Friday, February 03, 2006

Status quo


So I finally felt well enough to get back to work tonight. Most people seemed to be in a generous mood tip-wise, but not all. And I know this is a gross generalization, but I'm really starting to believe there is something wrong with French people. Most cabbies know that the second they hear a French accent, it means there will be no tip. Tonight, the French lived up to their reputation yet again when the ones I was transporting kindly let me keep the 30 cents change from the $9 they gave on an $8.70 fare. Granted, tipping is not customary in France, but still, isn't it spelled out in all the New York visitor's guidebooks? What the hell? Sometimes it's hard to resist the urge to say something to these people, to try and educate them on this city's customs, or even to be simple and snarky with something along the lines of, "Thanks, now I can buy that pack of gum I've been saving up for." But they probably wouldn't get it, so why bother? Fucking French people. Luckily the New Yorkers I picked up tonight were extra kind and made up for the few idiots I had to deal with.

Other than that, the night was pretty much status quo. Of course, the French not tipping is also status quo. So, yeah, a typical night.

107 comments:

ramblingmuse said...

Hey,

Are you gonna post an update from all the news coverage you got? I'd be interested to hear what's come from all of it.

Love your blog!

-RM

FredB said...

In Europe, tips are included in the final price, and it's true for everything: cabs, restaurant, pubs, etc. Not that you never tip, but cabs are so expensive here, that you rarely want to pay more. At night, ~$8.70 is what I have to pay BEFORE going anywhere.

Although I agree that they should learn the basic customs of the place they're in, it's sad that you turn that into the usual french bashing. Making assumption on a all country because of a few people is never good.

I'm sure you'll easily find a lot of american people that doesn't represent you at all.

I'm not french, btw. ;)

Anonymous said...

F- THE FRENCH IF IT WAS NOT FOR AMERICANS THEY WOULD BE SPEAKING GERMAN. THEY SHOULD OF TIPPED YOU BECASEU IS IS CUSTOMATY IN THE STATES WE DO NOT GO OVER THERE END "NOT TIP" SO SMARTEN UP FRENCH PEOPLE

paulthepghcabbie said...

Hey, great to see ya back ya hack. Hope yur feeling better.
Any group of working people have a lot of diversity. Here in Pgh., as I'm sure in NY, we have diversity too. We have people with brains rivaled only by garden tools to college students moonlighting. I repeat the conversation here that I heard earlier tonight in our break area at the greater pitt airport. One guy is explaining to the other how to make popcorn in the microwave. I only repeat it here caus I thought you might be able to appreciate it.
"poppety pop pop, popopop, poppety poppety pop pop". He goes on like this for a full minute and then the pops become further and farther between until there are no more pops. He says, "this is when you take it out". The other guy has been listening to this totally spellbound and I, of course, had to leave the room.

I'd love to hear any of your blogs about NY cabbies that don't have all their cornflakes in one box.

Anonymous said...

I'll be the first one to jump into bashing the French, never couls stand them!

However, tipping is optional - that's why it is called a tip. I'll tip when the service rendered is above average, as extra payement.

I lived in Manhattan and most often times I tipped the Cab Driver, sometimes not. While I would not penalize them for traffic, moronic pedestrians or anyone else that would hold up my ride (not the cabbbies fault) etc., I have and will withhold tip if i have to ride in a cab that smells, where I have to listen to the cabbie swear like a trooper at everything, etc.

If a tip is looked upon as mandatory, than it should be built into the final cost. If it is not in the final cost than the rider is under no obligatoin to pay.

Anonymous said...

According to the taxi rider's bill of rights that is in the car, tipping is customary, unless the driver breaks one of the rules (e.g. such as playing the radio, talking on the cellphone, smelly cab, going by another route than the one you suggest).

Anonymous said...

Hey M.P.
When I worked for tips (that is part of my wages from the state say that the tips need to be taxed so they are reported as income) I really felt the same as you when the french people stiffed you. It really makes a person wonder. Are they conscious of the fact they arent tipping? They just don't understand that we rely on our tips to pay bills because the employer starts the wage lower and they know the tips will come and then can get away with starting the wages lower. We really should rally together and get the gov. to give us higher wages.
Sincerely seeking higher wages,
Jewels

Anonymous said...

Oooo I didn't know it was customary to tip cabbies - it isn't a big thing here in Australia. I'll keep your story in mind if I visit America someday ;)

Keep up the awesome work hun!

Anonymous said...

Tipping is not a city in China.

Anonymous said...

Even though you generally don't tip for bars or restaurants, tipping about 10% is expected in Paris cabs, at least last time I was there (which admittedly was nearly a decade ago). But even if it's not, I know for a fact that it's customary to tip the cabbie in London.

I think they're just cheap tourists.

Anonymous said...

love the racism. keep up the good work.

your generalization may be true, but the fact that it incites idiots to chime in about how much they hate a certain people as well is really unfortunate.

Katy said...

On the subject of tipping here are my 2 cents ....
Ever since moving here from Germany I have worked as a waitress and seen first hand who will tip and who doesn't. You are right most Europeans will not tip (well), not even if they have been here for 40 years. Whenever I hear an accent I am usually lucky if I get 10% (I work in a fine dining Italian restaurant, our base pay is $2.15/h!!!!) I have to say there are also a lot of CHEAP Americans around. We have a few sterotypes that we consider Charity tables (meaning the tip will be 10% or less). One of the major one is Military personnel. I don't know if they get told in Basic that 5% is enough or what. The other thing I see a lot is people tip you based on the total even if they use a buy one dinner get one free. They don't realize that we served 2 dinners and took care of 2 people. I am lucky our boss has started to add 18% to those checks that include coupons (he printed it on the coupon too) People will still argue. I have noticed that people that you know do not have much money will tip you the best percentage wise. You can also always tell who was raised with money (tend to tip less and be a pain in the ass) and who made their money (those are generous and understanding).

Good luck with everything

fifi said...

First off - I love your blog - my friend found it a while back and we've been reading almost since you started it - really great stuff.

