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Are you generous?
12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 1 Msg: #38742  
Unless I am in a nice restaurant where tipping is expected, I am very random about tipping.
I often give tips to those who are nice about the noise and mess my daughter makes when I take her out. Or sometimes I give random tips to rickshaw pullers or nice cafe staff .... when I am travelling. Most of the time I dont tip at all.

What about you? Are you a generous tipper?
Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 2 Msg: #38773  
N Posts: 43
I hope everyone not living in the US, and decides to visit, takes a look at this post.
I have worked in the service and hospitality industry in the US for a while, i've been everything from a cook to a waiter.
There is a reason that foreigners do not get attention when they come into a restaurant, and it has no relationship to any -isms, nobody outside the US understands our way of tipping.

In most other countries, service industry jobs are paid a higher minimum wage. Alternately in the US, we don't get paid anything, $2.15/hr. for tipped jobs Look at the state of the US economy and then try and understand how ridiculous $2.15/hr. is, it is peanuts in comparison to a living wage.

If you come to the US, TIP YOUR SERVER! $1 a drink for bartenders and cocktail waitresses is STANDARD. For meals, if you like the service, the sky is the limit (MISSING), but AT LEAST %! (MISSING)of the total bill is expected. If the service is absolutely horrible, tip somewhere between %!-(MISSING)15 of the total bill.

Again, you don't have to tip at these percentages, but I can guarantee that you won't be getting another drink anytime soon, and half of the wait-staff will know immediately that you're a horrible tipper. Trust me when I say that you will be single out like this.

I know that Europe and Australia are different, but people need to understand the US system before they come here, just as much as we are expected to understand other countries customs when we go there. The service industry people survive off your tips. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 3 Msg: #38795  
That tipping thing in the US puts me right off going out to restaruants and bars when I am there. The restaruants in the US really should do something to make the tips customers give an optional gift, rather that something that is demanded off us or else. Even a service charge is better than the tip or else I scowl at you thing from the waiters or the tip and I scowl at you if you have not given me what I expected or more. Until something changes if that ever happens, I think I will have To Go rather than with table service. It gives me no pleasure to give a gift when it is demanded like this.

Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 4 Msg: #38805  
B Posts: 212
I agree with you Mell - when I was in New York, we got really bad treatment from waiters and bar people if we didn't give at least 20% tip - one time we just asked for soup, they got the order wrong twice and took ages to bring it, and then when we didn't tip, the guy literally stormed off.
this is an issue for the US hospitality industry for sure - not only does it put tourists off to be guilt-tripped into supplementing the income of staff, the wages will never be improved if people continue to buy into it - if enough tourists refuse to do this, and voice their dislike about the situation, then eventually the hospitality industry will be forced into paying decent wages for their staff. I'm sure waiters such as yourself, Matt, can't feel comfortable with having this kind of relationship with the people you're serving. It IS a ridiculously stupid amount you're getting paid, I'm sure no-one would dispute that - but I think you need to stop thinking of it as it being 'our way of tipping' - it's an underhand way of the businesses exploiting their staff and exploiting the tourist contingent. Stand up for your rights Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #38806  
B Posts: 212
PS going back to the original thread, I too am pretty random with tipping - if I get really good service and care then I'm inclined to tip generously; on the other hand, if it's a pricey place anyway, I might feel I've paid enough. When travelling in Asia, I tried to pay according to what I thought was fair at the time, but I guess this was also whimsical and dependent on my mood at the time! It's a really woolly area - if something has a price, either fixed, or something you've agreed, why should there be extra on top of that, or an expectation for that? Either one or the other - you pay what's agreed, or you pay what you think, but not both! I was thinking about this just the other day - that it'd be interesting, just for a day, if businesses, eg supermarkets, shops, cafes, restaurants, had a 'pay what you think' day for everything they're selling, and then see... sometimes I think people are more inclined to be generous if they're given - trusted even to make - a choice. wonder what'd happen... Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #38808  
I lived in Canada for a year. Even when one tips generously it is not enough to make the restaruants there a relaxing experience. There is no such thing as being allowed to linger over coffee after dinner. They bring the bill. One is expected to pay promptly and get out so the table is available quickly for the next tipper.
I got used to it somewhat but I certainly prefer the European way of going out to relax at the restauant and after dinner chat with friends or family at the table for any amount of time.
Unfortunately some heavily touristed restaurants in Europe are getting tip greedy. I avoid them. The worst ones even have toilet attendants whom one is supposed to tip everytime one goes to the bathroom. If I am in one of those places I wonder why I am paying somebody to invade my privacy when I go to the bathroom. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #38819  
B Posts: 212
Yeah but this is the same even in Brown Thomas in Dublin! There's a tipping bowl in the toilets - granted, the toilets are very nice which is why I go in to use them and I guess it's possibly there to get people like me who don't actually buy anything in the store itself, but just go in there to use the loos - but it's a bit excessive and they have the toilet attendants rushing into the cubicles between each usage to wipe over the seat, presumably to demonstrate a reason for leaving a tip.

