Stiffed By Brits

October 6, 2008

in Tipping & Etiquette Stories

This is for a great number of Brits out there, travelling the world, dining out, and just being so mean. I am 100% sure that they are not as unaware as they pretend to be about tipping practices in the countries they travel to. I am of course a waitress who has been the receiver of such meanness for the past 12 years. I live and work in L.A., and even people who regularly come to the restaurant I work for, friends of the owner, most of the time getting free stuff, will still at the end put down max 15% of the check. If they had a free bottle of wine, which I opened and served for them, or I brought free desserts, or the owner picks up the whole check for them, they do not feel compelled to make sure I am taken care of. What’s up with that Jerry would say!

Finally what brought me to write this was last night’s five English and one American wife. One couple who are regular patrons comes in with two other couples, slow night of course (is Jewish New Year Holiday). They sit at one of my patio tables, they order, everything is fine, they order three bottles of the expensive Brunello Di Montalcino wine, food is fine, they are happy, except for having to fan themselves with menus since diners next to them are smoking. I tell them that since the other diners (who are nice tippers) are finished with their food, I will drop off the check in the hope they will leave and by so doing please them. I do and after not too long they leave.

After a while the person at the table who had ordered the wine asks for the check and when I pick it up, thanking them, I noticed that on $664…. he has left $44…which is barely 15% on the food. I was really distressed, how rude is that, and on a slow night, and even if he is fresh from British Airways, why didn’t our regular customer or his American wife make sure I was not stiffed like that? What’s up with these people? Plus I did open the wine, brought our best glasses out and poured it! I think that if you can afford to buy $360.00 + tax worth of wine you should be able to tip on it.

Distressed Waitress

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Kweh October 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Being British-American, I am offended by this review! Britons are renowned for their manners and etiquette, especially at the dinner table. Perhaps you had some particularly rude customers but that gives you no right to call all Britons "mean," based on your experiences with five! Beginning a review with "This is for a great number of Brits out there, travelling the world, dining out, and just being so mean" garners little sympathy from me. It's like saying that "a great number of" Americans are stupid (which they are not!). Furthermore, what on earth does BA have to do with anything?

Were you in the UK, 15% would be a very generous tip; normally, you would be tipped 10%. While I do agree the customer should have been familiar with tipping etiquette in different countries, he at least thought your services to be good enough to substantially increase your tip, according to UK standards.


Gringo January 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Why should you be offended? She is absolutely correct in inferring that most Brits know what tipping in the U.S. should be and a large percentage overlook it. To be fair, you are not the worst nationality to wait on, far from it. That prize has been won the world over by the Argentinians. To be even more fair, I don't think it's necessarily wrong to assume that Americans have a lower intelligence than our first world counterparts. Most of our children are unable to even locate your island on a world map. We are loud, often drink too much of the wrong wine, but most of us tip well even if we feel slighted.


yudelnoodle June 9, 2012 at 7:00 am

i am American, and unfortunately a great number of us are rude. however what should have been (with perfect service) $120, getting less than half of that is reason to wonder why. I am a smoker but I hate when people smoke while I am eating, however i would never take that out on the server; they don't write the laws or the rules of the restaurant. and I have had plenty of Europeans (brits, aussies, russians, the list goes on) that have acknowledged they know proper tipping in the states and despite good service give less than squat. now i don't expect more but if I were to go to Europe i would still leave a nice tip to a good server, knowing they make a decent hourly wage. you pay for what you get, and don't take it out on the server when something negative happens beyond their control.


mandy Black October 12, 2008 at 10:15 am

I'm distressed by this whole letter for lots of reasons. I am also a server and I like to be appreciated for my hard work. Let me first start by saying two things. One: Even if the service was not real great I still leave some kind of tip. Two: Gratuity is just that. No one has to leave you anything no matter how rude you think they are or how great you have been. Complaining when you have received a tip regardless of size is the rude part. I see people getting far less and working twice as hard. It's not fair but it is life. Please remember it could always be worse.

Dance like no one is watching, work like you don't need the money and love like your heart has never been broken. Send out good and good comes back to you.


