Tipping and the Camerons
UPDATE: 8th August 2011. It appears David Cameron went back; ordered more drinks and left almost a 100% tip! Why? A photo opportunity? A mis-reporting of the service that he received from Miss Ariani?
When should you tip? How much should you tip? In which countries should you tip? Should you tip at all? All these questions are ones that face most holidaymakers.
Yesterday we had the sight of what the Camerons tipped whilst they were on holiday in Italy. Nothing. He proffered a €50 note for a bill that came to €3.10 and scooped up all of the change leaving no tip at all. The waitress concerned remarked, according to some stories, that she felt he at least should have left the coins however much that might have amounted to.
I disagree. I am on the side of the Camerons. Why? Because tipping is supposed to be a sign of good service or service above the usual. The service they received was definitely not. If the story is to be believed – and it doesn’t ring completely true to my mind – the Camerons and their security people ordered drinks and asked them to be served outside. Get them yourself, they were reportedly told as the waitress, one Francesca Ariani, was busy. If true, then she deserved no tip. But do I believe this story. Facts don’t quite ring true. For example, I can’t think of anywhere I’ve been to in Italy where I could get at least three cups of coffee or whatever for just €3.10
But why should you tip now that staff are paid a minimum wage at least in the UK. Many staff were paid a pitiful sum and tips brought their wages up to a decent total. So shouldn’t tipping be abolished if it has served its purpose? You wouldn’t have thought so from the service charge automatically added by some restaurants. And then they leave a line on their credit card machines for a tip to be added as well!
Abroad its a different matter. In Australia you might round a bill up and leave the loose change. In America 15% is quite often the norm. In Norway it doesn’t seem to be usual and in France, French friends leave only a little. In Spain, Italy and Portugal up to 10% seems normal. But I come back to my original point. Should you tip? And should you feel obligated to tip. If tipping is for good service why shouldn’t the converse by true. Why shouldn’t we reduce the bill by 10% or 15% if the service has been lousy. At least the Camerons didn’t go that far.
On our Twitter location, Sarah Fraser wrote. Tipping in Italy isn’t necessary and is not expected (only in horrid touristy places) : good food & service isn’t optional