One time in Brussels railway station the toilet attendant actually stood in the exit doorway blocking it until I gave her a tip. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #38827  
N Posts: 43
See, I still feel differently about the tipping than you do. I feel like most waitstaff are lazy and uncaring in most countries I have been to. They don't kow the menu, there is no conversation, it is an uneventful experience. People don't go out to eat for the food here, they can cook at home or get take out , they go for the experience. By tipping, you ensure that your waitstaff is attentive, engaging, and there for anything you need. I agree that there are some horrible waiters out there, and these people sould not be tipped well, thats fine. Like the soup thing, that guy was a moron, I probably wouldn't have tipped him either. But I can guarantee that you will never change the system we have, it is based on capitalism and hard work on the part of the service staff.

It isn't fair that we stereotype you the second we hear your accents, but you have to see it from our angle, were there to make money. I've had many occasions where I have been stiffed on my tip from foreigners, and it really does make everyone, including myself, in the service industry angry. We understand that you come from a different culture, but all we ask is that you make the effort to understand ours while your visiting.

I hate going to Europe and paying to use the bathroom, hell I think its ridiculous. Then to have an old woman sitting outside that looks like she has one foot in the grave is just plain playing dirty. But what happens every time I go to Europe, I trot my happy little American butt over to her stand and drop in some change. "When in Rome." I can respect that that is how things are done, and since I am a VISITOR, it is respectful to adhere to my hosts customs and not infringe my own beliefs, however justified I feel they are, on their citizens.

It isn't fair, it may make you uneasy, but it is the way we do things. It is part of the experience of being in the US. With the exception of our moron for a president, we don't try and change your customs, so please try and get along with ours. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #38832  
B Posts: 212
I appreciate you feel strongly about this, but it's different for tourists - when we're there, we're going out to eat, not just for the 'experience' - we're staying in hostels or hotels, and the restaurants presumably rely on tourist trade, not just natives. I've eaten in lots of places around the world where the waiters have been attentive and nice, but still you're not expected to pay a 20% tip. I think it's a bit unfair to call it a 'custom' - it's a very expensive 'custom' in that case! Most countries, granted, are guilty of exploiting tourist trade in some form or other but it's like in the US, we're expected to pay heavily for something that should already be provided - when you eat out at restaurants and cafes, you should expect that you'll get treated decently by the staff - it shouldn't be an add-on. I think this is more about the fact that you get paid crap money, but you're taking out your resentment on the wrong people. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #38835  
N Posts: 43
If you are traveling around in Hostels, and have a tight budget, you shouldn't be eating at restaurants. McDonalds has a very inexpensive $1 menu, as well as Wendys, and I hear Subway has $5 footlong subs. If on the other-hand you feel like going out for a nice meal at a sit down restaurant, be prepared to spend money, or don't go.

Tipping is what we do here, and in visiting the US, you are here to experience the way we do things, not your take on how we should do them. That is the entire point of traveling, seeing other people, places, and experiencing their cultures. You cannot be selective about the customs you feel are fair or unfair, you are a guest, and should be respectful to your host country. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 11 Msg: #38841  
Tipping has become the most tiring custom I have ever come into contact with in terms of a trying night out. And in other countries, how is that the lack of a tip has become a perennial "slap in the face" to these who are the service personnel? They and those who are giving (more like guessing) keep driving up the tip minimums for the rest of us.

It's not fair! It has become a fact that "bad service deserves good tip (at least)". Are they out of their minds?


Ryan M. Rodriguez Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 12 Msg: #38846  
I think Americans may have the whole hospitality service thing mixed around. If you are traveling around, even in hostels you can choose to spend your money anywhere you want, if that's a restaurant then it's a restaurant. WE are the customers, not you.

The nature of your job is to serve people, if you don't like serving people then don't do it. How would the world be if people never went out of their way to help people if they weren't going to get something in return. I think it's selfish that you guys won't give someone good service unless you think they will tip.

