Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

Fun Stuff => CHATTER => Topic started by: ankhtahr on 11 Sep 2013, 07:57

Title: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 11 Sep 2013, 07:57
I'm always fascinated by all the small differences between cultures. Whether it's the different ways of counting with your hands, as has been made popular by Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, or different eating manners, it's the small things that can make a big difference. This community is spread so widely over the world, that it's a fine opportunity for us to find out what's true and what's not.

I'm very interested in e.g. eating manners in the US. I've heard that it would be common to cut everything on the plate into pieces and then lay down the knife and change the fork to the right hand.
In Germany you'd normally keep the knife in the right hand as long as you eat, and only cut your food, right before you push it onto the fork.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: cesium133 on 11 Sep 2013, 07:59
I've never done it that way, though I don't really pay enough attention to that sort of thing to notice if anyone else does it that way.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: questionablydiscontent on 11 Sep 2013, 11:47
I'm very interested in e.g. eating manners in the US.
Haha, we don't have manners in the US! :wink:
I've heard that it would be common to cut everything on the plate into pieces and then lay down the knife and change the fork to the right hand.
In Germany you'd normally keep the knife in the right hand as long as you eat, and only cut your food, right before you push it onto the fork.
I'd say the proper etiquette is very similar to that, but I don't think you really need to cut everything on your plate at once. I'm no expert on refined dining, but I don't think how much of the cutting is done at once matters. Cutting a few bits-- or even just one bit-- at a time is fine.
But it is true that after cutting, you're supposed to lay down the knife and place your fork in your right hand before spearing your food onto the tines.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LeeC on 11 Sep 2013, 11:57
the only case where I have seen people cut all the food on their plate before eating is when serving a child.  I normally cut my food and eat with the fork that is already in my hand....sometimes I use the knife to stab the piece of food and eat it too... :mrgreen:
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ChaoSera on 11 Sep 2013, 11:59
This might be slightly offensive, but eating that way seems kinda.. childish to me. I remember doing that when I was like 6 years old. Ever since I've been able to muster up the coordination to eat the way it's considered "right" in Germany, I can't imagine anything else. Just feels wrong to me, somehow.

Another interesting eating-related thing is tipping. In Germany it's considered polite to leave a tip, but only if you were satisfied with the service you received. From what I heard, in the US it's considered offensive leaving no tip at all, though I imagine waiters here don't like it either, when you don't tip. It's lost money, after all.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LTK on 11 Sep 2013, 12:07
I'd say the proper etiquette is very similar to that, but I don't think you really need to cut everything on your plate at once. I'm no expert on refined dining, but I don't think how much of the cutting is done at once matters. Cutting a few bits-- or even just one bit-- at a time is fine.
But it is true that after cutting, you're supposed to lay down the knife and place your fork in your right hand before spearing your food onto the tines.
'Supposed to'? For a right-handed individual, doing anything else would be extremely impractical. It's difficult for me to cut food with the knife in my left hand, and also to eat it with the fork in my left hand, so obviously I'd switch the fork to my right hand after I cut my food. I imagine everyone does.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LeeC on 11 Sep 2013, 12:07
in the US tips are how the servers get paid, they get paid next to nothing by the restaurant because they are expected to make their actual money from tips.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 11 Sep 2013, 12:13
From what I've heard, waiters in the US don't always get a fixed pay, so tips are their only income. In Germany that's different. Waiters or waitresses are always being paid a fixed salary by their employer, so they don't actually "need" the tip. It's still more polite to leave one, albeit a smaller one. In Germany 10% or more are typical if you were happy.

Also I was surprised when I saw photos of receipts which have a "tip" field to fill in. Here there is the normal price on the receipt, and usually you hand over the money saying either "Stimmt so" (which means something like "I gave you this sum intentionally") or the sum you want to give.

ps: And two new replies. LTK: well, in Germany you basically keep knife and fork in your hands at all times, unless you want to drink something. Like ChaoSera said, to us it seems childish to change hands for the fork.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ChaoSera on 11 Sep 2013, 12:14
I'd say the proper etiquette is very similar to that, but I don't think you really need to cut everything on your plate at once. I'm no expert on refined dining, but I don't think how much of the cutting is done at once matters. Cutting a few bits-- or even just one bit-- at a time is fine.
But it is true that after cutting, you're supposed to lay down the knife and place your fork in your right hand before spearing your food onto the tines.
'Supposed to'? For a right-handed individual, doing anything else would be extremely impractical. It's difficult for me to cut food with the knife in my left hand, and also to eat it with the fork in my left hand, so obviously I'd switch the fork to my right hand after I cut my food. I imagine everyone does.
I'm right handed and I can't cut my food with my left hand, either. But using the fork with my left hand is the easiest thing in the world, it just takes a little practice at first. After a few months of doing it, it feels as natural as the eating itself.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: cesium133 on 11 Sep 2013, 12:18
From what I've heard, waiters in the US don't always get a fixed pay, so tips are their only income.
They get paid a lower minimum wage than any other job, and that minimum wage hasn't been increased in decades. I don't remember the exact amount, but it's about $2.50/hour.

