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15 / 07 / 2005

TIPPING: meaning and examples

Good morning. We are going to finish our week of restaurant vocabulary by talking about the concept of tipping in different English-speaking cultures. Today's word is: to tip (or to leave a tip for someone; to give a tip to someone) It means: to give a small amount of money to someone for a service in addition to the money that you owe for that service Example 1: You paid for the meal, so I'll leave the tip. Example 2: David was very surprised when the taxi driver told him he hadn't given a big enough tip. Those New York taxi drivers were certainly direct! Example 2 demonstrates an important cultural difference between North America and Europe. In North American restaurants, customers are expected to leave a tip (propina) of between 15% and 20% of the total bill. For other services, such as deliveries, taxis or hairdressers, you are expected to leave a nominal tip. This is because many service jobs are paid minimum wage (sueldo mínimo), so workers depend on the tips to make a decent salary. Europeans are often surprised and consider this amount to be excessive. They are even more surprised when a waiter or a taxi driver tells them that their tip wasn't big enough, as recently happened to a friend of mine in New York! In England, the tips that you leave are not usually as high (around 10% in a restaurant). You are not expected to leave a tip in a pub. Tipping is often a confusing affair and it can lead to many cultural misunderstandings. It's best to ask a native what is appropriate for the situation that you find yourself in. Thanks to Maria Rosa J. for suggesting the topic of restaurant English. We've only looked at a few basic phrases this week, but hopefully we have answered your question, Maria Rosa. If you have any other questions about any of the expressions we've talked about, please don't hesitate to contact us. Have a good day and an excellent weekend!


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