You want to try great service then come to Aus and go out for a meal, the waiter will go out of their way to accommodate you and see you have a nice meal whether you're a backpacker or a more wealthy tourist. They do it because that's what hospitality is all about. It's not some exclusive club where only the tippers get passable service, everyone gets good service or they wouldn't have a job. They do it because it makes them feel good.

You should go into the hospitality industry because you like helping and serving people, if you don't then choose another industry. Perhaps you guys should try giving good service to everyone and you might find you get more tips anyway. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 13 Msg: #38849  
Back on the non american topic, we were staying on ko lanta and it was towards the end of our trip and i had some spare thai baht. We had been going to a particlar family run beach bar where the owners little kids would run around. The father ran the drinks etc while the heavily pregnant mum was behind the bar and also made the pancakes.

We got to know them a little bit and on our last night they ended up giving us all free drinks. We didn't expect this and it was a really nice touch of "good hospitality" they had been so nice to us the whole time. As we were leaving i grabbed the money i had left in my wallet which was about 2000 baht which is about $60 aus dollars and handed it to them. They didn't want to take it but i started to walk away and as i looked back the smiles on their faces made the whole trip. It made me feel pretty good too.

I've never given that big of a tip before or after. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 16th 2008 No: 14 Msg: #38851  
B Posts: 212
something of what you said reminded me of when I was in Turkey once - we took a ride out in a taxi to visit some places and on the way there the driver stopped and got us bottles of water for the journey. On the way back he insisted on taking us to his family's home in the mountains where they gave us tea and cakes. by this time we were all cynically thinking this was his way of ensuring he got a good tip. When we got back we held out some extra money to him and he was really offended and refused to take it! Reply to this

12 years ago, June 17th 2008 No: 15 Msg: #38903  
B Posts: 33
I absolutely agree with Debtravel on message #9, as well as with Trenty's. To me this isnt a matter of custom, if you are doing that job, it's your responsibility to serve the customers whether they tip or not. I was in Aus for 2 years, and I agree that most of the services provided were good.

In my country (Malaysia), tipping isnt common as well, reffering to message #2 - our waiters/waitresses get
I went to Bali in 2006, and experienced the 'culture' of tipping. Our 'luggage boy' (i don't think he fits to be called a porter - coz other than bringing our luggage up - he didnt say anything. Didnt even introduce bout the place or facilities, or show anything of the room or run errands) stood at the door and refused to leave until we tip him. What kind of attitude was that? As far as I understand, tipping is something we do willingly - shouldnt be demanded. He only left after my friend gave him RP10 000 - that was after standing there for several minutes!

When we relate the incident to our tour guide, he said the westeners (no offense - this is what he said) sorta play a role in encouraging the tipping culture in Bali. Before, it wasn't like that. And coz of this, the locals are so used to it that they are EXPECTING a tip from everyone nowadays. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 17th 2008 No: 16 Msg: #38932  
B Posts: 5,195

If the service is absolutely horrible, tip somewhere between %!-(MISSING)15 of the total bill.

I think this is where the cultural difference is the greatest - in the rest of the world - outside of the US and Canada - if the service is horrible the tip is 0%!a(MISSING)nd a complaint to the manager is expected.

I agree with Matt broadly though that in the USA just as in the rest of the world we should respect their cultural traditions - but I do wish that US citizens would also stop tipping 20%!f(MISSING)or bad service in the rest of the world.

Some tipping stories;

In LA - the barman refused to hand over a beer until I'd given him a dollar, actually keeping a grip on the bottle until the dollar was in his hands - I was going to tip anyway - that was the last beer I brought from him.

In Argentina in bus stations the luggage handlers demand a tip - I had zero cash in pesos one time - after coming back from Chile - there was an unpleasant exchange where he got angry and I made sure I got my backpack.

In Hungary - leaving a tip on the table is considered rude - when the bill is calculated you have to work out how much tip to leave and say how much to pay in total - not easy, especially not when trying to speak Hungarian!

Reply to this

12 years ago, June 17th 2008 No: 17 Msg: #38941  
N Posts: 43
Since everyone is throwing in their tipping stories, let me give you a couple of mine.

I had an oil refinery convention I was working, and man and a woman from England sat and I served them for 21/2 hours, their bill was over $100, no complaints, no late food, was not rude, even had a conversation with them for 10 minutes about where they get to travel for work. My tip was $5.

A group of tourists from Mexico came in to drink at the restaurant i was at, a total of 10 of them. They all ordered drinks, two rounds, nothing was wrong with them, nothing was sent back, again, no complaints at all. Tip was $0 on a $90 bill.

