View Full Version : Why do Americans EXPECT tips?

25th Oct 2001, 01:04
I am going on a tour of the good 'ole U S of A in November and have received all the itinery along with a "tipping conduct" guide. It says it is expected that I tip the driver and tour guide between $3-$5 per day for each of our group, now there are me, the missus and two ankle biters in my little clan so I have worked it out that I will need to tip $12-$20 PER DAY which will work out at $216-$360 in tips just to the guide and driver from my party. There will be 40 people on my tour which equals $2160-$3600 in tips.....or $1080-$1800 for both the driver and guide.This is before I tip every other person who tells me to "Have a nice day" in that genuine American way...I will be spending more on tips than on food. Havent the yanks heard of the minimum wage?
The only tip they will get from me is not to look at direct sunlight without eye protection....
Walt,,(tight fisted Welsh git)

25th Oct 2001, 01:07
No, they haven't

25th Oct 2001, 01:45
No min wage here - As Mycroft correctly spotted! Tips are (almost, but that's another story!) the only way waitresses earn a crust. As for expecting a tip - not true. You can (and should) refuse, if you've had bad service.

25th Oct 2001, 02:51
Maybe tipping should be more widespread in the UK. If people got less money for providing a kack service, perhaps we might get better service than we do right now...

25th Oct 2001, 03:34
I must say, that when I worked in a pub in London, I would occasionaly get bought a pint, but definately no tips.

(I don't think I was a bad barman, but you never know I suppose?)

Here in Calif, a beer generally costs $3 - 4, and I leave a buck tip. 20% is considered generous for bar / restaurant service. 10 - 15% average.

Some say that it is less on the East coast?

I think if I were you, I would buy the driver and the guide a little prezzy for $20 or thereabouts. Might seem stingy, but I would be a bit miffed at an expected tip of $5 per day. Wine or lottery tickets?

25th Oct 2001, 04:26
Also I must advise visitors to USA who do not tip as local customs suggest that waiters/esses etc are taxed at 8% of an expected 15% tip so please bear in mind that if you are too stingy to tip, the poor waiter/ess still is left with a tax bill to pay. That is of course as long as the waiter/ess is a legal resident and tax payer??????? so live dangerously and leave a decent tip and stop giving us English a bad name.

25th Oct 2001, 11:55
TIP stands for To Insure Promptness! :eek:

If they aint prompt, they dont get any!!!!! :rolleyes:

TIME the ******s..... :D :D :D :D

25th Oct 2001, 16:20
Have some American friends and we got onto this subject one day. Apparently the wages in the US for doing stuff like waiting are so incredibly pathetic that the tips make the difference between them managing to survive and not being able to pay their basic bills.

What's the problem with them being paid properly in the first place? :mad:

25th Oct 2001, 17:31
Yep, pay the poor sods properly from the start.
I never tip - It's not my fault they don't get paid enough.

[ 25 October 2001: Message edited by: 18-Wheeler ]

25th Oct 2001, 20:31
Some restaurants in the US add tip to the check and give ya a slip to sign or pay with the tip line blank. (So ya can add even more tip.)

My favorite watering hole here in Ft. Lauderdale is doing just that. I asked 'em why and the answer is: "We have so many Eurpoeans here and they are used to the sevice charge being included".

Fair enough, the waitreses in Europe get between 10 and 15% of gross sales, it is just included in the menu price.

So the question was, why do Ameicans EXPECT tips? Well, it is part of a huge "system" and people have always done it and that is the way it is.

Always ask: "Is tips included?" before ya add the customary 15% to the check.
Or if service is lousy, no tip.

25th Oct 2001, 22:13
18-Wheeler have a good hard look at dumiel's post above please.
And then tell me if it's the fault of American waiting staff that you do not have the flexibility to adapt to local custom and thereby do them out of money that is rightfully theirs as long as they have provided you with proper service? :rolleyes: :mad: :confused:

Sorry mate,but for 20 years now I've had to listen to the same silly argument from colleagues. And the funny things is, usually they are the same people who complain most vociferously about "bluddy foreigners who come to our country and should bluddy well adapt to our ways and who should stop behaving as if they were still in Faraway-istan!"

Not saying your one of them, but the tone of your post is awfully familiar!

25th Oct 2001, 22:30

Noticed we are in the same area, Perhaps we can share some drinks/stories. Please Email me.

I found out at a Olive Garden that they do submit the charge with a 15%, even if you placed something different in your charge slip, however the bank informs me that if you don't fill out the tip portion, or have a different figure, that when that is submitted to the bank, the adjustment is made to what you entered (or not entered at all).

26th Oct 2001, 01:53
Foyl, it's true, I can tell you for certain, that as a "professional" (heh) waitress up until last year, that the wage paid to the great majority of waitstaff out there is $2.15 an hour. Do the math, for a 40 hour work week, and that comes to $86 per week, $344 per month *before* taxes (you are taxed on both the wage paid, and on the 'expected' 15% tip). While certainly, one couldn't live on the wages, the great majority of people do tip well, and that's how waitstaff pay their rent.

I can't speak for tour guides/drivers, but I can tell you that for all intents and purposes, the customer is the one who pays a server's wages. Perhaps it's a sad way of doing things, but believe me, a good server will do a lot of work for you. I always tip 20-25% (unless the service was horrible), in the thought that giving that extra dollar or five can really make that server's day. And trust me, actually being appreciated for your service is often a rarity in the profession.
So to all you fellows out there who do right by your waitress, a big thank you!


26th Oct 2001, 02:10
surely the rule is "when in Rome..." ??