Quote
ps: And two new replies. LTK: well, in Germany you basically keep knife and fork in your hands at all times, unless you want to drink something. Like ChaoSera said, to us it seems childish to change hands for the fork.
The way I do it is I hold the knife with my left hand and the fork with my right hand, and I don't switch hands. I guess I'm weird, or maybe I'm unknowingly a left-handed German?  :psyduck:
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 11 Sep 2013, 12:24
Well, we know your secret now. You're a secret, left-handed, beetle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Beetle).

Yeah, but another thing is this:
spearing your food onto the tines.
In Germany that might be alright for steak or something, but at least in a fine restaurant the normal way to hold a fork, to which you revert after you ate the bite you had "speared" onto it, is this (http://media05.myheimat.de/2011/09/09/1788864_web.jpg?1315567310).
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Grognard on 11 Sep 2013, 12:48
How this American tips.
Basic Service: 10% of total bill (including taxes) or a minimum of $1 per diner.
Great Service: 15%  or a minimum of $1 per diner.
Awesome Service or Huge Party: 20-25% or $2 per diner.  I may even commend and praise you to your manager.
Car Delivery Service: 20%+
Awesome Service + I'm Drunk + You're Cute:  I don't recall the cost, I just tipped her $50.

edit:
Crappy Service / Bad experience / Piss me off: $1, in coins if I can.  I may even complain to your manager. :x

I won't ever leave Nothing
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: lepetitfromage on 11 Sep 2013, 13:05
I only remember one instance in which Nick and I didn't leave a tip- the server was acting as though we were inconveniencing her just by being there and as the night progressed it just got worse and worse. Whatever could have gone wrong, did. We tried to bring things up nicely- please, thank you, etc and she just wasn't having it. (We like to abide by the rule "Don't piss off people that handle your food" but this girl was pissed off before we even sat down.)


Generally, we double tax and round up for standard service, throw a couple bucks extra in if you're nice and give 20% to those that go above and beyond. Just once though, when I have enough $ to do so, I'd like to leave a really good server a 100% tip.

Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LeeC on 11 Sep 2013, 13:21
as a rule I do 15% if its outstanding service 20%, though for pizza deliveries I typically tip $3.50-$5 and they think I am the most generous man ever for some reason.  I guess they are used to people not tipping at all.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ackblom12 on 11 Sep 2013, 13:24
That may be partially due to people mistakenly believing that delivery charges are for the drivers. They absolutely are not.

15% is the absolute least I will tip for decent service. I waited tables for a few years and I don't eat at the kind of places (on the occasion we have money to go out) that the waiters are going to be doing particularly well. Fuck da tip system.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: The Seldom Killer on 11 Sep 2013, 13:50
I was speaking to a Canadian recently who, as far as his Danish Grandmother-in-law is concerned, is as good as American. She politely enquired early on in his marriage whether he had learnt to use cutlery yet.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: The Seldom Killer on 11 Sep 2013, 14:06
Tipping is an uncomfortable topic in England. Too little may cause offence and is practically complaining,  too much may appear ostentatious and too exemplary of divisive classism. If you only have notes you'd have to ask for change and that requires drawing attention to yourself. Tipping in groups only compounds the issue. We can barely ask for the bill once we've finished eating let alone bring ourselves to publically judge the performance of the serving staff. Frankly, if it weren't for a basically functional minimum wage we'd never eat out adt all.

Next you'll be suggesting we ask for assistance finding something in a shop. Far better to pretend to receive an impotant text, politely thank the cashier, leave the store and never return in case they think you're a loonie or somethink.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Nikolai on 11 Sep 2013, 14:20
On the subject of utensil use, I'm left-handed and the fork never leaves my left hand. I cut with my right hand. When I moved to the USA, I was somewhat shocked to discover that amongst my wife's immediate and extended family, knives are rare; forks are used to cut almost everything.

