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Approaching Someone Who Leaves A Small Tip


PLangfordJr
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There are three times in recent memory, and for 2 of the three, I definitely would have wanted it called to my attention as it was due to alcohol or jet lag. The third, definitely bad service, I would have preferred it not be confronted. To wit:

1) A few years ago, I took a group of people out to a very good sushi restaurant and we had lots of sushi and sake--there were many of us and we had magnum size bottles of sake. I guess I had more than I thought, and when I left the tip--with a large check--I left 2% instead of 20% as I had intended. I was a regular at the restaurant, and out on the sidewalk while waiting for a taxi, the server (who I knew by name because of my regular visits) came out and asked if everything was satisfactory. I said that it was more than satisfactory; it was wonderful. He commented that he asked because of the small tip. I immediately realized what I had done, and feeling so bad, went back and left a hefty tip. I really appreciated it being brought to my attention and would have been horrified if not given the chance to rectify it.

2) Recently, I flew home from France and had a terrific taxi driver--a young guy who was going to travel through Europe and was driving a taxi to raise money. A wonderful conversation; I complimented him on the great conversation and even mentioned I bet he got more tips than most because of his great people skills. When we arrived at my building, I thought I had given him a $10 tip, but in reality (because I was so foggy due to jet lag--no alcohol this time LOL) it was $1. He said nothing, but in the elevator on the way to my floor my heart stopped when I suddenly re-did the math and realized what I had done. Too bad I didn't get his medallion number--I had no way to rectify the situation. I've wished many times he had politely called it to my attention and I still feel terrible about it.

3) Recently, at a fashionable Italian pizza type restaurant in NYC, the service was SO BAD (about everything that could go wrong with service, did), that we gave about an 8% tip intentionally. The server obviously knew there was a problem; my intent was to make a statement based upon the gratuity. In this case, I would have explained it had he asked, but I was just as happy to exit without any confrontation or explanation.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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I just did a quick survey of Japanese tourist sites - I would say that not everybody knows a) that tipping in the US is pretty much a fixed percentage, and b) what that percentage is right now, and c) that it's not at all the same as in Europe.

As a New Zealander, I don't get tipping at all. When in Rome, etc, but I how can it be a "tip" if it is in fact payment for service?

And if tipping is mandatory, why are businesses required to pay some of their staff a living wage for their work but not others :unsure: ?

If it's a charge, and we need to pay it, why isn't it on the bill?

That doesn't mean that I wouldn't tip if I went to the US, but it does mean that I probably wouldn't get it right every time. If I thought that ignorance was going to get me yelled at or pursued into the street, I might just bring a month's supply of instant ramen in my suitcase like all the other Japanese tourists! Or more likely, I might take my tourist yen to some other country :wink: .

Edited by helenjp (log)
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That doesn't mean that I wouldn't tip if I went to the US, but it does mean that I probably wouldn't get it right every time. If I thought that ignorance was going to get me yelled at or pursued into the street, I might just bring a month's supply of instant ramen in my suitcase like all the other Japanese tourists! Or more likely, I might take my tourist yen to some other country :wink: .

Maybe just bring a calculator? :wink::biggrin:

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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I didn't mean getting the amount wrong (though I wouldn't have known the 15-20% percentage if I hadn't seen it here), I was really thinking of not knowing that I should tip at takeout counters, or trying to leave a tip for the bank manager.

Compulsory, set-percentage tipping is such an engrained habit for Americans that various aspects of a commercial transaction act as a cue for you, but not for me. If I saw an empty container on a takeout counter, I'd probably think it was for used special-offer coupons :raz: . or that somebody had forgotten to fill it!

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