Author Topic: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!  (Read 2714 times)

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Curious Cat

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2013, 01:16:25 PM »
Waaahh... they don't like when I put the extra money I am giving them that I do not have to on a credit card?

Do what is convenient for you.

Wow, really? Was this necessary? No one is whining about anything. You could have just included the last sentence and had your point come across without the rudeness.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2013, 01:19:45 PM »
I'm sorry -- but the more I hear about tipping in restaurants in the US, the more I feel that, should I ever visit the States, I would not dare to eat in a sit-down-type restaurant. So many possible pitfalls !  I might go to a proper restaurant in the company of locals who would handle everything, and whom I could reimburse afterwards as appropriate.  Otherwise, I'd be restricted to serve-yourself fast food places, and street stalls.

Please don't be scared or intimidated. You are really only hearing about the 5% of annoyance or issues that crop up. 95% of the time the whole process is simple and smooth. You get a bill. You look at it to see if a "service charge" or "gratuity" was added. If not you simply calculate 10-25% (honestly your choice) of the total (you choice to use pre-tax total or after tax total) and leave it as a tip either in cash or if you are paying by credit card, on the credit slip. Its as easy as that.

Restaurants will always give you an itemized bill and time to look it over. And really while everyone has personal rules about tipping, in the grand scheme of things, a lot is simply up to you. Personally I always tip 17-20% with the fluctuation based a whole bunch of random things like the service, but also rounding out the numbers for easier math and my mood at the time. Some people tip 12% or 25%, some are strict and give down to the penny a perfect percentage, some round to not have to deal with change. None of us are more right or more wrong, we are just doing what we personally feel is right.

So long as you give at least 10% you are pretty much in the clear.

The thing which really spooked me, was an opinion given on eHell (on the blog, or the "regular" board -- don't remember which ) -- to the effect that restaurant patrons should "eat up and get out" as quickly as possible (tipping generously before they depart), so that the poor ill-paid waitstaff could get, throughout the evening, the maximum number of tipping patrons. In any rational view of things, that is getting into crazy territory -- Looking-Glass World, the tail wagging the dog -- but the mere fact that someone could, seemingly seriously, put forward such an idea, had me thinking "this is a scene which I want nothing to do with".

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2013, 01:20:27 PM »
One restaurant that I've been to with friends when I visit them in California is in a touristy area.  When they print their bill, they put right on it, across the bottom, what 15%, 18% and 20% would calculate out to.  I know some people aren't crazy about the idea but I LOVE it, especially when I'm travelling.  It lets me know what is considered an average tip in the area and I can then determine how much I want to leave.  So if the service was poor but not abysmal, I can leave the 15% amount, rounded down to an even number when added to the bill amount.  If the service was decent, I can leave the 18% amount, rounded to the nearest even number when added to the bill amount.  If the service was stellar, I can leave the 20% amount or more, rounded up to the next even number when added to the bill amount.

In response to the OP's original question, I like to leave the tip in cash, if I have it.  I don't always have loonies, twonies and fives on me.  When that's the case, I put the tip on my credit card.  I usually tip 15% on the total amount.  It used to be 15% on the subtotal but it has steadily crept up here, too.  It used to be really easy because our tax was 15% so 'tip the tax' was the standard.  The tax is down to 13% but I still use that as my guide.  So if my bill was $16.81 on the subtotal with $2.19 in tax for a total of $19.00, I'd add 2.19 and round up to the nearest $ so $22 total, which would be $0.15 over 15% on the total.  And I'm glad I just did this little exercise because I think that while I've been leaving at least 15% on the subtotal, I've been a little short on the 15% on the total when paying cash.  In this case, they'd get more money out of me if I paid with my card!
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WillyNilly

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2013, 01:34:46 PM »
I'm sorry -- but the more I hear about tipping in restaurants in the US, the more I feel that, should I ever visit the States, I would not dare to eat in a sit-down-type restaurant. So many possible pitfalls !  I might go to a proper restaurant in the company of locals who would handle everything, and whom I could reimburse afterwards as appropriate.  Otherwise, I'd be restricted to serve-yourself fast food places, and street stalls.