But two problems with this post - 1. I'm British and we *love* to bash the French but ever since the emergence of the 'freedom fries' style french-bashing - it really aggravates me when people jump on that bandwagon - esp the 'they'd be speaking german if it wasn't for us' malarkey - that isn't fair or funny.
2. I was astonished when I first moved here how many people rely on tips for their living. I felt that the employers were stiffing there employees and letting the generosity of patrons support them instead of taking that responsibility themselves. We don't tip cab drivers in England either (actually I sometimes do when I go back now) but the ride is usually much more expensive than here in the first place

Anonymous said...

inspired by paul (PGH) I offer this: A kid is in a music store
loudly playing an electric guitar;he asks to salesman how it would sound thru a wah wah pedal.the salesman replies "WAH WAH WAH" luv the blog

Anonymous said...

Absolutely love your blog.

My friend's college pal was along for a shopping trip to NYC recently and tipped 70 cents on a $9.30 fare. This was after we had each given her $4. She's not French. She's actually originally from Brooklyn. So you see, it's not only the French or some foreign tourists. It's cheap ass Americans who talk like they have money...but don't.

By the way, a few years ago this same person stiffed me on a restaurant bill. She gave me $8 to cover her meal that cost $7.95. I guess the nickel was supposed to cover both tax and tip.

Sarina said...

I got a part-time waitress gig because my afternoons were kind of boring. I started at 5 days a week, all chipper and cheery. 6 months later I said, you have to put me to 2 days a week, I can't do any more than that.

I am totally burned out on it, I am totally sick of people and their b.s., like leaving ME a crappy tip to send a message to the kitchen. Or when there's 45 people I have to take care of and one idiot is screaming about they need sugar or something. I can't stand it any more. I can't stand people!! hahaha I totally want to quit. I'm going to give the 2 day thing a try, if I am still burning out, I"m going to quit. It's too bad, it's a fun little diversion, but the people screw it up. Seriously, they think $1 tip is being generous. I'm in Wy now, but from Ca. If they tried that in Ca, the waitress would follow them to their car and kick their @$$.

When I lived in Japan, they didn't tip for anything. So watch out for that. Though they do show a little video on the plane from Japan to the US that explains about tipping, hee hee. Anyway, one day I took a taxi ride in Japan and I tipped the guy, he about fell out of his cab. That was pretty funny. I felt bad not to! Anyway, NY cabs are way cheaper than Japanese cabs, and I haven't been in a Japanese cab in about 17 years. I can't believe the price, 2.40 to start with and .40 a mile. I forgot what per kilometer was in Japan, but it was 540 yen to get in, that's about $5.00ish.

BTW, I love it when people comment that you shouldn't say something in your journal. There are so many ironies with it, it would take all day to type them up.

I'm rambling. Good day to you.
SW

Anonymous said...

Oh God, now this blog is turning into one of those blogs where people write angry comments. What's next, a duet with Bette Midler?

Anonymous said...

Was playing around on ehow.com and found this little tid bit interesting (it's in reference to getting a cab in Paris):

"Keep in mind that tipping is not required in France, but 10 percent is standard."

Anonymous said...

taking my cue from sarina, all I wanna do is help ya load the groceries on yer car and you tell me to "back off dude" DUDE? I don't set the prices OR stock the shelves...cheese and crackers,sometimes customer service sucks...

adrian said...

Anonymous, it's not rascist to report a fact of life. Especially when qualified by, this is a gross generalisation, but...

That many French elect not to tip is simply Melissa's experience. Like it or not.

still_wayne said...

Can you explain how your pay system works? Do you get an hourly rate, does your managing company cover all your mileage, etc? I work delivering pizzas and I'm curious to see how they compare.

Anonymous said...

I lived in NYC for a couple years in the early 90s. It was fun and exciting at first but then got too stressful for me. Mostly because I thought getting a car would make things easier -- bad idea.

I never took cabs while living there because I was just too damn poor. The one time I took a cab where I wasn't sharing the ride it was due to the generosity of a working stiff New Yorker; a stranger who empathized with my plight of being stranded in South Jamaica. He just handed me a twenty without batting an eye and refused to let me promise to mail the money back to him. And I'm not a female.

What I miss most about NYC is all the interesting folks I'd meet on a daily basis. Everyone has a story.

What I don't miss is the anxiety-producing rush to get somewhere that seemed to envelop me everytime I stepped out the door. I was always getting sick because the stress weighed so heavily on my immune system. Had to get the fuck out of there.

Thanks for sharing a slice of your life with us, MP.

itsybitsygod said...

I'm crazy about the French, but somehow I doubt they're crying into their pillows because Americans can be snotty. So can the French.
Word to the wise: ALWAYS tip well. It's good karma and tip-dependent workers have LONG memories. I mean, do you honestly think it's my life long dream to wait tables at Eat-n-Park? The work is not a reward in itself.

Anonymous said...

MP, I love your blog. Keep up the good work! I live in Hou, TX and my youngest son, who swears he will live in NY someday, lives his alternate NY life through your blog. Thank you for all your honest observations and efforts at sharing. BTW, hating French bad-tippers is your God-given right as an angry, hardworking American so to hell with people who think their opinions matter on your blog!

Patrick said...

Hi, I'm Canadian and I'm proud to say I don't like French people either. FREEDOM FRIES!

Anonymous said...

Listen I understand your comments about the french: I'm one myself, but I disagree with the previous writer about tips being included in the final price. The french are a pain in the ass and that's why I left the damn place. A tip's a tip wherever you go in the world. It's all a question of being civilized. The french always claim to be the most civilized etc, but although they are not ALL bad, it's true that they are wankers.

skrauntor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
skrauntor said...

without the french we would not have: agent provocateur, à la mode, au gratin, au jus. Ok I am getting hungry, here are a few others: avant-garde, brunette, déjà vu, encore, RSVP, brazierre, or ménage a trois. okay, i'm sure you get the point. (btw: i don't speak french)

my favorite is when they give me 50cents change so that the tip is an even dollar. i'd rather lose the 50cent tip and have them get outrahter than sit around waiting while they dig in their change purse.

Cee said...

