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February 26, 2010

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Judith

Oh, Mini is too cute! In the first shot she looks like she's saying "How can you work with ME here? Look deep into my eyyyyes..."

About tipping - I'm from America where it can go to the other extreme with people overtipping (though I'm sure the waiters and waitresses don't mind), and at restaurants here my (Swedish) husband usually ends up rolling his eyes at me leaving a bigger tip than he wants to. Then again, I've met much resistance in my life for having absolutely no problem leaving NO tip for a waiter/waitress who's been rude. I figure that's the whole point of tipping.

And tell Wille I have to brag a little: I've been to the new Starbucks here! I got to go to a little pre-opening party because my daughter works there :)

Maine

hej tjejen! hittade din blogg förra veckan och ville bara säga att jag gillar den massor! kul läsning och åh, så fina bilder! ha en skön helg! :-)

Maggie

Here in Oz we never tip. When I've had to I hate it, is it too much, too little, uncomfortable, uncomfortable, uncomfortable, I suppose because I never have to I'm not good at it and I don't generally like to do things I'm not good at.

Leena

When I was a in high school I used to work on a kebab restaurant. Only one time I got a tip, it was not much, but my first thought was that the customer had forgot his money :) That is how common it is here in Finland to tip :)

Karin

I also find it really embarrasing to tip at hotels! probably because I'm never prepared. Never have the right amount in cash ready to be snuck into someones hand as discreetly as you're supposed to do it.. So whenever I try it just feels stupid.

Erika

I have the exact same Starbucks mug! I found it on our trip to the US last summer and just had to have it. I'm addicted to ice tea in the warmer months and I love that it's insulated, no more slippery outsides. :)

About tipping, I'm terrible at it. In restaurants it's fine, since we do that in Sweden as well it isn't such a huge difference...but everywhere else it's just confusing. Me and my husband will be living part time in the states over the next year or so and there are two things I feel will be kind of a struggle - learning how to tip correctly and cooking/baking on a gas range. :)

N.

Benita, -
Long time reader but first time poster, first off, thank you for your marvelous blog.

In regards to tipping, France (Paris) seems to be pretty much the same deal as Sweden: restaurants, taxis and hairdresser sometimes (but definitely not as generalized). Furthermore, it really only is that little extra pocket money (called pourboire in French, or "for drinking") as service is always included and it isn't the waiter/tress's main source of income.
You can also leave a few cents on the table when you've had an expresso at a café, but that's out of tradition I suppose, because a kind garçon de café in Paris is like dividing by zero, it's just not natural.

Gracia

My fiancé and I are going to NYC on our honeymoon and I'm already stressing over the whole tipping thing. How much? To whom? When?

brandy

First, I need to say how much i love your new haircut! You look like an amazing mix of Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann in 'Persona' to me. I have the screenplay/book on my nightstand. Here's a quick visual reminder for readers
http://www.amazon.com/Persona-Bibi-Andersson/dp/B0000YEEHG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1267175082&sr=8-1

Anyhow, since you asked... my husband and i have worked for tips for over a decade in the states, through college and beyond. He's now a teacher and has a part-time waiter gig to finance our house restoration. I am the labor end of our house fixing, and also work in a restaurant.

In Texas, waiters are paid a flat $2.13 per hour, plus tips, and are forced (if they work for a major corporation) to claim at least %15 of their sales as income, even if they weren't tipped %15, and lately you're not. Complain about it, you won't get scheduled anymore. I'm curious as to what the base waiter wage is across the pond, and what is considered a good tip? Percent wise.

We are chronic over tippers, as firm believers in tip karma. So i have no real advice other than tip and tip often ;) But would like to add that my husband insists on leaving a note with the tip that says 'for housekeeping' as he worked for the Hilton chain once and was privy to the many ways tips were stolen from the maids :(

Robyn

Lovely pics as always!

Tipping in South Africa is the norm, as every little helps for those unfortunate to be earning only the minimum wage.

We don't really tip in the UK.

