31 January 2020

Waiter tips


Ignorance of a culture can be expensive. Consider the American who has chosen Paris to retire, only to discover that the large tips he's been leaving at the café he frequents are not yielding “special” service - freebies, little extras, fawning attention.... or even better service. Unless it's a tourist hotel bar, no one is falling over themselves as would happen "back home." And when predictably (and inevitably) he gets overcharged, or shortchanged, he’s outraged, and, jowls a-flutter, concludes that a habitué he’s become friendly with has been stealing his tips off the table - even though service isn't any better when he dines there by himself, which is 99% of the time. Similarly, his chatty friendliness towards waiters in general - whose names he learns by asking (but more than likely noted from the check) - is not producing the results he’d counted on, au contraire.

What’s he doing wrong?

Adapted from my talk:

Paris and The French: A Unique Culture


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