A Tip For Foreigners

, , , , , | Right | November 23, 2020

I am eighteen years old. I reside overseas from America, but I sign up to do one of those American camp counselor things they do for internationals, as I’m still not sure what I want my career path to be when I leave high school.

In my country of origin, we do not have a “tip” system in the food industry, as wait staff are paid by their companies and tips are just an extra bonus for them. I’m not accustomed to leaving cash on a table after a meal very often, unless it’s a cash payment for the bill.

In my first few weeks in America, I end up at a diner with others who are also internationals about to work at the camp. There is one American among us. We eat our meals happily with no issues and a super nice waiter.

Sadly, as none of us are familiar with American tipping, we practically all leave without leaving any tips. Only our American counterpart does, so we all leave a portion of a tip that would equate to about 2% of the entire bill. Our American colleague doesn’t think to tell us because it is just second nature to them by then, so they just assume the rest of us know.

When the conversation later comes up about the night and the dinner we had enjoyed, and we find out what had happened, we are all horrified about it.

Promptly the next day — as this is a day before campers are due — we return to complete our tips. We add extra, because of the guilt.

The diner and the waiter in particular are forgiving and grateful and amused by it all.

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