Tipping and the Service Charge

Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:37 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 177
Ah yes, that gets me everytime on the first day or two (a bit like turning right on a red which I actually think is a good idea and should be adopted here). I don't understand it, why not display the price you'll pay? It's particularly useful if you're on a tight budget and need to keep a track of what your spending without having to guess the final figure or work out the cost of each and every purchase as you go along.
jc_uk is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:38 AM
  #42  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 65
Tipping and the Service Charge

Hello fellow space travelers(Fodor's Space)
A lot of varying views here. This is why in this country, USA, we only have a two party system. It is easier to make a decision unlike some countries in Europe with a more mixed slate of contesting parties. This is not an invitation to start another thread on French politics. So, I will do what I have been doing in France for the last 12 years, correctly or not, and follow my instincts and/or heart. BTW, I normally base myself for a month in the Petit Luberon and I spend more time finding the next dining experience, exploring the next vista over the distant hill and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.
Any discussion on a favorite pastis? I wonder, is there a thread for this...?
Thank you all
Abby
Abby5205 is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:44 AM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,229
jc

Again - don't make a judgement about all of America based on your experience in Williamsburg or elsewhere. The minimum wage in San Francisco is $15 per hour. The minimum wage where I live just south of San Francisco in San Mateo is also $15/hr. San Jose is $15/hr. In LA it is $14.25/hr The Minimum wage in California is $12/hr for companies with over 25 employees. Slightly less for companies with less than 25. And California has the 5th largest economy in the world and has a population of 40 million.!!!

https://www.calhospital.org/cha-news-article/californias-minimum-wage-other-pay-rates-increase-jan-1-2019

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:45 AM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 177
Originally Posted by Abby5205 View Post
This is why in this country, USA, we only have a two party system. It is easier to make a decision unlike some countries in Europe with a more mixed slate of contesting parties.
The problem with binary politics is that you end up with two strongly opposing camps, many of whom are almost rabidly supportive of their own party and will vehemently oppose the other as can be witnessed in the US now. The country is split between Democrats and Republicans and you're considered one or the other, it becomes tribal in some cases and often degenerates into violent confrontations. It's not a healthy system in my opinion.
jc_uk is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:51 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 177
Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
jc

Again - don't make a judgement about all of America based on your experience in Williamsburg or elsewhere. The minimum wage in San Francisco is $15 per hour. The minimum wage where I live just south of San Francisco in San Mateo is also $15/hr. San Jose is $15/hr. In LA it is $14.25/hr The Minimum wage in California is $12/hr for companies with over 25 employees. Slightly less for companies with less than 25. And California has the 5th largest economy in the world and has a population of 40 million.!!!

https://www.calhospital.org/cha-news-article/californias-minimum-wage-other-pay-rates-increase-jan-1-2019

Stu Dudley
Stu, my judgement is made based upon my experiences all over the US, including California where I specifically recall a rather extortionate tip "suggestion" for a reasonably high end meal we ate. If the minimum wage is being implemented as you state then where is the justification for such such exhorbitant tip expectations? This was a pattern experienced throughout our journey in California so it wasn't confined to one restaurant. What it does suggest is that the system is broken, even with a decent minimum wage, customers are still expected to tip well, I don't recall seeing any reference to a minimum wage or being advised of such an arrangement when it came to paying my bill. Just seems that the customer is still being fleeced.

Do you still tip when eating out locally? If so why? If the reason for tipping is to supplement a meagre wage surely if the staff are being paid a satisfactory minimum wage then that requirement to supplement is no longer there and therefore you no longer need to leave a tip.

jc_uk is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 12:08 PM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22,140
Considering minimum wage in San Francisco, shouldn't tipping be reduced to about 3%?
kerouac is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 12:32 PM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,229
My comment was about the minimum wage of $2/hr you experienced in Williamsburg. Not the US tipping custom. We spend 2 months in France each year, and I much prefer the French way of pricing things. The US way is stupid. But I add 18-20% on to the final bill - because.......because......I don't know - it's the way we do things. We are meeting friends in San Francisco for dinner tonight. We will bring a bottle of wine. I don't know if the restaurant where we are dining charges a corkage fee or not. But we will tip on a corkage fee and maybe add a few dollars extra to the "normal" tip if there is no corkage fee.

