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Tripping and Tipping

Brooklyn, NY
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5,792 posts
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Tripping and Tipping

Have been reading in the NY Post this week that some restaurants in NYC are charging foreign tourist a hidden gratuity or tip in their bills because waiters/waitresses claim not all foreigners leave a tip. The Post also mentioned that while a posted service charge is legal a tagged on "gratuity" is illegal. I have been to restaurants in the outer boroughs that have given me a lump sum bill and did not itemize the charges which I believe is the law here. In addition, the Post claims that only groups over 8 (and not 5) can be automaticly charged the gratuity. I can understand some foreigners confusion because on my first trip to Europe, my German host scolded me for tipping in restaurants because the service fee is already included in the bill, the waiters are well paid and tipping is not necessary in Europe. I have not yet been to England, Ireland or Austrailia, where most TA posters seem to be from but can some foreigners tell me do they tip back home? Were you all aware that we tip wait service 15 to 20% of the food charges (the amount on the bill before taxes or roughly double the taxes) here in NYC? Has anyone experienced this alledged overcharging that the newspaper reports? Thanks and hope you all enjoy your stay.

Ireland
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1,930 posts
35 reviews
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1. Re: Tripping and Tipping

We tip - sometimes. Some restaurants do add a service charge (especially for paries of 6 or more) but this is not always passed on to staff. If there is a service charge added, we generally do not tip. I have on occasion refused to pay the service charge where the service has been lousy.

I refuse to tip for poor service, but where it's good, I will tip 10-20% depending on the experience.

The big difference here is we tend not to tip bar staff unless there's table service of drinks.

We do tip hairdressers, taxi drivers etc but generally a nominal amount.

I have not experience the overcharge as mentioned, but do find tips add significantly to the cost of our US trips. When you add up what you spend in tipping taxi drivers, waiters, bar tenders, bellboys, the concierge..... it can easily be a couple of hundred dollars.

Ireland
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1,930 posts
35 reviews
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2. Re: Tripping and Tipping

Should clarify that the bulk of my post refers to our tipping habits at home.

I know wait staff depend a lot on tips, surely it would be a better system to pay them properly?

Brooklyn, New York
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5,032 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: Tripping and Tipping

You should follow the custom of the country you are in. If you are in the US, you should tip as it is done in the US (at least 15% tip to waiters/waitresses). It's not your place to say that the restaurant should pay them a better wage, they don't so you should tip accordingly.

Of course if a service charge (usually for parties of 6 or more and usually 18%) is added, you don't needto tip on top of that.

Ireland
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1,930 posts
35 reviews
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4. Re: Tripping and Tipping

Bobby we do tip "properly" in the US - all bar the last paragraph of my original post refer to custom in Ireland.

Brooklyn, New York
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5,032 posts
8 reviews
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5. Re: Tripping and Tipping

I didn't mean you in particular, but there is a sense among other visitors where tipping is not the norm that they don't need to do it in the US and to me that is just arrogant and disrespectful. I have travelled extensively throughout Europe, Latin America and a little bit in Asia and all I am saving is that people should respect the customs of the country they are visiting and that includes tipping in the US.

Don't get me wrong, I have seen Americans too many times make me cringe on trips abroad (Really Ugly American comes to mind).

Dublin
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6. Re: Tripping and Tipping

Even if the service is hopeless in a New York hostelry, you still have to tip. Having experienced the wrath of an inadequate service-provider I once failed to tip in New York, I have learned the error of my ways and, if the service is bad (which, to be fair, only happens rarely), I simply clench my teeth and pay at least 12% of the value of the bill. This is in line with the customary practice in New York. It encourages inadequate service providers to go on providing an inadequate service.

New York City
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17,258 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: Tripping and Tipping

Whereas not tipping as a standard practice encourages ... precisely what?

If service is bad, you should reduce or eliminate the tip. You should also, however, open your mouth and SAY SOMETHING to someone who can do something about it -- the manager, the maitre d', or the like. You can even say something to the waiter: "I am leaving you a poor tip because the service you gave me was bad" would work. Just leaving a bad tip without saying anything gives no message other than you probably are unaware of tipping practice in the US. Saying something removes the ambiguity, and may actually -- mercy! -- discourage bad service.

Which was supposed to be the point of reducing the tip, no?

Dublin
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5,955 posts
88 reviews
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8. Re: Tripping and Tipping

Is 12% a bad tip ?

Ireland
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1,930 posts
35 reviews
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9. Re: Tripping and Tipping

I liked the tipping system Richard (abbreviated form not allowed on TA) used on 3rd Rock from the Sun.

He called over the waiter at the beginning of the evening and showed him a pile of bills. He explained that for everything the waiter did that pleased him he would add to the pile and for everything that displeased him he would remove from the pile.

A very logical way to ensure good service!

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
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10. Re: Tripping and Tipping

12% tip on what? I think waiters have come to expect a minimum of 16% (double the tax) and a bit more if things are extra good. So while 12% isn't "bad" it's not generous either. But 12% on a $20 meal in a coffee shop is not terrible.