How to avoid a serious tipping mistake

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I tip, depending on the customs of the country that I am in. But, although I'm not sure that I can justify it, I still feel somehow that tipping is an abomination. Maybe it is because I am an old-school Australian and did not grow up with it. Somehow it comes across to me as very anti-egalitarian. If you grow up in a culture where there is no tipping (as I pretty much did), it is quite strange to encounter one where tipping is widespread. For example, I always found it strange that the taxi driver is tipped, but the bus driver is not; that a barman serving drinks is tipped, whereas someone serving food at a counter is not. Certainly the phenomenon deserves some study. This article seems to be a good start: http://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpeh/0309001.html (click on the download button).

 

One interesting point brought out by the article, is that tipping was not customary in the US until after the civil war. It was seen as something belong to a servile culture. "Gunton's Magazine (1896, p. 16-17) called tipping offensively un-American, because it was contrary to the spirit of American life of working for wages rather than fawning for favors."

 

There seems to be a bit of a movement against tipping, but I don't think they have much chance of succeeding.

NY Times article about (and against) tipping:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/10/opinion/10shaw.html?ex=1281326400&en=fce94190f5ff2faa&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

 

And here is a posh restaurant in the states explaining their anti-tipping policy:

http://thelinkery.com/notipping.php

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I agree. I found a great barber in FFM, who was a bit of a perfectionist and did my hair exactly the way I wanted it, yet only charged 10 Euros. I

 

You mean, you specifically asked for that haircut?

 

(Sorry - can't resist a feedline :D )

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Hi all,

 

Regarding tips for other services outside of restaurants, what would be some appropriate percentages?

 

Specifically: I have a handyman coming in a few days to install pipes/plumbing connections for a dishwasher, and the initial cost estimate from the office is 75 EUR. My first thought would be to give him 10 EUR as Trinkgeld. Is that too much or just right?

 

Next, I have some IKEA/Rhenus delivery guys scheduled to deliver an oven, a tall kitchen cabinet for the oven, plus an exhaust hood unit. I ordered the service "complete delivery, assembly, and installation" from IKEA--and the amount I'm paying upon delivery is about 300 EUR. Assuming there are 2 people, what would you recommend for a tip? Would 40 EUR total (20 EUR per Monteur) be too much or just right?

 

(I live in a Hinterhaus, 2nd floor, the building has a medium-sized elevator.)

 

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Given that Germans typically don't tip handymen or installers, I'd say you could give them half the respective amounts you mentioned and you would still make them very happy.

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We usually tip between €5 and €10 per man depending on what was done, how long they were there and if they went out of their way to do a good job. You're free to give more if you like, there are no set rules.

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I don't agree that "Germans typically don't tip handymen or installers", or maybe they just don't in Berlin. If a guy does a good job, then it's worth a tip, and some almost expect it if they exceed their initial remit, and rightly so too. There won't be a problem if you don't tip (especially as you are not exactly looking to build a long term relationship with a guy who fits your kitchen) but if they go the extra mile then it's worth rewarding it. Don't go overboard though - 10€ or so per person is more than enough in most cases.

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Sorry El Jeffo but thats not quite right,i delivered washing machines/fridges/TVs/kitchens etc etc for over 10 years in Frankfurt and all over Hessen 75% of people tip some good some brilliant and some just damn insulting!I think she has got it just about right maybe a little less for the kitchen 20 or 30 depending on how pleasent and careful they are as for the plumber spot on!But if any of them are bad tempered then give them nothing.

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Allershausen do you tip at restaraunts?if so where is the difference they both provide a service and if you are happy with the service why not tip?

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maybe it is a Berlin thing. I had some furniture delivered not long ago and after they put it where I wanted, told me how much the delivery charge was, and didn't do any of the fidgeting and fumbling and hesitating that some people do when there's a tip expected. Or maybe they were just busy that day. But I imagine they were significantly less well-paid than IKEA employees (this was just a little used furniture shop not far from my place) and the total bill on the goods was around €100 (delivery charge was €20). IME cabbies don't necessarily expect a tip either although I always give one (albeit a bit smaller than I would give in the States) anyway. Again though maybe this is a Berlin thing... no use standing around expecting extra money from people they know are already not ballin' to begin with :lol:

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If anyone "fidgeted, fumbled and hesitated" around me I'd be less likely to give them anything. I tip for good service and in proportion to how I feel the service I expected has been exceeded. Nothing more, nothing less - that's the whole point of a tip.

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In london I nearly always tipped taxi drivers, if the trip was 12-13 quid, i'd give 15...if it was 6 or 7 then he'd get 10, i'd wait for the change and give him back a couple of quid. In restaurants, it really depends on the service...if i like the service then 10-15% of the bill, if i thought the service was crap (not necessarily the food though) then i'd tip bugger all...maybe round up to the nearest pound...