Regarding tipping, I make a point to never tip less than 15%. Usually I try to do things like round the bill up to the closest base5 amount. Increases for quality food, service, and attractiveness, of course.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Kugai on 11 Sep 2013, 14:50
Tipping is practically unheard of down here. though I am aware that in some Restaurants, it's not uncommon - especially from foreign tourists/visitors.

Wait Staff, whether it be at a fine Restaurant or the guy/girl behind the counter at Maccas or Burger King earn the minimum wage here, which is around $13.75 an hour.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 11 Sep 2013, 15:38
'Supposed to'? For a right-handed individual, doing anything else would be extremely impractical. It's difficult for me to cut food with the knife in my left hand, and also to eat it with the fork in my left hand, so obviously I'd switch the fork to my right hand after I cut my food. I imagine everyone does.

I always keep my fork in my left hand and cut with the right. It's completely normal here - no one ever switches their fork from hand to hand in this country.

I learnt to tip in the USA, so I am a bit more militant about it than most UK people, but I typically go with 15% since we don't have variable tax and do have a semi-living minimum wage (it's not a living wage, but it's about four times the minimum for wait staff in the USA). It's also easy to calculate.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: mustang6172 on 11 Sep 2013, 19:50
I don't think this has been said.  If so, I'll say it anyway.

I think it's worth noting that when we (Americans) eat with a fork, we hold the fork like a spoon, making it uncomfortable to use the weak hand.

Europeans turn the fork "upside down" (from our perspective) and hold it like a pencil.  This makes eating with the weak hand far more manageable.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 11 Sep 2013, 20:21
I disagree.  At least, Ankhtahr's pic that was linked showed the fork that way. 

I write with the right hand, but do everything else left handed.  So I use fork and spoon in the left hand, but I have no problem cutting with a knife using the right hand, so I eat like a German.  Probably because I'm just ambidextrous enough to laugh at people with one nearly useless hand...


As for the "Tip" line on a receipt - it may well have been a credit card receipt, where you wrote in the amount you want to tip. 

It can be zero, but should never be left blank, unless you want your server filling it in...
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: GarandMarine on 11 Sep 2013, 20:43
I tip 10-20% based on quality of service. If service sucks I will absolutely leave nothing. If it's really terrible I'll ask to see the manager.

I much prefer tipping culture in Japan, namely tipping is extremely rude because you shouldn't have to pay extra for good service. Of course wait staff make more then $4.50 an hour over there too. It is worth noting that by law I'm 98% sure that for tipped staff, if your tips don't equal out to minimum wage per hour, your employer has to make up the difference.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ackblom12 on 11 Sep 2013, 20:48
$2.50 is the usual wait staff minimum wage.

While that's technically true, if you don't make minimum wage with tips you just get fired.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 11 Sep 2013, 21:07
Most places pool the tips anyway. 
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Papersatan on 11 Sep 2013, 21:16
Awesome Service + I'm Drunk + You're Cute:  I don't recall the cost, I just tipped her $50.

Increases for quality food, service, and attractiveness, of course.

While this is a common practice, I would like to point out just how fucked up it is.  Most wait staff are female and a system of tipping in which (mostly male) customers base the wage they give on the attractiveness of the server forces servers into an awkward position.  If they want to make a decent wage they have to make sure they are sexually attractive, which is not their job.  It also means that waitresses who are not white, or thin or otherwise "conventionally" attractive, get paid less for the same work. 

If you take 3 minutes to really think about what you are saying, you are either saying that you think that being sexually attractive you to is a part of that waitress's job, or that you are entitled to give any woman money as a reward for being sexually attractive to you .  This attitude makes waiting tables have a much higher rate sexual harassment than average, and the workers frequently have to tolerate it if they want to get paid.  ( here's a nice Slate article (http://www.slate.com/articles/life/culturebox/2013/08/tipless_restaurants_the_linkery_s_owner_explains_why_abolishing_tipping.html) which mentions the problem)
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Valdís on 11 Sep 2013, 21:25
Yeah, tipping is a super weird practice. Ya weirdos.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: GarandMarine on 11 Sep 2013, 21:34
$2.50 is the usual wait staff minimum wage.


It's been $4.00 something in most of the states I've been in, and I have been in many states.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ackblom12 on 11 Sep 2013, 21:40
That's fine, but I'm just stating that it's not actually accurate for many states. Double checking it, the Federal minimum wage for tip based waitstaff is actually $2.13. Seems as if most tend to stick to $2.13 - $4, some going up to $5, with a few not actually allowing below minimum wage for tip staff.

http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm

Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 11 Sep 2013, 21:48
I was speaking to a Canadian recently who, as far as his Danish Grandmother-in-law is concerned, is as good as American. She politely enquired early on in his marriage whether he had learnt to use cutlery yet.

