TS coming to America – notices and help requested

It’s less than two weeks until I jump on a big bird and fly into the USofA.

I received the good news this morning that my press credentials have been approved and will be waiting for me when I get there. Woohoo!

I’ve got my cameras all sorted, laptop ready, voice recorder primed. Here I come.


The notices:

1/ Dinner in LA

I’ll be flying into LA on January 10. After arriving I’ll be jumping into a car with Gripen and heading up to Bob Sinclair’s place in order to meet the 1980s Saab USA legend in person and do an interview piece. Should be fun.

That night we’ll be having dinner in LA, so if anyone wants to join us, feel free to drop me a note in comments or via email. I’m unsure if Bob will be joining us for dinner, but given that it’ll be about 90 minutes from his home I’d lean towards him not making the trip.

2/ Get together in Detroit

The big dance will be in Detroit and that’s where I’ll be from the 11th to the 15th of January.

If you’re going to be in the area at that time then please let me know. I’d love to try and organise a TS dinner meeting or something so we can all put faces to names, etc. Greg Abbott will be there and I’m hoping Wulf will at some stage, too. If you’re in area between the 11th and 15th then please, again, use the contact link above to get in touch and let me know.

All welcome and from the contacts generated here I’ll put together a mailout to try and get it organised.


The help required: Tipping.

Here in Australia we just rely on an employer to pay service staff a decent wage and therefore, tipping isn’t commonplace. So when is it appropriate to tip, and how much?

I’m guessing maybe taxis, hotels and restaurants. Anything else?

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  1. Swade, never been to the States, so cant help on any of the above but I do hope you get to sit in a 9-7x and judge it for yourself. I’m looking forward to your reports again.

  2. Good point on tipping. It is almost accepted here that even if service is bad people still leave 20% — DONT!

    If the service is great – I mean you never had your beer glass empty – leave 20%. If it is OK – I mean nothing special but nothing horrible – 10-15%. If you are dissatisfied – leave a $1 to make a point.

    Also whatch out – if you are in a group of 4 or more (or 6 or more depending on the restaurant) they will automatically add the tip! However when they bring you a Credit Card slip there still will be a line for the tip!! Trying to get you twice :). In this situation, you are NOT obligated to pay the automatically added tip, and most definetely don’t pay the extra extra tip, unless you got something special.

    The whole tipping thing is out of control here.

  3. As far as added tips go with larger parties, most restaurants I’ve seen only add the gratuity to the bill with groups of 8+, I’ve never seen 4 or 6. Then again, I don’t really eat in expensive restaurants, so maybe that has something to do with it.

    I always tip 15% at restaurants, unless the service was EXCEPTIONAL or EXCEPTIONALLY BAD. Then I do 20% or 15 cents, respectively. Also, if it’s bad, use dollars and put them either on the floor (to make them CRAWL), or under your water glass so it’s wet.

  4. Tipping at restaurants is typically 15-20%, but its a matter of personal discretion. I’ve tipped as high as 22 or 23% and as low as 0 before.. It all comes down to how good you felt the service was.

  5. I leave a tip on my pillow each day in a hotel room for the housekeeping staff, but it’s a rather low $1. It’s not much, but it shows that you care. I typically find myself at mid-range hotels and I understand that almost nobody leaves a tip for housekeeping anymore. I read online that you should leave a tip each day rather than all of it the last day of a stay because the person on the last day might not be the same who had been tending to your room all week.

    Everyone went over the restaurant thing (15% typically, 20% for exceptional, 0% for poor), but also expect to tip a bellhop (if you hotel has one) $1 per bag (this goes for curbside at the airport as well if you check your bags at the curb).

    Also, if you happen to take a taxi a gratuity is expected there too, but I don’t know how much. 15%?

    The reason for this is because service jobs here in the States usually hire new (or illegal) immigrants and pays them a menial salary (and no health insurance or other benefits taken for granted in other countries). Tips are their way to supplement their income.

  6. Everyone has hit he mark that I’ve seen so far…. I’ve been around the US with the Navy and tips are about the same every.

    Just to add on to Gripen’s comment, a lot of service jobs (notoriously servers in restaurants) are paid less than minimum wage. The employer is allowed, via labor laws of most states, to calculate in their tips when figuring out their hourly wage. It’s quite common to see servers making $2.50 – $4.00 an hour when minimum wage for the state is $6.15.

  7. Eating Filet Mignon at some stylish restaurant is nice. But you need to ask yourself a question. Why must I eat at a fancy pants restaurant and add 20% for a tip when an unforgettable, incredible, eatery is within a mile or two of the Auto Show?

    If you don’t mind a little grease and onions, make plans to stop by White Castle while you’re in Detroit. My sons and I ate there after last year’s show and enjoyed their famous little burgers. People from all over the world crave the taste. And best of all, no tips are necessary. Plan on it, buddy. You’ll definitely never forget the visit. (Nor will anyone sitting next to you that evening.)

  8. Re: Talon’s comment

    That’s just shocking. It’s robbery. If I were an employer I’d feel embarrassed about telling an employee they’re getting that little.

    I guess it’s just a different culture. I’d dare say the minimum wage here, even for the most menial jobs, is more generous. Plus, employers have to contribute 9% of someone’s wage (on top of what they’ve paid them) to a superannuation fund for their retirement.

    We have a safety net health system that’s publicly funded and people have the option of private health insurance as well.

    I’ll put $100 or so aside in $5 and $1 bills for tips while I’m there, I guess.

  9. Swade and Talonderiel – That isn’t the whole picture. Average waiter salary is $2.15 an hour, plus tips, so that’s true, but the rest of the story is that if the tips don’t push the average hourly wage to minimum wage, the employer is required by law to pay the difference. Since waiters are expected to get tips, the government just figured that into the minimum wage laws. Either way, they are making at least minimum wage.

    As far as retirement funds, we have Social Security, and “careers” have retirement plans (“jobs” don’t).

  10. Any reason I shouldn’t, Thomas? I live on the other side of the world and this is one chance I’ll have in who-knows-how-long to be in the same area. Wouldn’t you take that opportunity?

  11. Swade- I say live it up! At the end of the day, it’s only money…but the memories will last a lifetime.

    Everyone already said it, 15-20%, but do what you think the wait staff deserves.

    Don’t feel bad for the $2.15 an hour they make. I know waiters and waitresses who make more than people with full-time, regular jobs. They make good money.

    They also don’t declare most of it come tax time.

  12. agreed, joemama.
    My daughter waitresses while going to college and had the opportunity to work for my company at $10/hour parttime, but chose to waitress (+ tip), because she ends up making more. If he/she is good they can do well.

  13. I would like to add though…if you find yourself with bad service it’s fine to not tip, but at least let the waiter know why you didn’t tip–either by leaving a note, telling them, or telling their manager.

    I’ve had numerous friends in the restaurant industry who have not been tipped–and typically they’re at a loss as to why they didn’t get the tip–did they do something wrong, or was the person just a cheap bastard?

    Not leaving a tip to indicate dissatisfaction is a bizarrely passive-aggressive behavior, even for neurotic Americans.