Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tipping is not a city in China....

The sound of forty cents joining the rest of your tips at the bottom of a tumbler glass must truly be the favourite music of all bartenders while at work. It can't be beat by the coolest band or the most charming compliments; tips is our freeway ticket to some extra, tax-free bucks, and the easiest way to get a smile from one of us (though most patrons seem to have missed out on this simple fact), is to leave the bloody change with a confident "Keep the tip". You'll have us walking on sunshine for the rest of the evening.

Tipping remains one of the great puzzles of the hospitality business to me. Some customers are most adorable creatures, who at the end of a lovely conversation and orders for 49 dollars and an odd number of cents will still wait around a good 30 seconds for the 50-dollar note change. Others are cranky and unhappy with their drinks, but still, out of principle it seems, leaves a dollar or so to join the tumbler fun. I shall have to study this cultural phenomenon further; nationality, gender or any other typical classification of people have not been enough to conclude upon any ground rules on the nature of tipping. It is an intricate relationship between individual, finance and custom, and the bartender becomes a beneficiary or a loser depending on the combination of these different and complex factors in each and every different patron. I did make some tips this weekend though, from all kinds of lovely (mostly drunken) people, and can conclude only upon this: thank God it's Sunday night...


  1. You would have received tips from me!

  2. People that have never tipped before, or don't understand tipping as it's not customary in Aus, won't do it because they either don't know how, or don't think they should.
    It's pretty rare that I will tip when I am at home in Aus unless I have received exceptional service or think the bartender looks busy/tired and probably deserves it after a long shift. So I would fit into that category of someone who orders $49 worth of drinks and expects change from that $50 unless I reckon they've earned it.
    Tipping is not customary in Aus as the wages of hospitality staff are among (if not) the highest in the world. So what would otherwise be make up the difference in tips in other countries of the world is made up though taxed dollars. :)

  3. JK: we're always tired! Tip us :p