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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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Don't believe US television
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 05:56 AM   #3
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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, 05:56 AM   #4
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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   #5
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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   #6
Dagless
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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   #7
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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   #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.
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   #9
sk1wbw
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Plus on US television, you don't see all the leaks in the bars. Most drinks here in the US are made in bars with very leaky roofs.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:27 AM   #10
Dagless
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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 29, 2012, 07:58 AM   #11
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Yeah it is pretty commonplace here to pay for all your drinks at the end, of course you have the option of paying each drink separately. I always just hand the bartender my credit card at the beginning of the night and open a tab, he keeps my card behind the counter with him the whole night and gives it back when I'm ready to sign for my bill. Much more convenient in my opinion, I guess it's a cultural thing. Never really gave it much thought. I barely ever use cash so it would be difficult to pay for each drink individually.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 07:59 AM   #12
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Do bartenders get paid $3.25/hr like other servers?
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 08:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by stridemat View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SiPi View Post
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.
If you don't like it, please stay out of the US. You either abide by the customs of the country you visit, or stay home.

When I was in the service industry, I had many unpleasant dealings with British tourists. Almost all of them were unpleasant. However, all of the nice ones were visiting MR folks.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 08:56 AM   #14
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Yeah, the automatic tab surprised me at first but it was more the whole tipping system that annoyed me most. They literally expected me to give a tip and were very surprised (taken aback to be more exact) when I didn't.

I don't tip anybody.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:01 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Caris View Post
But whenever I watch all the US TV, you seem to go to a bar and not pay till you leave.
You can do that in bars here in the UK too, if it's not done automatically… (it usually is when you're at a table) just ask to start a tab, though some might ask for you to place your card behind the bar first.

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I wouldn't even dream of tipping those behind the bar in the UK.
Depends on the establishment. I always do in FREVD's on Shaftesbury Avenue. It's my little haven of heaven with a slice of lime.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:04 AM   #16
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If you don't like it, please stay out of the US. You either abide by the customs of the country you visit, or stay home.

When I was in the service industry, I had many unpleasant dealings with British tourists. Almost all of them were unpleasant. However, all of the nice ones were visiting MR folks.
From what I read in this thread, its doesn't seem to be a custom. It seems that it is more expected from those doing the serving. That, in my opinion, is not right and defeats the purpose of a tip.

If it is expected then why not include in the rates?

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Originally Posted by iGav View Post
Depends on the establishment. I always do in FREVD's on Shaftesbury Avenue. It's my little haven of heaven with a slice of lime.
I can appreciate for certain places, like cocktails bars as mentioned above I must say that bar looks quite nice too!
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:05 AM   #17
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If you don't like it, please stay out of the US. You either abide by the customs of the country you visit, or stay home.

When I was in the service industry, I had many unpleasant dealings with British tourists. Almost all of them were unpleasant. However, all of the nice ones were visiting MR folks.
Would love to stay out of the US... However too many of your home grown companies need my services.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:06 AM   #18
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Yeah, the automatic tab surprised me at first but it was more the whole tipping system that annoyed me most. They literally expected me to give a tip and were very surprised (taken aback to be more exact) when I didn't.

I don't tip anybody.
You are expected to tip in the US. Servers are paid below minimum wage here. You are allowed to tip nothing, but this is a very strong statement of your displeasure with the food and service and an indication that you will never be returning.

This is simply the way things are done here. You're allowed to be annoyed by it, but please try to understand the reasons behind it.


Incidentally, the best tippers are usually people who are/have been in service.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:11 AM   #19
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From what I read in this thread, its doesn't seem to be a custom. It seems that it is more expected from those doing the serving. That, in my opinion, is not right and defeats the purpose of a tip.

If it is expected then why not include in the rates?
Because that's how it works here. One more time- don't like it? Don't visit. Pretty simple. And yes, it IS customary and expected. I think I know my own country- thanks.

Servers and bartenders here do not even make minimum wage. So you not tipping is considered extremely rude.

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Would love to stay out of the US... However too many of your home grown companies need my services.
Then stay out of restaurants and bars.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:15 AM   #20
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If I ever visit the US, tipping will take a bit getting used to.

I usually tip for meals, but a lot of the bars I go to for food, you pay upfront. I avoid tabs when drinking, and just pay for each drink, or do rounds with friends. Easier to keep track of what money is left in my pocket during each round than to get a tab that sky rockets!

I've maybe left a barman 1.50 change from a 20 note on occasion because it was a large round. But generally I would never tip a barman, and I don't see a reason to in the UK, and bar staff certainly don't expect tips (I worked in a bar and tips were well received but very unusual and unexpected).

Of course if I went to the US, I'd do by best to follow the tipping etiquette.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:16 AM   #21
2020mike
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I never open tabs at bars anymore. To many times have bar tenders tried to take advantage of my tab and throw other people's drinks on it. I pay for every drink as it comes. I know not all people/establishments are like this but previous experiences have ruined the tab system for me.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:20 AM   #22
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I never open tabs at bars anymore. To many times have bar tenders tried to take advantage of my tab and throw other people's drinks on it. I pay for every drink as it comes. I know not all people/establishments are like this but previous experiences have ruined the tab system for me.
Are you sure it is the bartender who is screwing you and not an opportunistic individual duping him/her by pretending to be with your party?

Surely there are unscrupulous bartenders out there, but how does it help them to add other people's drinks to your tab (this sounds zero-sum)? Adding non-existant ones would at least make some sense.

My experience has always been the opposite, however. Have a large party at a bar with a big tab? Bartenders often drop a few drinks for being such a good customer. This is particularly true if you're a regular.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:24 AM   #23
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Then stay out of restaurants and bars.
Wow... This is a typical type of negative attitude i receive from staff and servers in the US.

Its no wonder you're paid such a low wage.

If you smile and do your job properly i would consider leaving a tip.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:24 AM   #24
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Because that's how it works here. One more time- don't like it? Don't visit. Pretty simple. And yes, it IS customary and expected. I think I know my own country- thanks.

Servers and bartenders here do not even make minimum wage. So you not tipping is considered extremely rude.



Then stay out of restaurants and bars.
Nowhere in this thread have I said I would not tip if I went to America, I am just trying to gain an understanding as to why it is classed as a 'tip'.

I also do not appreciate being told what I can and can't do. I am voicing my opinion, as are you, and I have refrained from making any personal comments.

I also am conscious that I don't want to take this thread off-topic and PSRI like so will leave it at that.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 09:28 AM   #25
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Nowhere in this thread have I said I would not tip if I went to America, I am just trying to gain an understanding as to why it is classed as a 'tip'.

I also do not appreciate being told what I can and can't do. I am voicing my opinion, as are you, and I have refrained from making any personal comments.

I also am conscious that I don't want to take this thread off-topic and PSRI like so will leave it at that.
I think we can agree that in this circumstance we would not be leaving this user a tip!
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