A minefield for Aussies

Published on by dallashollis

Tipping has become a minefield for travellers. Photo: Patrick Cummins Heard the one about the four Australians having dinner in a New York City restaurant? The food was superb and the service was cheery and flawless.After paying the bill, the Aussies left what they thought was a generous tip - just over 10 per cent.And that's what sparked the problem. Advertisement: Story continues below The waiter went into a huddle with the restaurateur.The owner came over and was extremely apologetic."Sorry about the meal," he said."We don't get it right every time."No, the Aussies protested - the food was fantastic."And the service?""Couldn't have been better. You have a wonderful waiter."The owner's face reddened as he looked at the tip."C'mon, guys - if everything was so great you'll have to do better than this lousy tip."The puzzled Australians tossed more cash into the tip tray.The story may be apocryphal - but the message is all too real.Australians are certainly not seen as the world's most generous tippers - though anecdotal evidence suggests this is mainly because we don't know how much to tip and often rely on outdated advice.For instance, guidebooks routinely describe New Zealand as a non-tipping nation. But this has changed as more people in the country's hospitality industry travel to other countries.While Kiwis don't expect tips, gratuities have become commonplace in some upscale restaurants - but are almost totally Moncler jakker absent in others.It can be very confusing.But, when in doubt, there's no harm in tipping 10 per cent after a good experience in a quality restaurant - or a dollar or two to the hotel bellhop who delivers your bag.The same is increasingly true in other South Pacific island countries.Opponents of tipping say it's like tossing sweets to roadside kids - and raises expectations. Others counter that it's too late to fight tipping which has become the norm almost everywhere.True non-tipping nations are all but extinct. Stories were often told - when Mao Zedong called the shots in mostly-off-limits China - about staff going to great lengths to return tips, particularly monetary gifts for cleaners that were left in hotel rooms. Not any more. In China, tipping has become commonplace.Some guidebooks describe Japan and South Korea as non-tipping nations - and, while tips aren't generally expected, they are seldom knocked back.North Korea is possibly the world's only surviving non-tipping society. Knowing this, I gave a Pyongyang waitress a large tip to see what would happen. She made a point of returning the tip to me - making sure the eyes of my minders, Mr Kang and Mr Ri, were on her as she did so.Tipping etiquette can be a minefield:- Waiters in New York City have reportedly argued with customers over poor tips, even chasing them down streets.- A London cabbie followed me into a lift and asked, menacingly, "Oi, where's mine?" when I forgot to tip.- A friend's exit from a Prague restaurant was blocked after she didn't leave an expected tip.- A Johannesburg waiter, taking my credit card, asked: "Shall I add the tip to the total or will you be tipping separately in cash?"- Waiters at a popular Manila restaurant carry rubber stamps in their jacket pockets, stamping bills with the words: "Tip Not Included."Some waiters don't want tips added to credit cards, saying owners retain these amounts.

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