Author: Doug (---.dsl.stlsmo.swbell.net)
Date: 06-03-08 09:33
I think tipping conventions in Culebra are similar to the states. Remember, service intervals are slower than home, so calibrate expectations to island time.
Tipping story. Several years back, I and four buddies came to Culebra over New Years. I'm the old hand while they were all on their first or second visit. We had reservations at Juanita Bananas, considered one of the high end spots on the island. When we arrived, it was obvious that they were slammed and undermanned, due to a couple of illnesses. The acting maitre'd, a lad of about 21, was doing triple-duty as greeter, waiter and busboy. He was also a friend of mine, having been semi-adopted and under the tutelage of my hosts during earlier trips. Even tho' he was under constant, significant heat from humor-challenged patrons, he managed to keep us in cold Presidentes during our hourlong delay in getting seated.
At the end of our meal, I divided the tab by the 5 of us and added 20% for a tip. One of our number, known to make copper wire from pennies, declared he wasn't tipping for what he considered inferior service. I said fine and kicked in his share. He got pissy and said he wanted to send a message. My response was he better send a message to whomever he planned to travel with next time. An alcohol-fueled discussion on the way back to our cottage followed. The next morning, sober, I explained to him that friends made on the island insure the type of welcome I want in a place I return to, again and again. He apologized and repaid me for his share.