I have never taken a cab. A couple of questions come to mind. Does a *hack* make an hourly wage or do you rely only on tips? Also, what would be a proper tip amount? 15%, 20% or what?

Just curious really. It has always been my dream to make it to NYC and I don't want to make a taxi faux pau.

BTW, I haven't been reading very long, I enjoy your blog and the pictures.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an idiot, but I STILL think the French are obnoxious.

josney fl said...

HI,The best tippers are people who receive tips in thier jobs. Driving cab in Cape Cod/Boston area i found French Canadians to be the absolute worst. Glad your back.

Sam said...

I just started reading your blog and I absolutely love it. I live in Chicago and when I need to take a cab (i.e. the thought of riding the L at 3 AM makes me nauseous), I always feel bad if I don't give a buck or two, even if I'm not going very far.

Anonymous said...

I'm a french guy living in Paris, France. NY is my second home. Going bothways JFK/the city: I always give a $10 tip. ALWAYS!

Keith said...

MP - I don't think you were hard on the French for a moment. They are pompous and think everything has to come to them. That's coming from a Brit with French ancestry and a French surname and I can tell you, try eating in France and not giving a tip or riding in a cab...

So as generalisations go, pompous abd oikish, but my can they cook !

safi said...

I love the French but dont know why they have to be so mean ! (I know that is a general statement) - but geez I dont speak French !!

love reading the blog too !!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to tell the person (#3 from the top) who wrote about the French speaking German if it wasn't for the Americans ( of which I am ).There would probably be no America as we live in today if not for the French paying a large sum of money toward the revolution against the British.
Not that I'm sticking up for the French-just like history.
Just found the blog a few days ago and now I check everyday.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the French are all a bunch of arses! Nuff said.

Emily - Sydney said...

to "anonymous" who said he/she didnt know you had to tip cabs because "it isnt a big thing in Australia"..have you ever actually gotten in a cab before????? I'd like to know where in Australia you DONT have to tip the drivers...

Random said...

"love the racism. keep up the good work."

French isn't a race, it's a nationality...

Glad your ass is better. (There's gotta be a better way to phrase that.)

Keep up the good blog.

Anonymous said...

Where's all the pictures?

Anonymous said...

Well, if my canadian ancestors hadn't
shown mercy after you lost the war of 1812,
you all might be speaking english now..

Anonymous said...

A very uncharacteristic post. Normally, you seem rather wise and worldly.

French people never tip cab drivers. Ever. They round up to the nearest whole number...just as your described.

In France, Americans break numerous cultural norms all the time. It's what happens when people travel.

KS

Anonymous said...

wasn't it the Russian army that marched into Berlin first? never mind, our presence made a difference, but the way we've been crowing for 60 years,you'd think we fought the Germans alone,OT I know, sorry

Anonymous said...

French is a nationality??????????????LOL

Yea they love Sadam's old nation.

They are the joke of the EU.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog, but before you make ridiculous comments about another nationality, remember to be courteous of their nationality (even it's, heaven forbid, the French...note my sarcasm). I agree with what others said--many Americans break cultural norms in France as well. I would have thought you were above bashing the French; personally, I like them. But then again, I'm German and Americans often consider us to be rude too. I found "freedon fries" immature, and this too...but oh well, it's your opinion. It's just disappointing. I still enjoy reading your blog though, keep it up.

Cherry Bomb said...

~sigh~ Is it wrong to tell you that I think you're hot? I'm not objectifying you, because obviously I read your blog, which I find hilarious...but I do think you're hot.

Can I, um, request you as my driver? Maybe we should talk...

Lovin' this shit.
xxxoo
Cherry

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with your post, but I went to the TLC website, and while they have a "Complaint" form, they have no way to give props to a good cabbie (a "Compliment" form, maybe?). So I'll post this here.

To the guy who was driving 6M99 tonight (between 2-3am), who went out of his way to drive back to me and hand off the cell phone we left behind, and wouldn't take the money I offered him -- thanks again. You're a good man.

upstatebs said...

All this from the city that owns the statue of liberty. Its offical name? liberty enlightening the world. oh well.

paulthepghcabbie said...

Tips! Everyone, and I mean everyone has a different opinion. In general, I seriously doubt if NYHack is as hateful of the French as some of the blogs might suggest. I'm very likely to dis anyone that I felt got good or better than avg. service and stiffed me. (I just love putting the pins in my Oriental and Middle Eastern dolls at home). Grrrrrr And some of them agonize for minutes over a $.40 or $.50 cent tip. I'm beginning to think tipping is an 'American thing' like jazz, etc.
When I get 'status quo' treatment in my life, I leave a 'status quo' tip. When someone goes above and beyond I like to tip comensurately. It's a reward and says 'I appreciate it'.
In my cab I try to make as many customers as possible think they got a 'little more', everything the limo has except the limo itself. What's the saying "drive for the meter and work for the tip".
More to the point, I get many working mom's etc. that pay the fare to the penny, I unsderstand that. I can understand when people tell me they just can't afford it this time - I love honesty. But when someone throws you a $.30 cent tip thats a friggin insult. That actually says, "you eat crap and I don't care". Hey, forget I got you to your destination without getting killed, maybe it was your, and my lucky day. And please God, let me have the opportunity to give this person another ride sometime so that I can show them how I really drive with no passengers aboard.
Sorry, long nite with all the drunk Steeler fans. :-)

itsybitsygod said...

You know, it kind of creeped me out that no cab I took in PGH had a plexiglass divider between the driver and the passenger. That was 10 years ago, so maybe things have changed but I was always totally freaked out for the driver. Is it still that way?
Funny thing about PGH v. Philly. I lived there 2 years and got robbed twice, I've lived in Philly for roughly 8 and I've never been robbed. (knock on wood)

Anonymous said...

I barely make enougth money to wipe my a$$ do you think im going to fork out more than i have to because some smeg head taxi driver talks crap to me? no be quiet! you get a tip if i feel like it. No im not french HOWEVER i think your out of order YOU GET PAID AS A DRIVER ALREADY WHY!!! WHY should we pay you more when some of us cant afford it???? Well? for your extra services? like crappy conversations in your cab? for being able to sit on your lap? NO!!! FOR NOTHING? Get out broad and catch a taxi!

itsybitsygod said...

