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Old Dec 29, 2012, 04:38 AM   #1
Caris
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Americans, something has been bugging me.

In England, when you go to a pub or bar and buy a drink you do just that. You ask for a drink, like a bottle of larger or a shot of vodka, they say how much it is and you pay. If you want another you repeat the process.

But whenever I watch all the US TV, you seem to go to a bar and not pay till you leave. If I'm not clear, you can ask for a whiskey, drink it and get another. Chill for a little then pay at the end for everything you've drank.

Can someone clear this up? It's something I've never understood and I've meant to ask for years, am I picking it up wrong? How does it work?
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:42 AM   #2
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:56 AM   #3
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Sure, it's very common to not pay after each drink. Sometimes the bartender will ask if you want to start a tab, sometimes it's just assumed. Nothing odd about it.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:10 AM   #4
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You always have to tip for every drink in the US as well

Becomes a joke after a while
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:17 AM   #5
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I've only been to a bar once in the US, and that was for an after show party kind of thing. It was completely unplanned but we were still accommodated for. They set up an automatic tab for us, I guess it's just easier that way.

And they added a 20% (I think?) mandatory tip because we had a party of more than 6 people.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:18 AM   #6
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I've only been to a bar once in the US, and that was for an after show party kind of thing. It was completely unplanned but we were still accommodated for. They set up an automatic tab for us, I guess it's just easier that way.

And they added a 20% (I think?) mandatory tip because we had a party of more than 6 people.
I wouldn't even dream of tipping those behind the bar in the UK. Serving food I can see why, but drink only seems inappropriate to me.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:24 AM   #7
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I wouldn't even dream of tipping those behind the bar in the UK. Serving food I can see why, but drink only seems inappropriate to me.
Completely agree... Annoying you have to tip for everything in the US, especially when quite often those serving are rude and offer such poor service.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:27 AM   #8
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I wouldn't even dream of tipping those behind the bar in the UK. Serving food I can see why, but drink only seems inappropriate to me.
Food needs to be prepared. Tipping for cocktails, yeah I can see that being an optional thing (I've seen some lazily made cocktails in my time). But tipping someone to open a fridge door, open the bottle and hand it to you is just daft.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 07:48 AM   #9
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I wouldn't even dream of tipping those behind the bar in the UK. Serving food I can see why, but drink only seems inappropriate to me.
My personal standard is that I don't tip when someone hands me food across a counter, although there is a tip jar usually sitting there. For this case, I am thinking of fast food. The sad fact is that some/most/all restaurant employers in the U.S. have turned tips in their minds into compensation and use it to justify playing very low wages, although it is optional if the customer tips or not.

As far as running a tab, I don't often drink in bars, but when I do, most of the time I have been expected to pay for each drink as I receive it. I suppose if I was a regular, running a tab would be allowed. And I leave a tip when I'm about to leave. I would think it would be a nightmare for a waitress/er to keep track of everyone's tab and make sure they don't skip out.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 10:27 PM   #10
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And they added a 20% (I think?) mandatory tip because we had a party of more than 6 people.
Yes, 20% tip is usually expected now if a party of 6 or more. Otherwise, 15% tip is usual in the States.

ALSO... tipping is usually not expected if you patronize a self-service restaurant, where the first thing you do is to order your food at the counter, pay the cashier in advance, and then when your food is ready, you walk up to the Pick-Up counter and fetch your food yourself.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:56 AM   #11
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Paying for each drink individually is always an option every place I've been to. A lot of people like to choose running a tab so they aren't dealing with paying each time a drink comes. I also think some people do this as they will give less of a tip when paying a tab compared to tipping for each drink.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:50 AM   #12
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Can someone clear this up? It's something I've never understood and I've meant to ask for years, am I picking it up wrong? How does it work?
We do this in australia sometimes too.

It's called a bar tab. Depends on the relationship you have with the bar, if you don't have one you'll need to give credit card as collateral before starting.


edit:
If you want crappy service, come to Australia. We don't have a tips culture (people get paid properly instead), and as a result, staff don't give a crap about service. If we did have a tips culture here, i sure as hell wouldn't be leaving any with the current standard here.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:50 AM   #13
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Usually when bartenders take off drinks off the tab that amount goes directly back to them as a tip from me. Figured I was going to pay the amount for the drink anyway....
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 08:16 PM   #14
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I don't tip for poor service. Make a distinction for food and service, but you don't get a tip from me just because you came to work.

I owned a restaurant and taught my staff how to make very good money on tips by providing outstanding service. It's not that difficult a concept to grasp.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 12:23 PM   #15
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I always pay when I leave. But typically that means opening a tab. In a bar, the bartender holds on to your credit card till you are set to leave.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 01:00 PM   #16
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The paying customer already pays 100% of the wage, so whether its in the price of good or services or as an added "tip" makes no difference to the customer...
One of the differences between Canadians and Americans is that Canadians are not known for being good tippers (Quebec may be the exception). Except when we are in US.... we seem to know that the servers there are underpaid. Which leads to the irony of Canadians who complain about how much cheaper it is to eat in the US vs Canada, but then leave a tip that makes their US meal - once the tips are considered - the same price as a Canadian meal. The only real difference is whether the cost of the meal is listed on the bill or not.

