What is good service worth to you?

I've been working as a waitress in Whangarei for almost a month now - and there's but one thing I really have to get used to: New Zealand has no tipping culture!!!

When I was waitressing in Germany while going to uni I would make about 30 Euros in tips per day - sometimes more, sometimes less. But it was definitely something I was relying on in order to pay my bills and maybe go to the movies or do something fun.

I still remember having served one customer... he only ordered a cup of coffee. But our coffee machine was somehow mal-functinioning that day. Not only did he have to wait for about half an hour to actually get his coffee. But when he finally did get it - it was cold. Yet when he paid his 2.50 Euros for the coffee he gave me a 5-Euro-note and said "Keep the rest". Because obviously despite that bad experience I had still made his stay with us pleasant.

In my opinion tipping helps you become a better waitress. You are more alert and really want the customers to feel as good as possible. Because good service normally means generous tips. In Germany you tip anyone from waiters to hairdressers.

Not in New Zealand. Here I sometimes have customers who keep telling me over and over again how satisfied they are and how much they appreciate my service and blablabla... and when it's time for the bill they get their cards out, pay their bills - and walk off. Leaving not a single extra penny behind. Being accustomed to the German hospitality culture this still makes me feel very bad. Because in Germany when someone doesn't tip it means your service must have been really bad.

So I should probably change my way of thinking. Though in this case that is extremely hard to do. But at least now whenever I do get the odd tip (on good days about 10 dollars - 5 Euros - that I share 50/50 with the rest of the staff) I appreciate that even more. I just have to learn not to rely on tips.

What is strange though is that even people from countries who do have a tipping culture (many European countries, the US) do NOT tip anymore when they come here. So my question to you today is: What is good service worth to you?

When you're satisfied with your waiter/waitress and the service you receive - do you tip? How about when you're travelling - do you go by the country's tipping culture?


  1. I hate to say it, but when I was in NZ, for the most part, I didn't tip. Hey, when in Rome!

    But I did see the same hair stylist 4 times when I was living in AKL and I never tipped her, until my last visit tipped her the amount I would have at each visit, all in one lump sum, because I really did enjoy the service.

    There is no tipping in NZ/Aus, because the "rumor" is that servers are paid decent wages whilst in US/Euro, wages are shite and therefore tipping is sort of required. Not true?

  2. I know it's definitely true for some places and I think especially in Finland (?) waitresses mostly live on their tips ONLY. When I was a waitress in Germany in some places I got paid the same amount of money as I do know in NZ, but at some places I got paid twice as much as I earn now. If you take living expenses into account it's not so bad right now but for me I'd always leave a tip if the service was good if only a few cents...

  3. Mara it's true, here in Finland you are not expected to tip anyone. I think it is generally expected that people get paid properly. Maybe this is due (or thanks to) to the trade unions? Trade unions here have a lot of power and I believe most Finnish employees belong to some trade union.

  4. I trust in my travel guide. If it's common for locals not to tip I don't tip. And the other way around of course. But if I leave a tip the amount varies from cents to «real money» depending on how much I liked the service.


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