How to avoid a serious tipping mistake

166 posts in this topic

Has anyone else received a bill after a meal and when given it back with money said danke?

 

I am told that saying danke is basically saying keep the change! I've done it twice now. Its just automatic to say thanks when you pay a bill but on these 2 occasssions it has resulted in me paying 20 euro extra because I have been using 50 euro notes to pay.

 

So a big tip from me, don't say danke or you won't get any change. I'd happily give a tip when I leave but not almost as much as the bloody meal!!

 

Has anyone else come across this?

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Yes, that is how it is done here. You give the money and state how much you want the bill to be rounded up to (NOT the change you want back). When you get your change, you say, "Danke." Just saying "danke" without stating the amount you want to pay means you don't expect change. It is not a conspiracy to rip you off.

 

Now you know.

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Learn your numbers and brush up on percentage calculation. Generally you give 10%, so if your bill is €23 give the guy €25 (if the service was mediocre) to €27 (if it was good).

 

Just saying "danke" means "keep the change".

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woah, you left a 20 euro tip and the waitress/waiter didn't question it?

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Yes. Either they were laughing at me or thought I was very generous. We learn from our mistakes I guess. Good advice above though thanks. However I have a better solution...the girlfriend pays in future!

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Why on earth would you want to say 'danke'? None of the natives would....

 

On another note: Over Easter my MIL's boyfriend (no really, he is deaf, blind, but with a seriously large bank account) invited me, Mrs. Poppet and mini poppet to a Greek (traditional German Easter haunt!) restaurant. All stuffed, bill was €119,40. He left €0,60 tip and then said to us 'it's better to tip, they look after you next time'....

 

LOL poppet, bless him. And as for saying danke, you're right, they aren't the politest of nations (especially bus drivers!) But I guess it's for us to live by their rules and habits, afterall, this is Germany.

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Its just automatic to say thanks when you pay a bill but on these 2 occasssions it has resulted in me paying 20 euro extra because I have been using 50 euro notes to pay.

 

I think it's a shame/surprise that the waiters didn't at least question this megatipping -- 20 euro tip on a 30 euro meal? Did they see you lighting your cigar with another fifty?

 

When paying our restaurant bill in Dusseldorf, one of my visitors mistook the handwritten total; I think the total was 30, but he read it as 36 and indicated that the waitress could keep the change from 40. She gave him a friendly but stern lecture about German tipping protocol, and insisted he take 5 euro change. Of course, my friend didn't admit to her that he'd actually intended to give a 10% tip... you wouldn't want to spend your life as a foolishly-generous high-roller, but it's nice to be mistaken for one every now and then.

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if I ever open up a chicos tacos resturant in berlin DH, I´ll reserve a special table just for you.

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or just say that's not what you intended? ask for some back.

why would the waiter question it?

 

... he went out, then came back again and approached the waiter, who was leaning against the wall. "Can I have my change, please?"

"Change?"

"Yes, change. Can I have it, please?"

"Five shillings you give me."

"Yes. The bill was four shillings. I want a shilling back."

"Wasn't that for my tip?"

"It might have been, but it isn't now. Give it to me."

"The whole shilling?"

"Yes. All of it. Now. Give it to me."

The waiter made no attempt to produce any money. In his half-choked voice he said: "Most people give me a tip."

"Most people would have kicked your arse for you by now. If you don't give me my change in the next five seconds I shall call the Manager."

Four seconds later Dixon was on the way out of the hotel into the sunlight, his shilling in his pocket.

 

= socially-acceptable way of dealing with the 'where's my change' situation in 1952 England, according to Kingsley Amis.

 

I think quite a lot of wait staff would be considerate and question it if you gave them a 60% tip -- but maybe not in touristy restaurants, or any establishment where you may openly admire the waitress's boobs.

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The other thing on that specific example I guess is not to carry 50s. I either leave them at home or offload them asap (usually in my weekly shop). I also go to the ATM's that I know give smaller notes. So I often carrry a bunch of 10s and 20s, but there's rarely a 50 in my purse.

 

(This also avoids lots of other situs - the paying the 2 Eur coffee with a 50; the train ticket machine that only takes up to 20 etc etc).

 

I think what I'd probably do now is explain my mistake and say "of course, happily leave .... %" but probably would not in the past.

