Things I’ll miss about Britain no. 3: not needing to tip in bars

Tipping is right up there on my list of high stress activities, along with having injections, trying on jeans in communal changing rooms and telling my students their essay got less than a 55.

Curiously it seems, also, to be associated with other high stress activities such as getting one’s hair cut and catching a taxi.  (Just me again?)

I don’t mind tipping in restaurants.  You feel the waiter has done something to deserve it after a couple of hours of serving you; there’s no ongoing relationship, because you tip as you leave, so you can give exactly what you want; most important, you have time sitting with the bill to mull over how much would be appropriate.

None of these things apply when you tip a bartender.  They have spent two minutes pouring you a drink (I’m not talking about cocktails – I’m not really a cocktails kind of person).  You feel bullied into tipping so that they treat you well for the rest of the evening, which makes it feel more like a protection racket than an expression of gratitude.  And, worst of all, I just don’t understand the system.  Is it a dollar a round?  A dollar a drink?  Do you tip absolutely every time?  When would you legitimately withhold a tip?  What even constitutes good service from a bartender?

See, I’m all stressed out, and this is no way to enjoy a relaxing drink.


About scepticalexpat

British 30something wannabe academic, moving to Chicago for three years in August 2010.
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2 Responses to Things I’ll miss about Britain no. 3: not needing to tip in bars

  1. rhiella1expat says:

    Hey, enjoying the blog! Mine is on a similar plane, I’m emigrating and detailing the good, the bad and the ugly too! I’ll have a proper read now to see how you’re doing but just a comment to say, come check mine out some time too and I wish you the best of luck, I have an idea of what you’re going through!

  2. Other Cathy says:

    Open a tab and then tip at the end of the night.

    I’m enjoying the blog, by the way!

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