Please don't be scared or intimidated. You are really only hearing about the 5% of annoyance or issues that crop up. 95% of the time the whole process is simple and smooth. You get a bill. You look at it to see if a "service charge" or "gratuity" was added. If not you simply calculate 10-25% (honestly your choice) of the total (you choice to use pre-tax total or after tax total) and leave it as a tip either in cash or if you are paying by credit card, on the credit slip. Its as easy as that.

Restaurants will always give you an itemized bill and time to look it over. And really while everyone has personal rules about tipping, in the grand scheme of things, a lot is simply up to you. Personally I always tip 17-20% with the fluctuation based a whole bunch of random things like the service, but also rounding out the numbers for easier math and my mood at the time. Some people tip 12% or 25%, some are strict and give down to the penny a perfect percentage, some round to not have to deal with change. None of us are more right or more wrong, we are just doing what we personally feel is right.

So long as you give at least 10% you are pretty much in the clear.

The thing which really spooked me, was an opinion given on eHell (on the blog, or the "regular" board -- don't remember which ) -- to the effect that restaurant patrons should "eat up and get out" as quickly as possible (tipping generously before they depart), so that the poor ill-paid waitstaff could get, throughout the evening, the maximum number of tipping patrons. In any rational view of things, that is getting into crazy territory -- Looking-Glass World, the tail wagging the dog -- but the mere fact that someone could, seemingly seriously, put forward such an idea, had me thinking "this is a scene which I want nothing to do with".

This idea is more about American culture then tipping culture. And it is easily resolved by simply looking around and being aware of your surroundings. If you are in an elegant or relaxing place, or even just a calm casual place with plenty of empty tables, sit, relax, enjoy. If you are in a fast paced place where tables around you are turning over quickly, where service is super speedy and especially if you can see there is a crowd waiting and you can see no empty tables, well then take your cue from the surroundings its not a place to sit and take your time.

American culture is generally a fast paced one. We have fast food and factory made items over slow food or hand made items, we replace things that are broken instead of fixing them, we don't have long vacation times or maternity leave, etc.  A mid-day nap is generally unheard of for anyone over 6/under 80 years old. We drive instead of walk. We microwave instead of cook. Etc. (Not everyone and not all the time of course, but in general).

A 2-3 hour leisurely meal is not a cultural norm. There are places where you can sit and linger over coffee for an hour but its not the norm for the culture. And while tipping plays a role in that, its not the whole issue. The bigger picture is that its simply not whats done normally. Again in some places and some instances its totally ok, even welcomed. Its just something to be observant of your surroundings for before doing. Certainly I've done it dozens if not hundreds of times, heck I've had 6 hour restaurant outings with zero guilt. But there have also been plenty of times where I see its not appropriate and my companions and I leave and head for somewhere else.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 01:37:19 PM by WillyNilly »

lilfox

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2013, 02:23:18 PM »
To add to WillyNilly's comments, there's also a couple of gracious (IMHO) ways for a restaurant (or server) to handle it if they would prefer you not to linger at a table:  offer a free drink in exchange for moving to the bar area, or have the server just mention that their shift is about up and ask whether you prefer to cash out with them or have the bill transferred to the next server.  I've experienced both of these and felt they were effective ways to turn over a table without necessarily making the patrons feel rushed, though YMMV.

Re: mode of tipping - usually I leave a cash tip at smaller, less formal places even if I paid the bill on credit (say if it's a pay-first deal but with limited table service), otherwise I tip on credit.  For hair/nail services, it really depends if I have the right amount of cash for a tip; if I do, the tip's cash, if not, credit.

hobish

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2013, 03:12:34 PM »
Waaahh... they don't like when I put the extra money I am giving them that I do not have to on a credit card?

Do what is convenient for you.

Well, no you donít *have to* just like you donít have to wash your hands after using the rest room, or say God bless you after someone sneezes; but there are things we do as members of polite society. I would think most adults in the US know that tipping is part of the social contract, and not ďextra money I give themĒ as if servers are jumped up pan-handlers, bringing you your food in the hopes of getting some spare change.
I wish I knew why it was acceptable to jump to the conclusion that servers (or anyone else) who prefer cash payment have intent to defraud the government. When did unsubstantiated accusations of theft become good manners? I for one am sick of it. If you can point to one instance where you know it is happening, fine; but the constant belittling of service people over a small preference is appalling.