Canadians know all about cutlery (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=643).
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Metope on 11 Sep 2013, 22:26
Tipping culture is so weird to me. In Norway it's pretty simple, you tip about 10% if you're in a restaurant or cafe where waiters serve you at a table, but if you pay and get served by the counter you don't tip. In the UK, apparently you're supposed to tip your hairdresser, which I never did until an English person told me (and then I felt really bad about my previous hairdresser experiences since I'd lived there for two years at that point). Here in the states, you seem to tip everyone and their grandmother, but I have no idea how much.

As with cutlery, usually when we go out to eat here they don't even give us a knife! I have no problems holding the fork in either hand, but I prefer having the knife in my left and the fork in my right (I'm left handed), and I have no idea how to eat with only a fork. What if you're eating rice or something, how are you supposed to eat the last bit if you don't have a knife to shove it onto the fork with?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 11 Sep 2013, 23:00
Use the forks, Luke!
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Loki on 11 Sep 2013, 23:49
*groan*


Personally, I hold my knive with the left hand and my fork with the right (and now you made me selfconscious about how I actually hold it...), but I think I am the exception. (Yes, I'm righthanded.) On the other hand, I don't think I have seen the people I hang out with switch hands either...

Tipping: I almost always tip. Usually something like 10% plus round up to the next Euro. (One should probably say I eat out in the range of 5-6 Euro per meal). I don't tip at takeout. I am not sure if I am supposed to tip the hairdresser (part of why I feel awkward going to them. The other part is that they always seem to mess up :() Germans, help me out there?

I also think tipping and eating habits are regionally dependent within Germany. (You Americans may laugh now.)
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 11 Sep 2013, 23:58
spearing your food onto the tines.
In Germany that might be alright for steak or something, but at least in a fine restaurant the normal way to hold a fork, to which you revert after you ate the bite you had "speared" onto it, is this (http://media05.myheimat.de/2011/09/09/1788864_web.jpg?1315567310).

I generally transfer the fork to my right hand if using it like a spoon; when in the left hand it is mostly used with the tines down, either piercing the food, or with the food precariously balanced on top (perhaps squashed on).  I think one reason some children hate peas is being forced to eat them this way.  But I will admit to turning it over when in the left hand more often now than I was taught - if I ever go a really formal meal again, I wouldn't consider doing that, though.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Akima on 12 Sep 2013, 03:03
Like ChaoSera said, to us it seems childish to change hands for the fork.
Meh. At most meals I don't use knife and fork at all, but chopsticks. If I am eating "Western style", I mostly eat like a European with the knife in my right hand and fork in my left, because that is normal in Australia, but I eat things like Quorn-mince Spaghetti Florentine, or Chilli Con Quorné (I stole the idea from Barmymoo) with a fork in my right hand. So... who cares? Heaven knows what you guys would make of a real cultural difference like squat toilets or something.

Tipping in Australia used to be unknown, I understand, and you still don't tip taxi-drivers, porters, in cafés etc. The influence of American culture has introduced it in restaurants, but I'd say 10% would be the maximum if you were happy. People often just "round up to the nearest $10". Bear in mind that the national minimum wage (http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/national-minimum-wage/Pages/default.aspx) here for a person 20+ years old is about $16 per hour, and "penalty rates" (overtime) may apply in some cases.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 12 Sep 2013, 03:09
Heaven knows what you guys would make of a real cultural difference like squat toilets or something.

I only know one squattie in the UK, which an acquaintance of mine installed for herself on principle (there's a normal bowl next to it in the same room).  I've not seen one in Germany, but they're not uncommon in France and Italy.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ChaoSera on 12 Sep 2013, 03:36
Like ChaoSera said, to us it seems childish to change hands for the fork.
Meh. At most meals I don't use knife and fork at all, but chopsticks. If I am eating "Western style", I mostly eat like a European with the knife in my right hand and fork in my left, because that is normal in Australia, but I eat things like Quorn-mince Spaghetti Florentine, or Chilli Con Quorné (I stole the idea from Barmymoo) with a fork in my right hand. So... who cares? Heaven knows what you guys would make of a real cultural difference like squat toilets or something.
If I eat something that doesn't require a knife I switch the fork to my right hand aswell, I would feel strange not doing so. Chopsticks are a different thing entirely. I'm not able to use chopsticks properly, I always drop half of what I'm trying to eat, or fail to pick it up entirely. :psyduck:
Also I'm not sure what squat toilets are and I don't want to google for it here at work. But if they are what I think they are, there probably are very few - if any at all - in Germany.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LTK on 12 Sep 2013, 03:40
Squat toilets are common on highway toilet stops in France, and I think they serve the same purpose in other central European countries as well.