Recon March 12, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I am a server at a fine dining restaurant in Orlando, and we have a high volume of British and European visitors. It is so frustrating to hear, time and time again, that they don't know the tipping ettiquite in the U.S. Bullshit !!, I once got into a conversation (out of work ) with a British couple and the subject of tipping came up. They were aware of the American custom, but felt that they shouldn't have to pay a server's salary, the restaurant owner should compensate the staff. See, that's fine with me, everytime a European comes into any restaurant in the U.S., there should be a different menu with a 20% price increase built into the cost of each item, thereby making it feasible for the restaurants to compensate the staff. This way, those cheap ass, no teeth, sun burned, socks and sandals wearing losers will not have to tip, or compensate the staff.


yudelnoodle June 9, 2012 at 7:04 am

i think the menu for foreigners is a great idea, but it would leave room to be sued for discrimination. there really is no polite way to inform someone from another country that they have to pay the server ontop of the possible huge bill they tallied. imagine if we went shopping for clothes or food, the tab came to $500, and we were told we had to pay another $100 ontop for the clerk, when that doesn't happen in the states. you have to take the good with the bad, unfortunately. and in that kind of situation we just have to think about the generous tippers that we come across, and honestly some of my best tips (and worse tips ever) have come from Brits and Aussies.


jonasgal September 1, 2017 at 4:48 am

You stated "there really is no polite way to inform someone from another country that they have to pay the server…" Why would they have to inform them at all?! I'm sure they know they're supposed to tip when they go out to eat!!!

Also, why would a menu for foreigners leave "room to be sued for discrimination???" What kind of discrimination would there be?!!?


Raghul May 30, 2018 at 7:23 am

there's no kind of discrimination. there's different types, but they all discriminate.


Linda March 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

After living in Europe, Asia and the US. I say the US tipping system for the bulk of one’s wages has got to go! All food service workers should be paid by the restaurant for their work. First, its a demeaning way of “paying” someone, that depends too much on things such as the cook and the mood of the customer, the worker has no control of. The tipping system came from when wenches were often indentured servants that had their meals and housing paid for by the establishment. So tips were in addition to their real wage. 2nd it will reduce “shrink” at restaurants, since servers will be less inclined to “comp” food for bigger tips. 3rd Regardless of how much or little one is tipped the US government taxes at 8% of total sales. So it would be easy for places to just add 8% to the sales so that they insure a living wage for the workers, and once again that would reduce “shrink” and food costs.
Yes, this would make it “more expensive” on the menu, but it would make it more honest as the price on the menu is the price paid. The North American practice of tipping food servers is not paying workers what they are worth. I’ve been to about 20 different countries and the service is as good or better where workers don’t work for tips. In Sweden the minimum wage is about $15/hour, which is a living wage and all food is expensive. However one can still have a meal for about $12. Who is getting the money in the US? Maybe the same scoundrels that work for AIG or a hedge fund.


Cat March 18, 2009 at 11:08 pm

What a whiny childish post. If you don't like getting a nice $20-odd dollars an hour added to your pay, go away and find a job cleaning toilets.

There is NO tipping in civilised countries where the workers are paid a proper wage. Go complain to your local government member or go complain to your boss for paying you peanuts. Guess what, if it had been me paying, I would have left you $5. And then you could run to the internet and cry about how rude we Australians are. And after you did, all of us would read your post and decide that you're a typical greedy American. How's that for a few nationalistic stereotypes?


gringo January 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I just bet people LOVE going out to dinner with you. There's always something sad about having to pretend to have forgotten something at the table when people like you pay for dinner. We are going back and slipping a proper tip on the bill. Even if we never go back to the place, you might and we were seen there with you.


Nunya Business January 6, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Wow you just made yourself a bigger a$$ than the original poster.


Curtis January 1, 2019 at 6:45 am

Regardless of what you believe about gratuity, tipping is a must in the U.S. Sure there are the occasional exceptions if your server is just a POS, but you need to realize that most of us make $2.13 and rely on tips for literally all our income. After taxes, my check literally says VOID after two 35+ hour weeks. It’s inconsiderate to screw someone over who’s been good to you just because you don’t agree with the way something is done.


