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The tipping double standard for Americans

The tipping double standard for Americans

Old May 31st, 2006, 07:59 AM
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In Auckland, we (Americans) dined at a restaurant near the harbor one evening. There was no place on the CC receipt for TIPS. The next night a large cruise ship was on port and the harbor was full of Americans. We dined at the same restaurant--and the CC receipt had a place for TIPS!! Go figure.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 07:59 AM
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Do Canadians really pronounce Marry, Merry and Mary all the same?

I must have met some odd Canadians.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 08:17 AM
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This post really makes me laugh! Someone anoyed because he has to tip in Europe!
I was REALLY anoyed in the USA last month when I was there for 3 weeks and had to tip and tip and tip all the time, and not 10% , because 10% isn't enough there! Now you think that because you aren't in America, you're in Europe, you don't have to tip not even the 10%!

Come on, I think the tipping in America is a rip off. We are obliged to tip even if we don't get good service. The first time I went to New York, many years ago, I was insulted out loud by a taxi driver in front of my hotel because I gave the tip I was used to give in Europe and ,of course, he felt entitled to 15 to 20% in tips. I didn't have a clue that the tips were so high there.
It's a nonsense in the USA because tips should be given ( and in Europe it's like this) according to our satisfaction on the level of service provided. Tips are a bonus, a gift, not an obligation
and that doens't happen in America.

I got really angry when last month in Sonoma I went to a wine tour , paid 100 USD for it and my American friend at the end asked me to give 10 USD to tip the tour guide. We
were 3 people and he got 30 USD! Is that reasonable? It's ridiculous!

No wonder in Europe expect Americans to tip high!!!!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 08:31 AM
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Sorry, Tere, but you're very confused about a lot of things. The reason that Americans tip 15 to 20% is that waiters do not earn the high salaries they do in Europe. You are not JUST rewarding good service, but helping someone to earn a living. It's absurd to expect Americans to bring their practice to Europe where waiters earn a living wage. So, as I said, you are very confused.

As far as your $10 tip for a wine tour is concerned, I think it is petty to resent that payment. A European who can afford a wine tour in Sonoma should be happy to offer $10 as a sign of appreciation and as a way of distributing the wealth he has been blessed with. That's how I feel when I tip.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:16 AM
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And, to clarify that last point:

Resturants where tipping occurs (not Macdonalds) are allowed to claim an exemption from the minimum wage law, on the theory that the tips will cover waiter/waitress's wages.

Back in the day (before I had a real job), as a waitress I could expect to earn about 1/2 minimum wage in the paycheck, and hope for the the rest in tips.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:16 AM
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Yes, I agree that anyone who thinks they are "obliged" to tip anywhere in the US is VERY confused.

And please remain aware that there is a <b>big</b> difference between being &quot;obliged&quot; to do something and being <b>intimidated into</b> doing something.

And, frankly, with this sort of overall attitude I can just imagine the impression you must have left with all those people who tried their best to deliver the services to you.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:26 AM
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&gt;high salaries they do in Europe
You can expect a common waitress to make something between 1000 and 1500&euro; a month. The rent for my appartment in Munich already exceeds 900&euro;/month, go figure it out for yourself.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:36 AM
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&quot;High salaries&quot; was a poor choice of words on my part. My point was that, for better or worse, Europeans themselves view a waiter's salary as, at least in theory, a living wage. In the U.S., as someone pointed out, employers don't even have to pay their wait staff minimum wage. If European minimum wages aren't sufficient to live on, that is a different issue and should be addressed by your governments. ALSO, I don't think that if the European custom were to tip 15 to 20% any American would have an objection to complying. As is, I tend to tip 10% when traveling in Europe, with the thought that the server probably needs the money more than I do.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:39 AM
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I can't speak for other countries, but the service charge in France is the tip; it is not a charge intended to cover &quot;other expenses&quot;; those expenses are already covered by the 90% margin on the food and food preparation. &quot;Service charge&quot; is just a euphemism, but it's still a tip.

I, too, find it amazing that people are willing to pay once, twice, thrice for a meal in a restaurant. However, at least in France, the price you see on the menu is the price you pay when you get the bill&mdash;there are no surprises.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:40 AM
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Guy and Intrepid
I am not confused believe me! I happen to live in Europe, but I live in Portugal, if you don't know here our minimum salary is 365 Euros! People here don't get the same wages as they do in most european countries like France , England , Sweden or so.

People here also provide good levels of service and actually are much friendlier than the people I met in the USA. If you don't tip them a lot they don't put a bad face for you like it happened to me in America, nor do they insult you.

Please don't come with that with me because I don't live in a rich country so the excuse that waiters don't get good wages doesn't mean anything to me.
. Neither do they here!

As for the 100 USD tour, I amde it only because I was with american friends I went to visit and they wanted to do it. I saved my money for months to go to the USA so it wasn't that easy!

And Intrepid, don't worry please with the impression I left on Americans, I gave them more than I could afford. The impression I left was surely better than the impression they left on me!

And from your posts I can see that one of the impressions I got still remains and gets more impressive. It's ALL ABOUT YOU ( Americans).

You're the confused ones! You're entitled to anything but the others aren't, frankly!!!!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:44 AM
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&gt;European minimum wages
No minimum wage exists in Germany and there never will be as the chancellor said last weekend. The unions want 7.50&euro; per hour.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:45 AM
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&gt; I think the tipping in America is a rip off. We are obliged to tip even if we don't get good service.&lt;

No, you are not obliged to tip.