We are moving to Oz in a few months so Maggie has answered another question for me. Thanks!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Uncomfortable is exactly how I feel abut it too!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Wow, sound like a wonderful honeymoon!

I found this tipping etiquette guide which may help you http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g191-s606/United-States:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Check difference in tipping USA vs Sweden!

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g191-s606/United-States:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g189806-s606/Sweden:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

Oh, and thanks so much for the compliment on my do. I sure don't mind the comparison to Bibi and Liv :).

Sara

I'm so glad that Wille likes his Starbucks cup! It's such a small thank you for sharing his Miracle Girl Mom with me. Can't tell you how much of an inspiration you've been.

Graciela

Hi!
Here in Spain isn't the norm, the tips are unusual but lately is changing a little bit but just a little, and maybe you let some coins for the waiter but I never know how much have I to give, is that to much or I'm beeing miser? Best wishes from Spain

Joana

I was curious and found the same article (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g189100-s606/Portugal:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html) regarding Portugal. I totally desagree with what it says (who writes these things!!??). Tipping in Portugal is costumary in restaurants and taxis, only (sometimes not the hairdresser but the person that does your nails, etc), but is never, ever, a percentage of the bill. You just round it up. Say, if the bill is 23,45 euros, you pay 25. And if you pay the exact amount with your card you just leave your extra change in the table (never over 1 euro). And the service IS included, of course it is. You just tip extra if the person really went out of their way to please you. Or if you're a US tourist, of course.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Strange, the one for Sweden seems accurate and the one for US too...

Morfydd

The TripAdvisor page is about right for Germany, it looks like. However, when I moved here from the US my "cultural acclimatization" class from work told me explicitly not to tip. So I didn't, until my coworker asked me why I was stiffing the waiter. Sigh.

Now I probably overtip, especially if I've had a drink I tend to tip US-style rather than do the mental dance of "round up, and then maybe add a euro as it's almost ten euros, and then how good has the service been, and..." And the same coworker asks me why I tip so much. Sigh.

OTOH, after being rebuked by my coworker I explicitly asked my hairdresser about tips. In the US, you tip *unless* s/he owns the stop, then you don't. My salon here is family-owned, but their interns wash my hair, etc., so...? She was offended and pointed out that she paid everyone a living wage and they didn't need tips. Sigh.

Leslie

Photo #1--Mini was toying with the mouse.
Photo #4--Bonus is advising Mini to look for better things in Wille's bookcase.
Photo #6--It's a wonder Wille has anything left on his shelves!! I'm surprised that Ms. Liberty didn't tumble torchfirst to the floor, or the little ducky in the next cube didn't take a nosedive (or rather, a billdive) :)
Photo #7--A certain someone had better get busy.....

jessica

I sincerely believe that your cats are the Swedish version of mine. Bonus looks exactly like my Socks, right down to her half mustache. Mini has the same colors as my Zelda, who also likes to help me work and to explore high places. They also very often disagree, which leads to very early morning and late night chasing matches around the house and usually ends in wrestling matches. It's a rare moment when they get along!

Franziska

:) I know the asking for help thing... I'm looking forward to reading whether it really will take place.

kuk

Love the photos, as always.

I think the UK used to be pretty tight with tipping, but it's becoming more like the US in that sense now, though we do have a minimum wage law so you always feel a bit assured that people are getting a decent wage to start with, unlike the US.

I always find service in cafes, restaurants, bars etc when I visit the US far superior to the UK, and I don't know if this is because of the tipping culture or just because Americans are nicer :) An old Canadian friend of mine summed up the UK service culture perfectly, I think: Brits feel guilty to be served, and hate to serve others. I think that's so true (I worked in retail for a long time so I do have some experience of this!).

Service is usually included in the bill (at around 10%) but if we've had excellent service we always add another 5-10% and try and make sure our waiter/watress gets it directly. My husband is slightly more 'conservative' (!) on this topic though ;)

Kari

Tipping--hate it as an issue. I think that Europeans are so much more sensible--pay a living wage for the services and round up the bill as the tip. It just doesn't make sense that servers are paid so little to start in the US; the system is just terrible.

