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Are you generous?
14 years ago, August 4th 2008 No: 61 Msg: #44265  
B Posts: 212
I think Stephanie and Andras (whichever of the two wrote the above post!) put it very well. I would much rather pay a service charge added to the bill than be expected to tip a certain amount - it's the expectation that is the problem more than the tipping itself.

It reminds me of when I was once involved in a western Buddhist movement in England. They ran a regulars weekly drop-in meditation evening, for which there was technically no charge - but what happened was, the Buddhist centre couldn't actually afford to run the group at no charge, but didn't want to place a charge on the class, because their principle was that the 'teachings' should be free. Instead, they had a donation bowl. Every week, one team member stood at the door holding the donation bowl, so no-one could really get past without putting something in. As well as this, they always said at the end of the class that it was technically free, but that everyone should really give a donation, and the suggested 'donation' was 5 pounds (bought my laptop in Oz so no pound sign on it). For a time I was a member of the team which ran the evenings and I said I thought this was wrong: that a donation should be something that is a matter of choice, something freely given, and that a person should not stand at the door holding the bowl out 'expecting' that people should pay, and pay the suggested donation charge of 5 pounds. I said if the centre could not afford to run the class for free, then they should just be upfront and make a charge for it - and STOP calling it a donation.

The same is with tips - it should be something freely given, and a matter of choice - if it is 'expected', it should be put on the bill as a charge. And if it's not a charge - why are we arguing about it?! Reply to this

14 years ago, August 4th 2008 No: 62 Msg: #44272  
B Posts: 66

Understood completely.

I spent my young years in Europe and remember the waiters being offended when Americans just left wrinkled bills on the table.

I guess my point is that customs are almost invisible to locals, and just going ahead and violating them might create a different effect than intended, even if the custom itself is stupid.

Like in India or Pakistan you wouldn't eat with your left hand. (You eat with your right hand, and do the less glamourous activities using your left hand. Cleaning privates after using the toilet and stuff like that.) Whereas I have different grooming habits and we use toilet paper and not their method, I still try and not eat with my left hand as I understand they think it's gross. Of course I do it when no one's watching, but you get my point.

If we didn't all have our unique non-sense customs then every country would be more or less the same, then traveling would be kind of pointless, wouldn't it? Reply to this

14 years ago, August 4th 2008 No: 63 Msg: #44274  

I guess my point is that customs are almost invisible to locals, and just going ahead and violating them might create a different effect than intended, even if the custom itself is stupid.

I actually feel intimidated by the American tipping thing. A day of going to a restaurant, the hairdresser, taking taxis turns into an obstacle course with so many opportunities to p*ss people off. I cant just pay the price on the price tag. I have to work out the ethics that go with tipping this percentage or that. If I undertip I am a bad person, if I overtip I am a good person but in a way that makes no sense to me and that I am not really proud of(because I would prefer to give my gifts to people they are more meaningful to. ie I can tip somebody in certain countries a days wages with the amount that would cause a US waiter to brand me as a typical foreigner. And then there is the worry about if I have enough money or is what is good enough for roaming around a city in Europe just not enough in the US and people will say things like ''why are you travelling if you dont have money''. It is as if I am my money and only as important as how much I can pay people to treat me a certain way.

Some of the American style tipping system is sadly creeping into Europe. When there is something to be greedy about then people will turn greedy. Reply to this

14 years ago, August 4th 2008 No: 64 Msg: #44287  
I've read about half this thread and given up on responding to any posts, so I'll just weigh in with my two cents

Firstly, Sorolo - thank you for the guide on tipping in the US! I live in Australia and this is my first visit (I have family here) since I turned 18, and I'm going out with my stepsisters in a few weeks and have been a bit nervous about the tipping system. Thanks for the explanation!