We tip 15% in the US (although some folks think it should be 18 or 20%) because there is no 15% service charge that you do have to pay, even if you don't get good service.

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Old May 31st, 2006, 09:53 AM
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Tere, the only thing that I can conclude from your posts is that the American system is more generous to (some of) our lower wage earners. Yet somehow you find in that reason to criticize Americans?! I would be in favor of higher wages and big tips for Portuguese waiters and happy to contribute to it. YOU are the one complaining about having to pay low wage earners in the U.S (not all Americans are rich). And didn't you know that this is how things work before you came to the U.S.? Shouldn't you have done your research, and stayed away if you didn't like the customs? Yes, dear, you're confused.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 10:04 AM
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Again, the point is that a service charge (Bediengeld) covers many things and can be part of the waiters wage and in this case is subject to taxation. A tip (Trinkgeld) is for the service of this particular person or the whole waiting staff. Those are two completely different things. In the US, many things covered by a Bediengeld would be added to the price of the meal without you ever noticing it. Big difference!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Just as an aside, minimum wage in France is 8.03 &euro; an hour (that's US$10.31 at today's exchange rate), and a waiter cannot earn any less than that.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 02:15 PM
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I first went to Prague about 9 years ago. Have been back every year, since then, and have watched the restaurant bills grow larger &amp; larger - mainly at the places geared towards tourists.

9 years ago, almost all restaurants did NOT list a service charge. Now 19% is typical. Maybe even 22% at some joints on the main tourist streets.

My Czech friends never tip beyond rounding up to the nearest round number, but they very rarely enter the expensive tourist restaurants.

In typical Czech places, the only surcharge you will see is for breadbaskets, which you can refuse when you sit down. Bread will cost an extra dollar, or so. It is usually stale, and most Czechs decline it. They will order beer &amp; their meal. That's all. Then they will call the waiter when they are finished &quot;Zaplatit&quot;, and round up the figure, paying the server in person. NOT on the table.

When I go to any restaurant there, I speak in my primitive Czech, and waiters respect that. Even when I give a large tip, I have rarely been thanked with gusto, so I just leave something extra, but very small. I do return to places a lot, so I want to be polite, but not a sucker. When the people see me come back, they are usually cordial and a little friendlier each time.

Czechs waiters are not known for fast or friendly service, EXCEPT when they are trained at a place that is looking for sucker tourists. Then they will pour on the charm, hoping for some $$.

On the other hand, I tipped a guy in Bratislava $3 once, and he saw me on the street the next day &amp; shook my hand!
I guess the Slovaks really do expect nothing!

So, I would leave the service charge, and then round up to the next highest number, and walk out. - Especially if you won't be back!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 02:32 PM
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The point is...
&quot;When in Rome... &quot;

If the general custom of the country is to tip a waiter or taxi driver 15-20% depending on service, then it should be done by residents and vistors alike.

If the general custom of the country is to simply &quot;round up&quot; and not leave a set gratuity, then it should be done by residents and vistors alike.

This has nothing to do with how much you can afford, but how much you spent, and what is the custom of the place you are visiting.

In America, we wear our shoes in the house. Should we do the same when visiting friends in Japan? Women don't cover their heads in a house of worship here, should we bring this custom to the mid-East? When in a foreign country, we should, of course follow the customs of that country.

If you come to America you are expected to tip for service. The waiter, tour guide, taxi driver did not decide it should be this way. It is the just the way business has operated for generations. Restaurant owners have the advantage of paying a reduced salary to waiters, because the general public pays the waiter's salary directly.

(However, I LOVE what Sue xx yy said above, and agree with her completely. )

On the other hand, as Tulip said:
&quot;A waiter standing over you and telling you that tips are not included ... is totally out of order. I really think that is a con aimed at Americans. And this works both ways; they don't count on seeing you again, so don't care if they are rude as long as you tip them now.&quot;

What a mess. I always cave and leave at least 10%. Somehow, I always think to myself, &quot;What if I'm wrong?&quot;

I would love to hear from some European waiters on this issue. Are Americans targeted? Do the employers know you are hovering over the customers asking for more money? Is it encouraged by the business owners? How do most of your customers react?
Let's hear it!





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Old May 31st, 2006, 02:59 PM
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&quot;To Insure Prompt Service&quot; - seems to work in the US, and your dishes usually arrive with unnerving speed. The downside is that the staff are just as prompt in letting you know when you've worn out your welcome (i.e., when it's obvious that you're not going to spend any more money). This can be a bit disconcerting for foreigners used to a more leisurely meal. Still, when in Rome, etc.

I do wonder though why European waiters should be seen as uniquely deserving of having their wages topped up by the patrons when other service industry staff, say shop assistants, may be paid no more but seemingly are never tipped, no matter how much trouble they go to.

BTW, to my ear (some) Canadians say &quot;aboat&quot;, not &quot;aboot&quot;.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 03:08 PM
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A cab driver in Paris told me that the fare was 15% more than what the meter showed. I coldly paid him that amount, assuming he had added his own service charge.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 04:28 PM
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Anthony GA,

&quot;A service charge is exactly the same thing as a tip, except that you do not have the option of not paying a service charge.&quot;

No, it is not, at least not in France, as I wrote time and again on this board.

A tip goes to the waiter (or, in some places, is shared with other members of the staff). The &quot;service charge&quot; might or might not, depending on whether the waiter has signed a work contract &quot;au fixe&quot; or &quot;au pourcentage&quot;. In the former case, the service charge goes to the owner, in the latter to the waiter. And good luck knowing which applies in a particular place.

I would note that even many french people don't know that.
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