Morris Donad March 27, 2009 at 6:08 am

This something that I get angry about. Tipping is extortion! I don’t care if they are not getting paid enough at the dinners. Then leave the job and get a new job or two. I don’t owe them anything. I am paying for my food and my food only. I have worked in the food industry before & I did not get paid enough so I got a new job. If more people would do that then they would be forced to pay them the correct pay. I don’t we people say if they paid them correctly then they would transfer the cost on the customers. If they raise the price of things in the dinner then we will stop going there and close down the business. We need to use our consumer power and make a stand. I don’t people unless I got super service. Tipping extortion!


Tuplip May 22, 2012 at 2:53 am

It would be helpful if those who post comments were able to write English correctly, so their missives could be understood. This last post made no sense at all.


yudelnoodle June 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

tipping is not extortion. especially if you live in the states, it is customary, and if you are given good service there is no reason why it is not expected. i work in fine dining and i'm not saying to tip me 20% on a bottle of wine you guzzle so fast i dont have the chance to refill you glasses, but i have come across the "i don't tip on alcohol" and "i don't tip on tax" so often followed by "but my server was awesome" that you need a slap in the face and I hope some server has the cojones to do it to you. prices for food would go up so far if there was no tip included not only would your sorry ass complain more but the server would have no incentive to make sure you were enjoying your dining experience. sorry but you probably got out of it so quickly because you couldn't cut it. even making real minimum wage like servers in CA do they deserve a tip because they are giving yhou a fine dining experience, so, sorry to be blunt but, go fuck a goat.


akash August 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I get that in American culture, it is customary to tip. But why are Americans so upset when a foreigner, say from my country, India, does not tip.
Tipping is not customary in India, where waiters are employed by the restaurants and paid a monthly salary.
The most offensive comment is "if you cannot tip, you should not eat out" , maybe a person might have saved up for months to treat his/her family and he does not have much to tip. what makes a server comment that if the tip is less, they should not be allowed to eat out.

We do tip here in India, but it is more and more becoming a way of showing how much money one makes. But tipping is not customary here.


Danielle August 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Tipping isn't customary in America – it's expected because servers receive less than a minimum wage.


ShaunaV April 21, 2014 at 2:47 am

When I waited tables, I was paid $2.13 per hour. I had to tip out the bartender, the busboy and the hostess the end of each shift. The tip-out percentage was based on total SALES. What that means, Akash, is that when someone like you comes in and doesn't tip, I still have to tip-out on your table and so I end up paying for the "privilege" of waiting on you. So yes, I am going to be upset. I don't care what is customary in India, we are talking about America. If you don't like, go back to India.


yudelnoodle June 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm

so when you get new tires on your car, do you pay for the tires but not for labor?


richardfire12 September 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

Please eat at home.


Mister Whirly April 2, 2009 at 9:32 am

Jesus what a bunch of tight assed misers on this site. Tip people. Nobody cares if you think the restaurants should pay more – they don't. So please tip your servers.


Um April 2, 2009 at 10:02 am

I have worked for many years in restaurants, from the finest of the fine to the lowest of the low. I absolutely hate poor tips. However, $44 for sucking up a little and doing a job anyone with a little class and wits about them is a dream. You are making more per hour for a job that requires NO formal education than 99.9 percent of others without formal education. I am a teacher for a high school, one of the best I may add who did 5 years of formal education, who makes (averaged out) 11 dollars an hour, and that is what I chose. You want to make more? Go to medical/law school and pay for it.


ShaunaV April 21, 2014 at 2:49 am

That is exactly what I was thinking! When I read the article, I thought for sure she was going to say she did not get any tip or only got a dollar.


Meh April 2, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Seriously? You are that pissed about a 15% tip? 15% is average. If the service is fantastic then it goes up to 20%. Also, you got tipped on the tax as well. Therefore you got more than 15%. Suck it up.


DSH April 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Right on, Mr. Whirly! I say serve them cheese and crackers as a go with.


Rob April 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm

$44 dollars for 2-3 hours of work? Works out to about what most people make, so I don't see the problem. You were also paid an hourly wage on top of that.

I fail to see the problem. You earned a lot of money to put up with BS. Guess what kiddo, that's like everyone else.


