Tipping in the U.S.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To give someone money as a way of rewarding them for their service is called tipping and it’s most commonly done in restaurants, bars, and taxis. I’m used to tipping whenever I eat out but this custom can be a real surprise for many fine visitors to this country, so let me explain why we do it:

Due to wage laws in the USA, some restaurants pay their servers as low as $2.13 per hour so it is normal, unlike much of the rest of the world, for your service not to be included in the final bill (with the exception of large parties, typically six or more people).  The standard amount to tip is 15% - 20% of the bill, excluding taxes. If a customer receives poor service, they may decide to speak with the manager to correct any problems but some customers can choose to leave a smaller tip instead. It’s rare but I do it on occasion. Some dissatisfied customers have been known to leave one penny as an extreme insult to their server. I don’t recommend it.

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