------

I am totally against paying less than minimum wage, and expecting customers to "tip" just because the restaurant/bar owner can get away with pay less. We (the customers) are subsidizing the restaurant owners. They should have to pay the same business expenses as everyone else.

What is also being lost in the discussion about whether tipped servers need to be paid minimum wages or not what happens to those people who work in a less than successful restaurant, or are assigned the slow shift? With a proper minimum wage the those people can still make a living. If they can't make a living working there, then they go on welfare and/or top up at the food-bank and other social agencies.

This is another example of us subsidizing business owners.... our taxes are paying to support workers who aren't being paid by their employer. How is that fair.

--------

And finally.... At least in Vancouver many establishments take a cut of the server's tips. They aren't supposed to, but they do. They take a portion to pool it and then divide it up amongst the non-tipped staff in the back... but of course not all of it gets divvied up to them. It's a cash business, so how do you track it? So once again we (the customers) are subsidizing the business owners at the expense of the staff.

It would be much better, imho, to re-emphasize that tipping is discretionary - and should be reserved to either reward exceptional service, or to be given at the beginning of the meal to ensure exceptional service. And then to make sure the employers pay their fair share and not give them the lower minimum wage loophole.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 03:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by snberk103 View Post
One of the differences between Canadians and Americans is that Canadians are not known for being good tippers (Quebec may be the exception). Except when we are in US.... we seem to know that the servers there are underpaid. Which leads to the irony of Canadians who complain about how much cheaper it is to eat in the US vs Canada, but then leave a tip that makes their US meal - once the tips are considered - the same price as a Canadian meal. The only real difference is whether the cost of the meal is listed on the bill or not.

------

I am totally against paying less than minimum wage, and expecting customers to "tip" just because the restaurant/bar owner can get away with pay less. We (the customers) are subsidizing the restaurant owners. They should have to pay the same business expenses as everyone else.

What is also being lost in the discussion about whether tipped servers need to be paid minimum wages or not what happens to those people who work in a less than successful restaurant, or are assigned the slow shift? With a proper minimum wage the those people can still make a living. If they can't make a living working there, then they go on welfare and/or top up at the food-bank and other social agencies.

This is another example of us subsidizing business owners.... our taxes are paying to support workers who aren't being paid by their employer. How is that fair.

--------

And finally.... At least in Vancouver many establishments take a cut of the server's tips. They aren't supposed to, but they do. They take a portion to pool it and then divide it up amongst the non-tipped staff in the back... but of course not all of it gets divvied up to them. It's a cash business, so how do you track it? So once again we (the customers) are subsidizing the business owners at the expense of the staff.

It would be much better, imho, to re-emphasize that tipping is discretionary - and should be reserved to either reward exceptional service, or to be given at the beginning of the meal to ensure exceptional service. And then to make sure the employers pay their fair share and not give them the lower minimum wage loophole.
Not sure about the tipping customs in the rest of Canada, but in Québec, 15% seems to be the standard. However, the minimum wage for a tipped job is 8.55$/hr. I think this works for those not working in busy places but the tipping culture makes being a serveur/bartender such a sought after jobs. I personally know bartenders doing 100k$/yr virtually untaxed (would be taxed about 50% in Quebec) working 2-3 nights a week. Sure the bar is insanely busy and they stop working at say 4-5am but they make 2-3 times what a qualified nurse on the night shift does. But then again the average serveur makes a much more modest pay yet probably works just as hard, you end up tipping them as much for the full lunch service what you would tip for 1-2 beers...

Bottom line, I like the idea that you can how your appreciation with a tip but then again, I rarely get very bad service or outstanding service. I actually care way more about food than service. But that might be due to the fact that the serveur has a incentive to do a good job. But in very popular bars I find it creates a very weird situation where everyone wants the bartender's job, you know full well that he's making an absurd amount of money yet you still tip him because you want service the next time you show up.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 06:09 PM   #18
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One of the differences between Canadians and Americans is that Canadians are not known for being good tippers (Quebec may be the exception).
I've never such a thing. So yes, Quebec may be the exception (we are in almost every area after all...). Here we tip 15% minimum if not more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snberk103 View Post
I am totally against paying less than minimum wage, and expecting customers to "tip" just because the restaurant/bar owner can get away with pay less. We (the customers) are subsidizing the restaurant owners. They should have to pay the same business expenses as everyone else.
Again, maybe you're not understanding how businesses work, but paying part of the salary as a tip or as an added cost on your meal/drink makes no difference to the customer.

