I’ve been brainwashed: I went to Europe and I couldn’t stop myself tipping

November 3, 2015

As someone who lives in America and has worked in the service industry, going out to eat and not tipping makes me so uncomfortable that I have to do it – even if those on the receiving end are just as uncomfortable accepting it

“She tried to tip a barman.” When I confessed this to my British coworkers, they were horrified. I had just recounted how I tried to tip a barman in Dublin by asking him to break a €5 bill and telling him that he only needed to give me €4 back; they tut-tutted and shook their heads.

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“How would you feel if someone tried to give you a dollar every time you wrote a story?” they said. It seems that while visiting Dublin and London this month, I regularly insulted barmen, servers and hotel workers – many of whom seemed as uncomfortable at being tipped as I felt about not tipping them.

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Related: Living on $2.13 an hour and tips: the harsh inequality of the service industry

Related: Restaurant industry rife with sexual harassment but bosses ‘just laugh it off’

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