Heaven knows what you guys would make of a real cultural difference like squat toilets or something.

I only know one squattie in the UK, which an acquaintance of mine installed for herself on principle (there's a normal bowl next to it in the same room).  I've not seen one in Germany, but they're not uncommon in France and Italy.
What principle might that be?

Anyway, if someone ever reprimanded me for not following dining etiquette by holding my knife and fork in the wrong hands I'd probably tell them there are many more things I could do with that knife and fork that would violate dining etiquette.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 12 Sep 2013, 05:30
What principle might that be?

The principle of using at home what she believes is the best and most healthy way for her body to perform the function involved.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LTK on 12 Sep 2013, 05:42
Well, I guess I learned something today: Some people take toilets really seriously!
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 12 Sep 2013, 06:49
Yep, squatting toilets are definitely uncommon here, but are common in Italy at least (I never was in France).

And by the way, if you're eating something where you don't need, and so don't have a knife, then you'd have the fork in the right hand (if you're right-handed) as well. It's just that we don't change hands during eating and keep the knife in our hands. When you reverse the hands (knife in left, fork in right), I'd probably assume that you're left handed and not be offended by it.

Well, and chopsticks are a different thing entirely. I can use them, and when I'm at a "Chinese" restaurant (I put it in quotes, as the restaurants here are hardly authentic) I'll probably do, but it's not really comfortable to me.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 12 Sep 2013, 07:05
I have a really hard time eating with my right hand.  It's hard to find my mouth.  That's why, despite writing with my right hand, and being perfectly able to use right handed scissors (and other one-sided tools and utensils like can openers), I consider myself a lefty.  If I can do something either way. it's usually more comfy with the left hand. 
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LeeC on 12 Sep 2013, 07:38
Tipping culture is so weird to me. In Norway it's pretty simple, you tip about 10% if you're in a restaurant or cafe where waiters serve you at a table, but if you pay and get served by the counter you don't tip. In the UK, apparently you're supposed to tip your hairdresser, which I never did until an English person told me (and then I felt really bad about my previous hairdresser experiences since I'd lived there for two years at that point). Here in the states, you seem to tip everyone and their grandmother, but I have no idea how much.
here in the US we tip the hairdresser/barber and servers at a restaurant.  We do not tip the guy at the counter.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Welu on 12 Sep 2013, 09:32
In the UK, apparently you're supposed to tip your hairdresser, which I never did until an English person told me (and then I felt really bad about my previous hairdresser experiences since I'd lived there for two years at that point).

I'm in Northern Ireland and I've never heard of this?  Although my Mammy has given our hairdresser smallish gifts, like a box of chocolates, around Christmas because we've been with them for a few years now and have a consistent person. Although I only get my hair cut usually once, maybe twice a year.

Something small my Mammy taught me to do at meals was when you're done eating, to lay your knife and fork together parallel on the plate. I thought it was because she sometimes waitresses and it made the plates easier to carry without dropping the cutlery but it was something her Irish granny told her. Now when people leave their cutlery crossed or not together on the plate, I get antsy until I or they fix it.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 12 Sep 2013, 09:39
In Germany that's the nonverbal way of saying that you've finished eating. Having the cutlery crossed on the plate means that you want to continue eating.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 12 Sep 2013, 10:30
Putting your cutlery together when you finish is what I was taught too. Also I think with hairdressers you tip unless the person who cut your hair is the owner of the salon, or something. I don't get my hair cut any more, but when I did I went to a tiny little place where the only people working there were the ones who owned it, and I usually tipped because they charged so little I felt bad!
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ackblom12 on 12 Sep 2013, 10:50
Tipping culture is so weird to me. In Norway it's pretty simple, you tip about 10% if you're in a restaurant or cafe where waiters serve you at a table, but if you pay and get served by the counter you don't tip. In the UK, apparently you're supposed to tip your hairdresser, which I never did until an English person told me (and then I felt really bad about my previous hairdresser experiences since I'd lived there for two years at that point). Here in the states, you seem to tip everyone and their grandmother, but I have no idea how much.
here in the US we tip the hairdresser/barber and servers at a restaurant.  We do not tip the guy at the counter.