I already explained the rational for having a lower minimum wage for tipped employees, you didn't read the rest of my post if seems since you're just making the same arguments I've already answered.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 06:54 PM   #19
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I've never such a thing. So yes, Quebec may be the exception (we are in almost every area after all...). Here we tip 15% minimum if not more.
Yep. Not surprised. Quebec is often a bit more enlightened than the ROC. Here the standard is 10% to 12%....
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Again, maybe you're not understanding how businesses work, but paying part of the salary as a tip or as an added cost on your meal/drink makes no difference to the customer.
Having been in business for over 20 years, I do kinda know. Yes, I get that to the customer it may initially appear to be the same... but it also serves to subsidize the profits of the business owner. When times are slow he can put extra staff on because it doesn't really cost him anything... and if there are no customers his costs are minimal... And what does he care if his staff are making no money.... So instead of spending time with their families, his staff because staring at a wall. And if they complain that their time is being wasted they risk that they will never be scheduled for a good tipping shift.

Because minimum wages for tipped employees are lower, so are their government deductions for some programs... so they don't earn the same pension benefits, for instance.
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I already explained the rational for having a lower minimum wage for tipped employees, you didn't read the rest of my post if seems since you're just making the same arguments I've already answered.
And you must have missed the part where I argued that we need to de-emphasize tipping so that we aren't tipping as much. And transfer the cost of the paying the wages back to the business owner.

As a whole, it may seem that the money evens out... but in actual fact there are winners and there are losers. Sometimes they are rewarded (or not) based on their abilities. Often though it is simply the luck of the shift, or the location, or whether the customers are in a good mood. When a tipped employee gets a good shift, they underpay their taxes (because RevCan assumes only 12%). So society subsidizes their lost tax income. And when they lose, they pay more taxes than they should - because RevCan assumes 12%. And if they lose out on good shifts a lot society subsidizes them with food banks and other social services. And the only person not paying their fair share ... is the business owner.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 07:35 PM   #20
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The thing that drives me crazy about tipping (or whatever you want to call it) is the variation in customary practice. I'm often at a loss to know what to do when I travel outside the U.S., because what's "expected" varies so greatly. I suspect that I've "over-tipped" on trips to Europe and the U.K., but don't know whether the workers thought I was nice, stupid, or both.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 07:44 PM   #21
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Because minimum wages for tipped employees are lower, so are their government deductions for some programs... so they don't earn the same pension benefits, for instance.
Not in Quebec. Again, here tips are part of revenue and thus subject to income taxes. It makes absolutely no difference to business owners, as paying a guy 8.55$ or 10.05$ isn't that big of a difference (he can't just "get more staff for free" like you claimed) and the employees that aren't tipped don't pay more than those that are since the tips are subject to the same taxation.

All points I've addressed.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 09:54 AM   #22
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I've never such a thing. So yes, Quebec may be the exception (we are in almost every area after all...). Here we tip 15% minimum if not more.
I've never heard the same about other parts of Canada either. Actually I'm used to paying 20% here in Ontario (and all other parts of Canada when I visit) as general guideline.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 07:47 PM   #23
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In England, when you go to a pub or bar and buy a drink you do just that. You ask for a drink, like a bottle of larger or a shot of vodka, they say how much it is and you pay. If you want another you repeat the process.

But whenever I watch all the US TV, you seem to go to a bar and not pay till you leave. If I'm not clear, you can ask for a whiskey, drink it and get another. Chill for a little then pay at the end for everything you've drank.

Can someone clear this up? It's something I've never understood and I've meant to ask for years, am I picking it up wrong? How does it work?
In addition to the real life reasons people have mentioned, TV compresses time and eliminates things that don't advance the plot. People show up at people's homes without ever calling to see that they're home, let alone being invited.

Unless there's a plot-related reason to show someone paying for things, they usually don't. And that applies to UK TV as well.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 10:45 AM   #24
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What is the point in a minimum wage if people get paid under it? Bit ridiculous if you ask me. As is not including the tip in the price in the first place. Just as well I'm not going back. I don't want to get shot.
You don't want to get shot? That's a horribly narrow-minded way of looking at America. I'm sure I could come to your country and risk being shot as well. It's disgusting that you would even think that way.

Tips to me are a way of life. I am American born and raised. California wait/bar staff earn minimum wage, not below. I want to say Washington does as well but I don't recall. Regardless of base pay I have a sliding scale for tipping. 10% if you absolutely ****ed up. Whether you were rude, just ignored me, or anything else that could have been avoided. 15% if you did the bare minimum. That is if you took my order, brought me a drink and food, and then the check. 20% + for anything more. Bar staff gets the same regardless. I'm a very nice person and often wind up talking to staff; I will always do well by them. I rarely, if ever, find myself giving less than 20%. To me it is not as though I feel like I'm required, I simply feel as though these folks do rely on tips and I absorb the cost to tip in the cost of a meal as far as I'm concerned.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 06:16 AM   #25
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Can someone clear this up? It's something I've never understood and I've meant to ask for years, am I picking it up wrong? How does it work?
Quite Simply -
1. The Bar knows you well. Pay when you leave.
I never have to ask - Walk in - It's served before I get coat off.

2. Busy Upper End Pubs usually ask for CC in advance - your good to Go.

3. How You Tip in the end makes a huge difference.
Walk in a month later - your drink served w/o asking - They get tipped well.

I know what you mean - it's typical in Europe to pay as you go.
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