The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

August 24, 2004

Impressions from France (3)

One of the weirder things where France differs substantially from Austria is the "beggars vs. waiters" dichotomy.

In Austria, the beggars don't seem to care if you don't give them any money, but the waiters react in a very irritated, sometimes even angry way if you don't tip them.

In France, the waiters don't seem to care at all if you don't tip them, but the beggars can get really angry and even aggressive if you don't give them anything.

Posted by Horst on August 24, 2004 04:08 PM to the land of Potz | Tell-a-friend

dieter said on August 25, 2004 04:02 PM:

I guess that the beggars have a stronger union in France than the waiters. But of course, it could also be a cultural thing. I don't think that French waiters get better payment than the ones in Austria so that they do not depend on tips. And I strongly doubt that they are more polite...

Natalie said on August 26, 2004 12:34 AM:

It could be because a service charge has automatically been added to the bill and hardly anyone ever tips in French restaurants anymore.

Horst said on August 26, 2004 08:38 AM:

Service charges are included in Austrian restaurant bills as well, and still everyone expects a 10 per cent tip. That's an Austrian speciality though, because everybody expects to be tipped: hairdressers, taxi drivers, plumbers, even the chimney sweepers and sewage workers show up at least once a year to demand a tip. It's ridiculous.

dieter said on August 26, 2004 09:03 AM:

On a less joking note: I really think that there is a strong tendency to expecting anything you get on a more or less regular base as granted. And people really think they actually have a claim to things not to change.

dieter said on August 26, 2004 09:08 AM:

addendum: I am talking about Austria, of course

Horst said on August 26, 2004 10:28 AM:

As restaurant prices went up rather strongly after the euro conversion (most by about 37 per cent), I started tipping a lot less than I used to. Now I know it's unfair to take the restaurant owners' greed out on the waiters, but apart from boycotting the more shameless places (which I do as well), there's little more I can do. I'd like to stop tipping altogether, but that pisses off the waiters to such an extent that you can't really ever expect decent service again at that particular restaurant.

laura said on September 4, 2004 03:40 AM:

Thanks for the tip on French waiters. It could have saved me from tipping at The Cafe Voltaire, which I thought was 3 times as expensive as it should have been.

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