Michelle of Montreal

Tipping practices don't just vary from country to country, but even from city to city. My family lives in Toronto, and when they visit me in Montreal, I have to tell them to tip more and more often. Just about everyone expects a tip here, not just restaurants and taxis -- the person who washes your hair at the hairdresser (if it's different from the person who actually cuts your hair), the barrista at the coffee shop, etc.

Karrie

Who knew tipping was so different from country to country?! This is very interesting! I'm from the US and have to chime in to say don't forget about delivery drivers. In college, I delivered pizzas and tips are very much appreciated. It differs from each establishment on how the drivers are paid but usually they are reimbursed for a portion of their mileage but you don't earn extra for the wear and tear of your car (I was paid min. wage, plus a commission (for mileage) plus tips). When you add on the extra car maintenance required for the job, my pay was not that good. But most people in the US are servers or delivery drivers because of the most common working hours are night time and weekends (so as a student, it didn't conflict with my school schedule).

Messy

I'm Dutch. We are like the Swedes, I suppose. Everybody here gets paid properly (or is supposed to), and tips are just extra for really good service, and only in restaurants and the like. I hardly even tip in taxis, but it's not uncommon.

Messy

Oh, and the pizza guy!

Mia

Lovely, lovely pictures again! I am waiting a new camera to arrive (not a EOS after all, I opted for Powershot SX1 IS for easiness) and cannot wait to try your tips for taking photos. And your haircut! Looks fab - have I missed the post showing it off "officially"? Please do if you haven´t already :)

Have a wonderful weekend and kisses to Mini&Bonus, they´re true stars!

Yours,
Mia

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Oh, I so agree with you that service in the States is superior to what we are used to!

I'm always amazed when I go to the US that shop staff is so friendly and chatty. And it seems they genuinly care about you as a customer. I left both Crate and Barrel and Sephora with a huge smile on my face last time I visited.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Ok, not that I order pizzas to my hotel room when I go to the States but now I know I need to bring more cash next time I go. I think I've neglected some deserving poople in the past!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

They are, they are! There's a little symphony going on right now because Martin and Wille are making fish soup with shrimp :)

I can't remember if I showed the new do "officially" but it's been my avatar for a while. It's time to get it cut again on Thursday so maybe I'll show the new and improved version after that...

Vicki K

Wille is a very lucky guy (for more than one reason, but here's another...) getting that SB cup. Last summer particularly they were scarce and would vanish from stores as soon as an order came in. I heard that in NYC you stood a likely chance of getting mugged for your insulated cup if you were so brazen as to walk down the street with one in front of all the others who didn't have one. (This has to be hyperbole.)

Seems like we tip for everything in the US - baggage handlers, pizza deliverers, hairdressers, waitstaff, housekeepers, baristas. When it comes to restaurants we tip a minimum of 15% but if we get great service we will tip 20% or more. My husband particularly notices whether they are friendly from the beginning or pour on the warmth at the end just before the tip is paid.

It has been several years ago, but I once read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the skycaps at the airport (who take your luggage at drop off and check it through for you) making $70,000+ per year in tips alone!

Michelle

I love your Mimi. She reminds me of my sweet

Michelle

oops, the link didn't come through...My sweet Simone. http://www.flickr.com/photos/partfilipino/278664541/in/set-983812/

Sarah Sarniak

Your cats always crack me up. :)

Renae

...no tipping culture for Australians either I'm afraid, except at restaurants where you can or not leave a bit...when I'm o/s the whole tipping thing always makes me really anxious, I've never know if I've left enough or they think I'm a big scab. Oh, and another thing I always get really anxious when the porter comes to drop off my bags or room service, or anyone who comes to my room - how much and at what point do I tip? I'll check these links out.

sadie

Your kitties are so adorable!

