The barmaid taps on the tip jar, in which there are a few loose coins rattling around, and says, “So are you going to leave a tip?”
Who asks for a tip in Australia? Now you are living the very definition of awkwardness.
Maybe 50 cents can buy you out of this situation. Maybe it won’t, maybe she’s vying for the $2 coin. Stuff it, you give her nothing and answer, “No”, in a tone reflects the absurdity and awkwardness of the situation.
“And why not?”, she replies in a way that was as more a statement than a question.
WTF? What parallel universe have you stumbled into?
Well, you’ve been made to look cheap. Giving in at this point would make you look weak also. So you stick to your guns and reaffirm that “No”.
“Well you might as well tell me why not”, she asserts.
Holy Crap! Now you need to justify your decision.
Okay, so this scenario might not have happened to you but it has happened, to me.
For a country of ‘non-tippers’, Australia is certainly awash with tip jars, change plates and credit card slips that conveniently have space for you to leave a tip. But these things go largely unspoken. Haven’t they always been there for ornamental purposes or for the change we couldn’t be bothered to carry around?
But I’m beginning to think that maybe the game in Australia is changing? There’s at least one barmaid out there who thinks tips should be standard in Australia. Is tipping something Australians should seriously start considering now? If so, why? What has changed?
I’m not against tipping, nor am I for it. I just want to know the rules and am just hoping to not have to justify every one of my decisions to service-employees, managers and those around me.
So how did I justify my decision in the situation described above, since I had to? Well, we had a bit of a chat about wage rates, overseas customs and the importance of service-employees. It was clear that during the conversation she was trying to convince me to tip her.
If I were less stubborn maybe I would have, but there was no tip from me.
However, the ultimate victory may have been hers. I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back there. Not sure why. Maybe due to guilt, or fear. Either way, I just can’t do it.
But the question is, for those of us who wish to avoid such confrontations, should we just start tipping from now on?