Secondly, I actually think the service in your average, meal-for-a-tenner restaurant here is far, far superior to any service I've gotten in the rest of the western world. The servers are attentive, they pop round to fill up your drink, they let you know if your food's a little delayed - but don't get in your face. Keep in mind I'm talking your meal-for-a-tenner restaurants, not top-of-the-range, but this is my experience in Georgia, anyway.

Thirdly, what someone said about only being tipped $10 -- yes, that might be far less than what an American would tip, but the people tipping probably thought they were being generous. I've worked in service in Australia and London at a few places - two of which we never even saw the tips - but if somebody gave me a tenner, I'd be thrilled. This is on top of ten dollars an hour though, so maybe it's all relative.

Fourthly, while I don't have a problem with tipping being what you do in the states, I *do* have a problem with Americans going overseas and tipping so much and so often. (OK, I've been on the receiving end and *I* didn't tell them that we don't tip that often, but...) It then makes the workers in whatever country feel they have a right to expect, which puts the onus on the rest of the white world to keep up with some doofus in a hawaiian shirt (yeah, we all know the kind I'm talking about. The 'Only $40 for a hotel room in India? OMG THAT'S SO CHEAP, HONEY!' type) .

Having said that, toilet attendants seem to have popped up in a few places in London, and the first place I saw one I tipped her about 6 pounds in all. It was in a club, and she was keeping up with the drunks, passing out tissues, taking our rubbish, handing out perfumes, deoderants, every toiletry you could imagine, AND letting Miss Drunk at the front of the queue know when a stall was available :D But this is the kind of worker I think we're ALL happy to tip.

When I'm overseas, I tend to tip based on the service. If the service was decent, I'll usually say 'keep the change' (unless I'm in Japan, where you get told not to even leave a single yen behind), if it was good, I'll add a pound/dollar coin or two. If it was fantastic, unexpected, and I have the cash spare -- then it just depends on how much I've got spare. Reply to this

14 years ago, August 5th 2008 No: 65 Msg: #44343  
4 posts moved to this new topic: Where do you draw the line? Reply to this

14 years ago, August 6th 2008 No: 66 Msg: #44515  
Bottomless coffee and soft drinks ... uhh ... isn't that again just part of the job description??? I was required to greet clients with the same mundane greeting, and that too was tiresome, so with that logic, I should have gotten tips too, right?

Canada is not that different than America (restaurant and tipping wise), and there are many people who feel the same way most people on this thread are feeling. That doesn't make us "rude or unsophisticated", it makes us fed up with dealing with servers who expect a few dollars because they took our orders and brought our bill. On the flip side of that, we think the servers are the ones who seem a bit ass backwards, in the way that they feel entitled to a tip just for doing their jobs. It's rude and unsophistated to run to your coworkers as soon as a table leaves and gush "Omg, they only tipped me $4, can you believe that??!?". It's rude and unsophisticated to refuse good customer service on the grounds that you THINK they might not be tipping. And it's most definitelly rude and unsophisticated to EXPECT a gratuity!

Reply to this

14 years ago, August 6th 2008 No: 67 Msg: #44519  
to Trevor and Kristena,

i like what you wrote 😊 seriously! 😊))) Reply to this

14 years ago, August 6th 2008 No: 68 Msg: #44596  
B Posts: 66

I was totally kidding about the bottomless coffee, to lighten up the conversation. It's neither here, nor there, I just wanted the folks to lighten up and see that not everything about the 'dining out in America' experience is a total rip-off.

The point I have been trying to make throughout this conversation was that although an impractical custom (the fee could be hidden, like the freeway charges are hidden in our gas prices, or whatever would work for most people), you would still offend the waiter who grew up in this system and the only definition he has for "no tip" is that his service must have been really bad. Reply to this

14 years ago, August 6th 2008 No: 69 Msg: #44598  
Point. And, as a side note, bottomless coffee and soft drinks are not the norm in Australia. And unless it's a really good restaurant, they would not come up and ask you if you wanted another drink - the onus is on you to ask the wait staff for one.

Maybe this is because you have to pay for each drink though! Reply to this

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