Skip Navigation

Tourists who insist on tipping regardless of the custom

Travel Forums General Talk Tourists who insist on tipping regardless of the custom

Page

Last Post

41. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 8y

I side on the last posters comments.

Tipping is a personal choice to me. It seems this a North American Issue that has influenced a lot of other countries (if some one brings up the subject of the history of tipping, I am sure I will be corrected, again.)

As I have managed Customer Service in the past, I really do not believe in Tipping In house. Meaning if someone wanted to they could of course, but in no way did the business request it nor pay staff pre-tipping wages. Personally I find this whole minimum wage after tips thing quite ridiculous.

If I go to eat somewhere, I expect customer service, it's part of why I go there. It's part of the job???!! Reform the catering industry! Meanwhile if ever I eat in North America again, it will be at a house. Or fast food chain? Do I have to tip there too?

42. Posted by C.Butler (Full Member 6 posts) 8y

I'm only going to comment on tipping in the USA.

This is a common question I get as an English teacher from my students here in NY. In the USA, it is culturally expected that you tip. If you don't, it's considered rude and insulting to the staff. Many people from foreign countries find fault with this, saying that restaurants should pay their employees better and that tipping is just an "extra."

That may be your opinion. But please consider that when you go to other countries, you try to be culturally sensitive. Why would it be any different in the US? This is the US way of doing things. How would you like it if I came to your country, and told you that one of your customs was wrong? You wouldn't, and you'd be insulted. That's how servers and bartenders feel when foreigners refuse to tip. It's just downright rude and inconsiderate, and it affects their pockets directly.

In the US, there is a minimun wage, to answer someone's question. It's $7.15/hr federally, but can vary from state to state. However, this is for non-tipping positions. For tipping positions, the wage is $4.15/hr. That only covers taxes, which means that the paychecks servers get say "VOID" on them. In other words, they only take home what they make in tips. If you don't tip them, they don't make any money. Essentially, they've performed a service for you which you've refused to pay for.

Another thing to take into account is that in many restaurants in the US, most servers don't actually keep all their tips. They share their tips with the bussers and the runners, which are they people that clean-up after you and organize the delivery of the food to your table. That means if you give your server $10, they really only keep about $5 of it.

All of this boils down to this: if you want to be culturally appropriate in the US tip your server, your bartender, your cab driver, and your hairstylist according to the following scale:

10% for bad service (not bad food, because the server can't control that. the kitchen does.)
15%-18% for average service, according to your generosity
20% for good service

If you have a problem with the food or the service, it isn't considered appropriate to refuse to tip. It is considered appropriate to speak with the management and let them resolve your concerns by offering to reduce the price of the meal or compensate you for the food you found fault with. I hope this helps clear up any lingering misconceptions over tipping in the US.

43. Posted by C.Butler (Full Member 6 posts) 8y

I forgot to answer one last question I usually get about tipping in the US. You always tip bartenders. For restaurants, you only tip if there is table-side service. That means you only tip if the server comes to you and takes your order, and brings you your drinks and food. So you don't have to tip in delis, or for counter service where you walk up to a counter and order and take the food the table yourself. And no, you don't have to tip at McDonald's.

44. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 8y

Quoting C.Butler

In the US, there is a minimun wage, to answer someone's question. It's $7.15/hr federally, but can vary from state to state. However, this is for non-tipping positions. For tipping positions, the wage is $4.15/hr. That only covers taxes, which means that the paychecks servers get say "VOID" on them. In other words, they only take home what they make in tips. If you don't tip them, they don't make any money. Essentially, they've performed a service for you which you've refused to pay for.

...

So you don't have to tip in delis, or for counter service where you walk up to a counter and order and take the food the table yourself. And no, you don't have to tip at McDonald's.

So those who work in places like McDonald's earn minimum wage?

45. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 8y

If it was culturally appropriate for anyone in any country to reach into my wallet and pay extra for bad service I would tell them to go blow themselves. This inclusion in your post, C. is enough to make me never tip again in the States. This is no reflection on you, and your post was well considered and I enjoyed reading it.

As for a culture thing, since it is constantly up for debate in the United States, I consider it an accepted practice, rather than a custom. Since a server organization tried to institute a raise in the percentage of tips they SHOULD get, even though it was a voluntary practice that was originally used as an enticement to provide better service, I consider it a lousy accepted practice. Since employers use this to pay everyone a shitty wage, I consider it an accepted practice that is lousy and analagous to the accepted practice of having to bribe cops in Mexico.

Again, I am not against tipping, if it is to reinforce a high level of professinalism. I am against shmucks who think they get money even if they are lazy pukes.

In closing: Never tip for bad service EVER!!! It is foolish and, ultimately, not helpful.

D

46. Posted by C.Butler (Full Member 6 posts) 8y

Quoting Hien

So those who work in places like McDonald's earn minimum wage?

Yes, workers in these places earn at least the minimum wage.

Quoting Piecar

As for a culture thing, since it is constantly up for debate in the United States, I consider it an accepted practice, rather than a custom.

custom |ˈkəstəm|
noun
1 a traditional and widely accepted way of behaving or doing something that is specific to a particular society, place, or time.

