Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tipping at the gas station

I was at a gas station and the dude filling my car actually offered to clean my windscreen! It must have been the first time ever that it happens to me here in Oman. Omani gas stations are the last place on earth where you can expect value added services. Inzain, so I came to tip the guy (he was an Indian) and he flinched. He wanted nothing to do with it. Cool with me, the guy's pride won't stand for it. I understand.

I'm always asking people if they tip petrol station attendants. I rarely do but I know a lot of people do it. My mother is probably the number one tipper of gas station workers in Oman. I know for a fact that she once stopped in a station when she didn't even need gas, tipped the guy without filling-up and drove away- she called it a sadaqa. When my mother goes to fill up her car she makes it a point of always asking the Omani guys to come. In fact if the Indian dude comes up to fill her car she waves him away until an Omani comes. And then of course, she gives the Omani a big tip. She says she does it to encourage Omanis to accept working low paying jobs like this. I tell her she's racist. She says it's hard for the Omani live a decent life or have a family on a gas station's salary while the Indian is probably provided with room and board by the station's owner. Dunno, what do you think?

23 comments:

NiGhTFaCe said...

I used to tip when I was in India, though the people here are not used to it.

Sometimes I tip at the car wash.

Blue Chi said...

Positive Discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing, I think that Omanis should have a privilage in the work place. Come on, it is our country!

I encountered an awesome experience in the gas station today, I was with my older brother, who is very highly tempered, something stupid happened, and he started shouting at the worker in filling station who happened to be Indian. The Indian guy started shouting back saying that my brother was shouting only because the worker is Indian!

Regardless of what the issue was, I always thought that Omanisation taught people how to be more polite with workers, because we treat foreign asian labour as if they were not human, anyway, I have never heard an Indian complain about it in the past saying that he is being discrimination against, but now Indians can compare themselves to Omani workers, whom they assume are treated better because they are nationals. I was really amused, but that doesn't mean that I am supporting any side of the argument.

Wardat_il'7leej said...

You should see how foreign workers are treated in other Gulf countries, they wouldn't dare shout of say a peep

Arabian Princess said...

your mom is an angel :)

and I agree with her ..

Nash said...

I am sure your mother means well...

Nash said...

In fact, thanks to your mother, I will start tipping from now on...

Samyah said...

Its weird that this was your first offer for a windscreen wash, my dad always gets them (but only from indians).

I don't agree with your mom Mux :p while I understand her point I don't think its right to give in to the 'Omanis are too good for low paying jobs' and need encouragment. They should be willing and ready to do it anyway. Besides, most of the Omani guys working in the gas stations are young twenty something year olds who don't have a family yet.

Kay said...

generally in oman we dont have a tipping culture, whether it be at the gas station, resturants, or any other services that is provided. which is probably one reason why the quality of service is soo bad.

illogicist said...

My dad got a free windscreen wipe once. The guy was Omani, this was on the way back from Dubai, some desolate station, if I remember correctly. Anyway, my dad tried to tip the guy, he wouldn't accept. Both being arabs, they kept trying to the point of blows, until my dad decided to let it go. Then there was the whole shaking hands, asking hows the family blah blah blah. it was very cool :p

@blue: much respect for that Indian guy. It takes a lot of guts, or not much brains, but either way its cool it happened IMO.

suonnoch said...

I believe that your mother may be ill informed. On the whole, there is positive discrimination on behalf of Omanis, who earn a significantly higher salary than Asians, although I concede that there would be exceptions to the rule. I would invite your mother to tour the accommodation that is provided for Asian workers and judge whether she would consider living in it. Perhaps Oman should do away with attendant staffed petrol pumps and do what they do in UK - make them automatic. Then she would have to get out in the heat and fill her own car. She could also pay at the pump too with her smart card. When I was living in Muscat, I was always being asked if I wanted my windscreen washed, and I always agreed because it was a useful service. I also used to leave any change with the attendant, knowing that I was earning far, far more than they were, whether Indian or Omani.

Blue Chi said...

I would like to argue in favourite of positive discrimination for the Omani employee. Number 1, she is not doing something bad to the non-Omani individuals, his rights are not affected by the fact that she chooses to be served and consequently tip the Omani employee.

Secondly, it doesn't matter if the Asians are living a harder life, the non-Omani worker does not 'expect' to be tipped anyway and this lifestyle that they are currently living in is what they have choose to do. On the other hand, blue collar work is still a new and unexpected to te Omani citizen, and the Omani her 'needs' motivation to work in this field.

Receiving a tip is not a right and giving it is not an obligation, nobody can blame her for choosing to the tip the omanis and the indian cannot complain for not receiving it.

Life... said...

Tips at gas stations.hmm interesting! I must have driven away a couple a times without taking change but I mostly tip guys at the carwash , whether omanis or indians. Omanis or indians I greet both and thank both, for both are human beings.

wicked: the quality of service should be good regardless! whether a tip is involved or not..a tip is just an extra..but howmuch should a tip be? that's the question.

illogicist said...

I missed the last part of the post, about room and board. The accomodation provided to these subcontinent workers is usually shared with at least 2-3 other workers - hardly comfortable. Food - I dont know, I think it is provided I guess, but one can only guess at the quality and quantity. My point is that aspect doesnt add much credence to the argument.

Something thats swayed me yesterday: on my way back to my car from the Qatar Airways offices I walked past the Western Union Money Transfer office in OC Center. It was full of Indians queueing up to send money back home. It makes you think, really.

Kay said...

@ life in theory yes, the quality of service should be good regardless, thats why i said "one" of the reason the quality of service sucks here, but what can we as consumers do to change that? we can complain, send letters, demand to see managers, not use that service anymore, but a more positive way would be to tip, hence
encourging better service.

at resturants the tip should be between 15% - 25% of the bill (i think)dont quote me, not sure about other places.

ColOman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ColOman said...

Why aren't there any ladies working at gas stations cleaning windscreens and stuff?

Anyway I tip if they smile and say hi and thank you Omani or non.

Samer said...

I think there's definetly an element of racism in her decision. I've been to Oman too many times and the way they treat Indian people is atrocious.

Nameless said...

Your mother ain't racist - her justification is positive.

I always tip otherwise I feel that I support slavery. If I can push my trolley of groceries, why should I let the sweaty Indian who has bagged so many groceries all day and pushed hundreds of trolleys to people's car. I tip indians 1 rial and the old Omani guys at Al-fair 2 rials and my reasons are apart from the fact that he's an Omani, he's also old and has been there ever since I was a young teenager.

Mindazi said...

I can justify forced abortion of black American babies to lower the crime rate... I guess that doesn't make me a racist.

Samer said...

Dude, I just realized we're family!!!! I left you a message on your Flickr account as well. I'm the son of your first-cousin Zaki!

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