Tipping in Oz/NZ

Old Feb 16th, 2004, 10:27 PM
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Tipping in Oz/NZ

No questions...just an informational posting as a friend coming from the US asked this question and I thought others would also be interested (if travelling from US/Europe).

Tipping in Australia/New Zealand is very different than in the US. Historically, tipping is not the norm. This has changed slightly since the Olympics and the influx of US visitors, but it is still not expected. Salaries in these countries are not like in the US, where wages are often even below minimum wage because there is an implied tip calculated in it.

Basically, here's the scoop:
Everyday, casual restaurants: no tipping required. If you want to leave loose change/round up, that's fine. If you have a large group or have been particularly difficult, leave 5%.

High-end restuarants: If the service was good, consider 10%.

Taxis: Just round up the fare to the nearest dollar. I have actually found that many cab drivers will round DOWN the fare if it's something like $7.20. You get a "just make it $7" and they mean it.

Services (like hairdresser, massage, etc): No tipping required or expected. Personally, I give my hair guy a nice bottle of wine at Christmas, but that's because he's 'the man' when it comes to hair!

Basically, it's a lot easier down here. Rather than the anxiety of "did I tip enough? Do I need to tip? Will they think I'm cheap or rude if I don't?" you don't have to worry...salaries aren't based on an expectation of tips! Even my local cafe pays their casual waitstaff $12/hour!

Hope that's helpful.
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Old Feb 16th, 2004, 11:13 PM
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Absolutely wonderful to know! Thank you!
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 01:46 AM
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And don't feel obliged to tip all those involved in the process of getting your luggage from cab to hotel room. Obviously they'd be grateful, but they certainly won't (and shouldn't) expect it.

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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 11:34 AM
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Glad to hear that salaries are above the poverty level in AU. You can imagine trying to live on$5.15 US per hour here.

Recently our city council passed a living wage ordinance: the first increment was to be $8.50 per hour. The local restauant and hotel industry and the Chamber of Commerce have sued to have it repealed.

Despite the fact that the morning rag reported today that 62% of the population supports the new law.

When we were in the hospitality busines it always seemed easier, fairer and more profitable to pay good wages rather than continually replace and train employees
go figure
AndrewDavid
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Old Feb 18th, 2004, 02:15 AM
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And can I just add that as an Australian, I know that we are known as 'lousy tippers' when overseas. That's because we're not used to tipping, don't know how to do it - do we leave it on the table or at the cash register or.... - and don't know how much to leave. It's not that we are cheap, just uncomfortable with the practice.
Kay
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Old Feb 18th, 2004, 02:52 AM
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What about the person that takes your luggage to your room and the maid that cleans the room?

As for tipping in the US, the norm is 15% for service or 20% for really good service, fancy resturant. If a meal is $100 a deux at a nice place than you leave on the table in cash, or on your charge card $20USD

We leave tips for the maid in the hotel, usually 2-3USD per night and also if a person takes your bag to your room etc, it is normally tipping 1USD per bag.
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Old Feb 18th, 2004, 12:16 PM
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Everyone who works in hotels gets a wage. You can certainly tip if you want to and it will be gratefully accepted but usually only if the service is really good. I recently stayed at the Grand Hotel in Melbourne and the service was second to none and everyone was genuinely helpful and pleasant - I don't mind tipping under those circumstances but I don't if I just get the usual, much used monotone of "have a nice day". Same goes for wait staff in restaurants - if the service makes a meal better for it then I tip. NEVER tip in taxis or hairdressing salons PLEASE - they make enough as it is and we don't want to start that sort of thing - particularly in Taxis as they "can" be the biggest rip off particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. Because my daughter lives near the airport ( cost is still $15 - $18 for the ride ) everytime she gets into a taxi at the airport they sigh and growl so much so that she now says " I live in Clayfield, is that a problem for you?"
Then there are the exasperating Taxi drivers who will try and tell you that it costs $1 for every bag you have - it does not so if this happens please ask for evidence from them about that or anything else that does not seem "quite right".
I have never worked out why Taxis get tipped in the USA anyway and/or hairdressers when other people who do more for you don't get tipped.
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Old Feb 18th, 2004, 12:50 PM
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$8.50/hr! Undreamt-of luxury. I'm not surprised the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce resisted this dagger aimed at the very heart of capitalism. What will the servant classes be wanting next?