In San Francisco, the final "before tip" bill includes:
- Price of the food & drinks
- Maybe a 2-5% added "healthy San Francisco" fee to pay for city mandated health insurance
- Sales tax on the food and health insurance fee.

Kerouac. Yes - but I would need a body guard to protect us when we try to leave the restaurant after a 3% tip. I left no tip at a restaurant in San Francisco a few years ago when I received horrible service from the waiter, cook, owner, and everyone else involved when I ordered a 3 course meal where the first 2 courses were mediocre, and just when my wife was served her 3rd course they told me the quail I ordered was not available because they had not been able to get any quail deliveries for about 3 days. I told them that they should have told me this when they took my order. The owner offered me a free dessert - which was never delivered.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 10:28 PM
  #48  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,716
Adding health insurance to the restaurant bill is just crazy. What's next? Why not add other costs of doing business; rent, building insurance, the cost of employee meals. I'm sure all can be itemised on the bill.
I agree with jcuk's. You constantly think about how much to pay everyone; the restaurant, the tour guide, the staff in the hotel, the hairdresser etc.
But then the lowly paid McDonalds employee gets nothing, and everyone thinks the idea of tipping a McDonalds employee is crazy. It's a minefield, and easy to understand how tourists can get this wrong.
If I just drink water with my meal my tip is going to be much less than if i'd had wine.
And the price of a glass of local wine in California compared to what you pay in France! You'd think they could pay health insurance with the profit they make on that.
Tulips is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 10:55 PM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 849
$15/hour sounds like a lot. How much is a small one room apartment in those cities? My guess is on average $15/hour is closer to to famine than feast.

The US has a tipping culture in large part because the people involved want it. That's workers and employers. Tipping makes it easier to stay off the books.

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc...=rep1&type=pdf

No taxes. No withholding of any type. For anybody involved.

Of course those are the legal workers. Hospitality and other industries that work on cash tips often employ outside the legal workforce. Which is another reason why cash tipping is liked.

Look at the report this week in the UK about cash going away and the problems it's going to cause. I'll bet that the moment cash disappears the US will stop being the home of wide spread tipping.
Traveler_Nick is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:04 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22,140
Already the beggars in France are being disadvantaged because one of the things they would ask for and sometimes get were luncheon vouchers. Most of the luncheon vouchers have now gone electronic on smart cards, so you can't give them away anymore. (A lot of the children whose parents used to give them luncheon vouchers are also out of luck.)
kerouac is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:08 PM
  #51  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,732
Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
The US has a tipping culture in large part because the people involved want it. That's workers and employers. Tipping makes it easier to stay off the books..
Please remember that the people who rely on tips for a living in the U.S. -- and I mean those who TRULY rely on it, just to get by -- are the LEAST likely to respond, or respond honestly, to surveys. Honestly, NOBODY wants to simply get by. Everyone who I know how lives by tips (and I once did) would FAR rather be fully on the books and pay a fair share in taxes, if only to be assured of a fair wage.

Last edited by kja; Mar 6th, 2019 at 11:12 PM.
kja is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:51 PM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 177
Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
Kerouac. Yes - but I would need a body guard to protect us when we try to leave the restaurant after a 3% tip.
And therein lies the problem. Whilst I know you were being flippant about the bodyguard it does highlight the problem of not leaving a tip. People in the US have become so nervous about not leaving a tip because of the potential reaction and ramifications that may result. I have read reports, provenance and accuracy unknown, of people being chased and challenged by wait staff for not leaving a sufficient tip so no doubt this plays on the mind of the average patron. The fact that knowing the staff are being paid a fair wage you still feel obliged to leave a tip because to not do so could incur the wrath of the wait staff is appalling, you're effectively being held hostage by a system that is increasingly spiralling out of control.
jc_uk is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2019, 11:57 PM
  #53  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,732
Originally Posted by jc_uk View Post
People in the US have become so nervous about not leaving a tip because of the potential reaction and ramifications that may result..
Ridiculous! People who live in the U.S. and who choose not to leave a tip know that wait staff might try to intimidate them and do so with that knowledge in mind. There is no hostage taking, period.

