Sunday, March 08, 2009

What to tip?

The BBC has an article about the (as they call it) unusual custom in the U.S. of tipping certain service providers. I know from socializing with Australians in particular, they believe this concept of tipping to be totally absurd. I kind of agree with them, but, that's the way it is.

However, one thing that caught my eye, is this writer claims the standard amount of a tip in a full service restaurant is now 20%. I remember when it went from 10-15%, and sometimes 20%, but I don't really remember 20% being the rule.

To their credit, the BBC points out some of the benefits of tipping.

Americans think it is the most natural thing in the world to pay for a service, at the point where you receive it, person-to-person.

First, they reason, it keeps whoever is doing the serving on their toes.

There is something in that, by the way. I have waited half an hour for a receipt in communist Poland while watching two young waiters playing football with a polystyrene cup.

And it's not just in communist places this is a problem. I sat in an Argentine restaurant with a group of 20 people, and it took more than 1/2 hour to place our orders.

Of course Argentines are accustom to leisurely dining, but we had a bus to catch.

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