I may stand correction here by someone closer to the scene, but I think a typical wage for Australian waitstaff would range from AU$10-15/hr.





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Old Feb 18th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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KF - you're so right - in another life and more years ago than I care to count I worked in Australia House in London - the London cabbies wouldn't stop to pick up outside the building as they considered us such mean tippers. And in a hotel in New York I took to sneaking out the back door rather than tipping the doorman every time he whistled for a cab. It's not that we're lousy, a lot of Australians think that it's demeaning to the recipient. different in Asia where they need every cent they can get.
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Old Feb 18th, 2004, 05:36 PM
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Actually, in Asia it is considered downright rude to tip, and you will offend them.
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Old Feb 18th, 2004, 11:38 PM
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Pixiechick - I lived in Hong Kong for 2 years and no-one thought it was rude to tip - things must have changed. My amah would become outraged if our visitors didn't tip her and a few of the free-loaders didn't. Whilst not expected in parts of Asia, tipping is enormously appreciated and it costs very little.
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 12:24 AM
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There was a thread on this on the Asia forum a few weeks ago, specifically in relation to Vietnam. The consensus was that while everything Pat says is true, maybe we should think twice about introducing a full-on tipping culture to other countries. It might be better to set aside the spare change to an orphanage or other institution that needs the money more than someone who at least has a job. I agree with that but still tipped cyclo drivers in Vietnam who, while admittedly in employment of sorts, have a lousy job and can do with an extra dong in the pocket. So to speak.

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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 02:55 AM
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As a Melbourne taxi driver with many years experience I can say that we do not expect tips but they are appreciated.Please understand that we probably are the worst paid workers in Australia.This does not mean we are all dishonest.And yes,I do round down the fare to $10.00 if it is $10.20 on the meter.I am still surprised how many linger for their 10c when the fare is $9.90.The point probably is that there is always two points of view and travel means we have to think about things which is not a bad thing.
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Old Feb 19th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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Yes Graeme you are correct in saying that there are some very honest cabbies and I think I met one of the nicest cabbies when in Melbourne recently with my daughter.
What I particularly object to is when I have been to Sydney and wanted a cab, one particular instance springs to mind actually when I got off the train from Brisbane with an American couple who were planning a cruise from Sydney. They had the usual luggage but did have a few little things like cosmetic bag, suit bag and another little thing. We went through 16 cabs until I got one who didn't want to charge them excess of $1 per item for their luggage, some even thought up some other interesting ways of getting more money because they thought I too was from the USA. None of them spoke English very well and were not anything other than bad ambassadors for Australia. Finally a Kiwi came along and we had a pleasant trip into the city. I object to having to impress on someone that I do actually know the way into the city and I object to having to constantly insist on my rights and request confirmation of charges quoted. Surely there is some sort of regulation within the industry. How I wish the Australian Taxi industry had the same rules and regulations as their London counterparts.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 07:15 PM
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ClayF,you raise some interesting points.Firstly,if you want the standard of London cabs,fares would have to rise substantially.London cabbies enjoy a far better standard of living than Australian drivers.I have been to London and talked to them.Secondly,I agree about a luggage charge.Generally, it should be all inclusive and was abolished in Melbourne years ago.The other side of the coin is that I have had people who wanted to use a cab to move house{mostly in the middle of the night)but did not want the meter on until they had loaded up!The problem with the taxi industry in Australia is that it is very poorly paid and generally only attracts migrants who do it until they find something else.It is not a career any sane person would aspire to.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 11:07 PM
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I think you could say much the same about table waiting - maybe once upon a time in Europe it was considered an honourable lifetime profession, but these days it's populated by kids who are either paying their way through studies or doing it until something better comes along, and there's not much money and precious little job satisfaction in it. Chefs too - for most, a job whose pay falls well short of matching stress levels that all too often lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Many restaurant owners are fast-buck merchants who have no more idea than their staff of what they're doing. No wonder the steak turns up (if at all) well done when you ordered rare.


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