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Tipping in Oz - 2007 Version

Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 01:35 PM
  #1  
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Tipping in Oz - 2007 Version

Yes, it would appear time to revisit this topic unless you folks can assure me that nothing has changed since it was discussed on this board lengthily and productively in April and May of 2005.

Tipping is, as we know, highly personal, and I've no interest in a debate of American vs. European vs. Australasian views on the topic. What I do want to do is what is right for the people providing essential services to us.

Comments, please.

Cheers,
BigBlue
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 03:07 PM
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We usually only round up if the service has been above average. It is a personal thing but I don't see it as essential here in Oz.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 03:11 PM
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My view on this particularly regarding American tourists is that an American is regarded as particularly "tight"if he/she does not tip when in Australia, particularly for good service.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 03:36 PM
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I disagree with this and do not believe that anyone from any country needs to think they should tip here in Australia. It is absolutely not necessary, since people are paid a living wage. Many of us are appalled at seeing Americans tip - it's a ghastly practice that we don't want to encourage.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 04:09 PM
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Well, here we go with the local vs. tourist struggle. When I lived in Germany in the 1950s the Amis were welcomed with open arms because we always tipped and the locals despised us for it. So, some of us tried to adapt and got despised for that.

We spent five weeks in Godzone and found conflicting practices there. For example, when we paid by credit card some places had a line on the slip for tips, some did not. This can also be the case in Old Europe. As a result, the rule we have followed where the tip line is not available was to tip in cash if we felt the service merited it. Others have insisted that tipping is simply not on in New Zealand.

With such conflicts between the advice to not tip because it is a ghastly practice and being regarded as cheap if I don't, what's a fellow to do? If I am pleasant and appreciative for the service rendered me and express my thanks but don't leave a tip, what is the downside to being regarded as cheap (particularly if I am following the advice of Aussies)?

Now, in New York City, people have been known to follow guests to their cars and threaten them with bodily harm for not leaving a big enough tip.

Oh, and for another dimension, I had a hotel manager in Vienna tell me that the service charge went to pay for the health care plan of his employees and none of it went to the employee. Therefore, he said, if I wanted to tip that employee, I should do so in addition to the service charge.

Again, all I am trying to do is what is right for the people providing the essential services we need.

Ponder, ponder, ponder...

BigBlue
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 05:02 PM
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When I travel I do as the locals do. Why should an American traveling in Australia or any other country for that matter, be considered "tight" for not tipping in a country where tipping isn't common practice?

Granted, tipping is an American habit that's hard to leave at home, but it's not always appreciated in other countries.

Sadly, it's just second nature for Americans to tip regardless of service because we know full well that service personnel aren't paid a living wage IN THE US.

Seems it's more about guilt than appreciation for good service.

There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to tipping. Do what you're comfortable with and don't worry about how you might be preceived based on your nationality.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 05:04 PM
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We do not tip when in Australia and have suffered no ill effects from the local population. That may mean we have been successful in passing as Canadians.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 05:53 PM
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Good for you oliverandharry - BTW - is tipping common practice in Canada? Never been there, have no idea.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 08:03 PM
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Tips are almost mandatory in Canada. In fact, even if service is bad, I feel obliged to tip (but it's a bad one 5-10%). Standard tipping is 15% and if the service is really good then 20%. We even tip taxi drivers, pizza delivery drivers, I give my paperboy a tip every xmas....and so on.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 08:15 PM
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Before we visited Canada we were told that tipping practices were the same as in the US, and that did seem to be the case. This suggests that waiters etc. are paid on the same basis, which surprised me a little. Maybe one of our resident Canadians can shed some light.

Anyway, this doesn't help BigBlue. My observation is that tipping in Australia is affected chiefly by (a) the amount of alcohol the diner has drunk, (b) whether the meal is a business expense and (c) in the case of males how enticing the waitress is, which in turn will be affected by factor (a).

I must admit that in the latter situation I sometimes decided that the taxation system was too regressive and tipped a modest amount in the interests of income redistribution. When I started paying with my own money I decided that this little Robin Hood act was no longer necessary.