MP,
You know you're really a hit when you start drawing trolls.
Congratulations girl, you're a sensation.
Now don't get too nervous about it to write. Just pick one person you like as your audience and write to them.

Mikey P. in Chicago said...

French people do suck...I am have french roots and have been there...its true..

jack said...

I just wanted to say that while I agree it's wrong of any foreign visitor to ignore local American customs such as tipping, there's a reason the phrase "ugly American" exists: it's because we're all too often just as guilty of assuming our customs automatically are superior and apply elsewhere.

To use one relevant example, tipping is frowned upon in Japan and many other countries for 2 reasons:

1. Service workers are paid a liveable wage because tips aren't expected unlike say waiters who get below minimum wage here in the expectation that tips will make up the difference.

2. A tip for standard service in such a country reinforces the notion of class and servitude, making the recipient feel embarrassed. Would you tip a dentist or other professional here for instance?

If you want to show how friendly you are when travelling, consider buying some cheap trinkets and giving them as gifts after a service. The connection you make is thus made personal and I'm sure they'll smile and remember the thoughtful American.

Anonymous said...

i dont understand tipping, shouldn't there be a set fee without ambiguity?

Anonymous said...

Hacking works as follows:

You rent a car from Yellow Cab or whoever for 12 hours at a certain fixed amount. Everything you make while driving is yours, but you have to pay the rent on the cab at the end of the shift. Since you provide a public transportation service, the fare is fixed by the municipality based upon some algorithm to compute a fair cost for such service. The cost of renting the cab includes insurance and maintenance, but not fuel.

That insurance is huge and eventually you'll appreciate it. When I hacked years ago I was sideswiped by two women in a car on a residential street and it could have been very tragic. The cab was wrecked. Yellow just wrote it off though and I was driving again the next day (but in a different car).

Sorry if this is off-topic but somebody asked how the system works.

As far as the French, I think they are just like Americans.

Anonymous said...

I used to drive nights, now I'm on the day line so I don't see as many French. During the summer months I will of course and after last year I have developed a strategy. Granted, this takes some balls but you need balls to drive a taxi in this town(as you well know Hackgirl). If the fare is $8.70 and I get a $10, I keep the change. If they ask me about it I say "Did you not like the service sir/ma'am? Because if you did then it's customary in America to tip." The French are WELL aware of the tip not being in the fare, believe me. Some even will admire your determination, however grudgingly.

Sometimes it seems you gotta fight for everything in this town, including the right to exist!

RickyZ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RickyZ said...

Oh and I have to add:
I am a professional driver, I keep my cab clean and am determined to provide all my fares with a safe, expedient trip. I don't think " this one won't tip so I'll just drive like a maniac."
For those who think it's prejudiced to assume the French won't tip, empirical data suggests they don't.

$5 for a $4.90 fare doesn't faze me, but as the trip gets longer you need to acknowledge good service. If you won't/can't do it yourself then I'll be happy to help you.

And I do VERY well with my tips btw.

Anonymous said...

To Emily - Sydney...

I'm based in Perth but perhaps I'm just ignorant. None of my friends nor myself catch taxis that often, and I thought tipping was only done overseas at swanky hotels/resturants when someone delivered you extra good service :p I'll keep in mind next time I catch a taxi to tip nicely though.

As for the French, the whole nation can't be as bad as people say. Of all the people that come into my work (Subway) I find Americans to be the least polite, and British to be the most polite. But there you go, and plenty of nice Americans and rude British come through anyway.

I don't think its nice to stereotype a nation anywhos.

Anonymous said...

When I worked in a restaurant, the other servers and I would fight to NOT take the tables with the Europeans. They are notoriously bad tippers.

Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

In discussing the French, I can't help but think of the scene from John Waters' film Polyester where Edith Massey's character translates couchon to Divine in the haute couture salon dressing room. Off topic, I know.

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying that I realize that tips help pay the bills. Your blog entry doesn't say what you did that made you feel you deserved a tip. Just picking them up doesn't qualify. In a restaurant I don't tip unless the service warrants a tip. I am already paying for the cab ride / food ... a tip comes because maybe you got out of the car and opened the door for me .... you got out of the cab and put my packages in the trunk?????

Also rather than cursing the French ... understand and accept the differences. I can promise you many cultures, including the French think negatively of the Americans for their ways. We need to love the differences ... not curse them.

still_wayne said...

I don't know this for certain, but I'd venture that all of you no-tip advocates haven't worked in a job where tips were a large part of your income. Ignorance and arrogance are a bad combination, but if you want to persist in your stinginess go right ahead, and we'll keep calling you assholes behind your back and in the cyber world.

Anonymous said...

yeah, europeans don't tip for crap. they don't understand the tip is what creates the fine service. the reason americans don't tip in europe is because the service is so pathetic. every waiter and waitress i dealt with was slow, lethargic, and cut as many corners as possible. why not? they get the same pay either way, so why should they try? in the us, good service means you make a good wage. when i was a waiter, i made about $100 a night working a 6 hour shift, while others i worked with were lucky if they got $50.

desertblog said...

The French take over Death Valley in the summer and don't leave tips, that's why the restaurants here add 15 percent to the bill between May and October.

M.P. said...

Please stop freaking out. All I did was say that French people don't tip, which is my experience as a cab driver. I never said anything about freedom fries or people speaking German or anything else derogatory about the French.

I do however talk a ton of shit about people from New Jersey. Why does everyone seem to realize I'm half-kidding when I Jersey-bash, but every word is taken way seriously when I French-bash? Yeah, French people don't tip, and Jersey people drive like shit. So what.

Anonymous said...