Cash is easier to deal with Ė itís cash. In the grand scheme of things, though, it doesnít really matter. If you are the customer and you prefer tipping on a credit card, by all means do so. Itís certainly not a faux-pas either way.
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blackthumb

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2013, 05:43:59 PM »
Waaahh... they don't like when I put the extra money I am giving them that I do not have to on a credit card?

Do what is convenient for you.

Well, no you donít *have to* just like you donít have to wash your hands after using the rest room, or say God bless you after someone sneezes; but there are things we do as members of polite society. I would think most adults in the US know that tipping is part of the social contract, and not ďextra money I give themĒ as if servers are jumped up pan-handlers, bringing you your food in the hopes of getting some spare change.
I wish I knew why it was acceptable to jump to the conclusion that servers (or anyone else) who prefer cash payment have intent to defraud the government. When did unsubstantiated accusations of theft become good manners? I for one am sick of it. If you can point to one instance where you know it is happening, fine; but the constant belittling of service people over a small preference is appalling.

Cash is easier to deal with Ė itís cash. In the grand scheme of things, though, it doesnít really matter. If you are the customer and you prefer tipping on a credit card, by all means do so. Itís certainly not a faux-pas either way.

You are right. I was making a broad generalization based on the servers I've worked with in the past. I admit I like cash, but am not a thief. :-)

That said, here's my example: I was pressured on more than one occasion to ring up a large party that was split with another server because "It will affect my {state gov't aid}"  Not only was this person making more than was reported for tax reasons but got benefits because of it. 

cabbageweevil

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2013, 04:53:50 AM »
I'm sorry -- but the more I hear about tipping in restaurants in the US, the more I feel that, should I ever visit the States, I would not dare to eat in a sit-down-type restaurant. So many possible pitfalls !  I might go to a proper restaurant in the company of locals who would handle everything, and whom I could reimburse afterwards as appropriate.  Otherwise, I'd be restricted to serve-yourself fast food places, and street stalls.

Please don't be scared or intimidated. You are really only hearing about the 5% of annoyance or issues that crop up. 95% of the time the whole process is simple and smooth. You get a bill. You look at it to see if a "service charge" or "gratuity" was added. If not you simply calculate 10-25% (honestly your choice) of the total (you choice to use pre-tax total or after tax total) and leave it as a tip either in cash or if you are paying by credit card, on the credit slip. Its as easy as that.

Restaurants will always give you an itemized bill and time to look it over. And really while everyone has personal rules about tipping, in the grand scheme of things, a lot is simply up to you. Personally I always tip 17-20% with the fluctuation based a whole bunch of random things like the service, but also rounding out the numbers for easier math and my mood at the time. Some people tip 12% or 25%, some are strict and give down to the penny a perfect percentage, some round to not have to deal with change. None of us are more right or more wrong, we are just doing what we personally feel is right.

So long as you give at least 10% you are pretty much in the clear.

The thing which really spooked me, was an opinion given on eHell (on the blog, or the "regular" board -- don't remember which ) -- to the effect that restaurant patrons should "eat up and get out" as quickly as possible (tipping generously before they depart), so that the poor ill-paid waitstaff could get, throughout the evening, the maximum number of tipping patrons. In any rational view of things, that is getting into crazy territory -- Looking-Glass World, the tail wagging the dog -- but the mere fact that someone could, seemingly seriously, put forward such an idea, had me thinking "this is a scene which I want nothing to do with".

This idea is more about American culture then tipping culture. And it is easily resolved by simply looking around and being aware of your surroundings. If you are in an elegant or relaxing place, or even just a calm casual place with plenty of empty tables, sit, relax, enjoy. If you are in a fast paced place where tables around you are turning over quickly, where service is super speedy and especially if you can see there is a crowd waiting and you can see no empty tables, well then take your cue from the surroundings its not a place to sit and take your time.

