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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Very much an American topic this :D

Just watched TF1 news and there was a report on 'tipping in French restaurants/bistros' and other such places.

So are you 'for' or 'against' tipping in France ?

I'm against :)
 

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I don't think it's really a "for" or "against" issue, is it?

In France (and other European countries), the servers are usually paid whatever the local minimum wage is or the prevailing market rate - plus there are the usual social insurances. In the US, workers are paid below the minimum wage "on the assumption" that they will receive tips that will bring them up to and possibly over the minimum wage (which is kind of pathetic in the US anyhow). Their wages are then reported to the tax authorities based on the presumption of a certain level of tips.

Tipping customs here are considerably different from those in the US. One leaves "a little" extra in appreciation of good, or prompt or "exceptional" service - most of the time in cash. (There is a standard for indicating the amount of your tip as part of your credit card payment and receipt in the US.) In Germany, you simply round up to the next even euro, which simplifies the waiter or waitress making change in a country where payment by credit card is still "catching on."

In tourist trap areas, if you're overheard to be speaking English, you're assumed to be a tourist and an "appropriate" tip is more or less expected.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I was discussing this with an elderly neighbour just a couple of days ago. He said definitely no for taxis, hairdressers and restaurants, the exception was in Paris. It was expected there.
Where I am a frequent customer, I do tip a little as I always receive excellent service. If I did not perhaps the service would not be quite as good.
 

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I'm against it, lol. I'm against it in America, too. Only if someone does someting extra remarkable, maybe they could get a little extra. But I understand (in the US) that waiters get paid below minimum wage thus depend on tips, so I always do (at least 20%). But I kind of resent it. I wish they got paid a normal salary and then tipping really would be earned...not guilt-tripped or expected...lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was discussing this with an elderly neighbour just a couple of days ago. He said definitely no for taxis, hairdressers and restaurants, the exception was in Paris. It was expected there.
Where I am a frequent customer, I do tip a little as I always receive excellent service. If I did not perhaps the service would not be quite as good.

I do actually tip my hairdresser but I don't regard as a tip.

My hairdresser is the best hairdresser I have ever had and he is probably the best in the world for men. But he charges 5 euros less for a cut than you would pay in a mainstream salon. So I always pay 1 euro more (he does have a tip plate) and even then I am still having a good deal.

In restaurants it is a no for me.

Thanks Bev for explaining the American system. Blimey, it is a very strange and unfair system.
 

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The 15 percent "service compris" charge usually takes care of that.
That's not nearly as common as it used to be - at least it's not always printed on the menu these days. (Particularly in Paris, where those with vaguely English sounding accents are still "expected" to tip generously - if only out of habit. <g>)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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In the US, workers are paid below the minimum wage "on the assumption" that they will receive tips that will bring them up to and possibly over the minimum wage (which is kind of pathetic in the US anyhow). Their wages are then reported to the tax authorities based on the presumption of a certain level of tips.

What you've described varies with location based on state law. In Oregon and Washington, for example, servers must be paid at least minimum wage (and that is higher in those states than in most states). They then get tips on top of that. California may be the same way, but I'm not certain about its wage law.
 

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What you've described varies with location based on state law. In Oregon and Washington, for example, servers must be paid at least minimum wage (and that is higher in those states than in most states). They then get tips on top of that. California may be the same way, but I'm not certain about its wage law.
Man, I wish they'd run these things by me before they change them like that! :lol: Though it does seem to be mostly the western states doing that. Still, it explains why tipping is a bit more firmly ingrained on the American psyche than it is here in Europe.

But I do know that the IRS still requires restauranteurs to "gross up" reported wages for "assumed" tips - which I always felt was kind of unfair. Then again, here in Europe, just about everyone who works is paying into and covered by the local social insurance scheme.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I've never worked in food service, but yes, my understanding is the same as yours with respect to tax matters on tipped employees.
 

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I tip, except in instances of poor service. I know lots of French people who tip. But I suspect that it's the better off that don't.
 

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I tip, except in instances of poor service. I know lots of French people who tip. But I suspect that it's the better off that don't.
My hairdresser tells me that the only ones who tip her are the better off Brits. I tip waiters, hairdresser, beautician and taxis. Plumbers, sweep and electrician I give a bottle of white and a bottle of red as well as pay the bill.At Christmas the post lady, firemen and usual courier I give 50€ each. In return I always get a reservation, appointment and the plumber here in 2 minutes.
 

