Tipping is a headache for travelers. It’s hard to know whom to tip and how much to tip, because tipping customs vary from place to place. A Honolulu restaurant is in the news for its practice of adding a 15% service charge onto the bills of non-English speakers. The restaurant defends the policy by explaining that many customers are from other cultures and don’t understand tipping. By putting the tip automatically in the bill, the restaurant is “merely trying to help its customers and wait staff.” It’s easy to see how this will help the wait staff, but it’s not clear to me how it helps the customers. Perhaps the goal is to save them from the embarrassment of having to deal with an unfamiliar custom. I think a better solution would be to add the 15% service charge to everyone’s bill. Then there would be no discrimination against non-English speakers, and no one would need to tip.
Here in small-town Arkansas, tipping isn’t a big deal.The lifestyle doesn’t include taxi drivers, wine stewards, or poker dealers. In fact, there may be almost as much cow tipping around here as any other kind of tipping. Cow tipping is supposedly a prank enjoyed by country youths after they’ve had a few beers. They sneak up on cows that are standing in the fields asleep, and push (or “tip”) them over. I say “supposedly” because cow tipping is just a joke. Cows don’t sleep standing up, and they can’t be tipped.
Since I can’t give you any tips [helpful pointers] on how to tip [push over] a cow, here are some tips [helpful pointers] on tipping [giving a little extra money] for various services.
These tips on tipping can also help you practice using conditionals. For the earlier posts in our series on conditional forms, click here and here. Today we focus on the Present Real Conditional form, which is useful for describing a regular routine:
When I order a latte at my favorite espresso bar, I drop a little money in the tip jar.
It can also be used to describe a principle or general rule.
If a wine steward helps select your wine, give him a 15% to 20% tip.
The Present Real Conditional form uses simple present tense verbs in both parts of the sentence (the condition part and the result part). All the sentences below use the Present Real Conditional form. See if you can fill in the blanks with the correct phrases. These are the choices: a) tip 20% b) when you play poker c) if you pay up with each drink d) tipping is not required e) tip tour guides f) tip a hotel concierge g) when you take a taxi
1. Tip bartenders 15% to 20% if you run a tab. Tip $1 per drink _______________.
2. _______________, tip the driver 10% to 15%.
3. If the driver helps you with heavy bags, _______________.
4. Tip hotel doormen $1 to $2 per bag if they provide assistance. _______________ if the doorman just opens the door.
5. _______________$2 to $5 if he arranges show tickets or restaurant reservations.
6. _______________, tip the dealer with a $5 chip per dealer rotation (usually every half hour). If you win a big pot, tip a bit extra.
7. _______________$1 to $5 per person if you’re touring in a group.
If you want more tipping tips, visit Coupon Sherpa.
[cartoon by James True]
Would you rather pay a tip or an automatic service charge? Why?
The answers are: 1.c 2. g 3. a 4. d 5. f 6. b 7. e