Being a driver from Philly and moving to Jersey I must agree that about 50% (or more) of drivers here really do SUCK! I grew up learning to drive down streets with only inches of clearance on both sides of the car. Combine my ability to thread a needle with my car, the ability to become one with my car, and to drive fast when it's appropriate, and I feel that I'm an excellent driver. Why do I say that? Because I remember the driver's manual stating that I have to use my turn-signal at least 100 feet from my turning point, because I remember what a Yield sign means. Because I know that it's offensive to oncoming drivers if you leave your high beams on while driving at night. I've noticed that many Jersey drivers dont even come close to this level of expertise. Most NJ drivers today DO NOT understand that their high-beams are on, and that when you flash your lights at them it means; "Hey! Your high beams are on... You're blinding me!... Please turn them off!" Just as bad; people who drive with 4 lights on at the same time! Argh! Don't they know it's the same as having your high beams on?? Changing lanes without signaling with the turn-signal happens all the time here. Oh! And the YIELD sign? LOL! Forget about it. No one knows what the YIELD sign means any more. I have to beep my horn at people driving into my lane who ignore Yield signs... and they actually get upset acting like I did something wrong. It's simply offensive behavior. People here should be re-tested on highway ediquette, rules, laws, practices, and such. It's getting out of hand.

Oh, in regards to the whole "French / Tipping" thing; they saved our ass, we saved their ass... that makes us even. Our 2 cultures are intertwined in such a way that we've adopted many aspects of the others' culture into our own. Generalizations are inaccurate. Especially when it comes to a race or nationality. I urge you to view people as individuals and if you wish to judge them, judge them as such. You have to understand that people visiting this country are coming here with limited (and budgeted) funds. The rich ones have Limos waiting for them, not taxis. Think about it; you're in a foreign country with only X amount of dollars with you. Unless you're rich, you really dont have the luxury of tipping in a full capacity, however, I do encourage travelers to tip something instead of nothing. It's just a common courtesy, as well as common sense. If you receive poor to mediocre service, then dont tip.

RickyZ said...

If you can't afford the tip, take a train or bus.
And as a previous poster said, it's only people who have NEVER worked for tips that don't understand their importance.

RickyZ said...

This was a fun read:

http://money.cnn.com/2001/10/07/pf/tipping/

Anonymous said...

A tip is optional stop whinning about it.

If you don't like the wage you are receiving for your job and EXPECT people to pay you for what IS OPTIONAL get another job.

I've enjoyed your blog but you are as bad as all the city workers who piss and moan.

Did YOU tip the cashier at the supermarket? How about the kid stacking cans on the shelf? How about the guy cleaning out your cab or repairing the engine?

Stop whinning you sound like the French for christ sakes.

Anonymous said...

"I used to drive nights, now I'm on the day line so I don't see as many French. During the summer months I will of course and after last year I have developed a strategy. Granted, this takes some balls but you need balls to drive a taxi in this town(as you well know Hackgirl). If the fare is $8.70 and I get a $10, I keep the change. If they ask me about it I say "Did you not like the service sir/ma'am? Because if you did then it's customary in America to tip." The French are WELL aware of the tip not being in the fare, believe me. Some even will admire your determination, however grudgingly.

Sometimes it seems you gotta fight for everything in this town, including the right to exist! " - You are a jerk and if that was me id say no your cheeky cash back NOW thief!

"yeah, europeans don't tip for crap. they don't understand the tip is what creates the fine service. the reason americans don't tip in europe is because the service is so pathetic. every waiter and waitress i dealt with was slow, lethargic, and cut as many corners as possible. why not? they get the same pay either way, so why should they try? in the us, good service means you make a good wage. when i was a waiter, i made about $100 a night working a 6 hour shift, while others i worked with were lucky if they got $50. " - you must have done some EXTRA work for that eh? PUNK!!!

"If you can't afford the tip, take a train or bus.
And as a previous poster said, it's only people who have NEVER worked for tips that don't understand their importance. " - ive worked for tips, so what? if i can afford a taxi and afford something nice why not buy it? rather than get a taxi and give the taxi driver more money than they cost?

"A tip is optional stop whinning about it.

If you don't like the wage you are receiving for your job and EXPECT people to pay you for what IS OPTIONAL get another job.

I've enjoyed your blog but you are as bad as all the city workers who piss and moan.

Did YOU tip the cashier at the supermarket? How about the kid stacking cans on the shelf? How about the guy cleaning out your cab or repairing the engine?

Stop whinning you sound like the French for christ sakes. " - HERE HERE, TOO RIGHT PAL

BOBORAN said...

I guess its not very PC to make generalizations about the French even if they tend to be true.

French philosopher Charles Renouvier: Le monde souffre du manque de foi en une vérité transcendante: “The world suffers from lack of faith in a transcendent truth.”

Trix said...

@ Emily in Sydney:

Sorry, as far as I'm concerned, tipping is NOT mandatory in Australia. I live in Canberra. No tipping - cabbies always give me change with no rolling eyes (although normally if it's less than $5 change, I don't bother taking it).

Ditto Adelaide, Cairns, Melbourne, Brisbane AND Sydney. Or maybe every single one of the hundreds of cabs I've taken had wimpy cabbies? I doubt it.

Tipping a black cab in London is customary, but not the minicabs. There isn't a fixed rate. I thought that tipping in France was pretty much reserved for dining out or Madame Pipi - I certainly never tipped any cabbies there either.

RickyZ said...

And as a previous poster said, it's only people who have NEVER worked for tips that don't understand their importance. " - ive worked for tips, so what? if i can afford a taxi and afford something nice why not buy it? rather than get a taxi and give the taxi driver more money than they cost?

-that just makes you a cheap-ass bastard lol.

Boy I bet all the tip bashers are Bush backers too.
What a bunch of brainwashed little sheep you are.

Anonymous said...

You are fricken hilarious! Relax people this is HER blog. Thanks for allowing it to be public.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think if you want a tip, the problem is that you feel you aren't getting paid enough; so start advocating for a law mandating a pay raise; don't expect people to just hand over their money without even knowing what you earn.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some of you 'why tip' whiners should look at the history of tips. Basically it was fuedal lords who'd toss coins at peasents as they passed so they wouldn't get mugged. Judging from the tone of some of you, and your cheap-ass ways, the more things chnge the more they stay the same!

It's about GRATITUDE for a well-done job. No one in their right mind should automatically expect a tip, but I can't take a "thank you" to the supermarket and buy food with it.