Last edited by kja; Mar 7th, 2019 at 12:00 AM.
kja is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2019, 12:00 AM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 177
Originally Posted by kja View Post
Ridiculous! People who live in the U.S. and who choose not to leave a tip know that wait staff might try to intimidate them and do so with that knowledge in mind.
What's ridiculous? You've agreed with me. Sure, there are people who are quite content to stand their ground but there are a large number of people who are not so comfortable with the intimidation and therefore feel compelled to leave a tip even if they don't want to.
jc_uk is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2019, 12:16 AM
  #55  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,732
Originally Posted by jc_uk View Post
there are a large number of people who are not so comfortable with the intimidation and therefore feel compelled to leave a tip even if they don't want to.
If you have evidence, provide it. Otherwise, stop trolling.
kja is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2019, 12:39 AM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,884
Many years ago in NY, a friend and I were paying for a meal in a restaurant by credit card, which back then was a slip that you completed the total amount + tip and signed. Our intention was to leave the tip in cash and only put the meal total on the credit card. We thought a cash tip would be better for the waiter. Before we had even finished sorting out the bill, we got shouted at so much because the waiter thought we were not going to leave a tip at all, it was a very unpleasant & embarrasing experience. Even after explaining our intention, he just didn't hear it and continued to shout at us so we did leave without leaving a tip in the end. But that was a one off experience thankfully and I leave the required % tip as per local customs, either by cash or on a credit card.
Odin is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2019, 12:42 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 177
Originally Posted by kja View Post
If you have evidence, provide it. Otherwise, stop trolling.
Why are you conflating opinons being expressed with trolling?

Do you not agree that the tipping culture in the US is becoming out of control? Tips now being expected in the region of 25% in places. Where next, 30%, 40%, 50%?

I've read many posts on other travel forums where Americans have expressed discomfort at feeling obliged to leave such high tips and yes, the reason for much of this discomfort is due to the perceived intimidation or worse that one might experience if they didn't. Whilst Stu Dudly's comment was tongue in cheek about requiring a bodyguard I suspect there's an element of truth in his feeling obliged to leave a tip. And whilst I refer to "people in the US" I clearly don't mean EVERYONE in the US. You want evidence? I suggest you read some travel forums where tipping is discussed.
jc_uk is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2019, 09:56 AM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,173
Life is too short to get worked up about the tipping culture or lack of it in any country. I live in the US and I automatically pay a tip, no thinking about it. It doesnít concern me. If the system were different and the price of the meal were 20% higher but there would be no need to leave a tip, that would be fine too. I will not be lobbying for change in the law or system because there are far more important issues that concern me and just about everybody else. The only people likely to lobby for change in the system would be people in the restaurant industry.

Some of the people on this message board who are the most upset about US tipping culture are also the most upset when visitors to their country donít comply with their own countryís customs. And from my perspective, no matter how many times people from various European countries tell me their system is easy to understand, I still read varying opinions here and I still always feel like Iím doing the wrong thing.
Nikki is online now  
Old Mar 7th, 2019, 10:26 AM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 177
Originally Posted by Nikki View Post
Life is too short to get worked up about the tipping culture or lack of it in any country.
It's a bit difficult to not get worried about the potential intimidation, threats and sometimes violence if you make the faux pas of getting the tip wrong. The US is the only country I know where such a reaction is a realistic threat if you fail to leave what is believed to be an appropriate tip. The plethora of horror stories I've heard and read about demonstrate that these aren't isolated cases, people actually get verbally abused and threatened by wait staff for leaving a 'poor' tip. A tip is intended to reward good service not something that's guaranteed at every encounter and used solely as a means to pay the wages of staff.

If you're worried about how to approach tipping in Europe either leave the change if paying in cash or add a tip of 5% or 10% at most if paying by card. Unfortunately in popular tourist areas there is now an expectation of large tips because Americans just can't help themselves and they're setting a trend that rarely existed before.
jc_uk is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2019, 11:28 AM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,455
There’s so many things I love about our travel’s in The States.

Kayaing with Dolphins in Kiawah, swimming with seals on Cape Cod, pancakes in the Smokey Mountains, breakfast South Beach Miami, Sunday morning in Manhattan, leaf colour hunting in New Hampshire, the food scene in Charleston, dive restaurants in back water Louisiana, shark tooth hunting in SC, watching the shrimp boats at dawn, watching Osprey catch lunch, listening wolves howl at dusk, I could go on.

I still find, on every level and from every psychological angle, the whole concept of tipping to be very uncomfortable.
BritishCaicos is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO