Tips: I’m Talkin’ Cold Cash / Propinas: Estoy Hablando de Efectivo

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

AFTER LIVING IN Spain for eight years, I find it difficult to readjust to the American style of tipping. The other day, my lunch bill (for me alone) was $23, including tax (which is nearly 9 percent). The standard used to be that you tipped on the subtotal and did not tip on the total including tax. Of course, it also used to be the case that a 15 percent tip was considered good and 20 percent was generous. I gave the waiter $30. He asked if I needed change. Well, yes, I thought, as a matter of fact I do. The service wasn’t unpleasant but neither was it exceptional. As a matter of fact, it was indifferent. And 30 percent — on top of the tax — seemed a bit presumptuous. He returned with my change. A $5-bill and two $1-bills. Not a chance he was getting less than $5 unless I wanted to make an issue of it. I did not. I sure do wish employers were required to pay a living wage.

So, now that The Kid Brother has headed home once again — and I’ve vented — take a walk with me around Downtown Brooklyn on this glorious day.


DESPUÉS DE VIVIR en España durante ocho años, es difícil reajustarme al estilo americano de propinas. El otro día, mi factura de almuerzo (solo para mí) fue de $23, incluidos los impuestos (que es casi el 9 por ciento). El estándar solía ser que usted le daba propina al subtotal y no le daba propina al total, incluidos los impuestos. Por supuesto, también solía darse el caso de que una propina del 15 por ciento se consideraba buena y el 20 por ciento era generosa. Le di al camarero $30. Me preguntó si necesitaba un cambio. Bueno, sí, pensé, de hecho lo hago. El servicio no fue desagradable, pero tampoco fue excepcional. De hecho, fue indiferente. Y el 30 por ciento, además del impuesto, parecía un poco presuntuoso. Regresó con mi cambio. Un billete de $5 y dos billetes de $1. No era una posibilidad que él estuviera recibiendo menos de $5 a menos que quisiera resolverlo. No lo hice. Desearía que los empleadores tuvieran que pagar un salario digno.

Entonces, ahora que El Hermanito se ha ido a casa otra vez, y me he desahogado, camine conmigo por el centro de Brooklyn en este glorioso día.

During breakfast at the hotel. / Durante el desayuno en el hotel.
Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

30 thoughts on “Tips: I’m Talkin’ Cold Cash / Propinas: Estoy Hablando de Efectivo”

    1. Bob:
      You are so right. Today is my last day with the Kid Brother. We’re going to the Brooklyn Museum. He’s been a joy. But I’m so ready to be HOME!

    1. anne marie:
      Since last year, even more construction. Since I lived here, some neighbourhoods are unrecognisable (hip, chic, expensive, lots of new buildings and renovations)… and even more crowded than it used to be (which I never thought possible).

  1. My good friend Preston who reads my blog lives in Brooklyn. It actually a pretty hip place, while Mistress Maddie’s #1 Fan lives in Astoria…another interesting borough. Nothing short of things to do in nyc.

    1. Mistress:
      Brooklyn has changed so much since I lived here. Lots of very cool, hip neighbourhoods and all very expensive. I had an apartment in Midwood that I paid $200 a month for. That same apartment is now a steal at $2,100!

    1. Parsnip:
      Some of the new construction around town is very different. A building in the city looks like a stack of shoe boxes.

  2. When I hear Republicans use the old job creator line, I always think I’m the real part-time employer when I go out to eat. The owner is a lazy bum.

    1. Adam:
      I met a nice woman in a local market/cafe here. She works three jobs to get by. Ridiculous.

  3. Tipping bothers me, as well, for all the reasons you mention. In France, the tip is already figured into the bill, so the consumer doesn’t have a choice, but, the employees are getting paid. It’s just part of the cost, like tax. It’s always a challenge to convince American visitors that they don’t have to leave an additional tip.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I like that French system. Then if service is above and beyond you can chose to be even more generous.

  4. I end up over-tipping every time we go to Europe. Yes a living wage would be good but unfortunately I don’t think that the tipping would go away, in fact, they would expect you to tip as normal and they would just be making a lot more money. Canada is the same as the USA. We rarely eat out here as if you want a liquor beverage you are paying 8-10 just for one and it is very very costly. Even two burgers and fries without drinks usually comes to $25. We ate at a food truck on the long weekend in the park so at a picnic table and had 3 small tacos each with a pop(the tiny size ones) and it came to $28 – with no tip! But in my opinion worth it as they were freaking tasty (craving them right now lol)

    1. Cheapchick:
      I’ve made sure to have small bills and change on hand and have been sticking to 20 percent. They even have tip jars in convenience stores! I just picked this up off a shelf and stood in line to pay. Tell me why I’m tipping you?!? Looking forward to being home!

    1. Kirk:
      The problem was I had no small bills or coins for the tip. Credit card wouldn’t have solved that.

  5. Brooklyn looks so much better in pictures than it does in person! I have a tendency to over tip. We have learned the hard way, to make sure whether the tip is included in the bill or not.

    1. Deedles:
      Honestly, Brooklyn does look this good in places! But, I’ve also been taking pictures of the piles of garbage! When we lived in Seville, most people were shocked if we left a tip and ran after us to tell us we forgot our change. In Fuengirola, with its constant tourists everywhere and heavily British, tips are often expected. But 5 percent is standard. 10 percent is extremely generous. And in our regular places they often try to return our tips to us.

      1. I just realized that it’s been a little more than twenty years since I was there! Wow, the time flies!

      2. Deedles:
        You’re so right about time flying. I met some family at the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday and I realized I hadn’t been there in 30 years! Imagine! You and I were in kindergarten!

    1. Debra:
      In Sevilla, tipping was rarely expected. Often staff would chase after us to tell us we left our change on the table. 5 percent max was what we’d do. Down here, with so many tourists and British, tipping is more common. Still, 5 percent is a very decent tip.

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