I agree that tipping can be uncomfortable! One way I get over that is by leaving a nice note; I figure that way they will know my heart was in the right place even if I figured the amount wrong. It's also fun to keep some dollar coins (these are rarely used in the US) to tip with.

It is customary to tip a delivery driver for food (especially if you live far away or the weather is bad), but nobody (that I know of) tips the UPS man. I've seen websites that advised tipping maintenance men, plumbers, air conditioner installers, etc, but this is unheard of in the rural Midwest. I think it may be different in larger cities; out here plumbers are considered highly paid professionals and to tip them would seem ridiculous. I do tip the pet sitter (and leave her cookies). I want to make sure she spoils my kitties rotten while I'm gone. :)

jja

Thank you for awsome cats photos! :-))My cats also like to explore, some of my decoration is already explored to the bitter end :-))
I always tip or let's say 90% of time, if I am very dissatisfied with the service I don't tip. Usually I give 10 or 15% of the total amount, for Germany it is o.k., since Germany are really are savy with their money.I tip hotel stuff, hair dresser, at day spa, restaurant, taxi. I usually point very quiet to the service stuff why there is no tip this time and next time if everything is o.k I tip there again. So, in Germany people usually tip and tripadvisor made good article about it.

NancyV908

Sorry, coming late to the blog today so I didn't have time to read the comments. But I did want to say that I think it's better to tip every day. I don't think you'll necessarily have the same maid each morning of your stay, so that way anyone who works on your room will get something--instead of, say, a person who only worked the last day of your 5-day stay getting the whole tip. I suppose it would even out eventually--the maid who missed out on your room might benefit at another room--but I stopped tipping at the end of the stay for that reason.

I hate tipping--the whole concept. It is so irrational here in the US about who gets tipped & who doesn't. I'd much prefer that people be paid fairly--or to pay a higher restaurant tab that accounts for better-paid staff. fBut people like waiters & maids are often really poorly paid, so I try to be generous. But I never tip at counters--I can't stand all the tip jars that have proliferated there.

Fee

hi Benita,
I think the subject of Aussie's tipping has been covered. So on a slightly different subject i just wanted to let you know that while you were having -22 C over there here in Perth West Aust we were melting under 42 C heat!! can't wait for a change in the weather soon.
Love yr blog, as always and am really enjoying yr 365 photos on Fridays
Good luck with the laundry help too x

Christine

I'm suprised so many people are worried about tipping. I guess since I grew up with it, it doesn't bother me. When I lived in the UK I was bothered by not tipping. But I would round up or tip for good service. And yes, I too have noticed the difference between service in America and service in Europe. I worked as a shop assistant/salesgirl and service is the cornerstone of American consumerism.

I carry a "tip table" with me for tipping. I bought it in the 1980's. It is a small card the size of a credit card. I carry it in my wallet b/c I am terrible at math in my head. Basically in America you tip 15% or 20% of the total bill. If you are at a resturant or hotel find out if gratuity (tip) is included. It may be if the bill is large or you have a large number of people with you ( example 6 or more). However, most places you tip.

YOu tip hairdressers, manicurists, facialist, masseuse, waxers, bellhop, porters, skycaps, taxi drivers, maids, doormen,food delivery person, bartender, cloakroom person, waiter/waitress, and Shoe shine. Bus drivers on tour I personally also tip.

I never tip the people at Coffee shops, They charge way too much for coffee. But you can put your change in the jar. Say if you were charged $4.50 for something and gave them a $5. I'd put the .50cents in the tip jar. There tips are not expected but appreciated. The same thing for some fast food resturants.

When you sit down to eat, and someone brings you food, you tip. It is always 15-20% on food. If you have bad service then only leave a quarter (.25 cents.) Do NOT fail to leave a tip, even if service is bad. If you don't leave one they think you forgot. If you have bad service an extremely small tip shows that you didn't forget it. Also, if the food is bad do not penalize the wait staff, complain and try to get it corrected.

Never tip a salesperson.