I must admit that, as a Brit not used to tipping (often) at home, I feel awkward (and frustrated) about tipping for the first couple of days, but I soon get used to it. My real problem is where to draw the line. Does one tip the frightfully nice young gal behind the counter in McDonalds?? :confused:

I soon get into the swing of things however.

I would appreciate a rule of thumb from those in the know about whom to tip, how much and when.

Anyone care to oblige?

As I said, happy to go along with the custom, just dont want to make more of an arse of myself than is absolutely necessary :D

edited cause I are crap at spellung

[ 25 October 2001: Message edited by: Man-on-the-fence ]

26th Oct 2001, 02:15
I think the whole ethic of reliance on tips is counterproductive. If a waiter/waitress is having a bad night with tips, he/she is more likely to have a crappy attitude as the night progresses, that only leads to worse service and even less chance for a tip. As for problems with tax and work ethic, they can't make that the customers problem. Good tip for good service, no tip for bad....Simple.

There's many a man with more hair than wit....Bill Shakespeare

26th Oct 2001, 03:20
I once knew a Jewish surgeon, he always expected a tip after every circumcision :D

26th Oct 2001, 03:30
I don't care what the custom is I just wish it was uniform worldwide!

We have virtually no tipping in Japan, token amount (by western values) in Thailand & India and 15 - 25% in the US!

Having just spent a week in the US (I love visiting and this is an observation not a whinge) it is noticeable that even before the present $/ exchange rate it was becoming as expensive to eat out in the US as in most of Europe.

Apart from the general inflation of prices by the time sales tax and tip is added the cost is no longer noticeably cheap.

One further point about tipping in the US, try adding the tips for valet parking, waiting staff, bell hops, tour guides, etc. etc. - it mounts up but is rarely considered in the budget!

26th Oct 2001, 08:33
In the US there is one group you must always, always tip. Skycaps. The people who check you in curbside (now it's been reinstated). One time in a frantic dash I omitted to do so. Hands up those who think my bag went to the same place I did. $1 per bag, $2 for heavy bags.

[ 26 October 2001: Message edited by: PaperTiger ]

26th Oct 2001, 10:58
I try to avoid adding the tip to the credit card receipt. Tip gets handed over in cash, and then it's up to the recipient how she/he handles it for tax purposes.

I believe in the UK that tips included in credit card payment are liable to VAT - and I object to paying a tax on a tip!

26th Oct 2001, 11:00
Tipping used to be a curse in France too. Then, with a heavy shove from the Government, all menus were 'Prix nets' and the price you see is the price you pay. Waiting is a respected occupation in France Spain and Italy. Here in the UK it is a bottom-of-the-pile job. My local pub has beeen ruined because the wages are too poor to interest full-time adults, so we are served by a steadily rotating pool of kids, who mean well but know nothing!

26th Oct 2001, 12:20
Tell ya what - The nest time I fly into or out of the US, I'll make a PA and say that in accordance with the local cutoms I'm expecting the usual 10% tip for my services.
That's (making up a number, not the real one) $300 a day, so say 50% of the pax actually do it I'd make about $6600 per trip, all in cash.

Gee, I can see how it's so popular now.

Sorry, but you get paid what you're worth.
No tips for you!

tony draper
26th Oct 2001, 13:33
Its a ****** all right, even those poor sods on the scaffold had to tip the executioner.

"Err keep the change my good man"

"Why thankee Sur,would sir move his head a little further down please" . ;)

near enuf is good enuf
26th Oct 2001, 14:12
I worked as a waiter in New York for six months.
My first weeks wages, 21 dollars. Before you start feeling sorry for me I was taking home between $150 to $250 a day on tips. I worked bloody hard for it and believe I deserved the tips I got due to the good service I gave but beware:
When you pay with a CC your waiter/ress will type in the amount to be deducted, give you the receipt to sign and fill in the tip, then when you leave retype in the adjusted amount. I have seen some of them after not receiving a tip due bad service or purely because some "foreigners" don't know any better, fill in the tip on the receipt and retype whatever amount they fancy. Theft, Fraud you got it.
On a completely different note just a thought on the security in NY at the time.
The restaurant I worked in was just around the corner from the U.N. Every lunch time the U.N. would empty and we would fill. Quite a few recognisable faces but the most noticeable was Madeline Albright. She would come in with a few colleagues and of course a couple of 6'5" goons. This all looked the part but there was I, illegal immigrant, preparing and serving the food that she put in her mouth !!!!
Maddy, now there is a good tipper. ;)

26th Oct 2001, 14:37
If I may stray slightly from the topic...

I once worked as a kitchen hand in a restaurant in Australia, where tips are not customarily given (except for exceptional service). The operators of this restaurant were Chinese immigrants, and were a bit dodgy. (Not as a result of being Chinese immigrants, mind you ;)).

I was paid cash-in-hand at the end of the weekend of shifts, and on one occasion there was not enough change in the till to make up the rest of my pay. So what did my employer do? He took a few dollars out of the pile of coins that was left by the last table for the waitresses :eek: :mad: ! I didn’t say anything, as this was the only job that I was likely to get in the small country town that I lived in at the time, and I needed the work, but because of that, I will never work for him again, no matter how desperate things get.

Blue Hauler
26th Oct 2001, 17:20
Tipping in Australia has not been the norm, but with the increase in foreign tourists over the past fifteen or twenty years, it is now expected. Particularly so in tourist destinations.

Waiters at most establishments in Australia are paid well, including weekend penalty rates and overtime. And it shows in the prices one pays for meals!

By comparison, a meal in the USA at a similar class of establishment is considerably cheaper even when including the fifteen or twenty per cent tip!

My policy is to tip in the USA but not in Australia.