Bathroom Tipping in Germany

Old Aug 31st, 2013, 04:56 PM
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Bathroom Tipping in Germany

Can someone tell me about the tipping of the bathroom attendent in Germany. What is the proper amount?

Are they at the Airports?

Sorry, but I know nothing of this practice.
abram797 is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2013, 04:58 PM
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50 cents is the standard charge for using a bathroom.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 05:14 PM
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I don't recall having seen an attendant at an airport.

I don't know that you'd call it "tipping." It's more of a charge.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 05:17 PM
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I think the amount is usually (always?) specified on a small sign.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 05:49 PM
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Not in the airport but in the department stores and beer gardens. I never noticed any signs with a set amount though.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 07:55 PM
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Sometime it is specified, sometimes not, sometimes attended, and sometimes the attendant is busy stocking up supplies somewhere. But the places I have been in Germany, the local adults seemed to be civic minded to leave coins irrespective of the presence of attendants. If there is no sign, I leave 50 cents. If they want more, they would say so. At large German train stations, the bathrooms are prepay. You feed 1EU to a turnstyle to get in. At Berlin, they gave me back a discount coupon for train station concessions when I fed the turnstyle. In a public place, you want a pay toilets. They are usually cleaner and stocked with supplies. One cardinal rule is think twice before leaving non-free museums without visiting a bathroom even if you really don't have to go at that time. They are usually clean and stocked. The restaurant bathrooms are either free or with paid attendants. If free, they might not get around to cleaning them often enough.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 07:56 PM
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I've seen some places with signs stating the amount and some without. It seems to me that the more international visitors a place gets, the more likely it will be that there is a sign telling people how much to pay the attendant. Fewer international visitors and there will probably just be a plate on a small table next to the towels.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 07:59 PM
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If you stop at a gasoline station along the autobahn, etc., the charge is normally 50 Euro cents. This is pretty customary. Usually, you do not have to pay when you are a customer in a restaurant or café.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 09:38 PM
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I absolutely love the self cleaning toilet seats found in many pay WC's in Germany. Totally worth the half or one Euro price!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXJnenVDISc

This summer at a German roadside food mart/eatery/petro station, I told the attendant I had no money with me, which was true, he invited me in anyway. He was very respectful and afterward I made sure to get change from the car go back and pay him.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 09:59 PM
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If you are a customer at a restaurant, cafe, pub or similar you must not be charged to use the restrooms. That would be illegal. If there is an attendant, you can tip him/her if you want. They will usually have a saucer-like plate with a few coins already in.

As a tip, anything from 20c-50c goes. Don't be puzzled that you only see 50c or even 1 euro coins on that "tip saucer". The attendants usually take out the smaller coins so that you shall think that giving that much was "the norm".

In some restaurants in highly frequented places you may spot signs indicating a fee (usually 50c) but that is for non-patrons only.

The larger bookstore chains (like Hugendubel or Thalia) usually have free customer restrooms. Attendants may be seen in some department stores or malls, but not always.

If you need to ask for "the place", and you don't know enough German, steer away from the North American "bathroom" or "restroom".. few people will know what you are talking about. The British English "toilet" is almost same in sound as the German word and even Germans with no command of English will know what you mean.
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 10:28 PM
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Cowboy1968, I wonder if you could answer a question of mine.

I was at the Karstadt shopping. I was going to buy two bedsheets, but hadn't purchased them yet. Then I went to the toilet.

There was an attendant, and I put down 40 cents.

But I wonder -- wouldn't I be considered a "patron" of the establishment and so be able to go for free? Maybe if someone has the Karstadt bags in hand, s/he would be considered a patron? Or is being a patron irrelevant for the toilets in the department stores?

Thanks!

s
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Old Aug 31st, 2013, 10:30 PM
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Being a patron is irrelevant. You use the bathroom, you pay for it to be cleaned.

That is the theory.

I usually leave 20 to 50 Cents, depending on what coins I have.
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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 12:10 AM
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It's not a tip. It's a fee to use. 50 cents is the norm. Don't be That Guy and don't pay to play.


<i>At Berlin, they gave me back a discount coupon for train station concessions when I fed the turnstyle.</i>

They have that at most rest areas on the autobahn as well. 50 cents off an espresso is always welcome.
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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 12:42 AM
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I disagree with Greenway. Like Cowboy pointed out, in restaurants/cafes/bars etc. it is illegal to charge the customer. The owner must pay for it to be cleaned. They can charge non-customers for using it.

Swandav: There is no fix rule. If you are a customer in the Karstadt restaurant, then you do not pay. If you are a shopper it is up to you - not a 'must' from my experience, unless otherwise stated/written somewhere.
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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 01:10 AM
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The title of this thread really scared me. I thought of going into a bathroom and the floor suddenly tilting to one side, or perhaps the toilet basin itself coming away from the wall. And all the time I was half undressed.

What surprised me though were the arguments people wanted to have about whether it was compulsory, or a tip, and if you needed to pay it if you were buying something in the shop, etc, etc. Why do people find it so hard to understand that customs and practices are different in other countries? It seems only sensible and good mannered to follow what the locals are doing, and accept that learning funny habits is part of the joy of travel.
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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 01:33 AM
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<i>Why do people find it so hard to understand that customs and practices are different in other countries? </i>

Because The Ugly American.

"What do you mean I have to pay to sue the bathroom?"

"What do you mean water's not free?"

"What do you mean refills aren't free?"

"What do you mean I have to pay for those rolls I ate?"

"This isn't bacon."

"What do you mean there's no breakfast sausage?"
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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 01:50 AM
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...use the bathroom... although sue is pretty funny.
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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 04:28 AM
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Ingo: you are right, I did not mean to imply that it is a fee.

You never "have" to pay or leave a tip. Just like any other tip. But like other tips, it is very much expected.

Just because I am a customer at Karstadt, it would never occur to me to not leave a coin for the Kloputzfrau.
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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 04:42 AM
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<It's not a tip. It's a fee to use. 50 cents is the norm. Don't be That Guy and don't pay to play.>

Going into a public bathroom "to play" has a whole lot of other connotations where I come from!
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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 05:20 AM
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wow, chartley, jump to judgment, much?

I lived in Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and the USA (Florida) while growing up -- I knew about "different" customs and practices before I hit puberty.

I love the customs and practices in my adopted homeland of Germany. AND I reserve the right to get into the nuances of those practices and to learn about them.

My question wasn't about trying to avoid paying -- have been paying bathroom attendants since about the mid-1980s. My question was about the different practices for different scenarios so I could understand a bit more of the culture.

No, I don't mind paying -- in my mind, the bathrooms are cleaner with more supplies in those cases.

Just for another case in point --

You have to pay 8 euro (I think it's 8 euro but it may be 12, as I've forgotten for now) to have the Deutsch Post hold your mail for a week or two while on vacation. At first I hated it, as it was a surprise to me. But now I appreciate it a lot -- because the system works, and it works well. Unlike the US, where they will hold your mail for free, but they may get the mail wrong, get the dates wrong, etc. No, I don't mind paying.

s
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