By Dale & Shirley

“Living in Ann Arbor – A Guidebook for International Families” is, as the name suggests,  a guidebook prepared by International Neighbors in the hope that it would be helpful to visitors from all parts of the world during their stay here. It was first published in 1963 and it has been updated several times since then. Recently, the Newsletter Team decided to update the information contained in that guidebook again and bring it to our new members.

Each chapter in “Living in Ann Arbor”, explains a different facet of life in Michigan.

This month, we discuss tipping.

A tip or gratuity is “a small sum of money given as an acknowledgement of services rendered.” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language). In the United States, tipping is customary and expected. A good tip signifies you are satisfied with the service. Nowadays, 20% of the service bill is the standard for tips. Servers feel disappointed when the tip is under 20%. This is because service personnel rely on tips for a substantial portion of their weekly income. Congress in the 1960”s allowed a salary under the minimum wage, if it had the expectation of tips coming in and supplementing the low wage.

Who gets tipped in the United States?  Servers, bartenders, valets, hairstylists, masseuses, even coffee baristas. Here are some helpful tip suggestions to keep in mind while travelling: Airport porters: $ 1 to $ 5 per bag. Coat check rooms: $ 1. Hotel maids: $ 1 to $ 5 per day of stay. Bellhops: $ 1 to $ 5 per bag. Tour drivers: $ 10 per day (per family). Sightseeing tour drivers: $ 1 to $ 5 per person.

Should you tip for take-out food? If you are going to pick up your food at the store, you don’t have to tip. If the take-out order is big or complicated, it would be nice of you to give them a tip. If the food is delivered to your home (and you were not charged a delivery fee), you should tip the driver.

Another suggestion is to leave cash tips, which are always appreciated because they are immediate and direct.  The server does not have to wait days for the credit card to be validated.

My Discussion Group talked about tipping.  In Ecuador, one tips 10% at restaurants, and that is the only place where people tip.  Germany is similar.  In Japan, there is no tipping, and we couldn’t remember about England and New Zealand.  We talked about Uber, where the company takes a percentage of the tip, and Lyft, which gives the entire tip to the driver.  Germany, Ecuador and Japan do not allow Uber and Lyft, though Japan has Uber for delivery purposes.  It seems like Uber Eats is active for delivery in several countries.

Members of my group also agreed that when the bill lists possible amounts for the tip (18%, 20%, 25%), it makes calculating easier and also emphasizes the importance of a larger tip.

For more tips on tipping, check this article:

https://www.rd.com/article/how-much-to-tip/