Boulder City Magazine® July 2007 Issue
by Ihla Crowley
A Tip On Tipping
I’ve read a lot of articles on tipping in foreign countries, and they all pretty much say the same thing Americans tip too much but an item in the LA Times recently brought it home to me with a little different perspective that I would like to share with you.
Boulder City Magazine®
|Tipping in general is a controversial subject. Here in the states it is a monster that is out of control… to the point that restaurants pay low wages to their employees expecting them to make it up on tips. Let’s not even go there; we probably cannot put this genie back in the bottle. However, we can share in an effort not to import this ‘vile system,’ as it has been called, overseas.
The LA Times article points out that the practice of over-tipping is actually rude. “The most glaring way to show you’re an American besides your accent is to over-tip. In some countries, particularly Asia, it isn’t even considered polite to tip… you’re saying that the person you’re tipping isn’t hospitable enough to provide service without a bribe.” Countries in which you should NOT tip at all in restaurants include: Costa Rica, Denmark, Japan, and New Zealand. And in most others 5-10% is fine.
It all boils down to respect. “As the world shrinks, it behooves us to learn the nuances of other cultures… To do so is the most fundamental way of showing respect.” How can you do this? Do your homework. Check the guidebooks of the places you will be visiting, or ask someone in the country, such as a concierge. Just say, “We’re from out of town, and we don’t know what the custom is on tipping.” Check the bill or menu. Sometimes the tip is included. In Italy, the menu may say servizio incluso, or on the bill it’s a line that says servizio.
For a country by country list, check out the Travel Advice section of Magellan’s Travel Supply website www.magellans.com. Here you will find the recommended tipping percentages for restaurants, porters, and taxis.
Be sure to check out www.driftersister.com for more information and handy hints.
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