Unless it's a bar.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: lepetitfromage on 12 Sep 2013, 11:10
Or there is a Tip Jar on the counter.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LeeC on 12 Sep 2013, 11:32
Tipping culture is so weird to me. In Norway it's pretty simple, you tip about 10% if you're in a restaurant or cafe where waiters serve you at a table, but if you pay and get served by the counter you don't tip. In the UK, apparently you're supposed to tip your hairdresser, which I never did until an English person told me (and then I felt really bad about my previous hairdresser experiences since I'd lived there for two years at that point). Here in the states, you seem to tip everyone and their grandmother, but I have no idea how much.
here in the US we tip the hairdresser/barber and servers at a restaurant.  We do not tip the guy at the counter.

Unless it's a bar.
ah true.  I meant not the cashier at McDonalds or 7-11

Or there is a Tip Jar on the counter.
that always feels option IMHO.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Grognard on 12 Sep 2013, 11:42
I usually see Tip Jars at the coffee shop and the ice creamery.
if the barrista makes me a drink, I'll tip $1.
if I pour my own, I keep the $.
For ice cream, I tip .50c for everyone in the group.
family of four = $2 tip.

as for
"Awesome Service + I'm Drunk + You're Cute:  I don't recall the cost, I just tipped her $50."

in my defense, "you're cute"; sometimes that just means "You made the experience enjoyable simply by your presence."  the waitress wasn't a supermodel, she just had us all laughing at her comedic antics with our group.

Another waitress made a good tip by flirting heavily with my wife. She made my wife smile and blush and smile more.
That made me happy.  Happy customers tip well.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Jace on 12 Sep 2013, 17:41
I'm still not sure what the deal with tipping tattoo artists is. You are quoting me a price that ends up being somewhere around $25-35/hr and then I am supposed to add another $20-$40 on top of that? Why

Also I'm paying you in cash so its not even like you have to wait to get paid.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ackblom12 on 12 Sep 2013, 17:56
US tipping culture is just incredibly fucking weird and problematic.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: lepetitfromage on 12 Sep 2013, 20:23
It really is...we tip practically everyone. Pretty much every service job. Can't come up with one off the top of my head that you're not supposed to tip.

I painted faces a few weeks back and was offered tips. Kind of surprised me, but who am I to complain? :-P
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Jace on 12 Sep 2013, 21:34
Especially since there's signs and stuff in shops that encourage tipping and its just so weird to me.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Grognard on 12 Sep 2013, 22:09
I'm still waiting for somebody to tip the IT guy.

Mtn Dew / RedBull / Reese's candy are BRIBES, not tips.

:D
oh, wait; I'm already fat.
:D
maybe a donation to my Weight Watchers account?
:)   :)  :)
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 12 Sep 2013, 22:22
Tips are for service. 

Bribes are for people who have power over you. 


Come too think of it, hairdressers, servers, taxi drivers... all have power over you.  This isn't a tip culture, it's a bribery scheme! 
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: The Seldom Killer on 12 Sep 2013, 23:56
lepetitfromage - Do Americans tip shop staff though?

Shoe shops come to mind as a high service shop retail environment. You'll be asking the staff to run back and forth from the stock area with various shoes in your size. They may make recommendations and in sports shoe shops will possibly even make an assessment of your foot/movement style That seems like potentially a lot more effort than waitressing at a chain diner. However, to the best of my knowledge, people don't tip shoe sales people. If you've ever done anything more than just pick a pair of shoes off the shelf and buy them, do you know how much your shoes sales person makes per hour? You can translate this to any number of shop staff situations.

I also find the notion of tipping a percentage of the cost of the food quite bizzare. Order a burger and a coke for $5 and you're tipping 75c to $1, order something off the specials menu with a juice and a side for $10 and you're tipping $1.50 to $2. Yet the waiter is doing almost exactly the same amount of work for you, so why are you paying more/less because of what you want to eat?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Papersatan on 13 Sep 2013, 00:00
We don't tip sales people, but the staff for high service items are usually paid on commission.  (In department stores that would be shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and men's suits)
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: lepetitfromage on 13 Sep 2013, 05:43
If you've ever done anything more than just pick a pair of shoes off the shelf and buy them, do you know how much your shoes sales person makes per hour?

I used to work at a shoe store, and made $8.50/hr. Not exactly the best paying job I've ever had  :-P
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 13 Sep 2013, 06:26
I don't think I've seen a full service shoe store in years... most of them have them all out and a bench or two for you to try them on yourself.  the counter people will go in the back to look if you can't find something, then come back shaking their head...