A general rule is if the service is exceptional or above and beyond tip big.

I also tip big if the service is personal. So I tip 20% to a masseuse, waxer, for a pedicure etc. I tip 15% for a haircut,manicure. This is a personal decision.

A bellhop/doorman at a hotel who helps you with your bag gets $1.00 per bag. A skycap at the airport gets the same. Maids in America vary. If it is a fine establishment tip, if not it is your choice. I tip if they have done an amazing job of cleaning and restocking the room. If they have done what is expected or an okay job I don't. A tip for a maid is not expected but appreciated. When tipping a maid, I suggest that you write a note on paper saying "Tip for the maid. thank you." That way they know the money is for them and not just something you left lying in your hotel room. They don't want to be accused of stealing!

Delivery people get tipped if they deliver food, or a message to your room if in side a hotel. Pizza guy gets a minimum of $2.00 per delivery. If he delivers more than a pizza, like soda, bread etc, give more.

Bartender is your choice on how much. 10% is standard. If it is a complicated or large order or if he's a friendly guy give him what you feel is fair. Cloakroom I give a dollar. Same thing for bathroom attendants. Again, if they give you exceptional service give more.

Shoe shine varies. I personally give 15%, they don't touch me personally so I don't give 20%. But who wants to shine shoes all day?

Taxi give 15%. But if the taxi driver doesn't get lost, operates a clean cab, is nice and talkative I give more.

Hope this helps those who are not used to tipping. And just know some of this tipping stuff is opinion. Don't stress, if you don't tip you are not breaking a law or anything. It's a social custom. In America, if you offer good service you earn more. It's expected to get good service. We cut visitors a lot of slack, especially in tourist areas as we know you don't know the customs. If you are in doubt, ask another person (not employed by the establishment.) Most Americans are very willing to help.

I also carry a small calculator to help figure out tip. And also remember in America, many places add on tax to various items at the register. So if something is marked as say $10.00 you may have to pay tax on it. Tax varies from state to state and city to city.

Forgive my spelling and grammer errors. I am sick and sleepy!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Are you serious about the cup?! That does make it even more cool in Wille's eyes, definitely :)

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

She has the same sweet pink lip!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Wow! I'm printing your comment and bringing it with me next time I travel to the US. Thank you!

Sara

It is true about those cups. I happened to be there when an order had just arrived and bought six. The next day the whole shipment was gone! I think Starbucks is holding back to make them more dear. :)

Jenn

I have been a waitress in the US for 25 years and we get less than minimum wage here...$2.65 per hour and rely on tips. Most folks even those from other countries are fine with tipping and it is appreciated. I guess the only thing I have to say is if a customer leaves less than a 15% tip It is really helpful if the guest would let the management know or leave me note to let me know if the problem was in my service....otherwise I just think they are cheap. This is how I make a living and want to know if I can do anything better to improve the customers visit.

Karin

Thanks to Christine for the great breakdown!

Tipping makes me really uncomfortable too - mostly because I'm never sure HOW to tip. Say if someone carries your bag for example - first you have to rummage for the cash, and what if you don't have any small bills, and when and how do you hand it over, what do you say... Just makes me feel uncomfortable! The same goes for hairdressers/shampoo girls, pizza delivery, etc. Feels little patronizing, you know, handing them a dollar or two like I'm some bigshot... Might sound silly to an American who is used to tipping, but I guess it's the Swede in me!

By the way, when I was studying in the US I lived in a big student housing area with mostly Asian students, and the pizza guys used to LOVE delivering to my Swedish boyfriend's apartment because he was the only one who would tip!

Gosia

Thanks for bringing up the tipping dilemma to the table. There are so many useful pieces of information that this tipping science is finally starting to make sense to me.
Canadians take tipping seriously. Christine is right on the dot with this great write-up she's included. When I go back to Europe, this is what makes it so confusing. It varies from country to country, although now, with EU making a lot of uniform economic decisions affecting many nations, the tipping habits are changing and, I assume here, I should be on the right track following the advice included here - round the bill up and add a euro? Is this correct?

