Top Tip for the USA

8 10 2010


I’ve recently enjoyed my fifth visit to the USA and I must say this was quite possibly the best. A wonderful country with the friendliest people God ever put on his green earth. But I have a gripe.


Why oh why is it such a big deal? I went for a meal in DC with some friends; it was an expensive Greek restaurant and we all chipped in $8 towards the tip. Do I have a problem with this? No, not at all, the food was good and the service was friendly and prompt. Skip forward a few days and I go into a bar in New York, I order a bottle of beer, the bar tender pops off the cap of the bottle and hands it to me. I pay $6 for the beer and leave a $1 tip. The person who served me wasn’t rude or overly pleasant. Why do I feel compelled to tip? I question this with my cousin (a New Yorker going on 15 years) and he is adamant I must tip.

His reason is the people serving don’t get paid a great wage, they live on their tips. When did their wage packet become my concern? They probably have more money than me. The person who sold me a cinema ticket probably earns less yet American society doesn’t feel that their job merits tipping.

He says this is a tipping society, but no worker has a right to a tip. All I want is a bottle of Heineken, serve me and engage me and, you never know maybe I’ll like you, tell you get yourself a beer, maybe I won’t. Never assume.

Tips by their very name and nature are earned. Another bar I went to, as soon as I sat down the barmaid came over introduced herself to us and shook hands. We stayed, got pissed and happily left a $15 tip. No problem.

While I’ve name dropped DC and New York already in this blog I may as well mention I also went to Boston and it was awesome.

America, I love ya baby but if you want my money you gotta earn it like everybody else.