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Tipping in USA, has anyone gone against what’s expected and tipped what YOU wanted to?


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#1 anon039

Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:42 AM

I’m thinking about going on a holiday to the US next year but I’m not comfortable with their tipping customs.

Has anyone been and just tipped what you felt like rather than the expected 20%? I just think the expected amounts are ridiculous despite what they say about their minimum wage. I’m not here to argue about that as of course if someone’s being paid $2 an hour it’s rubbish but it’s a system fault of theirs.

I don’t want to feel anxious about having cash to give my kids to pay someone so they can use a public toilet as well as all the other nonsense.

If I’m at a restaurant and the meal comes to $$72 then I’d happily pay $80. No more.

Would like to know if others have done this and if it caused outrage or not.

Edited by anon039, 17 August 2019 - 10:55 AM.


#2 Renovators delight

Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:48 AM

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POPULAR

Thats not how it works. Adjust your thinking so you think of it like the GST. Its 20%, pay 20%. If you want to add 22% to make it an even number go for it. Don't stinge people out of their wage.

#3 literally nobody

Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:52 AM

the only time id do that was if i had arrogant service. or to taxi’s taking us on the long route when there was a much much shorter one- they’d get nothing extra for that.

#4 Beanette

Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:53 AM

If you aren't happy with tipping, then I wouldn't be eating at places that require it. Limit yourself to fast food, or stay somewhere with a kitchen.

You not tipping isn't going to signal some shift in American culture just because it makes you uncomfortable, all you're going to accomplish is making it hard for your waitress to make rent because you've stiffed her out of a tip.

#5 Leopard Cub

Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:53 AM

When I went there earlier this year, my prior checking showed 15-20%. I always tipped in that region (and never above 20% - my work would not allow that). My calculation was always on the pre-tax price - the standard in the US is that prices are shown pre-tax and pre-tip. So keep in mind whenever eating out, it's not just the tip on top of the advertised price, it's the tax as well.
That said a couple of the others I was travelling with tipped slightly less I think.

#6 anon039

Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:57 AM

Did you tip people to carry your bags in even if you can do it yourself, to use a public toilet, at a normal cafe (like in Melb) if you’re just ordering coffee and sandwich etc...
I don’t want to be stressing about this

#7 babybug15

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:01 AM

Please tip- you do realise you're ripping off the staff if you do this?

Hospitality staff get paid a pittance because it's assumed (both by law and custom) that they will be paid tips of a certain percentage. Wait-staff often have to "tip out"- that is it's assumed they will get a certain amount of tips based on the earnings of their tables on shift and they then have to give a proportion to kitchen staff, bussers, bar staff, etc. This means if you under tip by a significant amount the waiter is paying other people on your behalf.

Yep the treatment of hospo workers is awful- but by not tipping you are only going to rip off people who are on low incomes who are trying to get by. You aren't making a big stand againt the system. You aren't screwing over the business owners. You aren't protesting the wage laws.

Look at it another way- it's part of the customs of the place you are travelling to. Factor tipping in as part of the local culture. For example I personally think it's a bit silly that I had to wear a head scarf in certain churchs in Eastern Europe, but I still did it because it is the custom, the expectation and it would have been considered offensive to local people if I had not.

#8 Lees75

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:01 AM

View Postanon039, on 17 August 2019 - 10:57 AM, said:

Did you tip people to carry your bags in even if you can do it yourself, to use a public toilet, at a normal cafe (like in Melb) if you’re just ordering coffee and sandwich etc...
I don’t want to be stressing about this
We carried our own bags, so didn’t tip for that.
Why would you tip to go to the toilet? You just go to the toilet!
Table service cafe, yes, you tip.
I was stressed about it too,  but managed 4 weeks in the USA without needing to tip with cash. It was all on my credit card.

Edited by Lees75, 17 August 2019 - 12:13 PM.


#9 anon039

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:05 AM

View PostLees75, on 17 August 2019 - 11:01 AM, said:


We carried our own bags, so didn’t tip for that.
Why would you tip to go to the toilet?

Isn’t there a person sitting in there who does little jobs like making sure there’s soap etc? I thought they also expect to be tipped

#10 Froyo

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:07 AM

View Postanon039, on 17 August 2019 - 11:05 AM, said:



Isn’t there a person sitting in there who does little jobs like making sure there’s soap etc? I thought they also expect to be tipped
Sometimes in high end places, but otherwise no.

#11 Froyo

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:10 AM

I don't understand the issue with tipping wait staff. Here their wages are built in to the amount you're billed. In the US it isn't so you pay a bigger tip.

#12 born.a.girl

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:21 AM

View Postanon039, on 17 August 2019 - 10:57 AM, said:

Did you tip people to carry your bags in even if you can do it yourself, to use a public toilet, at a normal cafe (like in Melb) if you’re just ordering coffee and sandwich etc...
I don’t want to be stressing about this


You're trying to convert tipping culture here to another country.

In one country recently, I tipped the bank teller, who was delighted.

It's not appropriate to try to do things exactly the same as at home.


In some places, the people doing things like maintaining toilets, don't get a wage at all, just the right to earn tips from people who use them.

American wait staff pretty much only get paid by tips. As per a pp, all you're achieving is depriving them of an income.