I used to take this kind of stuff personally, but I've learned most people are willfully ignorant of things that don't fit in 'their' world. So they make rationalizations. Generousity, compassion go out the window. You drive a taxi 10 hours a day you see how the world REALLY is.
But if you're a winner (ie, you like your life and who you are) you're gracious.

I truly feel sorry for people who don't understand that.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe some of you 'why tip' whiners should look at the history of tips. Basically it was fuedal lords who'd toss coins at peasents as they passed so they wouldn't get mugged. Judging from the tone of some of you, and your cheap-ass ways, the more things chnge the more they stay the same!

It's about GRATITUDE for a well-done job. No one in their right mind should automatically expect a tip, but I can't take a "thank you" to the supermarket and buy food with it. " HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! Firstly the part about getting mugged sounds like EXTORTION TO ME!!! secondly if it comes down to me having 5$ in my pocket to feed my family or me giving it some strange ******* taxi driver who i meet for so many minutes in my life who also gets paid for the service they provide already then SCREW THEM, the money is for ME AND MY FAMILY call me a cheapskate im just being real, id rather give the money to charity than tip someone as cheeky as you scumbags, IF and thats an IF the driver is sound then they get a tip IF i can afford one, understand?

Julia, French said...

Ok...so I'm French, I love your blog and you taught me through your posts that we are supposed to tip cab drivers...so when I went to NYC 2 weeks ago i tipped the drivers!
See, French people are ready to learn! And YES it is mentioned in the tourist guides (though i had no idea concerning cab drivers) but it's very hard for us to understand as "tip" in France is a reward for something extra like for example a smile from the waitress in addition to the coffee, etc...

And please don't say "Fucking french people"...I've met many bad cab drivers (either rude or trying to mess with me) but I don't say "fucking cab drivers"!!!

Anonymous said...

That bites....at least know the customs of where your going...

I don't know any Frenchmen, but I suppose ignorance is as prevailent in France as it is in every other country...Glad you had some good fares though.

soopermouse said...

only one person on theblog ( or two) have touched the real issue:
In France (and Britain) most of the people whose wages would warrant tips are normally well enough paid to not need a tip to survive.
Even minimal wage is something you can live on (as long as you are not an alcoholic/drug user) and live fairly decent.
To make things clear: in America poor means to not afford food. In Britain (and France) poor means to not afford holidays.
I believe in restaurants the tip is added to the bill, with the option of adding a bit extra if necessary.
I normally tip cabbies because driving in Britain is HELL (most cities were built a long time before cars came into the scene. But I do that because I can afford it.NOT everyone can.
as for the stereotypes... well, over here we all say thatAmericans are rude/ arrogant/ignorant/stupid,pick the one that describes you best.

Anonymous said...

In response to the third comment (which isn't even really worth addressing, but I will do so anyway):

If you suggest that the French "smarten up", perhaps you should try to do the same. Grammar, spelling, and typing are the three main areas that need work.

The author did clearly state that it was her personal observation, not a tried-and-true fact, so don't treat it as such, trying to refute it. However, I do think that tipping should be an extra, not something that you automatically expect. I always plan to tip when it is customary, such as for delivery drivers, but I also expect to be able to withhold the tip if the level of service isn't up to my expectations. Tonight (yesterday, technically), my roommates and I had pizza delivered. We had people over for the Super Bowl, so we got 2 very large (28 inch diameter) pizzas. What I didn't expect was that when the delivery driver arrived, that we would have to go out to his car to retrieve them, when all he had to do was walk up the steps to the lobby door of the apartment building. If it was not such a large order ($47) in the middle of the Super Bowl, I would not have tipped him as well as we did ($8). When I have something delivered, a tip is a way of indicating to the driver that he did his job well and in a timely fashion. I shouldn't have to walk anywhere to pick up my food- that's why I had it delivered.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the europeans being bad tippers, the worst are old people and asians.

paulthepghcabbie said...

To itsybitsygod: no there are still no dividers between the front and the back in Pittsburgh cabs. Here's a good site to check:
www.taxi-l.org. (thats a small L in Ariel font) There is a list of all the cab drivers across the world that have been murdered. NY cabbies lead the list. The 'Memorial' and 'Safety' links are very interesting.

Anonymous said...

For "Katy" - I know quite a few military who tip rather well, when the server deserves it!! We're a military family who is more than generous with tipping any where we go. But the server has to deserve it. Poor service, poor tip. (FWIW, I used to wait tables, so I know what I'm lookin for.)

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how far off the topic of the post these comments have gotten. Having worked for tips for much of my life, and having given lots of tips, here's my take on things:

To the poster who said "You wouldn't tip the dentist," well of course not! There's no custom here for doing that. It's not expected, it's not usual, and it's not necessary for the dentist to receive tips in order to feed his family.

As to the person who commented about not tipping the person who carries out your groceries, well, they don't usually work for tips, either. However, when I was in the military and stationed on the West Coast, the carry-outs *did* work for tips. It was clearly marked and very obvious that the only pay they were getting was from tips. I'm not rich, and there were times when I couldn't tip. I carted out my own groceries at those times. I couldn't pay for the service, so I didn't use it. That's called common courtesy.

In this country, a tip is *expected* in certain circumstances. No, it's not mandatory. Neither is washing your hands before you eat or excusing yourself when you burp. It's good manners. If I can't afford a tip, I eat at Taco Bell, not a sit-down restaurant. Yeah, a lot of times I can't afford a tip. Like the groceries--if I can't pay for the service, I don't use the service.

Face it, tips are a fact of life. If you get crappy service, don't tip--the server might hate that, but they understand it. If you get decent service, give a decent tip. If you get great service, give a great tip.

And lay off NYH. She never said she hated anyone, only stated her observation--which is what a blog is for. If you don't like it, go read something else. Peace!

jack said...

I was the poster who asked the rhetorical question about the dentist, and I think you're quoting me out of context. In my post I was referencing why tipping in foreign countries might be not just unnecessary but also unwanted. I was hoping you'd ask yourself why, beyond the surface reasons of custom and there being no economic need, we tip some professions here and not others.