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

I'm so going to tip more next time I come to the States! I had no idea the wage was that low! Martin compared to his wage as an unexperienced waiter at a restaurant here in Stockholm in the 1970's (!) and it was about 25% more than your's is in 2010!

Lou

Christine did a fabulous jog of describing tipping in the US.

Not to make it any more complicated, but I would add a feminist note that the more expensive a dining establishment, the more likely the waitstaff will be male and well trained. 15% of an expensive tab is a lot of money. Women are more likely to be the servers in coffeshops, diners and low-end restaurants, where 15% of a much smaller bill is not so much.

So i start out in a high end place with the idea of tipping 15% unless they impress me and at the less expensive places, I plan to tip at least 20%, unless they really mess up.

Ålesund

My biggest problem with tipping honestly is that I feel condescending when I do it, like I am saying that I am the persons superior, and they need my charity, or small change...
I don't mind tipping at restaurants or tipping housekeeping at hotels because I know it's customary and I don't have to give them the money in person! I don't know what to say or how to give tip when I have to give it up front. I'm afraid to offend them with tipping.

I probably feel that way because tipping is not that common outside of restaurants here in Scandinavia. I definetely think a plummer or carpenter here would be offended if I tried to give them my change...I also don't know anyone who tips hairdressers, but I'm in Norway and that may be a little different here from Sweden because wages generally are a little better. I know hairdressers apprentices and helps get paid quite little though, so maybe I should start!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

I'm still unsure if that generalisation would be correct everywhere in the EU...

You know what? I'm printing all these comments AND I'm bringing the trip advisor's guides for each country I'm visiting in the future.

Jenifir

I love your pictures (as usual)and I am fascinated by the tipping discussion. In Canada, how much and who you tip seems to be very geographically determined. As a child I lived in rural and then suburban British Columbia through the late 60's to mid 80's and I remember my parents only tipping for restaurants at 15% and leaving very little if the service was poor. The same habit seemed to be found went I moved to Halifax in the late 80's but there I was suprised that people tipped their hairdressers. In the larger cities, tipping seems far more extravegant and my sister made a good living as a waitress from her early to late twenties and it seems that you tip for a lot more services now. Canada does have a minimum wage so it seems odd to me that someone working in a restaurant can make as much money as someone who has done graduate or specialized studies, paid for the pleasure of doing those studies and did not make much money when going to school. In general, tipping does make me feel a little awkward but I will keep in mind some of the suggestions when I travel to the U.S.. It is my blog's first anniversary today and people can enter a give away without leaving a tip!

Jenifir

Thank-you for your always great photos and bringing up the tipping discussion. In Canada, I think wear you live determines how much and to whom you tip. In more rural or suburban areas it is less. I remember my parents only tipping at restaurants when I was growing up and when I moved from the West coast to the East coast in the late 80's, 15% was still standard but it was the first time that I encountered tipping hairdressers. In the larger cities, tipping was more wide spread and generous and my sister made a good income as a waitress in Vancouver because of tips. Tipping does make we feel awkward and in Canada there is a minimum wage so I question why someone who works in a restaurant can make the same income as someone who has done graduate or other specialized study. I will keep in mind the information when travelling to the U.S.. It is my blog's first anniversary and you can enter the giveqway with no tipping required!

Brynne

Sooo, a little side note here: The little nub on the straw goes on the bottom so that it doesn't fall out and get lost when you're on the go.

(You've probably already figured that out for yourself, but it was upside-down in the picture so I thought I'd mention it.)

;o)

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

We didn't, but I got an e-mail from another reader pointing it out :)

Bárbara - Portugal

So, I am from Portugal and I worked in hotels. We are terribly paid. less than 500 euros) so we are always waiting a tip. The portuguese don't have the habit of giving tips (at least when they are in portugal)and we don't have a tip habit, in general.

Hope have helped a bit,
Love reading you

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