Let Me Decline My Tip, Sir

Some times, differences between Dutch and American culture can be pretty big. When I say pretty big, I mean opposites. Yes, opposites. And I’m not even talking socialistic feasting on welfare versus winner-takes-all capitalism, but the way waiters and waitresses (both genders assumed from here on) handle their guests. Let me explain a little more.

When I go out to eat in The Netherlands, I’ll reserve at least two hours for the matter. I expect a waiter to come up to me, take an order for drinks, then bring an ordered appetizer, an entree and then ask if I want dessert. No differences yet. But, I expect some things from a Dutch waiter that I have learned not to expect when visiting Missouri. The four things that I want from my waiter:

  1. You’ll know when I’m done eating. It’s when everyone at my table is. I’ll indicate this by leaning away from the plate and aligning my silverware in a fashion that could not possibly confuse anyone. Don’t take my plate unless you’re taking every plate on the table.
  2. As long as I’m eating, I’m fine. Really. Don’t need your help. If you see my drinks are empty, feel free to check.
  3. I’ll ask for the check. I’ll pay, don’t worry.
  4. You work in a restaurant because it pays well above minimum wage most of the times. Getting a tip means you’ve been working hard.

In The Netherlands, this isn't an empty plate. In Missouri, it could be.

In reversed order, I have learned that American staff in restaurants get paid well under minimum wage. This leads to a whole other approach to tipping. I don’t just round numbers up, I have to calculate a 15-20% tip depending on service (see below), time spent in the restaurant and all such circumstances. Also, service means that the waiter takes away your plate any time you’re not having your silverware in your hands, refills your water every two sips you take and will make sure every single bite you take is okay. They don’t want to appear slow, so some times they’ll just hand both the check and dessert at the same time. This has caused me to almost run after my plate (I wasn’t done), twenty extra bathroom breaks (I don’t know how much water I’ve had) and be VERY annoyed about the waiter asking me too many questions. American service makes me cut the tip, but then miss Missouri will gently remind me how hard they’ve been working for me.

What’s your favorite fast food chain?


16 thoughts on “Let Me Decline My Tip, Sir

    • I have been eating the fastfood, but to be honest, not like it’s supposed to be eaten. I want to visit every type of fastfood, but to prevent myself from getting double I eat not that much. I had 6 chicken nuggets at Wendy’s, just to get it off my list. That won’t get me there. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Haha! I can’t stand the ubiquitious types however, I’ve either grown so accustom to it that I just want more, or they just aren’t that bad in Texas. I find myself constantly asking “now where did that waiter go?”

  2. At least you’ve adapted! My wife used to wait tables, and she said that Europeans would often under-tip dramatically (or not tip at all), and you couldn’t really hold it against them because tipping is done so differently outside of the U.S. I don’t think I’ve EVER not tipped someone. If I get very poor service, I leave a disgraceful 10%.

  3. Ha! You could come visit southern California (particularly Orange county) and have about the rudest service possible. (If you can find them that is) I’d really like a refill on my drink…except I don’t see our waiter anywhere….haven’t seen him in quite some time. We need an extra setting, so we grab the nearest person (the person clearing tables recently vacated) to help us. When you do have someone helping you, they act like their job is beneath them and expect you to not only tip, but tip well. They feel they are deserving of high earnings with very little work. Drives me crazy. 🙂

    We have a close friend from the Netherlands. We’ll have to ask them if they ever took notice of this.

    thanks for visiting my blog…except you didn’t comment and introduce yourself. Don’t be shy!

    Lake Forest, CA

    • My blog promises the Real America, most people from California have assured me their own land is set apart on almost every part of American culture. I do like different insights though, so thanks for commenting :). Also, I like the way you pull me back in to your blog. Well done, well done.

  4. Hovering waiters are bothersome, but I rarely get one, and when I do I explain we’re fine and will signal if we need something. I also rarely have trouble with anyone taking my plate before I’m finished or rushing me (trying to turn the table.) However, I do find out my waiter’s name, use it when we speak.
    I had a waiter who got ticked at me last week because I stopped him from explaining the whole menu, and let him know I only wanted a cocktail. I thought I was saving him some time, but it seemed to tick him off. It’s not always easy dealing with the public, I guess.

    • I recently read a blog that said ’10 ways not to get the whole staff spit in your food’. If you turned it around, it read: ’10 ways for a waiter to get a tip’. Some people maybe shouldn’t be doing work that includes service. Your way of dealing with the orbiting waiters sounds very reasonable. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Pingback: Wait, What Do I Tip My Readers? | visitingmissouri

  6. Pingback: Classy White Tennis Shoes: A Modern Fairytale | visitingmissouri

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