-Oxford American Dictionary

I disagree that it's constantly up for debate in the United States. My experience is that Americans don't really debate this point amongst themselves, it's just accepted as a fact of eating out. I've had this debate many times, but never with my American friends. It's only debated among travelers, or people who are not from the U.S.

Quoting Piecar

Since employers use this to pay everyone a shitty wage, I consider it an accepted practice that is lousy and analagous to the accepted practice of having to bribe cops in Mexico.

Just remember that if you refuse tip a server for whatever reason, they aren't getting paid. If you're trying to make a statement against the system, i.e. the restaurant, not tipping your server doesn't do anything except screw the server out of money. The restaurant still gets paid and for the most part they don't care and aren't even monitoring whether or not the server gets paid, "extra." Let's face it, these are the same people who aren't paying their employees. Besides, if you make a mistake where you work, do you still get paid? Part of my basic belief is that people deserve to get paid at least something for their work.

If you really want make a statement, never eat at a restaurant that doesn't pay their servers at least the federal minimum wage of $7.15/hr. Good luck.

Quoting Piecar

Again, I am not against tipping, if it is to reinforce a high level of professionalism. I am against shmucks who think they get money even if they are lazy pukes.

I think it's a common misconception that most servers are lazy. Some are, but most are not. Serving is a physically difficult and stressful job. Part of a server's job is to hide most of the work they do from the customer, so that the customer can enjoy their meal without thinking about anything. There's always more work than you see, and you're not their only table. I like to try to be as understanding of everyone as I can, and refusing to pay their wage is not something I want to be a part of.

That being said, there are some situations where it is appropriate to not tip in the U.S. But those situations are few, egregious, and shockingly obvious.

47. Posted by flaminko (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

I think ultimately we are all trying to say that, regardless of custom/practice, if one is traveling within the United States, one should tip in most situations. Vice versa, if Americans are traveling somewhere, they should respect the custom/practice of the country they are in and tip, or not tip, where appropriate. Even though I'm not Korean, I still try and respect their customs and practices no matter how silly they are. There are things such as using two hands to accept or hand off something, sharing all of my food all the time, bowing, budging in line and trying to push my way onto the subway before anyone has had a chance to get off ^^

I have never debated tipping with my anybody in the United States; no one really thinks about it in relation to the rest of the world not doing it. I've always just listened to my friends complain about how hard they work and how little they get paid, but we have never discussed the validity of tipping. That's something foreigners talk about that Americans are usually oblivious to.

For the record, workers at McDonald's do usually get paid minimum wage, as do employees at many places. When I was in high school, I worked at McDonald's for two years (2001-2003), about 15 hours a week, and started at $5.15, and ended at $5.35. My job in college, however, started me at $8.75, and four and a half years later, I ended at $11.65. The minimum wage was $5.15 from 1997 until 2007, when it changed to $5.85. Then again in June 2008 it changed to $6.55, and it will finally be $7.25 in June of 2009. My state changed the minimum wage to $7.25 in January 2008. Basically, even in Iowa, where the price of living is relatively cheap, one still cannot live on minimum wage. I can't imagine how people in California live on an $8 minimum wage when the cost of living is so much more expensive, and I can't understand how servers make a living.

Now you all know...and more! ^^

k

48. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

We went out to eat at a nice restaurant Saturday and got exceptional service. In fact, the waiter not only changed my plate when I started picking the mushrooms out, he even apologized that the mushrooms weren't indicated on the menu (it was bursting with fungus--I can't stand mushrooms!), changed my order, and gave us each a free digestif and an upgrade to a dessert not on our menu. So we tipped him about 22%--more than I've ever tipped before and a nice chunk 'cause it was a fancy-ish place. He was kind of flabbergasted, but he earned it and it's kind of a way to encourage such exceptional service.

But! We stopped at the hotel bar and were largely ignored as, I'm guessing, we didn't look like rich tourists with money to throw around. But not being able to tell if I was being oversensitive (maybe he really did forget) or paranoid (cause I'm not a rich tourist off the Princess Cruise Line) or if he really as being rude, I gave him his 15% (my Moscow Mule was that good--if extremely overpriced). I like the idea of tipping only for great service. I also like the idea of not tipping at all for bad service. But there's a whole lotta social norms involved that make it difficult not to tip...

49. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 8y

It is indeed a matter of service and what is generally excepted.
In the Netherlands, it is kind of normal to give a tip when things have been just ok or better.
But I don't count in percentages. I mean, come one, when it is 90 euro, that means like 100 or more given the usual percentages I have read so far. But rounding it of to a normal number, like 34 becomes 35 or so, yeah that's ok for me.

But basically: why tip those persons, it is their job. I don't tip any other persons either. And that's not talking about my home country alone, also about other countries.

I don't get tips for my unusual service at work

50. Posted by C.Butler (Full Member 6 posts) 8y

Quoting Utrecht

But basically: why tip those persons, it is their job. I don't tip any other persons either. And that's not talking about my home country alone, also about other countries.

Yes, it's their job. That's why they expect to get paid for it. (and they don't in some other countries if you don't tip. See my post above for further explanation.)