Tipping – when do you do it?

Leaning a foreign language is complicated but what makes it especially difficult is the fact that a language does not exist in isolation. You have to understand the culture in order to truly understand the language.

What do you think you should do when you know of a cultural difference between your culture and a culture that you are visiting? For example, should you tip a server in the US like an American would or because you’re Spanish you don’t really need to?

When considering this question, you should keep some things in mind. First, most people who you are deciding whether or not to tip do not understand Spanish culture; they will judge you based on their culture, not yours. In other words, they expect you to tip. Also, remember that most servers in the US aren’t making minimum wage. When you don’t tip them, you are inadvertently telling them that you don’t believe they deserve minimum wage.

Americans aren’t exactly experts on tipping, though. Even they wonder whether or not a particular person should be tipped and how much. My advice: if you’re not sure, tip.

Here is a website that jokes about the struggle we face with tipping with a table which illustrates how common it is to tip certain people in the US: