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Tipping in London?

Englewood, Ohio
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Tipping in London?

Is there a tipping policy or expectation in London? Restaurants, Taxi, Hotel staff? Thanks.

21. Re: Tipping in London?

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Removed on: 05 September 2013, 00:05
Edited: 05 September 2013, 00:05
London
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22. Re: Tipping in London?

Maybe America is finally beginning to emerge from the dark ages and join the rest of the World regarding tipping -

independent.co.uk/news/…

Wales, United...
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23. Re: Tipping in London?

>>>I always find these threads interesting. I don't know that US tipping culture is as extreme as some people seem to think it is<<<

Well, no offence but the following sentence

>>>I routinely tip less than 10% or not at all for average or poor customer service. I doubt I'm alone in that.<<<

seems to indicate that it is, certainly from a British viewpoint where poor service would not result in any sort of tip!

>>>The tipping cultures are certainly different, and I don't think one is "right" where the other is "wrong."<<<

I agree, but it is wrong to impose, or try to impose, one culture on to another. Whichever way round it is.

I guess that what we Brits struggle with is the concept of rewarding poor or average service, but if the US take is that rewarding someone with a smaller tip than they might otherwise get, then I cna at least see some logic in that view.

In the UK though, the only tip someone might receive for poor service is some free advice about their choice of career!

Wales, United...
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24. Re: Tipping in London?

Oops, hit submit and forgot to mention that those that defend the US tipping culture often point to the fact that many of those working in service industries in the US rely on tips to make a living wage. hence, it is usualyl brought up somewhere along the line when discussing countries that have minimum wage legislation.

Of course, whether the UK minimum wage is actually a living wage opens up an entirely new can of worms!

London, England...
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25. Re: Tipping in London?

Funny how the subject of tipping is only ever an issue with Americans. Seems to be because American is the only country in the world where the customer directly pays the staff, so it's not actually a 'tip' it's a 'wage top up'. Everywhere else understands the original concept of it being to encourage, and reflect good/above and beyond quality of service.

Southampton, UK
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26. Re: Tipping in London?

I am a Brit who had a curious experience in a pizza chain's restaurant near Trafalgar Square a few years ago.

The bill came to a little less than £10. I put a tenner on the table and went to the loo, then left the premises. I was pursued outside the restaurant by the waitress rudely repeatedly attempting to hand me my change of perhaps 20p.

I can only assume that she felt insulted that I had not left more as a tip. Also, I guessed, that given the location they were used to serving Americans who left large tips.

Edited: 05 September 2013, 09:28
UK
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27. Re: Tipping in London?

In the Hospitality Industry in USA wages fall in relation to the amount that can be " earned" from tips

Busboys get paid for example more than waiters

Many of whom are willing to work for almost nothing just to get into the best tipping positions

In Australia waiting staff get good salaries and don't expect tips.

Sydney, Australia
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28. Re: Tipping in London?

>> In Australia waiting staff get good salaries and don't expect tips.<<

They certainly do earn good money (well, relatively) - my daughter (who is now an apprentice chef) until recently worked as a waitress at a chain steakhouse restaurant and her hourly rate was $20-odd (but as a casual this does include holiday & sick pay, but not superannuation which of course is additional). I couldn't live on $20 an hour, but as she lives at home, she can ;-)

Edited: 05 September 2013, 11:36
London, England...
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29. Re: Tipping in London?

Leuca - exactly my point.

In the US the concept of 'tipping' has become totally detached from it's original purpose.

Birmingham...
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30. Re: Tipping in London?

Truly, I suspect that Americans who defend the US version on tipping as a wage top-off are just coming up with arguments for these boards. I think most of us do tip based on the level of service received. I've never once thought to myself, "This is a poor starving college kid - I should give her more than usual to supplement her wage." In fact, the poor starving college kid is likely to be doing a good bit better than her friend who is working at the McDonald's - yes part of that is from tips, but part of that is because salaries are often higher to begin with in restaurants. The US does have a minimum wage - whether it amounts to a living wage is debatable, because we can't seem to agree on whether being able to afford things like cell phones with data plans are necessary to meet the definition of a living wage.

RojBlake, a UK resident may see 10% as extreme - perhaps I don't because I grew up with American tipping culture. I suppose I view us as simply having different starting points - in the UK, good to average service may start with nothing, and excellent service is rewarded with a small tip. In the US good to average service is typically rewarded with a 10-15% tip, and excellent service is rewarded with a 15-20% tip. Over 20% and you're either throwing money around you just can't do math.... :)

I have no idea how we all have managed to settle on those percentages, but they seem to be pretty standard everywhere I've traveled in the US.

A UK resident is certainly free to travel to the US and leave no tip - but he or she should be aware that the waitstaff will interpret this gesture as an indication of terrible service, even if that's not the intention. Similarly, US residents need to understand that UK waitstaff may view large tips as tourists throwing money around, even if it's not intended that way. It's all about norms, not whether one way is right while the other is wrong.

I can certainly appreciate that the tipping culture in the US may be irritating to a UK resident who visits. It's sort of like how I find paying VAT at hotels incredibly irritating because a 20% consumption tax is something I don't have to pay in my own country - though I admit that we Americans perhaps resent taxation a bit more than the rest of the world :) Ultimately, I have to get over it. I see no sense in ruining a vacation by resenting that surcharge that seems to attach to everything.

One final question: don't UK restaurants also have to charge VAT on the price of the meal? Because if so, that 20% VAT works out to about the same as a 10-15% tip plus 5-10% sales tax in the US.