American culture is generally a fast paced one. We have fast food and factory made items over slow food or hand made items, we replace things that are broken instead of fixing them, we don't have long vacation times or maternity leave, etc.  A mid-day nap is generally unheard of for anyone over 6/under 80 years old. We drive instead of walk. We microwave instead of cook. Etc. (Not everyone and not all the time of course, but in general).

A 2-3 hour leisurely meal is not a cultural norm. There are places where you can sit and linger over coffee for an hour but its not the norm for the culture. And while tipping plays a role in that, its not the whole issue. The bigger picture is that its simply not whats done normally. Again in some places and some instances its totally ok, even welcomed. Its just something to be observant of your surroundings for before doing. Certainly I've done it dozens if not hundreds of times, heck I've had 6 hour restaurant outings with zero guilt. But there have also been plenty of times where I see its not appropriate and my companions and I leave and head for somewhere else.
I suspect that I'd make a lousy American -- probably a good thing that I was born in the UK !   ;)


And lilfox wrote: "there's also a couple of gracious (IMHO) ways for a restaurant (or server) to handle it if they would prefer you not to linger at a table: offer a free drink in exchange for moving to the bar area, or have the server just mention that their shift is about up and ask whether you prefer to cash out with them or have the bill transferred to the next server. I've experienced both of these and felt they were effective ways to turn over a table without necessarily making the patrons feel rushed, though YMMV."


Trying to look at things in perspective: it's probably just that on two or three message boards -- not only eHell -- I've seen much discussion of the seeming peculiarities of the US restaurant / waitstaff scene.  Said discussion can give the impression that that scene is a very tense and adversarial one.  As WN remarks, for the great majority of the time things go smoothly and no-one is upset; this being part of the oddity about life, that things going wrong is found more interesting -- and attracts more attention -- than things going right.  An illusion tends to be created, that things go wrong more frequently than they truly do !

Bijou

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2013, 05:03:30 AM »
Credit card tips are normal and ubiquitous. Putting a tip on a credit card makes the tip traceable (auditable?) and therefore the servers are held more accountable for paying the taxes that they should rightly pay. But as an American who eats out regularly, I never think twice about tipping on the credit card. I leave the tip however I paid for the meal, just as you described. It is not 'more work' because everyone does it, and they have systems in place for dealing with it. I would not concern yourself with this at all.
That's what I do, as well.  I pay the tip in the same way I pay the check.  If I do a credit card, it goes on there, if I write a check it goes on there, pay with cash and the tip is cash.  It's  just easier and I didn't know it could be a problem. 
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hobish

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Re: Oh! No! I thought I knew about tipping in the US!
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2013, 07:54:05 PM »
Waaahh... they don't like when I put the extra money I am giving them that I do not have to on a credit card?

Do what is convenient for you.

Well, no you donít *have to* just like you donít have to wash your hands after using the rest room, or say God bless you after someone sneezes; but there are things we do as members of polite society. I would think most adults in the US know that tipping is part of the social contract, and not ďextra money I give themĒ as if servers are jumped up pan-handlers, bringing you your food in the hopes of getting some spare change.
I wish I knew why it was acceptable to jump to the conclusion that servers (or anyone else) who prefer cash payment have intent to defraud the government. When did unsubstantiated accusations of theft become good manners? I for one am sick of it. If you can point to one instance where you know it is happening, fine; but the constant belittling of service people over a small preference is appalling.

Cash is easier to deal with Ė itís cash. In the grand scheme of things, though, it doesnít really matter. If you are the customer and you prefer tipping on a credit card, by all means do so. Itís certainly not a faux-pas either way.

You are right. I was making a broad generalization based on the servers I've worked with in the past. I admit I like cash, but am not a thief. :-)

That said, here's my example: I was pressured on more than one occasion to ring up a large party that was split with another server because "It will affect my {state gov't aid}"  Not only was this person making more than was reported for tax reasons but got benefits because of it.

Thank you so much for saying that! I really wasn't poking you personally - especially since i see you've barely been here a bit  :-[ I'm not an ogre, i promise! It just seems like every time it comes up at least a few people say something that boils down to servers being thieves. Thank you for seeing where I'm coming from there, and for saying that. It is appreciated.

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