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How come america has such a big tipping culture when no one else does?

How come america has such a big tipping culture when no one else does?

Old Jul 15, 11, 6:59 am
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How come america has such a big tipping culture when no one else does?

i am not saying people don't tip in other countries, ofcourse they do, but virtually no other countries force rigid and expensive tips on tourists and locals alike, and berate them when the requirement is not met.

why is america the only country like this?
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Old Jul 15, 11, 7:02 am
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It's legal in "sit-down" restaurants in the US for servers to be paid less than minimum wage, with the idea that tips will more than make up the difference.

I'm not saying it's right, it just is what it is.
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Old Jul 15, 11, 7:28 am
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Certain employees are allowed to be legally paid less than minimum wage and be taxed as if they are paid minimum wage. Local and federal taxes are taken out of every paycheck.

I belive some doormen actually work for tips only, sort of like an independent contractor.
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Old Jul 15, 11, 7:29 am
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We are very generous people.
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Old Jul 15, 11, 7:30 am
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But why does the restaurant owner get cheap labor to better line his/her pockets? I think it's crap too
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Old Jul 15, 11, 7:30 am
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Smacks very much of air tickets in the US where the final price bears no relationship to the headline price.

The question is what do companies get from paying less than the minimum wage with compulsory tips making up the difference.
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Old Jul 15, 11, 7:32 am
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Originally Posted by calista View Post
i am not saying people don't tip in other countries, ofcourse they do, but virtually no other countries force rigid and expensive tips on tourists and locals alike, and berate them when the requirement is not met.

why is america the only country like this?
There is no forcing of rigid and expensive tips on people. If the service is bad then don't tip.

I often wonder when tourist come to the States and make comments about how cheap everything is. Then they complain that they are expected to tip 10-20% on their meal that cost less than half it would in their home country.

The service industry has been designed for the patron to reward good service. If the service is bad then don't tip.
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Old Jul 15, 11, 7:52 am
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Mentality of meritocracy versus the entitlement worldview.
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Old Jul 15, 11, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by MoreMilesPlease View Post
There is no forcing of rigid and expensive tips on people. If the service is bad then don't tip.

I often wonder when tourist come to the States and make comments about how cheap everything is. Then they complain that they are expected to tip 10-20% on their meal that cost less than half it would in their home country.

The service industry has been designed for the patron to reward good service. If the service is bad then don't tip.
While we're on your point, how about the additonal taxes that one pays in many other countries? For example, gasoline costs significantly more in Europe than it does in the US, largly due to higher taxes? What do those taxes go to, and why should tourists have to fund whateve those taxes go to?
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Old Jul 15, 11, 8:07 am
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Originally Posted by I Prefer the Red Eye View Post
It's legal in "sit-down" restaurants in the US for servers to be paid less than minimum wage, with the idea that tips will more than make up the difference.

I'm not saying it's right, it just is what it is.
But the wage is lower because of the tips, not the other way around.

The question is, why did things develop that was in the US but not in many other countries?
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Old Jul 15, 11, 8:23 am
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Here is a link to an interesting New Yorker article on the subject of tipping.


Restaurant workers in the United States make more than twenty-five billion dollars a year in tips, so it’s natural that people think of the custom as quintessentially American. But it wasn’t always. Tipping didn’t take hold here until after the Civil War.......
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Old Jul 15, 11, 8:24 am
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I don't look at it as meritocracy anymore. Anyone who's waited tables for more a while can probably tell you what he/she is going to make in tips for a given shift along with a fairly narrow standard deviation. I'm not saying this is right or wrong - I just don't think there's much incentive intensity in the tipping culture. Most people just write out a 15-20% tip unless you did something really awful or really great. I had really bad service at a pizza joint two weeks ago and thought I was being a major d*** by writing out a 10% tip.

Because it's not really incentive-based compensation, the overall waitstaff labor market has already mentally figured it into its pay demands. That's what allows a restaurant owner to pay very little above the mean tip rate. The fact that there's a government minimum wage and everybody I ever knew who waited tables in college made EXACTLY that base wage tells me that the real economic equilibrium was somewhere closer to $0/hr. (Heck, for all I know, it could be even lower: a revenue-sharing scheme where the waiter "buys" his/her tables for some percentage of tips.)
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Old Jul 15, 11, 9:50 am
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Tipping is part of an overall pricing strategy that restaurants have settled into because it works for them. Service is an important part of a restaurant patronís overall experience, but itís difficult for the restaurant to monitor service. You could put a manager in charge of watching the employees, but itís difficult to evaluate service from across the room, itís costly, and it can lead to confrontations in front of patrons. A system with tipping replaces this direct supervision with a financial incentive to provide good service. A waiter (or busboy or sommelier, etc.) who provides a better experience makes more money and the restaurant has happier customers and does better. Economists call such a system ďincentive compatible.Ē

But it takes one more thing for a system with tipping to work. Patrons have to be willing to tip, even if they are never going to return to a restaurant. In the U.S., restaurant patrons have been willing to do this, so the tipping system works here. If this is not the case, as it may not be elsewhere, tipping would not work, so the pricing strategy that works may be different.

People who have waited tables for more than a while can forecast their tips because they know their service and the prices at the place where they work. You probably weren't the only unhappy customer at that pizza joint. The difference between 15-20% and 10% adds up. That waiter will either improve, accept lower earnings, or find something else to do. If the pizza joint pools tips, other employees will figure out who is causing the decline in the pool and do something.
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Old Jul 15, 11, 9:52 am
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The tip is part of the price of the meal. Unless the service is horrible, then you must tip.

If the service is horrible, the proper thing to do is ask to speak to the manager and inform him/her of the horrible service and why you are not tipping. Slinking off with no tip is cowardly.

Don't like it? Don't come to America. It's just the way it is. Get used to a few other things, too, like American-accented English, driving on the right, reverence for the flag, cross-over use of knife and fork, sales tax added to the sticker price at the check-out, "restrooms" instead of "toilets" and in SoCalif where I live, love of Mexican food.

I get a bit tired of people who are not American cranking about what Americans do. We do what we do, either get used to it or stay home. I don't go to other countries and crab about their ways of doing things.
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Old Jul 15, 11, 9:52 am
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calista, welcome to FlyerTalk! Here's a background thread on tipping in the U.S.: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...g-america.html
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