I’m one of those English people who doesn’t particularly understand “tipping” just because we don’t do it here (or very seldom!).
So my sister and I were visiting New York City (our first time in the States). We dined out nearly every evening while we were there over the Christmas period. The first few different restaurants we went into were fine enough. But the servers were nothing to write home about. They would give us our food and walk off.
In England the waitresses etc. are nice enough, but I guess we assumed that in the States they would be more attentive given the fact that tips are a big part of the dining experience. I understand Christmas time is a busy time, but I was expecting at least the usual “Is everything OK?” type of thing. But we only ever managed to get the server’s attention when it was more or less time to pay the bill. We always tipped around $28.00 ($14.00 each). We’re students so we were on a budget!
One time when we were visiting Brooklyn we went into one of these diners that reminded us of the ones we’ve seen in the movies. It was dead in there; we were the only ones. My sister wasn’t hungry so she only ordered coffee. I had a drink and something to eat.
A family of 4 came in and sat at the booth behind us; they only ordered drinks. The server, who had been very pleasant to us (he was kind enough to give us directions and told us to be careful walking around at night!), was rather rude to them. I’m not sure if the family was visiting like we were or were natives. He ranted about them just coming in for drinks and the diner not being good enough for them to eat in. It was about 7pm. I was taken aback; I wasn’t sure what had changed his mood! The family wasn’t doing anything and isn’t that the whole point of a diner? We tipped him and went on our way.
I was just wondering if anyone could explain any of this to me? I know we don’t have the best reputation for tipping, but can’t we be forgiven as it’s not part of our culture/society type of thing?