 

I didn't like the expectedness of tipping in the states, if i ordered a couple of drinks in a pub and it was 6 dollars, i'd give ten and wait for my change that never came...this pissed me off a little bit, until i remembered the countless american tourists that i had come through the pub I was running in NZ who refused change from each round that they bought...

 

When in restaurants, how do you leave the tip? If the bill comes to my table on a tray or such like I've always stuck the cash and tip on the tray and left...or if paying at the till and I have the right money plus tip, i just give it to them with a Danke and walk away...but i think i read earlier that leaving the tip on the table is a big no no?? could someone clarify this for me please?

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Thanks for all the replies regarding tipping on non-restaurant services! I'll see how well the installations go and will keep about 8% in mind for the Handwerker & IKEA/Rhenus Monteurs.

 

I did ask the nice lady who was coordinating the handyman appointment about this issue and she seemed really surprised that I was even thinking about this. She used the phrase "nach Ihrem Ermessen" (at your discretion), which is fair.

 

For non-restaurant transactions, I view the tipping mentality in Berlin as "nicht immer erwartet/erforderlich, aber immer willkommen" (not always expected or required, but always appreciated). If you've seen more eloquent phrasing auf Deutsch, please let me know! Thanks again everyone!

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When in restaurants, how do you leave the tip? If the bill comes to my table on a tray or such like I've always stuck the cash and tip on the tray and left...or if paying at the till and I have the right money plus tip, i just give it to them with a Danke and walk away...but i think i read earlier that leaving the tip on the table is a big no no?? could someone clarify this for me please?

 

You deffo dont leave the tip on the table and walk out - even if its on a silver tray.

 

You wait til the waiter/waitress comes back (half an hour later) and hand it to them - or else they will pick it up. You tell them how much to charge, usually adding a small amount to the bill when you work this out.

 

Or if its a bill on a silver tray type place, they will probably take it over to a cash till, then return with the change. In this case leave some small change on the tray. The tray type arrangement however isnt typically or traditionally German, its found more in upmarket type places (or places that fancy themselves as upmarket).

 

And by the way, service is included by law in the bill, so any tip you leave is just a small extra gratuity. You do not leave big chunky American style tips!

 

In Holland and Belgium they dont seem to have this expectation. Service there is also included in the bill and they dont expect a single cent extra as tip far as Im aware.

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oh god not this again.

 

"Service is included in the bill" means that the tax the restaurant pays for having you sit in their restaurant and be served by an employee is passed onto you. It does not mean that the server takes home x% of your bill as cash. They make the same base wage whether you take out or eat in.

 

TIPPING IN GERMANY (for penguinrocks)

 

The bill comes to €13.47. If you liked the service, hand the server a 20 and say, "Mach(en Sie) bitte fünfzehn." The server says thank you and brings you back a fiver. If you didn't like the service soooo much you can tell them to "make fourteen." If it was terrible, wait for your change and go away.

 

You give the tip when you pay the bill, always. If you do not give the tip at the time of payment the server will believe you do not mean to leave a tip. Also, don't make the mistake of doing what we do in some English-speaking countries which is telling them how much you want back. Best case scenario it will lead to confusion, worst case scenario they wind up taking a ten-dollar tip. If your German isn't that good you can always just hand them the money and tell them the amount you want to round up to, e.g. "Fünfzehn, bitte?" sort of like a question.

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oh god not this again.

 

"Service is included in the bill" means that the tax the restaurant pays for having you sit in their restaurant and be served by an employee is passed onto you. It does not mean that the server takes home x% of your bill as cash. They make the same base wage one way or the other.

 

TIPPING IN GERMANY (for penguinrocks)

 

The bill comes to €13.47. If you liked the service, hand the server a 20 and say, "Mach(en Sie) bitte fünfzehn." The server says thank you and brings you back a fiver. If you didn't like the service soooo much you can tell them to "make fourteen." If it was terrible, wait for your change and go away.

 

You give the tip when you pay the bill, always. If you do not give the tip at the time of payment the server will believe you do not mean to leave a tip, they most certainly do not expect you to walk up on them later with a couple of coins in your hand (have never even heard of this). Also, don't make the mistake of doing what we do in some English-speaking countries which is telling them how much you want back. Best case scenario it will lead to confusion, worst case scenario they wind up taking a ten-dollar tip. If your German isn't that good you can always just hand them the money and tell them the amount you want to round up to, e.g. "Fünfzehn, bitte?" sort of like a question.

 

There is another way, Dessa, which I sometimes do for a joke. Waiter/ress says " fünfzehn " (15), I give ten euros and say " stimmt so " ( keep the change!). A reaction of any kind (ie they´re listening and not being robots ) means I give 18-20.

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Or do what I did as a waiter, stash the ten, then act all "Wait, oh I'm so silly, that was a joke", and ask if we could all start again.

 

Them: Can I have the ten back then?

Me: What ten?

 

:ph34r:

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