 

I have this idea of the "immigrant tax". This is what we pay because we don't know customs or the cheaper places to get stuff and can't deal with basic situs like being under-changed so well etc ;) .

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@ Sarabyrd - does the 10% rule work in Germany? I thought it wasn't culturally obligatory. I usually round it up to the next full euro or throw in a few tens more if its too less. But then, my bills never go beyond 10 € and as a poor student, can't really afford to tip too much.

 

Once at Café Mozart in Munich, I ordered the standard Schnitzel. It is 9,90 € so I threw in what I thought was a 1 € coin. The pretty waitress was ecstatic. Later on I realised I'd just tipped her 2 € for a 10 € meal.

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Yes, can someone clarify if the 10% is standard? My husband usually just rounds up also but sometimes if it was especially good service he'll give more. Last week we went to a cafe and I had a coffee and a crepe. The bill came out to 6 Euro even and we had given the waitress a 10. My husband didn't leave anything and I was mortified. I think I questioned him about it for the next 10 minutes of our walk. He said that no one in Germany should expect a tip because it's included in the price and every menu reminds you of that and when they do get a tip it's a bonus. He said he wasn't going to leave 1 Euro for a 6 Euro coffee and crepe and there was no smaller change.

 

On the other hand, I have an American friend who would insist on all of us leaving 20% when we'd go eat. Luckily we don't meet for lunch anymore but that used to piss me off. I would remind her that it wasn't required here and I'd try to do the round up thing on my own but she also insisted we leave it all together on the table (the American way). I always felt odd doing that too.

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Rounding up is the way around here. If the bill is 6,50 EUR you round it up to 7 EUR. If it is 6,80 EUR I would pay 7,50 EUR, but most Germans still round it up to 7 EUR.

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The Service Charge is included in the price, not the tip. The server does not receive the Service Charge, the restaurant gets this and uses it to defray the costs of vacations, etc.

 

For 6 €, a euro might be a tad too much, but still ok. I might go with just 50 cents, but it always depends on the service. Were they nice, were they helpful, did they smile a bit or look like they were pleased to have my business. If there was a problem with the food, did they take care of it, or even apologize? If none of those things were present during my visit, they get zero tip and I probably also will not return. I also look to see if they have way too many tables, which is often the case in Germany. Watching a server try and take care of 20 tables makes me automatically cut them some slack.

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As mentioned before the Berlin standard seems to be rounding it up to the next €. Personally I usually go for the 10% as standard tip.

 

The other day I payed a tab for €11.80 and gave her €13 (table service) in the form of 10 + 2 + 1 and she asked me if it was a mistake that I gave her the €1. At the same place I recently payed a €96 tab and she questioned the tip being too high even though it wasnt even 10%. I appreciate that and I guess the great staff is part of the reason I keep going back!

 

On the other hand waiting for lunch for over 45min earlier this week made me go for the €15.20 - 16 instead (not the same place).

 

If the place has self service I occasionally tip when ordering the first drink, just to buy some future attention (doesn't work very often though).

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Unfortunately I have seen foreign tourists getting ripped off like this and short-changed too often at fruit stands.

 

I also have experience of the trick with the notes. You give them fifty, search for some coinage so they can give you a note in change instead of a load of shrapnel and when you look up they have a ten waiting for you. You look at the note and think "My, how stupid I am today." You believe for an instant you gave them 10 not fifty. So you give them a load more cash. After the transaction and after you walk away you realise your mistake but somewhere there is just enough doubt to stop you raising hell cos you SAW the 10. It's then your word against theirs. And you have to be very sure of yourself to make a stand. The first time you won't believe it happened. The second time you kick yourself for being so dumb. I am waiting for this to happen to me the third time. It will make headlines.

 

They might not steal from you if you leave your bag on a chair but they will rob you blind.

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she also insisted we leave it all together on the table (the American way).

That is considered extremely uncouth in Germany unless you're a regular only dropping in for a drink and you get up and leave, shouting to the waitress, "Zenzi, your money's on the table, you know what it's for!" Always good for a laugh.

 

Yesterday my bill was €20.30. The first beer was fast, the second took a really hard hint (waving the empty glass), the waiters were friendly, the food was good, so I paid €23, i.e. a tad more than 10%.

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