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Home Thoughts From Abroad with Apologies to Robert Browning

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Having just returned from a short trip to New York, I once again found it baffling how the good people of the United States put up with a system that allows advertised prices to be readily and apparently legally inflated at will.


It is well established that a sales tax is levied on certain goods sold so that an item displayed as $10 becomes $10.45 when rung through the till. Having paid for the hotel before we flew out, it was disheartening to be greeted on check in with the news that there was a $30 a day service charge for the room which will be charged when we leave. Have a nice day indeed.


The taxi from the airport is a fixed fee until they add toll fees and announce that a tip is not included in the price quoted. The coup de grace is of course the restaurant meal and the inevitable and on occasions, compulsory tip.


It appears nowadays that 18% is the norm and on one occasion was automatically added to the bill. The other restaurants suggested 18% but also gave the suggestion that if you were especially pleased with the service you had received then 20% or even 22% might be appropriate.


Don’t get me wrong, the service at some of these establishments is as good as it gets but it does seem to be taken for granted that a tip is part of the service sector wage structure.


Perhaps we should bring this custom into our commercial world in the UK.


 You can quote a price for your goods over the phone but if your telephone sales manner is good, your delivery prompt and your diver prepared to pass the time of day with the receptionist then you have every right to add a minimum 18% (plus VAT) to your invoice.  


Nice work if you can get it.


The Chamber Loan Fund has no hidden extras. It does exactly what it says on the tin and we continue to lend to increasing numbers of satisfied clients. The service is of course top drawer albeit my principal remuneration remains job satisfaction, which is reward enough.


In this country, ‘Have a Nice Day’ may not cut the mustard as far as service is concerned but integrity and openness in our dealings will hopefully reap the reward such deserves.


God bless America.