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My hairdresser tells me that the only ones who tip her are the better off Brits. I tip waiters, hairdresser, beautician and taxis. Plumbers, sweep and electrician I give a bottle of white and a bottle of red as well as pay the bill.At Christmas the post lady, firemen and usual courier I give 50€ each. In return I always get a reservation, appointment and the plumber here in 2 minutes.
Well, we move in different circles in different places. I have lots of French friends and family here who are far from comfortably off and tip. I give to the post lady, fireman (but less than you do) and our part-time caretaker and his wife (not that he's impressive by any means and he's certainly not someone who you could pay to come in to do a minor brico - but he's not paid much, is friendly enough and his Indian wife cleans also cleans the common areas in my building - she does a good job and is a very pleasant person). My hairdresser is brilliant and I wouldn't dream of not tipping her.
 

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Well, we move in different circles in different places. I have lots of French friends and family here who are far from comfortably off and tip. I give to the post lady, fireman (but less than you do) and our part-time caretaker and his wife (not that he's impressive by any means and he's certainly not someone who you could pay to come in to do a minor brico - but he's not paid much, is friendly enough and his Indian wife cleans also cleans the common areas in my building - she does a good job and is a very pleasant person). My hairdresser is brilliant and I wouldn't dream of not tipping her.
Just because someone has worked very hard to earn enough to live comfortably, does not mean they are mean or bad. More about how you are brought up.

One of the areas of life I find so much better in France, is you are judged by your behaviour towards others and not by your wealth.
 

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Just because someone has worked very hard to earn enough to live comfortably, does not mean they are mean or bad. More about how you are brought up.

One of the areas of life I find so much better in France, is you are judged by your behaviour towards others and not by your wealth.
I didn't mean that, and I agree that it is (at least for many) all about how you are raised. The French, in my experience, don't talk much about wealth or what they have - except perhaps when they talk politics - but most would acknowledge that there are many 'wealthy' French people on the political left (including J-LM).
 

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I tip, except in instances of poor service. I know lots of French people who tip. But I suspect that it's the better off that don't.
Interesting. I reflect back on a lunch I had with my co-workers shortly after transferring to France. For some reason, the topic of tipping food servers came up. The only person who said she never tipped was a young employee who came from an obviously privileged background, with wealthy parents and a good education (though a less than stellar work ethic).

The others at the table (except for me, I kept silent and just listened) were aghast that she didn't tip. Not surprisingly, they came from economic backgrounds more similar to the servers who brought our food and drink than from the more privileged background of my young co-worker.

Regarding later comments that mention tipping a fireman. What do you mean by "fireman?" Do you routinely have fires such that the emergency workers (sapeurs pompiers) pay you a visit often enough to be on a familiar basis? That sounds strange.

Or does "fireman" mean something different than it does in my experience (coming from the U.S.)?
 

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Aloysius wrote : Or does "fireman" mean something different than it does in my experience (coming from the U.S.)?

Yes fireman means a member of the fire service ... but tipping them means buying their calendar when they come knocking or ringing at your door usually in December. It helps towards the volunteer firefighters ... both male and female.
Perhaps you don't have this practice where you live in southern Bourgogne but it is alive and kicking in southern Brittany.

Sue
 

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Sue got in there before I did, but yes, I'm assuming what EH meant was the annual "sale" of calendars. Exactly who comes around at the holidays varies a bit by location, but "buying a calendar" does come back to the original meaning of the word "tip" - to insure promptness.

The other thing to remember about tipping in France, though, is that when done, it is at a level much less than in the US. I've been hearing folks over there say that these days 20% is considered a MINIMUM tip. Used to be the guidelines were 15 - 20%, with 20% only for impeccable service.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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And the calendars are less than ordinary :D
Yeah, but they are required to be "selling" you something so that they can't be accused of shaking folks down for money. OTOH, even without the beefcake, the firemen's calendars are pretty cool (at least around here) because they use pictures from their local interventions - usually including some awe inspiring removals of wasp nests or other hazards.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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