Self service, the bane of service employment everywhere. 
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: snalin on 13 Sep 2013, 12:01
Since practically nobody other than old people and junkies use anything else than debit cards in Norway (we don't get any benefits from using credit cards, which you USians apparently do (so strange)), the tip jar is becoming less and less common. I mean, it's still there, but most people don't have anything to put in. You just tip when you pay with your card, by entering what you're going to pay in the terminal before you enter your pin.

Still, I think most people don't do any maths, but just round up to the nearest 100 NOK (<17 USD, <13 EUR), as that's what you used to to back when they paid cash - the notes are 100s, 200s and 500s, so tipping also involved the practicality of not having to bother with too many coins.


This got me thinking - I know that payment culture is very different in different countries. As I said, pretty much everyone pays by debit card here (it doubles as legal ID (I could vote with only that, although it would take a bit longer)), but I know this is not the case in the US - from what I've picked up, people generally use cash or credit cards and have separate IDs. What's the situation where everyone else is from?

Using credit cards is often seen as irresponsible here - you take up an intermediate debt instead of actually paying, which means that you're not limited by the amount of money you actually have. Similarly, nobody would ever admit to taking up a loan for anything other than a house, a car or student loans. I would feel really weird if I went grocery shopping and paid with a credit card.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Welu on 13 Sep 2013, 14:32
In Norn' Ireland, not too sure about the Republic or Great Britain, we have separate ID and debit/credit cards.

When I first tried to get a debit card, when I was seventeen, I was told I wasn't allowed because I was under eighteen. However I could have a credit card. I'm fairly sure the bank just saw a young person and didn't expect me to have the sense to only want to spend money that I actually had. Although in theory as long as my card was linked to a current account with money in it, I could have effectively used it as a debit card. I still said no to be safe.

I don't think I've seen a full service shoe store in years...

The only ones I know of are sports stores, where shoes are their main thing but there's also a lot of other stock on the floor. There's usually one or two walls of example shoes and you need to ask someone to bring you one in the relevant size. Although getting someone's attention can be a pain in a culture where coughing quietly is rude because how dare you draw any attention to yourself.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Loki on 13 Sep 2013, 14:50
Germans generally don't use credit cards except where (American Internet...) companies require it. You pay with cash for mostly anything. For bigger purchases (say, >100 Euro) you use your debit card for the convenience of not having so much cash on your person (although you can use cash as well). Obviously, some shops don't accept big notes on small purchases, and with some, you can only pay with debit card if your purchase exceeds a certain amount (usually 5 or 10 Euro). I think the reason for that is that they pay transaction costs.

You pay by debit card either by entering a 4 digit PIN or by signing the receipt (it seems to be somewhat random what you will be asked to do).

Usually only shops have debit card readers (but you cannot really rely on them having any). Bars and restaurants rarely do (depending on size of course), kiosks and food takeouts almost certainly don't. You can also use your debit card as ID at cigarette vending machines.

For the really big purchases, you can authorize the creditor to withdraw money from your bank account, or you can pay via bank transfer yourself.

Basically, you use cash for everyday purchases, debit card for the slightly bigger purchases and bank transfers for the really big stuff.

Regarding ID: you must have an "official ID" with you at all times (although nobody really checks if you do, but you'd be in trouble if you have to present one for some reason and don't have it with you). This can be, for example, your regular ID, your driving license, or an ID like the police have. Student IDs don't count as such, but will usually be accepted by bouncers and ticket inspectors as proof of age and identity (if they have a picture on them, of course).
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Akima on 13 Sep 2013, 19:19
I only know one squattie in the UK, which an acquaintance of mine installed for herself on principle (there's a normal bowl next to it in the same room).
There are "dual mode (http://www.pinz.com.sg/wc/pics/sit_squat.gif)" toilets available here, which are designed to sit above the floor and connect to standard "throne toilet" plumbing, but I don't know if you can get them in the UK. Another alternative is to use a "squat stool", like this (http://www.lillipad.co.nz/) for example.

I don't think I've seen a full service shoe store in years...
In Australia, it is still normal for shoe-shops to have assistants who measure your feet, bring you the shoes etc. The only places where you buy shoes self-service are Target, K-Mart etc., and hardware stores for rubber boots, work-boots etc.