Jenni April 3, 2009 at 6:06 am

At least you work in CA so your min. wage is $8 as a server. Here we get paid $2.13 and a $44 would be considered a good tip.


jaymoney April 3, 2009 at 10:45 am

Hey Kweh!

UK standards? She wasn't IN the UK! Face it dipshit, you Euro-trash jack-asses don't bother to read the travelling edicate part of the Lonely Planet Guide and expect us to accomodate to YOUR culture in OUR country. Take your head out of your ass and assimilate.


Tuplip May 22, 2012 at 2:58 am

Again, it would be helpful if Jaymoney could write and spell correctly, then his foul language could at least be understood in context. If he had been able to read the Lonely Planet Guide he would no how to spell etiquette.


Just Me May 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Uh, Tulip or whatever your name is. You misspelled a word yourself. The word "no" in your sentence "no how to spell etiquette" should be spelled "know."


jonasgal September 1, 2017 at 4:53 am

Huh?!! Jaymoney WAS writing and spelling correctly!!! What in the world are you "talking abt?!!!


Learn to spell June 14, 2018 at 11:38 pm

Wrong. "edicate" is not a word. Etiquette is probably what was intended. "Travelling" was also spelled incorrectly and should have been "traveling."


TheBigM April 4, 2009 at 1:59 am

jaymoney, its etiquette, not edicate.

Assimilate? In the UK tipping is seen as a reward, not a right!

Just a further example of he difference in cultures.


Nunya Business January 6, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Assimilate? Perhaps they are one with the Borg. (its a star trek thing)


Laila Qureshi April 5, 2009 at 4:55 am

Thank your stars that you got people that nice. I wouldn't even have been bothered to tip you that much


Anonymous April 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm

You are only supposed to tip 5-10 pervent on wine, so you actually got a nice tip overall


yudelnoodle June 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I would have to disagree. where did you hear that?


Learn to spell June 14, 2018 at 11:40 pm

What is 5-10 'pervent'?


H E Pennypacker April 13, 2009 at 10:49 am

To quote Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs: "This tipping automatically thing…its for the birds!"


Whitewolf April 21, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Though I hate to sound nationally-biased, I'm an American, myself, and I must say that all of us in this stuck-up country REALLY, to quote jaymoney, need to get our OWN heads out of our asses (sorry for the expletive). To me, a reply like that just reinforces why the rest of the world hates us and our culture so much. I don't blame them one bit, I hate it myself and what it's become; we are arrogant, bigoted, overly patriotic, close-minded sticks-in-the-mud. If we, as jaymoney has very kindly reinforced, can't even accept or consider the cultures and standards of others, why should we ask others to do the same with our culture. I'm sorry, but people like you, jaymoney, not only infuriate me, but sicken me. I'm not going to be typical and go political or religious here, and I'm not ABOUT to be politically correct, but why is it that when an American has something to say, everyone listens, but when a European, Asian, African, etc, has even a single protest, even a legitimate and polite one, as Kweh's was, then the entire nation bears its fangs? THAT, fellows, is hypocrisy, and because of it, I now feel as though I have to apologize for my American passport. If it weren't for convenience, I'd trash it in the nearest waste heap where the rest of the American attitude lies. As for the review, itself:

-Cat, Meh, well said. This was, indeed, a very whiny post. There's a lot I'd like to say about it, but Cat pretty much used all the words I would.

-Recon, see my rant.

-Kweh, valid points. Well-stated, couldn't agree more.

-Jaymoney, PLEASE get your own head out of your own ass (again, I apologize). If it feels like I'm attacking you, it's because I am. Your short, "sweet" reply emphasizes that you uncultured bigots, indeed, do represent the worst among us Americans. Please stop reinforcing the arrogance the world sees in us, as for once, I would REALLY like to be proud of this cesspool country,

As for Distressed Waitress, herself, let me just say that I REALLY wish you hadn't posted this review. You have caused a great amount of discord between varying cultures and, like jaymoney (my point of reference), have reinforced the American stereotype of being the greedy, selfish, ungrateful misers we are. All I can say now is next time, please think before you rant.

