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Tipping in Paris

bedford ma usa
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Tipping in Paris

We were just there, and "older" guide books (and from past trips,) tipping, was referred to as, "service compris". (I believe). Well for some reason, we were having trouble locating the service compris part of our bills. (I think it is now a 19.x% "tax"... Could not find the actual words, "serivce compris."

So I asked if the tip (what we equated to s.c.) was included. And I was told "No", several times. Finally, (because I couldn't believe all of France had changed overnight), I asked if "service compris" was included. "OH yes, it is, but the tip is optional, and is not included." Score one for the French! We had been "double" tipping, by our terminology.

The big problem I have with tipping, is when you ask a concierge simple question, like the address of a store. Are we expected to tip for this? 20seconds? On the other hand, a maid takes 15minutes or more to clean up a room. Yet the books in the past have suggested 1-2 euros a day. If a concierge or "?bellman" whistles for a taxi that is 20 feet away at a taxi stand, do you give them a euro. Do you save up until the end of your stay and give the concierge a larger amount? What if he isn't on duty when you leave? Sometimes I feel that some of them are happy doing their job, if you are patient and polite, and don't expect anything. Others are overtly obsequious, and tipping them makes me feel like I need a bath. Any comments?

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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1. Re: Tipping in Paris

The semantics of the word tip has been discussed here several times. There is however no need to ever leave anything in addition to the restaurant total. Some people when paying with cash will leave the coins up the nearest whole euro.

I do not recall ever seeing a tab without the words ¨service compris 15%¨ or ¨prix net¨ which is the same thing.

Liverpool
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2. Re: Tipping in Paris

"The big problem I have with tipping, is when you ask a concierge simple question, like the address of a store. Are we expected to tip for this? 20seconds? On the other hand, a maid takes 15minutes or more to clean up a room. Yet the books in the past have suggested 1-2 euros a day. If a concierge or "?bellman" whistles for a taxi that is 20 feet away at a taxi stand, do you give them a euro. Do you save up until the end of your stay and give the concierge a larger amount? What if he isn't on duty when you leave? Sometimes I feel that some of them are happy doing their job, if you are patient and polite, and don't expect anything. Others are overtly obsequious, and tipping them makes me feel like I need a bath. Any comments?"

Please stop tipping for everything - we don't do this in Europe in the way you do in the States. I have never even considered tipping someone for helping me find a restaurant or hailing a taxi - it's ridiculous.

Paris 4th Arr
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3. Re: Tipping in Paris

«Please stop tipping for everything - we don't do this in Europe in the way you do in the States. I have never even considered tipping someone for helping me find a restaurant or hailing a taxi - it's ridiculous.»

Well said. The only time you should tip is if the service or food was exceptional and worthy of reward.

If you frequent a local establishment and the bill is 5€80, rounding up to 6€ as a "tip" would be a nice way of maintaining a relationship of "fidélité" with the establishment. Outside of that, tipping isn't part of the culture here. Only the leaches in the most touristic parts of Paris would expect a tip. Don't feed them.

FYI, the "Service Compris", etc; on your check has nothing to do with "tips". It has to do with the establishment's tax and worker welfare accounting but it's not a tip. A tip is a direct, deliberate "thank you" for exceptional quality and/or service from a customer to a server. We "tip" all the time when we have a great experience at a resto.

Another thing, Starbucks has descended on Paris and they have placed their obligatory "tip box" next to the cash register at every store. Don't contribute to the proliferation of this US custom in France. In the US, it's vital to the livelihoods of the employees but not in France. Just say no.

Paris, France
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4. Re: Tipping in Paris

I really must go inside a Starbucks some day, but the thought repels me.

Perth, Western...
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5. Re: Tipping in Paris

K2 and Metromole. Your answers have me searching for the Facebook "like" button.:)

About time TA implemented the same thing. :)

Paris, France
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6. Re: Tipping in Paris

But I am really embarrassed and annoyed about the overtippers. Why oh why do people from certain countries where service staff do not receive a decent salary not understand that it doesn't have to be that way.

Many of the Arab countries are trying to stamp out the baksheesh mentality, where you do not get ANYTHING without a tip, but so many American visitors just keep tipping more and more to perpetuate the system. I frankly feel ill each time that I read that that the 15% restaurant tip in the U.S. has now become 20%. I think of the waiters working hard to serve a $10 meal receiving a $2 tip and the waiters working just the same to serve a $100 meal to get a $20 tip. It would be so much fairer to pay a decent wage and eliminate the tips completely.

Paris 4th Arr
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7. Re: Tipping in Paris

keroac, EXACT

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8. Re: Tipping in Paris

Being able temporarily to be rid of the US tip happy mentality is another reason I am so happy to return to Paris (as well as other European destinations). I can never understand the reasoning behind tipping for just about every action a service staff member does. Some even tip the restaurant staff when they order take away service, for instance.

Edited: 08 May 2011, 19:21
Sydney NSW
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9. Re: Tipping in Paris

Kerouac - stay well away from Starbucks - the coffee is awful!!!! They went broke over here thank goodness.

How refreshing it is to see all this commentary about tipping. My daughter worked in a bar while paying her way through Uni. She used to tell the Americans it was not necessary and explained how well paid she was - they gave her even more money!!!!

It's a constant question over on the US forums. It's cultural.

Canada
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10. Re: Tipping in Paris

Sad but the only decent coffee I can get in Paris is at a Strbucks or a Turkish coffee shop. Most Paris espresso is weak, lacks kick.