Tipping in the UK

Old Sep 30th, 2014, 12:14 PM
  #41  
 
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That $20 upfront business really bothers me. Doesn't it smack of bribery, rather than a reward for good service? Just a tad dishonest, like slipping the hotel clerk money for a room upgrade.
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 12:27 PM
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I can't stand the 'hi how are you my name is Kimberly and I'll be your host' kind of service you get in the US. And the bill that is presented without asking for it. 'I'll get that whenever you're ready'... That's just rude, and it's something they do in many US restaurants.

I much prefer the kind of service I get in restaurants in London. Polite, friendly but not overly familiar.
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 01:42 PM
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And the bill that is presented without asking for it. 'I'll get that whenever you're ready'... That's just rude, and it's something they do in many US restaurants>>

OTOH just try getting the bill in Germany - you'd think you were asking them for their first born..
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 09:15 PM
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I think there's something deeper in many British (or is it just English?) attitudes to tipping. Some people might see it as one expression of some sort of social anxiety, but I would certainly rationalise it as seeing more mutual respect in openly advertised and agreed prices than in having people dancing attendance on customers in the expectation of favours at their whim. It's like trying to haggle in code (and haggling is a waste of time anyway).
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 01:34 AM
  #45  
 
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I've travelled to many countries in the world and have experience of service in all of them, including the US. I don't think that a commercial article written by a Brit is any sort of evidence of what you can get here or can expect in a range of restaurants. Who says the UK has mediocre service? Oh yes, another article or list commissioned by a commercial organisation to promote themselves from an individual who visited a small number of restaurants.

On what evidence is that conclusion drawn? A couple of people who gave an opinion, hardly to be relied upon. I eat out regularly, as I'm sure most of us on here do and rarely suffer service that is mediocre. If I did, it certainly wouldn't go unremarked upon at the time, but in the main, the service we get is very good without being intrusive.

A few years ago we went to Sardi's in New York and had the most abysmal meal with diabiolical service. I didn't tip and told them why. Then I immediately published an article damning all New York restaurants.

I do believe that there are those who use tipping as some sort of power trip to impress the receiver with the importance of the giver. Such an ostentatious display of "look how much money I have and I'm much better than you" speaks volumes.

By all means reward good service, but it ain't an art, it's just a thank you not a bribe.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 07:00 AM
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Whenever we are in The States we tend to rent houses and cook for ourselves.

After many years and nine visits, we actively avoid the US service industries. We isn't cannot be bothered with the service culture. I means that I can drink most of the bottle of wine when my wife isn't watching and my son can do the washin up.

We are in Charleston in a few weeks. The only reason we will eat out is for the increasingly famous regional food which is on offer there, not the "hi my name is Cheryl" performance.

I know numerous older Brits who will not travel to The States because of the whole tipping/service culture.

The cruises have improved their act and according to my parents, who are the world's leading experts on cruises, many now include tips in the package price.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 08:00 AM
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"The UK has mediocre service Rubicund, that really isn't in dispute and Brits in general don't expect any better or generally know how to get any better service"

Only a Yank could believe anything so preposterous.

I've been served food in eating places in most of the pre-1989 Communist world. None offered service as disgraceful as the servile beggary Yanks tolerate (and the more feeble-minded actually praise) throughout their food service industry.

I've also had sat through a course in "customer service" at a Yank retail chain I'd been hired to run.

I left the company in disgust at the hypocritical gibberish, masquerading as service, its junior staff were being brainwashed into mouthing - and at the spectacular contrast between the brainwashing the poor kids were being given and my Yank colleagues' cynical (and unashamed, at least in private) exploitation of their gullibilty.

No-one who's ever tried checking in on a Yank plane, checking out of a Yank hotel, being "served" by a Yank air steward (or whatever this week's euphemism is) - or getting into Yankland - could believe Sojourntraveller's ever actually been to America.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 08:11 AM
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Look at who is responding to this post Rubicund. All Brits. Do you suppose that will provide an unbiased set of opionions?

I think PatrickLondon has come closest so far to recognizing where the issue lies. "I think there's something deeper in many British (or is it just English?) attitudes to tipping. Some people might see it as one expression of some sort of social anxiety, but I would certainly rationalise it"

Yes, someone can rationalize anything if they want to. One of your comments Rubicund also touches on the issue, intentionally or not. "Such an ostentatious display of "look how much money I have and I'm much better than you" speaks volumes."

Both comments point towards the cultural issue of the class system in the UK. As much as Brits love to say it no longer exists, behaviour says otherwise.

First, there is nothing ostentatious in tipping unless you make an ostentatious display of it. But you immediately use that word to paint tipping negatively. Surely you cannot actually believe that every time someone tips, they are being ostentatious. Drop the superlatives.

Second, you assume that the message the person tipping wants to send is, 'look how much money I have and I'm much better than you.' Well, that is one possible message but why do you choose it as the message you think is being given rather than the simple message of, 'I want superior service'?

Why do you assume it is about 'I am better than you'? That in fact is all about the lingering class system that pervades British culture. People don't want to be 'looked down at' and don't want to be seen as possibly treating someone as subservient. In this case, they confuse disrespect for the person, with tipping.

So whenever a discussion of tipping comes up on a travel forum, Brits rush to talk about, 'hi, my name is Cheryl' or the bill being brought before being asked for etc. What does that have to do with tipping? Using examples of differences in how service is provided has nothing to do with how and when to tip and for what. You can decide what you consider superior service and what you want to tip for. I have not suggested anywhere you should tip more to someone who says, 'my name is Cheryl' or brings a bill to the table. What I have said is I tip for superior service. I am the one who decides what I consider superior service and you are all free to decide the same. The question is how to get that superior service and what to tip for it when you do. Leave out the sidetracking on you don't like having a wine glass filled for you and think they are pushing you to drink more wine. That's irrelevant.