To the rest of the world:

On behalf of my country (says s/he with a grimace) and all of us Americans whom you so rightfully look down upon, I apologize for everything.


D.G. April 22, 2009 at 8:23 pm


I would learn to spell before criticizing someone else; makes a much better impression, ya know?

So basically, you're saying "stop being your own culture and be an American," riiiiighhht…makes a lot of sense; I scoff at thee! And you ask this while calling Kweh "Euro Trash" and "dipshit"? If you had read more carefully, Kweh's said she/he was British-AMERICAN; shows how much you know. Kweh made some good points, was polite and REFINED about it, and probably had a lot more to say with a lot stronger words. You sir, by contrast, are an unrefined pig!

jaymoney, as an American citizen I despise you and all that you stand for. I would advise retreating back to your trailer, locking the door, and staying there for all eternity.

Distressed Waitress, with a selfish attitude like yours, I empathize with many others' replies in that I would have left you nothing either. I can see now why you became a waitress. You can join jaymoney in the trailer, and PLEASE don't ever write another review.


Hanh April 23, 2009 at 12:52 pm

You know, why is that when Americans go to another country, they get ragged on when they don't follow the local customs? It seems that when international visitors come here they should learn what the local customs are, shouldn't they? Otherwise don't come to the US.

If you know the local American custom, and flagrantly ignore it deciding that your culture is best, then who is the true "ugly" tourist?


Nunya Business January 6, 2017 at 3:19 pm

To be fair, think about it. I for one am all for learning the customs of whichever country I go to as much as I can. Most countries in Europe are much smaller & from experience think there's not a whole lot of difference in customs throughout said countries. Think of how big the US is & how different the customs are between just the north & south. Then there's New England & what's considered the deep south. I've been to all areas & it varies. I think it would be next to impossible to figure out the customs of all areas of the US if they're doing a long country-wide vacation. Why can't we all just let people be humans & make mistakes. If they're blatant asses then by all means, call them out.


Benny June 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Brits can be unintentially mean in the US when it comes from tipping as it's just not done that way in the UK and nor is there an awareness of the hidden rules. That said, I don't think the tip was all that mean and frankly it's time YOU demonstrated some cultural awareness and a little less focus on $$ which after all the patron is not obligated to pay. The tip at $44 wasn't that bad, there wasn't a meaness intended and in Europe would be regarded as generous.


natasha June 29, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Yeah… This post sounds really whiny.


Not American August 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Would anyone care to enlighten me as to the accepted American practice or protocol concerning tipping on wine? Is it expected to be 15-20% on the price of the wine, no matter if it's a $10 bottle or a $100 bottle?


jess November 25, 2012 at 5:17 am

any service is 15 to 20% in a restaurant that includes wine, food. whatever. its not less because it is a drink … you are paying tip on the service not the food/drink and 15 to 20% of the total amount.


Gregg - admin August 7, 2009 at 6:24 am

There doesn't appear to be any clear cut convention regarding tipping on wine. For lesser priced wines I think most people generally tip the same amount as they do towards their meal, but things get controversial when the wine is pricey. Some say if you can afford an expensive bottle of wine then you can afford to tip 20% on it. Others say that there isn't much work to opening a bottle of wine and pouring it so it's alright to tip a lesser amount. Here's an article about the issue (be sure to also read the comments): Tipping On Wine.


Not American August 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm


Thanks for the response.

The "Tipping on Wine" article is very informative and the readers' comments are even more illuminating.

Although I was initially resistant to the idea, I'm now persuaded that 20% across the board, including wine, is the appropriate way to go, regardless of the price of the wine.


Nunya Business January 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm

But what about some of these restaurants that serve wine that is sold in local stores for $6.99 & charge $25 dollars for it? To me the restaurant is already making enough money in mark up because at $6.99 the local store is making money on so what's the actual wholesale price. I'm just thinking the restaurant should be the one giving the tip to the server on alcohol sales.


DragonFly November 29, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I've been in the restaurant biz off and on for 35+years. Uptown and downtown. A 15% tip is not acceptable any more, I don't care how you justify it. It's ancient, archaic. The cost of living has increased significantly since that "rule of thumb" came into place. Tipping on wine bottles is iffy. Some do, some don't. There is no hard fast rule on it. I don't agree on tipping after tax. I agree that $44.00 on the food bill was substandard. They should have left $60.00 on the food, the wine is debatable.

