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To tip or not to tip?

David Cameron hit the headlines this week after failing to tip a busy waitress whilst on holiday. Not only does this show that the media will pick up on anything ridiculous but that as Brits, we get a bit confused whether to tip or not. I worked as a waitress for many years to support my studies at university, and tips were a big perk of the job. I believe I received tips for good service, for advice on which dishes to pick, and going that one step beyond, something special to the customer, so if it was a birthday surprise them or if they had specific dietary requirements, make sure they were met.

In the UK tipping only tends to be at waitress service restaurants and bars. You don’t really go into your local fast food eatery and tip the staff. Unbelievably us Brits go from one extreme to another, some have been accosted for not actually tipping staff at all, and some tip the taxi driver, the hotel staff, the hairdresser, which when we do tip, makes us the most generous in Europe.

Tipping is a completely expected part of the service in some countries, in others if you do tip you could cause great offence. In New Zealand and Australia tipping isn’t really a big deal, so you’re not going to really offend anyone there.

Service included is part of the law in France. In Germany never say thank you “danke” to the waiters because this tends to mean keep the change, also if you do want to tip them, physically put the money in their hand, leaving it on the table can be construed as offensive.

In Japan if you leave any more money than is stated on the bill you will cause great offence. Only pay what is printed on the bill. The most complicated country to watch out for is the USA. Tipping is big business and can supplement a basic wage.

Generally go for about 10% of the bill in tips, if service is included you don’t have to, if the service was exceptional go wild and boost it up to 20%.

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