A Note from America – Tipping Differences

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

A frequent comment I hear from American friends who have travelled to London and the United Kingdom is, “Gosh, everything is so expensive and your VAT is 20%”; however, upon returning to my American home state in January, I was not prepared for the amount and frequency that I have to tip.

Service is added on to the bill automatically now both in America and the UK

Service is now added on to the bill automatically both in America and the UK

Yes, UK sales tax is higher than the 7% that we pay here in Georgia, but tipping in pubs is rare, and “service” in restaurants is usually 10-12.5%. For salon appointments, 10% is still the norm. In the US, however, one is expected to tip for all services – anywhere from 5% (for counter service/take away) to 15-20% for restaurants and beauty treatments. Those are the biggies, but let’s not forget baggage carriers, taxi drivers, delivery people, hotel maids and concierges. In restaurants, a bill will often arrive with listings for tips at 15%, 18% and 20%, thus making it easier to know how much to leave. In a cocktail bar, each drink should be rewarded with $2-3 or 20% of the total bill. There is even an app called “Tip N Split” which calculates the amount each person should contribute, including the tip, when a bill is shared.


Available Apps now make splitting the bill easier to calculate

Available Apps now make splitting the bill easier to calculate

My own hairdresser said that it’s rare for her to receive a 10% tip and that the majority of her clients tip close to 20%. For my last cut and colour, the tip alone was $38, which I rounded up to $40. Recently, upon paying for a beauty treatment, I noticed a sign at the till that politely suggested amounts based on time with the therapist. In this case, the tip was based on minutes. Bearing in mind that this lady was a registered nurse (discretion prevents me from revealing the full nature of the treatment), I did feel a bit awkward about tipping someone that I considered a “professional.”

As parking spaces are at a premium in Atlanta, valet parking is required for many restaurants and even some shops.  Most of these establishments オンライン カジノ provide complimentary valet parking, but one must tip the driver. This is usually $2 to $5, depending on the venue. At this same level of tipping, I include coat check and bathroom attendants. Additionally, many of us now use alternative taxi services such as Uber. Giving a strong tip raises one’s profile and increases the chances of a quicker collection.

OK, so these are my own experiences but when did the tipping culture become rampant? According to C. A Pinkham’s article “The Gratuitous Injustice of American Tipping Culture,” it began “… in 1991, [when] restaurant industry lobbyists helped push through an amendment that uncoupled the tipped minimum wage from the Federal minimum wage. The minimum wage for tipped employees has been frozen under Federal law at $2.13/hour ever since. Despite the fact that the minimum wage for non-tipped employees has since increased from $5.15/hour to $7.25/hour, the tipped minimum wage has not budged one cent in over two decades.” It is not my intention to instigate a political discussion with the above statement, but one can certainly see why those, especially in restaurants, and many in the service industry must depend on tips to increase their wage.

So for now, I will continue to carry $1 bills in my purse and will tip accordingly. Personally, I would prefer to tip 15% and leave a glowing (when deserved) online review of services received.



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