BigBlue, if you feel like rounding up the bill do so by all means, and if you really feel that someeone has gone beyond the call of duty you won't be committing a faux pas if you tip them, but no more than 10%. In some places tipping is more common than others, I suppose, but Australian waiters, cabbies etc. don't and should not expect to be tipped. Unlike their North American counterparts, they're paid at least the minimum wage, which is currently $12-13 per hour. Logically therefore there's no more reason to tip in a restaurant than in a department store or railway station.
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Old Dec 24th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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I went to dinner in NZ with a woman from Australia and another from Denmark whom I'd met on a trek. When we did the bill, I said, "I understand we aren't to tip in NZ," and the Aussie said, "But I do," and we left a reasonable, though not excessive, tip.

I did the "rounding up" in cabs and most restaurant situations but didn't tip in coffee shops or when there was no line on the bill.
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Old Dec 24th, 2006, 10:47 PM
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annw, how much had that Australian had to drink? I hope she wasn't the designated driver.

My gut feel is that not many New Zealanders would tip, which is good enough for me. When in Rome, etc.

We never tipped in China, for example, because we knew that the Chinese regard tipping as a case of "a fool and his money are soon parted". They see a restaurant bill in the same light as any other commercial transaction: you and the vendor agree on a price, perhaps after some negotiation, and that's what you pay, full stop. Voluntarily paying more is the mark of an improvident and foolish, perhaos even deranged, person, much like standing in the street and giving away free money.
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Old Dec 26th, 2006, 11:03 PM
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I am a Canadian who just returned from a trip to Australia. We were told that people do not generally tip there and so we usually did not do so. I did notice that many places had a tip line on the credit card slip, which I thought was odd for a country that generally does not tip, so I ignored it. Occassionally we left a cash tip if we felt the server had gone out of his or her way for us. We never had a problem with bad service. We also felt the prices were quite high, which I suppose is natural when the staff are making a decent wage, rather than the piddly wage they would make in Canada.

PS - for those of you wondering what we do in Canada, we are indeed like the US in the tip department. This is because our minimum wage, which is already low, is even lower for waiters. Anyone who is employed as a waiter has to claim an additional 10% of their income on their tax form to cover the tip income the government assumes they have received.
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 01:46 AM
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Being an Australian and living in Australia I can say that generally we dont tip, however I often round up to the next $ in taxi's and usually leave a couple of dollars tip at accommodation for the cleaner who don't earn big wages. We occassionally tip in resturants if the service has been exceptional but this is all personal choice. Cheers
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 02:03 AM
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It just occurred to me that my mentioning $12-13/hr as the minimum wage in the context of waiters' pay might have been a bit misleading. Typically (I think) that would be an untaxed cash-in-hand rate paid in some cafes and small restaurants. Of course that's illegal, but it happens. Waiters in better-class operations should earn substantially more than that. I'm not suggesting that waiters are rolling in money, but I think most are probably adequately recompensed given the level of skill demanded by the job.
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 04:25 AM
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Glad you clarified that Neil, that's less than a cleaner/housemaid award wage in Qld and am sure the rest of the country.

But many waitstaff are employed on a casual basis, I have a good friend who commits to 6 nights a week in a usually busy restaurant, that's the conditions of her employment. If the restaurant is having a slow night she's told at last minute not to come in; if the owners decide to close for a month for their own holidays, no pay for her. Her customer service skills are exceptional, she really goes the extra mile with difficult customers and is nothing but a lowly paid asset to the owners who can cook like dreams but have no idea on handling the public- yes, she pays tax. She sometimes gets tips - $100 the other night from a table (of Australians) but shared amongst kitchen staff, I think she ended up with $20. So this person, who lives extremely modestly but still needs to pay a mortgage has to take casual cleaning work just to make ends meet. I paid her $198.75 last week for 15 hours cleaning work last week and that was taxed at $38. Sure, she'll get it back, but in the meantime the mortgage has to be paid and a small car on its last legs needs maintaining.

So yes, I do tip waitstaff who go over and beyond what's expected and because they have such a horrible job dealing much of the public.
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 06:12 AM
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Dayrien -- same message posted on every board this morning; new poster.

Hey dimwit -- no advertising on here and even worse trying to pretend to be a satisfied customer.

Maybe that works where you are from, but we are pretty smart here!
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