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Meals in the room?

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Joined
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Hello,

I have a Texas Eagle Superliner Roomette out of Los Angeles.

I'd like to eat my included meals in my room. All of them. I plan to tell my attendant this when I get the chance. Is this acceptable? Also, I plan to just tp $1 to $2 after each meal. Maybe $5 for the last meal if it's been a satisfactory journey. I can't really afford more, unfortunately.

Is all this okay? I somehow worry about pushback or judgment for eating all my meals in my room.
 

pennyk

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In my opinion, it is OK to eat meals in your room, however, I would tip more than $1-2 for each meal. I would tip more than $5 per meal. The attendant is taking your order, delivering your order to the dining car, walking back to pick up the meal to deliver to you, then cleaning up.
 

FrensicPic

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In my opinion, it is OK to eat meals in your room, however, I would tip more than $1-2 for each meal. I would tip more than $5 per meal. The attendant is taking your order, delivering your order to the dining car, walking back to pick up the meal to deliver to you, then cleaning up.
And typically, tipping for meals is in addition to a tip just for the sleeping car attendant (if warranted) taking care your room and your requests.
 

spinnaker

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And typically, tipping for meals is in addition to a tip just for the sleeping car attendant (if warranted) taking care your room and your requests.

I really don't see what difference it makes as long as you consider the fact that you got special treatment with meal delivery when you tip at the end of the trip. That is what I do.
 

FrensicPic

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I really don't see what difference it makes as long as you consider the fact that you got special treatment with meal delivery when you tip at the end of the trip. That is what I do.
If I ask my SCA to bring meals, I add a tip for the meals on top of (added to) the the regular per-person, per-night tip I would do anyway before the end of trip.
If I go to the diner for my meals, I tip at the table for each meal as in a restaurant but still tip the SCA his/her services for the sleeper service.
You will find a lot of opinion here on AU regarding tipping so, I'll let go at that.
 

AG1

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Wisconsinthunder, just a few facts mentioned in many threads here about tipping.
Amtrak literature states that tipping is not required, but you may tip, if you want, for exceptional service.
Amtrak literature also instructs employees not to solicit tips and to give full service to every customer.
Amtrak customer service employees are well paid union members with great benefits for the service workers industry.They knowingly work the long hours for the compensation they receive.
It is your decision how to spend your money , not the members of this forum.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Hello, I have a Texas Eagle Superliner Roomette out of Los Angeles. I'd like to eat my included meals in my room. All of them. I plan to tell my attendant this when I get the chance. Is this acceptable? Also, I plan to just tp $1 to $2 after each meal. Maybe $5 for the last meal if it's been a satisfactory journey. I can't really afford more, unfortunately. Is all this okay? I somehow worry about pushback or judgment for eating all my meals in my room.
If all you have is $1-$2 dollars to tip then that's all you have. No amount of handwringing about social etiquette is going to put more money in your pocket.

In my opinion, it is OK to eat meals in your room, however, I would tip more than $1-2 for each meal. I would tip more than $5 per meal. The attendant is taking your order, delivering your order to the dining car, walking back to pick up the meal to deliver to you, then cleaning up.
If there were a way for a customer with limited funds to order and collect a takeaway meal on their own I might agree with you. Since Amtrak rules require the SCA to get involved with in-room dining, regardless of the customer's abilities or expectations, it becomes a bit of a gray area.
 
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crescent-zephyr

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I don’t think I would tip $1 at a time for a service. Although I give a $1 to the redcap for literally putting a tag on my bag and rolling it into a closet and somehow I still feel cheap.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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If all you have is $1-$2 dollars to tip then that's all you have. No amount of handwringing about social etiquette is going to put more money in your pocket.
I don't think there is any good solution here to avoid tipping. Not having the cash to tip, does not by itself, give one permission to stiff the person of their due tip. In this case, whether you eat in your room or eat in the dining car, you still need to tip someone (either the SCA or the waitstaff serving you). Its part of the cost of going on the trip in Sleeper class.

It would be like going into a restaurant and enjoying a $50 meal. When the check comes, you only have $50 in your pocket, so its OK to not leave a tip? That's wrong. If you had only $50, you should have only had a $42 meal, and therefore, had enough to also leave a tip.
 

jebr

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Honestly, given that they can't really afford much more than a couple bucks for a tip per meal, I wonder if it'd be better to simply leave a bit larger tip at the end when detraining. A $20 tip at the end may look better than some $2 tips here and there with a $5 tip at the end.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I don't think there is any good solution here to avoid tipping. Not having the cash to tip, does not by itself, give one permission to stiff the person of their due tip. In this case, whether you eat in your room or eat in the dining car, you still need to tip someone (either the SCA or the waitstaff serving you). Its part of the cost of going on the trip in Sleeper class. It would be like going into a restaurant and enjoying a $50 meal. When the check comes, you only have $50 in your pocket, so its OK to not leave a tip? That's wrong. If you had only $50, you should have only had a $42 meal, and therefore, had enough to also leave a tip.
No permission is needed because a gratuity is always at the customer's discretion. Amtrak's position is that no tip should be expected or solicited and unlike a conventional restaurant they do pay a living wage and provide excellent benefits.

Honestly, given that they can't really afford much more than a couple bucks for a tip per meal, I wonder if it'd be better to simply leave a bit larger tip at the end when detraining. A $20 tip at the end may look better than some $2 tips here and there with a $5 tip at the end.
Agreed, and if concerned about the reaction it would be fine to mention this plan when ordering the first meal.
 

