tipping in europe

Nov 3rd, 2002, 03:20 PM
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tipping in europe

Just returned from a trip to Europe and noted that there is no section on the credit card slips you get at restaurants for leaving a tip, such as there is in the U.S. Is it possible to add on a tip the the credit card total, or do you always have to leave cash?
Nov 3rd, 2002, 03:35 PM
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In Western Europe, 15% gratuity is automatically added to any bill -- if it is not included, it must by law be stated as such. The amount on your credit card is the amount that includes 15% gratuity. You needn't leave any more money. Most Americans believe an additional tip is necessary, but it is not expected, nor required. You can always leave a few extra Euros (sparingly) on the restaurant table before you leave, but that depends on if the service you received truly was tops. Conversely, chambermaids, porters and the like should be tipped. You needn't tip a cab driver either. The 15% is already included by law (let's call it the arrival of socialism in Western Europe). A lot of Americans may disagree with what I have posted; nevertheless, it is true. A lot of tourists believe they are obligated to leave more whereas in reality, they are being taken for a ride if they do such.
Nov 3rd, 2002, 03:47 PM
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I agree with you Frank, but a distinction needs to be made between Western Europe and the UK. Service is never included in the UK at restaurants etc and space will be left for you to add your tip on your credit card just as in the US. Incidentally, I recently visited a restaurant in France where 15% gratuity was included, but there was still a space on my credit card slip to add more. Needless to say, it was not added!
In the UK, please DO tip the cab driver or you may learn some choice local profanities!
Nov 3rd, 2002, 03:58 PM
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There have been places on the credit card slips I have had in Europe to add a tip, definitely. I think there was at least one restaurant in Prague that said they couldn't add the tip to the credit card slip for some reason I can't recall (something to do with not being able to give that to the server, maybe -- could be some other reason). I'm sure there are various credit card slip forms, but that's not a rule. Maybe you didn't recognize the word or space for tip, if it was in a foreign language. In Polish it is "napiwek". In Prague, the space was labeled in English on the slip I signed (as "tip"). I do notice that on my credit card bill, the tip and meal charge came through as two separate charges from a restaurant in Prague, so maybe that was what they meant when they said they couldn't add it to the bill, even though I added it to only the main slip I signed. In London, the restaurants delivered the bill to my table, I added a tip to it and then they rang it up on my credit card in one total, which I signed. All of those countries do not add a service charge automatically to the price on the menu as I understood it--my understanding was that if it was added, it should be clearly itemized on the bill and you don't have to pay it (although I don't think any restaurant did that to me in London). I did do some research before traveling to find out the service charge rules in those particular countries, and that's what I remember. I don't recall the custom for charge slips in France as if I do leave a small tip there, I leave it in cash since the price includes 15 pct service, so I don't have any charge slips with a tip on them. So, what you observed isn't the norm in all of Europe, in any case.
Nov 3rd, 2002, 04:12 PM
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Christina. The two previous postings made it clear they meant Western Europe. Prague and Poland are not considered to be Western Europe. In France it is law and the menu will have "servis compris" on it.
Nov 3rd, 2002, 04:14 PM
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In the past I rarely saw a place for tip on a credit card slip in Europe, but this summer I saw more and more of them that did, just like in the US. I'm one who still says the 15% included is not a "tip" but is a service charge levied and collected by the restaurant. It may go to help pay the wages, but don't think that the management gives out those 15% fees to their waiters as if they were tips. I believe a "tip" is for something extra that the server may do -- and often does for me as I take too much of his time asking for explanations and trying to deal with the language. But I'd never add it to a bill, because I doubt very much that that particular waiter would end up with the money. I always leave any extra "tip" in cash.
Nov 3rd, 2002, 04:30 PM
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Agree Patrick. I always like to give the cash personally to the waiter/ess if I feel that they have been particularly good, although most place the money in a "pot" to be shared. I don't know if it is true in the US, but in the UK all waiter/ess are taxed on tips on an assumptive value. If you earn more then good luck, if you earn less then tough luck.

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