Making sense of tipping in Europe

IMG_5214In Amsterdam,  you tip.

Which doesn’t seem like a big deal to Americans because we’re used to tipping being normal, but there are a lot of countries in Europe where waiters are well-paid and tipping is seen as rude (unless they’ve given you an hj or something). This is inconvenient for Americans who want to be assholes by saving their money.

So Andrew and I were at this Italian restaurant in Amsterdam where I ordered the pasta Carbonara (because that’s just about what I did everywhere). The waiter seemed kinda out of it (he may have been high), but the service was overall good, so we were going to wait until he came back to ask if tipping was customary.

Then, from nowhere, a fat guy comes to our table, picks up the bill with our money in it, and then asks us why there’s no tip.

Now, had this guy either:

  1. Came from inside the restaurant. (He literally came from the street)
  2. Worn somewhat nice clothes as though he were at work (I think he may have been wearing a tank top)

we would have just given him the benefit of the doubt, assumed he worked there, asked him if tipping was customary, and then provided a reasonably generous tip.

However, he met neither of those two criteria, and Andrew and I were just kinda thinking, “who the f* is this guy? Are we getting scammed?” We told him that we weren’t going to give HIM the tip (we could tip the waiter directly to make sure we weren’t getting scammed). He then starts making a big deal about it, hands the bill/money to our waiter, and then just walks away (back down the street).

And so that was pretty awkward. So what’s my advice for what you should do when a vagrant comes up to you from the street and asks for money? Just assume he works there and give him the money… I guess? I don’t know!

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