Tipping in USA
I know that some people may be offended by this and we all have the right to an opinion but if you get mad reading this read to the end – As a Swedish we are not used to tipping in the same way as in the US – We are currently in Honolulu, Hawaii which is not the cheapest place to be and on top of that you are expected to give away more money than the menu says? – this is a concept that I was struggling to understand with when I first visited USA – let me elaborate
When I see people asking on the internet about how much you should tip because it’s a “common rule” – tipping is something that people in the US have grown custom to and the tax and other systems around it is built on it. And from live real life experience – right now the card readers that you pay your bill on usually say tip 15% 18% 20% as a default so choosing the amount is easy though optional.
This system of tipping gives you the power to have the last word as you are pretty much putting a rating on the experience – hold on now you might say I don’t need to tip?
No you do not need to tip and maybe you don’t do that in your country but here in the US people working in this industry gets taxed on what the government assumes they made in tip – not the actual amount so if you don’t leave a tip the waiter probably just payed for having the pleasure to serve you. So you can be an asshat if you really want but maybe shouldn’t expect any good service if you return to the same place, just a “tip”…
Real story from a restaurant in Boston, MA – I was traveling with one of my former employers and we had dinner at a restaurant good food and service – my boss at the time picked up the bill and paid – shortly after the manager of the restaurant comes out and asking – actual words: “sorry, what is wrong with this table?” My boss had just given a 5% tip – stating he was not very happy with the experience – this was of course not true he had just miscalculated the amount – learnings I took from this is that the tip itself can have a real impact for the employee not getting a tip because it’s probably used as an performance indicator from the employer.
So it’s not just a tip – the whole system is built on it in and this allows employers to have enough staff to adjust when when there are few or many customers and give you great service.
You can argue that this system is wrong and turn it upside down and inside out in any way you like – if you can’t adjust to that things are different when you travel you will probably not get a good experience no matter where you go.
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