How should I tip when traveling in the United States (USA)?

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When we travel to the United States of America (USA), it is important to understand the local tipping culture and customs. In the USA, tipping is a way to express gratitude and respect towards service personnel.

Here are some tipping considerations to keep in mind when traveling in the USA:

Tipping Percentage: Tipping in the USA is generally calculated as a percentage of the total bill. For restaurant service, it is customary to give a 20% tip during dinner, indicating satisfaction with the service. A 15% tip is considered a polite gesture, while a 10% tip implies that the service needs improvement. Of course, if you are exceptionally pleased with the service, you can give a higher tip. Conversely, if you are dissatisfied, you have the option to refuse a tip, although this may lead to unfriendly reactions or even confrontations.

Pre-Tax Amount: Tipping is based on the pre-tax amount, not the after-tax amount. Therefore, when calculating the tip, remember to deduct the sales tax. If the total bill is not too high, a dollar or two would be sufficient.

Takeout Tips: If you choose to get takeout, it is appropriate to give the service personnel one to two dollars as a tip. Even though takeout service may not require as much effort as dining inside a restaurant, it is still considerate to show appreciation for their service.

Mandatory Tipping: In recent years, due to inflation in the United States, even for takeout, there may be a semi-compulsory expectation of giving a 20-25% tip. However, please note that when such high tip amounts are displayed on the payment terminal, there will always be fine print showing lower amounts or even an option to skip the tip. You can choose according to your preference.

No-Tipping Situations: In certain circumstances, tipping may not be expected, such as self-service buffets, counter service at coffee shops, or fast-food restaurants. In these situations, you can choose not to tip, but if you are particularly satisfied with the service, you can still leave a small tip as a gesture of appreciation.

In conclusion, when traveling in the United States, it is important to be mindful of the tipping customs and to respect the local culture. While tipping percentages and practices may vary by region and establishment, treating service personnel with kindness and respect is crucial. When giving a tip, imagine yourself as the employer and provide an appropriate amount to express your gratitude and respect.

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