We don't tip dentists here mostly because it would be insulting. From a practical perspective there would seem to be plenty of reasons: you might get gentler treatment, less time in the wait room, more novocaine, etc. But there's a class/intellectual/economic snobbery effect going on and white collar workers are supposedly more deserving of respect than blue collar ones who traditionally get tips. Whatever you'd tip a dentist wouldn't cover the implied insult that he's not your peer, a temporarily hired professional whose work is so noble that it is its own reward. You can get better service from him only by verbal compliments and making him your friend, not with something as grubby as money. By contrast, I believe waiters call verbal compliments "air tips", are too busy trying to make a living to be insulted, and would much rather have a concrete tip.

The implication for blue collar workers that take tips however, is that their jobs are not noble and that they are motivated to provide better service only out of greedy self-interest. Restaurateurs pay below minimum wage here because they think only the quest for tips could motivate a waiter to do his best, and local gov'ts set cab rates lower than they are in say Japan for the same reason. Waiters, cabbies, strippers, pizza deliverers...they are the 21st century 'downstairs' servants, as opposed to the white collar 'upstairs' lords.

As a NW-liberal-treehugging-softie I personally disagree with that notion, but I do think it's the source of our American custom. And more to the point, when visiting a country where tipping is frowned upon, where the socialistic notion of workers being equal has taken more hold, where there's more history and less need of money as a yardstick to measure people, tipping a cabbie might earn you the same look that tipping a dentist would here. And NYH's fare should have remembered that he wasn't in France and that not-tipping was not a customary sign of respect any longer. Or maybe he was just cheap :p.

exileonpatrickstreet said...

Anonymous said...
[i]When I worked in a restaurant, the other servers and I would fight to NOT take the tables with the Europeans. They are notoriously bad tippers.[/i]

you don't think that maybe the reason they tip you in particular so badly is because you take so long getting to their table and serve them in a reluctant manner? no? oh, the irony.

look, anti-french americans - if you stereotype any group of people, expect the same to happen in reverse: all americans are dumb and jingoistic

Greg said...

There was an essay in The Village Voice last August about tipping, written by a cocktail waitress (link). She writes that tourists are usually bad news when it comes to tipping. Here's an excerpt about some French:

And then there are the tourists who only pretend they haven't heard of tipping. Last summer, I tended bar with a Frenchwoman I'll call Kayla. She once spent the whole night chatting it up with a group of French people en français, discovering, to her delight, that they had been here for months. "They must know the proper way," she whispered to me. She was left with exactly one dollar—four quarters stacked atop each other. Kayla craned her neck to see if the manager was in sight. When the coast seemed clear, she followed them outside, hurled the quarters at their car, and screamed in French, "You forgot your change, assholes!"

ihatecheapos said...

in korea, tipping is frowned upon. whenever i visit, my relatives always remind me not to tip waitresses, bartenders, and esp. cab drivers. i'm not sure how it works, but leaving tips is actually considered rude. it's just their custom.

Anonymous said...

I ALWAYS TIP ANY PROSTITUES I SLEEP WITH, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY OFFER ME ANAL THEN ORAL I TRIPPLE THE FINAL FEE AND CALLTHAT A TIP

theinebriantgrape said...

hilarity ensues.

Anonymous said...

hey fred, we're not in europe. i've worked in the restaurant business for twenty years, and french, germans, whatever, are cheap. they should know that tips are not included in their price of service. that's why food is less expensive because the tip is not included. i make 2.65 an hour, so tips are my income. you know what they say, when in rome....... it's not an assumption that the french are cheap, it's a fact.

Anonymous said...

Living in Europe, I am beginning now to understand the mentality of I would call it 'frugalness' from some, but I wouldn't generalize all Europeans as cheap.
When I visited Denmark, the people were overflowing in friendliness and courtesies.
I have friends from Finland and Sweden who are very nice.
Actually here in Germany, I was told and have seen, that it's expected the CUSTOMER actually be nice to the clerk or person in customer service. Often those in public service get impatient and even slightly angry when they come across certain customers. How different is that from North America? Actually maybe that's the same in some parts of the US. You can come across lazy workers or people who simply don't care and let you know it!
The French are honest, but I wouldn't want to live there.
Personally I loved Spain.
Wait a minute, this isn't a blog about who's the nicest group, of which I have digressed.

I think the problem with Americans is that they don't know how to spend money wisely and often fall into debt. The "credit card system" is the American way. How many struggle with debt? Credit counsellors are advertised and available in plenty. Now you just don't hear too much of that in Europe. In fact, credit cards are not widely accepted in stores. Most pay here in cash or by bank card. It almost seems foreign to USE a credit card here.

So you hear how some Americans resort to 2 jobs, consolidating loans, or applying for 2nd or 3rd mortgages just to maintain a standard of living.

The Europeans are frugal. They don't eat out as much, and when they do spend their money, they really think twice about it. Things are not bought in quantity, but quality.
Notably something different coming from North America. (Canada)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:44 again...Also in response to the poster above my comment, despite prevailing thinking of how one should spend money, tipping should be a REQUIREMENT.
I don't blame restaurants for increasing the bill by 15%, because of the income it also provides, in addition to.
But part of the blame should go to the companies that pay such low wages, failing to pay at least minimum wage standards and exploiting those who need any kind of job...

Anonymous said...

bum sex

Anonymous said...

Here in Dublin Most Americans do not tip! So the world is round.

Anonymous said...

I drive in Dublin and Americans tip very generously , there are some tight people in Europe but they're people who have money !

Anonymous said...

You are now a star in Ireland..Featured in the taxi indapendent www.taxiindapendent.com
But people tip or don't and the most bad tempred ones Might tip and the ones you help till it hurts don't. Its the most frustrating thing about our job.
One day I had a bit of advice. You have the best job in the world. Really I said !
Yes you can pull over and say Leave my cab.. Imagine having to deal with assholes where you do not have controll...(over here) WE WORK OUR OWN HOURS self employed...If its a good take the dog out, work later. Keep your living expenses within your means...But live within your income. He gave me about 10 tips like this.
It turned out that he was a very wealthy benafactor who has given away more than 3 Billion $. I only know that because I saw his picture in the paper...Yes he did tip me..I will allways be greatful to him for the other 8 tips John Dub Hack

Anonymous said...