Manny T

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Totally agree, it is better to tip at the end for all services received from the SCA during the course of the trip. Services will of course vary, depending on needs and per requests. Some meals delivered, some not. This should be reflected in the final tip.

Tipping the SCA after every meal seems excessive. I think it's better to build a relationship with the SCA during the course of a trip, and then acknowledge all services performed at the end with your tip.
 

iliketrains

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Just book coach if you can not afford to tip both the attendant and the dining car staff. You will save a lot of money, I just looked at a possible trip. The sleeper fare was $534 but the coach fare was $174. And no tipping involved! You can take plenty of affordable delicious food onboard probably for less than $30. With the money saved you can add more fun activities for where you are going. Also if you book very far in advance the roomettes are super low and surprisingly not much higher than coach fares. With the lower cost you could tip the staff a higher amount. I suggest you wait until you can afford it if you absolutely must ride in a sleeper. Otherwise coach is a fantastic alternative.
 
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AG1

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iliketrains, Amtrak, just like the airlines, does not require tipping. Perhaps you did not know that. Do a search on the Amtrak site for the official answer if you don't believe it. You are free to tip all you want, but why are you telling the original poster to not book a sleeper if he "can not afford to tip both the attendant and dining staff".
 
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A $5 tip should be sufficient for all meals. I think $1 or $2 is very cheapo. Better yet, just take coach and bring your own snacks. I''m a germophobe so I don't like eating out and you can never be sure about the cleanliness of food preparation when you eat out of someone else's kitchen, I like the peace of mind knowing that I prepared my own meals.
 

crescent-zephyr

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There is no requirement to tip on Amtrak. I don't think I've ever seen anyone tip an airline attendant and they are providing a similar service and are paid good.

As others have said.. just let the attendant know that you would like your meals in your room, and that you plan to tip them at the end for all their services and let that be that.
 

pennyk

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As has been stated previously, tipping is not required. However, it is customary. There have been many threads on AU on the topic of tipping and many differing opinions. Wisconsinthunder, in this thread, you are receiving the opinions of members (including mine). There is no right answer and there is no wrong answer with regard to tipping. The decision on how much to tip is entirely up to you.

Here are a few old threads of the hundreds on the topic of tipping (a few of which pertain to meals brought to one's room):
https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/tipping-when-brought-meals.69697/
https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/tipping-sca-for-bringing-meal-to-room.44630/
https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/tipping-etiquette-for-food-brought-to-your-room.65892/
https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/tipping.72386/
https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/tipping-suggestions.71278/
https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/tipping-protocol.67292/
https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/tipping-for-service.70061/
 

anumberone

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After tipping $1.00 for breakfast you may not see the SCA for the rest of the day. Maybe best to tell the person you will catch up upon departing and then whatever you can afford will have to do.
 

iliketrains

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iliketrains, Amtrak, just like the airlines, does not require tipping. Perhaps you did not know that. Do a search on the Amtrak site for the official answer if you don't believe it. You are free to tip all you want, but why are you telling the original poster to not book a sleeper if he "can not afford to tip both the attendant and dining staff".
My apologies to the original poster.
 

cruisegary

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...The decision on how much to tip is entirely up to you.
...
In tipping threads here (and many other non-train boards) often ends up with this sort of statement. I find it of very little help for those trying to understand what they should tip. What that statement says is that no tip is totally okay. Many people do not have a clue what would be normal in various situations and ask to better understand. The above type of statement does not help these people at all, and encourages those of the non-tipping culture or persuasion that no tip is perfectly fine - even in places where people make a living off tips - wait staff in a restaurant for example.
 

AG1

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pennyk said, " ----tipping is not required. However, it is customary". (post #18)

Yes, It was customary in the 1930-60s during the golden age of railroads with low paid mostly minorities as service employees.
However, today we have (reportedly) high paid union employees with great benefits that exceed the median income of the country.
I don't understand the justification of paying tips to employees who are well paid to do their assigned tasks as stated to the public in Amtrak literature just because, "it is customary"

Remember, some people can't give up smoking because it is customary !
 

jis

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The rule of thumb that I use for tipping on Amtrak are:

SCA - $0 - $10 per night

In the Diner
Breakfast - $0 - $3
Lunch - $0 - $4
Dinner - $0 - $5

In the Lounge
something like 10% of the purchase price if served with a smile. $0 otherwise.

I have never had food delivered to my room, so I do not have a personal record of what I have done.

There may be additional for exceptional service provided well above and beyond reasonable expectations. I am afraid $0 is not that uncommon an amount of tip actually given. Admittedly, I am not as generous based on "it is customary" as some others are here. Perhaps that is because I am not very good at sticking to customs in general.

So to the lady/gentleman who could afford to give only $2 as tips, it is absolutely fine. Ignore those who are getting on your case about it. Penny is right. You do not have to give a tip.
 
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PerRock

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In tipping threads here (and many other non-train boards) often ends up with this sort of statement. I find it of very little help for those trying to understand what they should tip. What that statement says is that no tip is totally okay. Many people do not have a clue what would be normal in various situations and ask to better understand. The above type of statement does not help these people at all, and encourages those of the non-tipping culture or persuasion that no tip is perfectly fine - even in places where people make a living off tips - wait staff in a restaurant for example.
I conducted a survey a few years ago on tipping with Amtrak. Here are the results from it:
Tipping Results
 
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