As far as Kweh's comments: You must be joking right?? I have many friends from the UK and even they would disagree with your comments about the Brits being known for their etiquette.

To Cat: Having just returned from a month in Auz-Seriously, you must be joking! Servers get paid from $14.50-$25.oo @hr. there. I surveyed them from Melbourne up to Airlie Beach and all points in between. The service sucks in Auz for the most part. Can't tell you how many times I had to get my own utensils, napkins and hunt down the server because there were food issues. They'd look at me as if I was as speaking an alien language, and for the most part, I was. Lazy people. Greedy Americans?? Oh that is rich. More like greedy, pay me for doing nothing Auzzies.

Morris: Like you saying that you're not going to eat out any more is going to halt the restaurant industry in the US. If you want to dream, go to sleep. Oh, sorry…you were talking in your sleep. Just giving you the benefit of the doubt.

I don't think the US citizens need to be aware any more of cultural differences. Why?? Because the rest of the planet knows we are about "PC" and they take advantage of it. I travel extensively-around the US and outside of it. It is about "When in Rome…" Trust me, you don't get any slack outside of the US, even in Canada.

D.G.: You are the one that server's love to write about on waiterrant. com. You better watch out when eating out, as server's are on to your type.


RJ December 7, 2009 at 3:35 pm

When in Rome, right?

In the USA, you tip. Elsewhere, you learn the rules and go by them. If you want to visit here (USA) that's the deal. I would love to visit Britain, and I plan to learn/follow whatever etiquette is considered proper.

I once had British friends visit and I took them out to dinner. They were/are lovely people, and we had a very nice time. When I went to pay the bill, I asked them to wait a moment so I could get some change to leave a tip for the waiter (and by "change" I mean change for a $20, and such, not cents :)). They got up to leave and I came back to the table to find a waiter looking daggers at us. I immediately left a generous tip (his service was very good) and my guests commented that they had forgotten that that was necessary, as it wasn't done back home.

No damage was done, and I didn't expect them to leave anything – they were my guests, and I was taking care of all the meal expenses. But I'll never forget the look on the poor waiter's face when he thought we were walking out on him. I wanted to die.


KPinky January 17, 2010 at 7:46 pm

This is completely ridiculous with what I'm reading about this post and the replies.

I'm Australian, we have a British system when it comes to dining. I don't believe in paying extra just because it is expected and especially when there are people like this posted complaining about the amount left, have some manners and be greatful.

In the UK and Australia people DO tip but only when the service is above and beyond so in other words if you do your job well you will be rewarded.


Carmel Veteran Waitr March 22, 2010 at 6:26 am

Dear Distressed,

I feel your pain. I've been serving in Carmel for over 13 years now. It's a great job, and even without a formal education it has allowed me to buy a home and work only 4 days a week. My philosophy is work to live not live to work. I serve my fair share of tourinsts in Carmel and I have to say you are so right about Brits being cheap, but let's be honest, the Germans & French are usually poor tippers too, not to mension the ever stingy Brazilians!! So, about a year ago I started writing on the bottom of their checks…"Gratuity NOT Included 15%=$/20%=$". This system works for me 99% of the time & I recommend you try it! 🙂


Carmel Veteran Waitr March 22, 2010 at 6:35 am

I meant tourists not tourinsts


Big Paulie May 6, 2010 at 12:30 am

It’s the same old song and dance. If you want to stereotype, let’s start by saying that the British, prior to visiting the U.S., spend hours, sometimes days, scanning travel guides and the Internet for the best values. You cannot tell me that at some time (perhaps when they’re studying State Department guides on safety and customs) they don’t run into the fact that a tip is expected in a restaurant.

I recently served a table of six visitors from Brazil. They were very worldly and although their English wasn’t the best, they knew the names of all the “hip” cocktails being served at the time. We bent over backwards for this young professional bunch, who seemed to be having a very, very good time. We even comped them a number of beers and a round of premium shots.