Wow, all this hostility towards tipping. Thank G*d the topic wasn't as trivial as terrorism or global warming. Sarcasm, there for those who missed it.

I have worked in jobs where verbal tips were just as gratifying as the jobs I worked with the tips. I worked in a pub whose cliental thought two bits was a big tip. The one thing I find interesting is no one has mentioned sharing tips. Here in Canada I always check to make sure the tip I leave is for the waitress or waiter that served me and does not go into a communal jar for every one to share. Including Barkeeps and cooks. I have found in my experience, those who can afford to tip rearely do. Thats how they stay well off. I tip when I can afford it and stay home when I can't.

I found this site thru Yahoo News and found it a very interesting read in the mornings with my coffee and cigarrette. Someday I would love to visit New York. Brooklyn in peticular.

I never take the author's comments reguarding the french or jersey f*cks anything more than a rant from a frustrating day at work. We all do it in some way or another. I worked in a pulp mill and trust me there were nights I b*tch about how stupid men were. I'm married now and still do :-)(with french ancestry to add to the fun)

Kudos to the author. She is not only in a high stress job but in a city which is noted for its high stress level. Keep up the great work. To quote one of your passengers, you are an Angel

Henri IV said...

plein de choses intéressantes sur la vie d'une belle ville cosmopolite, mais pas facile de trouver des anecdotes intéressantes comme me l'avait promis SVM, ma revue préférée. mdr

harrier said...

A little late here but my two cents. I've been a bartender for ages and when I hear a french accent, I know no tip is coming. Even when they ask if the tip is included and I tell them no, I am lucky to get 50 cents. Keep in mind, I'm damn good at what I do.

I don't hate the french, but when I visit France, I try really hard to respect local customs, and work to avoid stereotypical American tourist behavior.

The worst part is that Europeans tend to sit at dinner or drinks for 3 or 4 hours. (Mind you, I love that tradition when I'm on the other side of the bar.. however...) American's would turn a table or seat 4-5 times in that many hours, meaning a lot more money for me. If you sit at my bar and take 4 hours of my work, please respect that if you weren't there, several other people would have likely bought a lot more drinks and tipped a lot more. I'll be nice to you the first time and maybe second, but beyond that, don't expect any extra smiles, and DON'T ask me for any favors! "Cmon, give me a bit more vodka than that". No.

And when traveling, pay attention to local customs. American's reap what they've sowed for ages in Europe, and so do the French in America.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous below:

If you need to feed your family, maybe you shouldn't be taking a taxi.

Anonymous said...
"Maybe some of you 'why tip' whiners should look at the history of tips. Basically it was fuedal lords who'd toss coins at peasents as they passed so they wouldn't get mugged. Judging from the tone of some of you, and your cheap-ass ways, the more things chnge the more they stay the same!

It's about GRATITUDE for a well-done job. No one in their right mind should automatically expect a tip, but I can't take a "thank you" to the supermarket and buy food with it. " HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! Firstly the part about getting mugged sounds like EXTORTION TO ME!!! secondly if it comes down to me having 5$ in my pocket to feed my family or me giving it some strange ******* taxi driver who i meet for so many minutes in my life who also gets paid for the service they provide already then SCREW THEM, the money is for ME AND MY FAMILY call me a cheapskate im just being real, id rather give the money to charity than tip someone as cheeky as you scumbags, IF and thats an IF the driver is sound then they get a tip IF i can afford one, understand?

Marc said...

In France, jobs are expected to be paid a living wage, and tips are not paid out because 15% is tacked onto every bill for every service. So French people don't tip when traveling, because in France they don't need to tip. Besides, the French are considered the "Americans of Europe" due to their arrogance. Think about it.

In answer to the old "France would be german" quip: it's only uncivilized backwaters that would still be British if it it wasn't for the French that demand that people tip. Or don't the Americans know their own history?


Frankly, the level of unmerited hatred the Americans have for the French is only matched by the deserved hatred the rest of the world has for Americans. So fair is fair I guess.

Anonymous said...

the only status quo you should worry about is your entire pathetic life. you are a slave, you are underpaid, exploited by your own people, yet instead of being aware of this, you even let them inject in your switched off brain the idea that it's someone's else fault. the french. the germans. the arabs. the italians. it's always someone's else fault, possibly some either undefined entity like the "french" or some very weak counterpart like the poorest and weakest of the people, illigal immigrants, gypses, blacks.. have tips ever changed people lives? and please don't quote some american urban myth on a billgates giving a big changing life tips, because that's BS and you know it. and event if it was true, what are the chances that it will happen to you? and even so, what about the other millions of slaves?
you worship and embrace the american way of life, and then complain because i don't tip you 3 dollars, but that won't make any difference to you. a slave you were and a slave you will be. it's the system that is wrong! yes, land of opportunity, true. but for how many? you are probably already priviledge to be able to create a blog and put google adsense in it, possibly you are making money. but what about the lasts, the once who are behind and below you? and how many of them are there out there? for each billionaire, how many poor people are required? could you american all be rich? no it doesn't look so! actually it looks like there are very few rich wealthy positions available and each requires a large share of slaves. so stop being a racist, the french never did anything wrong to you or your fellow country people. the french actually fought to help free america from the brits! but that's another story, and france reasons to do that weren't any purer than britain interests in having colonies.
wake up, slave of all the world, underpaid people of the world, people to whom the most basic human rights are denied, wake up and unite!

Anonymous said...

I drive a cab in Houston. The other night I picked up these two guys at Brennan's. I had to wait about 10 min fro these guys to come out. I then took them to the Hyatt. The fare was $6. The man paying gave a 20 and asked for a receipt for $7. Almost everyone who takes a cab from midtown to the downtown hotels gives you a 10. I was so pissed that I asked him if my service was bad. I mean I waited on this guy and I should have started my meter when I arrived. This guy expenses all this and his company paid for his meal at a really expensive restaurant. He shamelessly left another dollar on passenger side backrest.