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Tipping in Paris

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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?

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121. Re: Tipping in Paris

This is a fascinating forum and I have experienced the same opinions from fellow travelers but I easily see where these wonderful service ambassadors are coming from. I confess I worked for the mouse @ Disney World.

"And while I agree that American wait staff are more friendly than the French wait staff, I also think Americans in general are more friendly than the French. It's just the culture"

"Later that day, we asked a waiter whether we could sit at an outside table (there were some available). The response was "Impossible!""

If you went to the most remote part of rural China and asked for a fork or to ask for no bean sprouts in the food that you are being served they would not understand and maybe not appreciate your request. They are serving you for their work, the kindness of a stranger is welcomed almost everywhere and bringing foreign manners is impossible for most to decipher considering that they may have to deal with all kinds of cultures, not just American culture. It is hard work otherwise we'd all be in line to do their jobs, let alone they serve tourists. Be a friend, be friendly, be interested in them and their surroundings. Imagine being invited to a friends for dinner and then as a wonderful spread is presented to you in their living area, you request the outside patio. No matter how attractive the other spot looks keep in your mind the hosts are accommodating their guests the very best way that they know how. If you don't like spot they are hosting you, stay at the 4 Seasons or Holiday Inn. It provides the secure sameness that you might require.

Tip (if you’d like) AND smile. Be prepared if the servers/hosts totally resists your gratuity, don’t argue and insist, your host prevails AND thank them (in their own language no matter how bad you may be at it).

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122. Re: Tipping in Paris

I have experienced US people tipping someone for just smiling. We were in a group and I felt bad because a person receiving this was really upset and felt humiliated. The US couple couldn't understand this since native people were poorer in their opinion no kidding.

I tried to explain them not everyone is for sale. People are just being genuinely nice. They still couldn't understand. I told them ok then, next time some will ask you to pay before smiling, how about that?

I think I confused them. I don't consider a smile as a service, they did.

Anyway, a tip is a personal appreciation of a service. Even though waiters are expecting this here in Canada, I don't feel forced to pay them if the service was awful. I don't feel I should pay such and such amount, it is purely how you feel about it.It happened to me to leave a 10 cents tip at a restaurant with awful service. In my eyes this was worse than not tipping at all.

In Europe, if you really liked the service just leave something to your discretion.

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123. Re: Tipping in Paris

"... "how much?" My wife asked him to repeat himself in French, and what he meant was, "how much change did we want back?"..." That's a worldwide old wait staff trick, your response is "All" in French or English.

I believe "Carhirer" is correct in many ways, specifically in this subject. Maybe it’s his experience in his many years and many experiences. I hope it's the many experiences because I wouldn’t want him to be old like me, yikes!

"In fact, I eat all over the US on a regular basis (business traveller) and never once has anyone groveled for my money. Homeless people pushing shopping carts have, but not servers. Serving is a tough job with a lot of expectations and many things going on. Nobody has time to grovel." My experience has been the reverse. I travel (for business and vacation) to almost every state in the USA and travel (leisure) internationally. It's been my experience that not all homeless here or abroad grovel, as well as people who happen to be poor, or have the time (to grovel). Even way off the beaten path a certain cafe/restaurant/host can make you feel you have met a wonderful new friend or a groveling Lucifer. As well as a customer experience at a Four Seasons you can meet a nice caring person or again, a groveling Lucifer (if I met Lucifer at a Four Seasons front desk I am quick express my dissatisfaction about the devil to the manager).

Many hosts, even in NYC's McDonalds or at the NYC Mandarin Oriental love to slow down and have an unhurried pleasant conversation because it is so different than the norm of cross talking, abrupt, quick requests from customers. The new tax laws for wait staff in the USA have created more arduous relationships, tip money use to be tax free (remember HappiTraveler?), restaurant owners/managers here in the City have been successfully sued by wait staff for messing w/ the severs tips. Working with the public can be fun (for everyone), be the FIRST person that the wait staff truly enjoyed that day, it can make their day (and yours). Friendliness is free (even to the homeless) and infectious.

San Diego...
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124. Re: Tipping in Paris

I've had some good chuckles at all the references to waitstaff in the U.S. trying to be your best friend. I haven't seen that since the mid 90's! Even then I only saw it in chain restaurants like Chili's, TGIFriday's and the like. So, I guess since I haven't eaten in one of those types of places in 15 or 20 yrs I sure haven't experienced a lot of what's been said in the thread. At the moment I can't remember the last time I went in a restaurant and a overly exhuberant server come to my table and ssid 'HI, MY NAME IS BRITTANY!! I'LL BE SERVING YOU !!! '

In general I usually have very good service. But, not always.

I learned years ago from an English friend when I visited her in London to please abide by local customs about tipping. Something to the affect that 'you American's are going to make it so that everyone will expect a tip!' I don't eat in the expensive restaurants so I leave change or round up.

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125. Re: Tipping in Paris

As far as I know the tax on food is around 5% now as of maybe a year ago down from the 19%. Tip is included. If things are really exceptional you leave a couple of euros or so.

Tampa, Florida
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126. Re: Tipping in Paris

The TVA is at 5% on some items, sierrakh -- not all.

Paris 4th Arr
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127. Re: Tipping in Paris

sierrakh, tips are not included in your bill. See item 3 of this thread.

Paris, France
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128. Re: Tipping in Paris

Actually, one of the last things that Sarkozy did was to raise the tax on restaurant items to 7%. Alcoholic beverages are taxed at 19.6% -- no change there. (This of course has nothing to do with the service charge which can be any percentage that they say it is.)

Miami, Florida
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129. Re: Tipping in Paris

Haven't read the whole thread but as one living in the USA, I'm outraged at having to be forced to leave a 15%+ tip or more, especially when you're with a group of more than 6!

I do tip always, and very generously, but let me make that choice based on service and quality.

Like many have said, the problem in this country are the lousy wages restaurant waiters get paid. And it makes me feel like we have the obligation to keep the staff for the owners while they make all the profit!

My daughter did a little 'waitressing' while in college, so I understand firsthand how little money they get if they don't make good tips, which by the way, have to be shared with the kitchen staff too, but I think it's an abusive and greedy practice established by restaurant owners in this side of the world.

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130. Re: Tipping in Paris