While I am not big on fast food, one thing I really do enjoy is eating out at any of the billion squillion restaurants and cafes on offer in The Sac.
The variety is far superior to that of my home town (Chinese takeaway, café, café, café, café, fancypants hoity toity food) and some of the hybrid establishments make me excited just to walk past them.
I mean Mexican sushi burritos at Wrap and Roll.
What a world we live in.
Sadly, this has led to two major issues in my life, both which leave me sad and confused.
Issue the first is that I’m even chubbier than I was when I arrived here. I eat nothing but rabbit food and freaking low fat yoghurt all the work week and lose a few kilo…pounds (I will never get used to this silly imperial system but that is a whole other blog) and then Friday comes and it’s all red velvet waffles and fried chicken, takoyaki with ramen, delectable desserts from diners and by Monday, somebody needs to call Greenpeace to roll me back into the sea.
My second problem is with tipping.
We don’t tip in Oz.
Not because we’re stingy or mean, but our minimum wage is appropriately stationed so service staff don’t require it. On top of this minimum of $17.29 per hour we also get 4 weeks paid annual leave a year and employees have to pay into our retirement fund every week.
We’re awesome like that.
But here, wait staff can be paid all of $2 and change per hour and so I completely get we need to tip, or they aren’t going to make enough to even cover taxes. I also get that’s probably why you peeps still have $1 notes, because giving someone a $1 coin would be a little difficult.
THE RULES THOUGH! It’s like I need to take a remedial course in tipping, because it’s well complicated. So here’s what I have learned. Feel free to comment if I am forgetting something or just plain out getting it wrong.
Who do you tip?
Servers. Wait staff. Any hospitality folk really…. Ok, this all makes sense.
But WAIT. About a month in, I find out you’re also supposed to tip your beauty service providers too. I was utterly unaware you were meant to gratuitise(totally just made that word up) hairdressers and the kind lady who tames your eyebrows every fortnight. Although, she probably deserves it the most.
What do you tip?
Money. Don’t tip with heartfelt platitudes or gift cards to religious merchandise stores.
Yes, yes, I’m terribly funny, I know.
As far as I can ascertain, it’s between 15-20% of your bill, regardless if the service sucked. I mean seriously, even if they get your order wrong, spill wine on your suede shoes and play ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ non-stop on the jukebox, you tip 15-20% or you are considered a GIANT DICK.
Really good service warrants more. I have tipped 40% or more on very large bills when wait staff have been awesomely attentive and charming or actually listened and been pro-active about my food allergies.
How do you tip?
This one still trips me up. If you’re at a bar, you just leave the extra dollar bills on the bar and then rap your knuckles on the wood. I kid you not. First time I did it, I felt like I was expected to follow it up with a knock-knock joke.
If you are paying by card, after it is run, THEN you add it onto the bottom of the slip. This is a pain when you check your bank balance, it freaking well alters a few days later. So you can pay the tip in cash, but make sure you write CASH in the tip section of the slip or they’ll think you’re a Grinch and spit in your food next time you’re there.
Thus endeth the lesson on tipping if you’re a foreigner. Please note, some of this might be wrong. And if it is, I’ve probably ingested a whole lot of phlegm from irritated service staff.