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Travel to the US and tipping
Travel to the US and tipping
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Old 6th December 2015, 05:31 AM   #1
Stuey is offline Stuey  Australia
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Default Travel to the US and tipping

Hey US of A members,

I'm spending Christmas in NYC and have to ask you; what's the tipping etiquette over there?

We rarely tip here except in restaurants, so it's a bit foreign to us.

I don't want to look like a scumbag by tipping too low, but on the other hand the holiday is costing me a few tens of thousands (USA/France/UK with the family of four) so I need to watch the budget. I'm only a lowly salaried worker...

Tips on tipping appreciated!

Stuey
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Old 6th December 2015, 06:04 AM   #2
AllenB is offline AllenB  Australia
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Travel to the US and tipping
Hey Stuey, I'm of the belief that US waiters are paid according to the expectation that they will be tipped. I'd like to be corected but I think 10% is not unusual. I've found them to be easy to talk to and happy to help you understand the custom.

If I understand correctly this process would be illegal here. I always tip at restaurants and find the hosts are usually thankful if not a little surprised.
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Old 6th December 2015, 06:42 AM   #3
Hikari1 is offline Hikari1  United States
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Location: Seattle
15-20% is normal. We usually only tip in restaurants, taxis and hotel services (room cleaning, luggage, parking). Fast food restaurants (McDonalds, etc) no tipping.

A lot of restaurants will automatically add 15% for parties of 6 or more. Check our receipt. It's often labelled "gratuity".

We almost never tip at retail stores or gas stations, etc.

United States: Tipping & Etiquette - TripAdvisor
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Old 6th December 2015, 06:45 AM   #4
kenpeter is offline kenpeter  United States
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Dallas
When you are jealously over-attended to by one clingy annoying individual
its a safe bet that person paid next to nothing and living exclusively off tips.
Not just waiters. Drivers, satellite installers, bathroom attendants, used tire
shop mechanics, ho's, any economically challenged coincierge that works
one-on-one with the assigned customer.

Now on the other hand, you go to a fast food chain and are served at the
register by whomever, a team of faceless nobodies. They are paid with the
expectation that the opportunity to earn personal tips is unusual and rare.
Tips might not even be allowed, you have to run away before the tip can
be returned and enjoy knowing the person you help maybe got in trouble.

If you go to a fancy place, a churrascaria for example, and are served by
a professional team with overwhelming service. The minimum gratuity,
say 15%, is clearly amended to the bill. You can give more if you like,
and it will be shared (including kitchen) but these folks are not starving.

You go to a less fancy place, Denny's, it becomes complicated. Because
they are probably living off tips, and probably sharing with the kitchen
but not each other. You should tip these unappreciated suffering people
highest! Yet so often (if passing through, with no fear of next visit) the
customer leaves a dollar, or nothing. There is a reason these folks are
broken, withering, and toothless.

Stay long enough to make sure your intended recipient gets the tip,
and not stolen by another. Its an evil system we live.

Last edited by kenpeter; 6th December 2015 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 6th December 2015, 08:31 AM   #5
Stuey is offline Stuey  Australia
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Cheers guys. That's given me a good idea of what to do, and that link to TripAdvisor was useful, thanks, Hikari.
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Old 6th December 2015, 09:39 AM   #6
Cassiel is offline Cassiel  Libya
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Madrid
I know waiters and I know USA. My father owned a restaurant in a Latin city very close to the US (Miami). I don't know toothless waiters though (I don't know either what kind of substance is kenpeter on). Toothless at Denny's?

Yeah waiters live on tips, similar to beggars in that sense, but they smile a lot more and some of them work very hard. Just give them something or else bad karma will follow you wherever you go. Having said that, I really have no sympathy for them. I was cheated by other waiters. I was a teenager, put to the test by my father, I was innocent and they emotionally raped me. When it was time to count up tip money the veterans would usually say "hey Al, go and fetch this, go and fetch that" always told me to go away with some stupid excuse and I was always shortchanged. Scumbags.
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Old 6th December 2015, 12:05 PM   #7
SY is offline SY  United States
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Travel to the US and tipping
20% for waitstaff is more the norm these days. 15% is a signal that the service was barely adequate. 10% is a direct insult. If we get really excellent service, we have no hesitation to go to 25-30%.

Look on the bright side: instead of paying that percentage as VAT, it's going directly into the pockets of people who really need the money. Waitstaff here are paid rock-bottom wages, so the tips are their principal source of income.
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Old 6th December 2015, 12:38 PM   #8
Cassiel is offline Cassiel  Libya
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Madrid
I've seen everything: incredible tips from normal people, rich people taking away plant pots, tableware.... You learn a lot about people in restaurants. There was this doctor who liked to drink Don Perignon and chat with me. Always tipped super generously. I still remember him.
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Old 6th December 2015, 01:20 PM   #9
infinia is offline infinia  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenpeter View Post
\ There is a reason these folks are
broken, withering, and toothless.

.
huh? reminds me when DIYA tried the tipping system.
tip >for true appreciation for the staff use cash for the tips even if paying by card, otherwise tip higher cuz it's coming from the expense accnt.
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Last edited by infinia; 6th December 2015 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 6th December 2015, 02:58 PM   #10
Tubelab_com is offline Tubelab_com  United States
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Quote:
it's going directly into the pockets of people who really need the money
My daughter was a waitress at an Irish pub/restaurant several years ago " in a Latin city very close to the US (Ft. Lauderdale)". The waiters got paid below minimum wage, and all had to "tip share" 5% of THE CHECK back to the restaurant for the busboys and the bartenders. The place was near the entrance to a retirement community. This means that a waiter would lose money on a customer who sat at the table for two hours and left a 50 cent tip. This happened a lot on weekday afternoon. They made up for it on Friday and Saturday nights....and St. Patricks' day. She made $1200 the time the local rock radio station hosted the party.

The "tip share" policy is fairly common now.
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