They left $0 on a bar tab of $285. I actually confronted them on the way out and asked if there was a gratuity for our servers forthcoming, and perhaps they’d forgotten. Like a bad Spanish stereotype, they all, in unison, shrugged their shoulders, with wide eyes, and blurted “oh, I don’t know.” And then kept walking.

The moment I accused the ringleader, a macho guy who seemed in control of the party, of having “a small dick,” his attitude changed. I thought he was angry and was going to hit me. Instead, I’d shamed him into giving my staff a gratuity. He pulled a $20 from his wallet and gave it to me. To which I said “thank you very much and have a good evening.”

So much of it is all about playing stupid and thinking you’re getting over on one of your fellow human beings — because in this kind of delicate situation, you can.

“Because you can” is also the reason amoral idiots take money that doesn’t belong to them in the split-second someone’s not watching.


Mary November 10, 2010 at 9:12 pm

That is total bullcrap, you shoud have been tipped at the very least one hundred.


Alina September 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I know I'm late to the party… but I just wanted to add something.
I'm from a country where gratuity is included… and still most people pay 15-20% tips. Why? Because they're embarassed not to…
But if they don't leave a tip, at least it's already covered in the price for the food.


Kelvin May 19, 2012 at 3:15 am

I'm also very late to the party but wanted to ask a question. If, for example, a party of ten were to spend say, $1000 on food and $2000 on wine, totalling $3000, would a server seriously expect a tip of $600?


Chad May 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I would think that 20% tip on the food (assuming very good service) and 15% tip on the wine would be appropriate in your scenario Kelvin. On those percentages, the tip would be $500.


Joan December 16, 2016 at 12:50 pm

That's what I was thinking. It sounds a bit rediculous honestly. I think $44 is good tip for service.


MRB May 21, 2012 at 1:32 am

As a European (not British) I do not understand the problem. "Distressed waitress" works in a restaurant where the average price per guest is $ 100, as she says. She will expect at least a tip of 15%, which means $ 15 per person. If she serves 5 ​​tables of 6 diners or any combination of 30 people each day, a normal or even small number of people, she would earn $ 450 per day in tips. Working 20 days a month, that account for $ 9000 a month in tips! (7200 €)

I definitely want to work as a waitress in USA, "distressed" or not, and quit my job as a doctor in Europe. LOL …


Curtis January 1, 2019 at 7:10 am

Yeah except what you forget is most places cost $10-20 per person and people will still leave 8% and write “great service!” on the credit card slip. I can tell you that for as many of the people on this site that claim to always leave 20%, there are even more who will leave $4.86 on $60 and walk out thinking they did the server a favor.


J.R. Locke May 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Wow, a lot of people seem to have gotten pretty worked up over this post. Yes, right reason or wrong the social convention in the United States is to tip 15-20% that's the custom and diners in America should factor this into the cost of their meal and, since about 60% of the dining public are demanding and rude, they certainly make their servers earn the money. Next, it is a point of fact, observable and measurable that not only do the majority of British, but also the majority of Europeans and South Americans tip poorly and should know better, after all even if it is not their custom, "When in Rome". Having said all that though, C'est La Vie C'est La Guerre. What can you do.


Human Machine June 10, 2012 at 5:54 am

In the UK it's 10% of the bill. Tipping is not compulsory, so quit whining and be grateful for what you get. No wonder the rest of the world thinks Americans are arrogant.


Moe June 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

There's a big difference between the UK and the US. Servers in the UK receive a regular wage. In the US, many servers receive less than minimum wage because the expectation is that they'll be tipped. If restaurant owners in the US paid a regular salary and scrapped the tipping system, the price of meals would go up, and the quality of service (in some cases) would go down.


mick August 6, 2012 at 6:41 am

We are not arrogant. We just don't like you. Stay home.


Jenny October 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I'm English, and I just want to point out that whilst people from the UK know that tipping is customary in America, most of us don't know why. Until a few days ago, I didn't realise that most wait staff in America are paid less than minimum wage (which would be illegal in the UK) and that tips make up the bulk of their salary. Were this explained to British diners, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to leave a tip (with a bit of guidance from the waiter about suitable percentages, probably!).