As for evidence of the poor service culture in the UK, if you aren't willing to accept any amount of evidence that it is so, what can I say. None are so blind as those who will not see.

One of the advantages (or disadvantages depending on your point of view) of the internet is that you can easily do your own research and draw your own conclusions. Do two Google searches. Search one, 'poor uk service industry':
https://www.google.ca/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=...rvice+industry
Second search, 'good uk service industry':
https://www.google.ca/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=...rvice+industry

See how many in each search are related to hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. The kind of 'service industry' we are talking about here. Those where people tip (or not). See what they say. In the 'poor' search, all the entries on the first page (except for the Wikipedia article) are relevant to this discussion. In the 'good' search, none are related to what we are talking about.

Try some different searches for other things related and see what you find. It is easy for me to find articles such as this one in Forbes which tells of a Skyscanner survey that asked travellers which are the 'rudest nations for travellers'. With 65% of respondents being Brits, they voted their own country #3 in rudeness.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewbe...for-travelers/

Try finding positive links to show me Rubicund. I'm open to evidence to the contrary but I haven't come across any. That tends to tell me that the preponderance of the evidence is not in favour of the UK. What does it tell you?

By the way, in another Skyscanner survey Brits voted themselves the world's worst tourists. Perhaps yet another indication that they don't know how to treat people in a service industry.

Tipping is not about a 'power trip' nor is it usually 'ostentatious' or about 'I'm better than you'. It is about valuing and rewarding service. Those who 'get it' and are the server make more money than those who don't. Those who 'get it' and are the customer, receive better service than those who don't.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 08:18 AM
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Flanneruk, I will address one sentence in your childish and embarassing nonsense about 'Yanks.'

You wrote, "Only a Yank could believe anything so preposterous."

I am a Brit by birth. I have lived in various countries since then as well however. My last period of living in the UK was from 1999 to 2006. The largest part of my life has been spent living in Canada.

So NO flanneruk, not ONLY a 'Yank' could believe anything so preposterous.

Judging by your obvious anti-Yank rant, my guess is you didn't so much leave the US based company as were probably asked to leave.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 08:25 AM
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Paying someone in advance to kiss your a$$ for the next few hours just has a scent of . . . vulgarity to it. But, hey, if it makes you feel special . . .
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 08:56 AM
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I once worked in the lower end of the customer service industry directly opposite a theatre. Every evening a "star" would walk in with entourage and "flash the cash" to get a better service. Amazingly we gave him the same service as everyone else (I hope close to perfect). We had gunners (Brit speak for the Royal Artillary squadies) to Knights of the realm in all evening and provided what they wanted when they wanted.

It sounds more like the behaviour of Russians to me
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 01:56 PM
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Carry On, as you do. Carry(ing) On has long been a British comedy specialty.

The word vulgarity Holly comes from where do you think?

"1570s, "the common people," from Late Latin vulgaritas "the multitude," from vulgaris (see vulgar ). Meaning "coarseness, crudeness" is recorded from 1774."

So the word originates as a term for 'commoners' and was used by who do you think? The aristocracy.

All roads lead to Rome and all roads Brits follow from tipping lead to the class system.

So tell me Holly, if it is vulgar to tip, that then obviously means it is something that commoners do. If you don't tip, does that then mean you are 'upper class'? LOL

Look again at the responses. All by Brits who can't see outside their bubble.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 02:09 PM
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I can see perfectly well outside my "bubble". It's just that I judge what I see differently from you.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Suppose you slide that £20 (folded in four, palm down) across the bar when you enter and then the bartender doesn't render the superior service you expected £20 to buy. Do you then ask to have your £20 restored to you?
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 03:06 PM
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I never said it was vulgar to tip. You have joined the ranks of those who don't read very well around here.

Congratulations!
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 10:26 PM
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I'm not a Brit, and have lived in the US as well as in the UK. I dislike the American tipping culture, but will follow local customs while I'm there.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 11:01 PM
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Tulip, as you say, I dislike it but I'll try to follow local mores
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Old Oct 2nd, 2014, 12:39 AM
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Every Brit I know (me included) hates the US methods of adding sales tax and compulsory tips. We expect to see upfront what something is going to cost, rather than whipping out a calculator. But we accept that you follow the customs of the country you are visiting, and leave the mandatory service charge.

When you're in the UK, tipping the amounts we generally do will be appreciated. The vulgarity comes from tipping excessively. That bar person most likely thinks you're a mug, and whilst happy to take your money will still favour regulars he knows and likes over you.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Thanks anicecuppa

I couldn't have putting better myself.

My parents are a retired builder and a retired retailer.

Both have worked all the hours god delivered to better themselves. The concept of giving money away without an accurate request is beyond their comprehension and after two visits with many uneasy and awkward experiences they just will not visit the States now.

It's a shame but I still feel a lump in MY throat when a restaurant owner in the US gives me a inaccurate invoice because they haven't bothered paying all their staff fully. I then have to pay Cheryl's wages separately, which is fine because she's already told me how many kids, dogs, cats, medical bills she has....when in reality all I really wanted her to do was carry the food from the kitchen.

I love the South Korean approach where they skip waiting staff and the chefs bring the food. That way if you have any complaints you can feed directly back to the bloke in front of you holding a chopping knife.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2014, 11:42 AM
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Does flanneruk get some sort of prize for fitting the most "yanks" into one snotty sentence? Perhaps a folded up $20?

I find it interesting that certain sujects are guaranteed to get some fodorites all riled up. Tipping and the wearing of jeans in restaurants seem to top the list.

For myself, I try to observe the local custom. I also try to view the way other countries handle tipping and service as different as opposed to wrong.
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