Another one, group came in from Australia. Really nice people, had a long chat with them about how I wanted to move down there. They had dinner, drinks, dessert, there bill was well over $250, my tip was $10.

These instances everyone keeps bringing up of bellmen refusing to leave, or bartenders holding your beer , if your server is being an ass, don't leave them a tip. Ali is completely right that if the service is bad enough, just pay your bill, mention something to the manager, and leave, especially in the US. But there are alot of us out there that bust our ass to get you your food and drinks, and its a slap in the face to us when you don't tip.

To me this isnt a matter of custom, if you are doing that job, it's your responsibility to serve the customers whether they tip or not.

You are completely correct that it is our job to serve the customers, I'm only telling you that we can pick out what customers will actually give us money, and rank them in hierarchically in our heads. Look at the math:

$150 bill (a nice dinner for 2, drinks, dessert, probably lasts an hour to an hour and a half)
10%!t(MISSING)ip - $15
tip-out for the end of the night for bartenders, expo, bussers, and runners - %! (MISSING)of tips - $3

It took an hour and a half of running around, checking and re-checking on your food and drinks, seeing how you liked the food, refills, and trying to make you feel comfortable with some conversation, to make $12. That's $8/hr., the standard bartender makes AU$20/hr. - US$18/hr. They are nice to you over there because they want to keep their job, they track sales of everyone and that is how they are rated and scheduled for the week.

The "tipping culture" may not be to hot in Bali, the argument here isn't should you tip and ignorant and rude person, but if you receive good service in the US, please tip. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 17th 2008 No: 18 Msg: #38979  

It took an hour and a half of running around, checking and re-checking on your food and drinks, seeing how you liked the food, refills, and trying to make you feel comfortable with some conversation, to make $12.

Another thing I like in European restaurants is that the waiters only come over when called. That is the only time they are really needed. It is generally my boyfriend or friends I want to chat with and not the waiter. Paying a waiter for taking time to chat with me is another case of me wondering why I am paying somebody to invade my privacy. But maybe people in the US like all this attention.......

Anyway, those bills above seem quite high. I think Debs is right. The restaurants in the US should pay their staff properly especially when they charge plenty for the food and drinks. Reply to this

12 years ago, June 19th 2008 No: 19 Msg: #39218  
The idea that customers are expected to part with an 'off the record' percentage of their bill that may or may not be deemed appropriate by their waiter is absurd. I'm all in favour of people being rewarded for going above and beyond the call of duty but that reward (be it monetary or otherwise) should come from the employer, not customers. Nobody should expect to receive a bonus just for meeting their job description.
Imagine how messed up the world would be if bus drivers decided to start dropping off tourists a few stops early because they didn't line their pockets? Or if teachers only taught the kids of non-tipping parents the alphabet up to the letter 'M'. Or if nurses expected money because they bandaged you up well?
If you're not getting paid enough join a union or quit.

Reply to this

12 years ago, June 20th 2008 No: 20 Msg: #39321  
B Posts: 104
OK, I am in the US at the moment and have read through this post with varying degrees of agreement with you all!

The US is a different culture to the UK and Australia, in a way that is what makes it so great. All the waiters and waitresses I have experienced have been very attentive & worked hard to make sure I am happy. I have tipped, and this has been to varying degrees but I would not leave any less than 15%! (MISSING) Infact I feel that eating in the US is much cheaper than in either the UK or Australia, so the tip in my opinion is something I just consider as part of my budget for eating.

The same way that I don't pay the rack price for anything I buy in a regular shop in the US, i.e., if I buy some shampoo and it says $3.99 on the label, this will have a state TAX added so I will pay probably pay around $4.30 - This is part of the pricing policy of the US and something that I can either accept and budget for or get annoyed at and let ruin my trip to this fab country. I bear in mind the same thing in the UK would cost me $20, do I get upset over it or just accept this is the way things are priced here and be thankful it is so much cheaper and I can travel for longer?

I have also been told that people in the hospitality industry here are taxed on their 'expected tips' so if you fail to tip then they are loosing money. Is this correct??

I would also say there are things that other cultures find different. I find it very strange to be out with a group of people and have separate bills or checks, normally I would just divide equally and we all pay for dinner in an easy and quick way. This seems not to be the done thing here......maybe it is just a Northern Irish thing?!

I do agree the wages of staff in service industries are absolutely ridiculous and this should be addressed by those workers via government channels. However I feel that deciding to take a stand and not leaving a tip is simply hurting the people that provide me with a good service and cheaper prices overall anyway.

Sarah & Mike Reply to this

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