I worked as a waitress for a while, and tipping never happened because it's not part of our culture, and we got paid enough by our employers. So please don't be rude to us Brits, when a one minute explanation of WHY tipping is necessary would probably suffice!


Erin May 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm

All people, no matter where they are from, NEED to act appropriately when they travel abroad. Whether you are aware of it or not you are basically an ''ambassador'' for your country, and acting inappropriately and rudely reflects badly on your country.


bartender job July 4, 2013 at 12:16 am

Ah, the brits!!who can top them?The French?


Will Gordon-Lee August 28, 2013 at 8:01 am

As a Brit myself I found the above rant if not offensive then at least ignorant. I have travelled to several countries across the world and when i was in America as a child my parents would always make sure to leave a fair tip to the waiter or waitress who we had been served by and this practice has ingrained that ideal into me as well that as long as the server isn't rude or discriminatory then they full well deserve a tip. Saying that all Brits don't tip is exactly like saying that all Americans are stupid, which is simply not true as I have dozens of intelligent American friends. Maybe you had one bad experience but that does not condone a mindset that all Brits don't know tipping etiquette. As a final note I'd like to mention that on more than one occasion I have spoken to an American and they believe that we use the dollar instead of the pound, so it can be a two way street of ignorance and its not only the occasional Brit that knows nothing about the world.


ShaunaV April 21, 2014 at 2:55 am

I am American, married to a Brit, living in the U.K. A lot of Brits re rude and stupid. The people in the city where I live are dirty and scruffy looking. The women are FAT. I would venture to say the female population here has a bigger problem with obesity than women in America. Seems like everyone has babies, no matter their age and so many are on benefits. Very disturbing. I wonder how this country is not bankrupt. And, I am not surprised people here don't tip or barely tip.: food prices are unbelievably high!


Whopis January 6, 2016 at 3:41 pm

No one here can do math it seems.

$44 tip on a $664 bill is less than 7%. That's a terrible tip.


Amber May 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm

So it takes more work to open an expensive bottle of wine then it does to open a cheap bottle? Pretty sure you're doing the same amount of work, the cost of the food should not actually be what the tip is based on, period. You bring out drinks and dishes you're providing the same level and amount of service whether the bill is $50 or $500.


Jaybie September 4, 2017 at 1:36 pm

On the flip side, we went to a new restaurant in London while we were there. They had one poor girl trying to serve the entire restaurant (altho, to be fair, there were only about 12 customers in there at the time we went). The food was fine, we had wine, but we noticed the server was running ragged. At the end of our evening, we asked for the manager. Our server dutifully went off to find the manager, looking scared to death. We told the manager that the server was amazing, she'd gone out of her way for us, she was totally working her tail off and praised her to the skies. The manager thanked us and gave us another bottle of wine – and heck yeah, we left a huge tip for her. We're American, but had met up with our friends from London, so guess some Britons can be incredibly thoughtful, eh?


Curious June 15, 2018 at 12:04 am

Here's a question on tipping etiquette. I will preface my question by stating that I always tip 15%-20% unless the service is very poor.

Let's say I go to restaurant A and order dinner and the bill comes to $50. So, that would a tip of $10. Then, let's say I order a similar dinner at a less expensive restaurant and the bill comes to $25. That would mean a tip of $5. Now, let's say both servers did the same amount of work (take my order, served the meal, asked if everything was ok, refilled my drink, etc.) and both servers did a good job. Why does the server at the more expensive deserve more than the server at the less expensive restaurant? Shouldn't they be compensated the same? If not, why not? Why should the gratuity be dependent upon the value of the meal rather than the amount of work?


Server January 1, 2019 at 7:27 am

I’ve always agreed with this as a server. Tipping on percentage can sometimes warrant an unnecessarily high or ridiculously low tip. For example, in the story above, the recommended 20% is $132.80. That’s ridiculous for six people and it’s unreal to expect that. 50-80 is plenty is that situation. However, I personally have had tables of 6 that will come in, drink waters, use coupons and get all of their food for less than $30 altogether and tip $5 based on that. People do need to realize it’s more about the work and effort the server is putting into the table and their needs, not about how much the restaurant is charging you


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