showered and ordering dinner before he got to his room. The lesson: in Egypt, tip.
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