With a rare exception, we tipped 20% recently in Canada. Why? Because we're the ones who can afford to travel there, compared with perhaps some locals who might themselves be low on money.

You're going on holiday - factor in paying people their meagre wages.


Places like trip advisor will tell you what's appropriate.

#13 born.a.girl

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:23 AM

View Postanon039, on 17 August 2019 - 11:05 AM, said:

Isn’t there a person sitting in there who does little jobs like making sure there’s soap etc? I thought they also expect to be tipped


Get on to tripadvisor and ask the question in the relevant sections.

#14 Mollyksy

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:24 AM

I understand the angst. I was there when I was 20 and didnt know who to tip and who not to. E.g. Denny's staff, or the coach driver on a trip to Sea World, people at Disneyland, the mini bus driver at the hotel check in staff, etc etc. It wasnt not wanting to tip. It was the unfamiliarity and feeling stupid and awkward. An obvious sit down nice meal was fine. It's all the other little times I didnt know what I should be doing.

I muddled through!

Now I would probably have ten thousand Google searches "do you tip X perzon"!!

Good luck OP. Food prices are pretty cheap (ignoring our terrible current exchange rate) so the total price with tax and tip should be roughly equivalent.

I hated them displaying the pretax price. It meant I couldn't pay with exact cash as I couldn't prepare it in advance and felt awkward with the money and how long it took. So I had heaps of coins at the end! I like our way of tax inclusive pricing.

#15 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:25 AM

Regarding toilets, it's not like Asia and Egypt where you pay $1 equivalent to use the toilet. And yes, you do pay in some countries,  often you get some toilet paper or a small pack of tissues in exchange.  The money goes to the cleaner.

#16 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:25 AM

i think if you go to a country you kind of have to expect to follow their customs. in America you tip.


#17 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:26 AM

If tipping stresses you out, and it certainly stresses me out, then pick a different country to travel to. Cause it’s not going to be enjoyable for you.

I let DH handle all tipping cause I find it stressful and awkward. I don’t think I could travel to the US alone.

Edited by ~LemonMyrtle~, 17 August 2019 - 11:27 AM.


#18 Poughkeepsie

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:32 AM

It really isn’t that stressful. In some states, depending on the level of tax added to a bill, you can use the rule of thumb “double the tax” for your tip. And yes, you can pay it by credit card with your bill. Most of the time, we tipped 20% because frankly, the service warranted it. America is a very customer-service oriented place, and those minimum wage workers work bloody hard and deserve their tip. Hopefully you will recognise this when you are there and tip accordingly.

#19 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:35 AM

that’s true ^^ - service in America is - usually - phenomenal ...


#20 aluminium

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:35 AM

We love the USA and Canada. I always tip min 20%. The food isnt too expensive, even in nice restaurants, so the 20% isn't that much to add on.

It is important to tip because it is what is required over there, people expect it and they earn it with their service.  To me it seems rude and disrespectful to not adhere to the customs of the country you're visiting. I imagine loads of tourists stinge people out of well-earned tips. We found the service we received above and beyond and well worth the 20%.

For bag/car guys, we gave $1/$2 depending on what they did.  We tipped our Uber drivers. ETA/ housekeeping in hotels we left $2 p/day.

We didn't tip in fast food service/ buy at the counter restaurants, as our Canadian friends told us not to.

Edited by aluminium, 17 August 2019 - 11:43 AM.


#21 gracie1978

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:36 AM

10% toip in a restaurant  signals the service was awful, 15% standard, 20% good.

We generally tipped 20% and more if the service was great or if we shared a meal.

Eating out is really cheap.

Hotels are a bugger, the person who greats you and takes your bags needs 1 or 2 dollars and the same for the person who delivers them to the room.  I also leave 2-5 a day for housekeeping.

Your guides get them as well, even a helicopter pilot is probably earning less there than an airport  security guard in Australia.

You can't just not tip appropriately.
I took $200 in $1 bills to start me off.


#22 babybug15

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:39 AM

View Postanon039, on 17 August 2019 - 11:05 AM, said:

Isn’t there a person sitting in there who does little jobs like making sure there’s soap etc? I thought they also expect to be tipped

I never saw this in the US- actually I never had to pay to use the loo. Can't say that for parts of Australia or Europe! (or as a pp pointed out Asia where someone gives you a packet of tissues etc)

View PostFroyo, on 17 August 2019 - 11:10 AM, said:

I don't understand the issue with tipping wait staff. Here their wages are built in to the amount you're billed. In the US it isn't so you pay a bigger tip.

I think this is a good way of looking at it. Also food prices seem really cheap because they don't include tax or staff wages like they do here.

#23 annodam

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:40 AM

I tip whatever the damn hell I want!
I usually get rid of those damn pennies, nickles & dimes any chance I get.
I ain't good enough in Math to sit there & calculate friggen 10, 20% or what ever it is.
And, I carry my own bags!

#24 avocado toast

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:41 AM

You have to tip. It’s part of their culture and how wait staff earn a living.
The service is always excellent (in my experience) too.

#25 Abernathy

Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:43 AM

If you don’t want to tip then I would find another travel destination.




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