Australians don't pay for things in one dominant way. Cash payment is still common (and often the quickest), or you can use a debit-card (often called an "eftposs-card" here from Electronic Funds-Transfer Point-Of-Sale) or a credit-card. Many people have a single card that can be used as either, and you select which function you want to use at the payment terminal, or on older systems, the check-out person will ask: "cheque or credit?" and select it on their terminal before swiping your card. If you pay by eftpos you enter your PIN, if by credit you will get the option to validate the transaction either with a PIN, or by signing the docket which older people sometimes prefer. The electronic signature pads on supermarket "bag your own" check-outs are notoriously unreliable, and I haven't seen anyone use one for ages.

There is no social stigma associated with paying by credit-card here, and the banks of course positively encourage it with all sorts of discount schemes, fee-rebates, frequent-flyer points etc. Retailers are not always so keen on the cut that the banks take, and (since 2003 when the law was changed to prevent credit-card companies from writing contracts prohibiting the practice) some shops add a surcharge to the bill if you pay by credit-card. Unsurprisingly, the surcharge is always well above the fee that the credit-card companies actually charge. It is normal for retailers to point to the fees charged by Diners Club in justification (though the surcharges comfortably exceed even those), when the mass-market Mastercard and Visa have much lower fees. As always, let the buyer beware. I regard credit-cards as being like power-saws; very useful but potentially dangerous; you have to take care to keep your fingers away from the blades.

No bank-issued card is acceptable for ID purposes in Australia, even where it carries a photo, which most do not. Your driver's licence, or an equivalent "undrivers license" photo-card with the same security features, issued by the state-government motor-registry is the standard thing.

When I first had to refuel a car in the USA, the "pay first, then pump" system confused me thoroughly. Here, you normally pump first, then pay at the counter. Some servos have POS-terminals built into the pump, where you "pre-authorise" the maximum amount of money you expect to spend. If you pump fuel to a lower value, you only pay the lower amount, but the bank charges the total pre-authorised amount to your account immediately, and then pays you back the difference between what you bought and what you pre-authorised. The system has a not-so-good reputation for hassles and delays in the repayments. Personally I never use [email protected], mainly because the terminals cannot process supermarket "loyalty cards" so I'd miss out on the discounted fuel price "earned" by my grocery shopping. The terminals can't process "fleet cards" either, making them useless for a lot of professional drivers, tradesmen etc.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Kugai on 13 Sep 2013, 19:25
Cash is still the usual general form of payment in stores and restaraunts down here, though you can use Debit Cards or Credit Cards.  Cash can, and is, be used for purchases up to around $2000, but cash payments like that are less common - it's more likely to be for lesser amounts in stores and restaraunts.  Debit Cards can be used to pay for things in shops too, including takaways (just used it myself to pay for a $2.80 scoop of Fries).

Credit Cards here are generally the preserve of those who can afford them.  Banks here charge a high rate of interest (anything from 15 -19% depending on the bank and the deal you get when you apply for your card).

Interestingly, Cheques are still used down here, but their use is becoming less and less prevalant, and for large purchases (say, a car or some such big ticket item) it's usually handled either by a Bank Cheque or, more and more common, a direct monetary transfer between vendor and seller.)

*Edit*  Thank you Akima, I almost forgot about EFTPOS, which we also use down here    My own card is an ATM/EFTPOS/Debit Card */Edit*
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: mustang6172 on 13 Sep 2013, 19:27
I miss the days when you could pump gas before paying.  Some of you may have extrapolated this from my post in the "Dreams" thread.

It's like nobody trusts each other anymore.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 13 Sep 2013, 20:18
Too many drive-offs when the prices skyrocketed a few years ago. 

It's like I tell my students about cheating - "It's not that I don't trust you, it's that I can't trust anybody!"
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Loki on 13 Sep 2013, 23:28
The discussion of gas stations reminds me how weird toilet payments are here at those gas stations which are located along our famous Autobahnen. (They also sell food for thrice the normal price, of course).

Most have a system installed which has you pay 1 Euro for entering the toilets, then you get a voucher worth 50ct in return and can use it at any gas station which uses the system. Of course, most people forget to do so.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Sep 2013, 02:22
Oh I remember those toilet vouchers, I think! Weird.

I haven't been with someone filling up with petrol in the UK for years, but last time I was (probably two or three years ago) you could still "pump then pay" as you sweetly call it (we don't use the verb pump for filling up with petrol - it is a lot quicker, I have to admit). I found it odd that I had to pre-pay when I was driving in America, I'd never heard of that before.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: jwhouk on 14 Sep 2013, 04:07
1. Akima, the system in the US is known more or less as "credit/debit" cards. The major card companies (Visa/Mastercard, American Express and Discover) all have them; my bank uses Mastercard. Retaliers say "Credit or debit" when you pull out a card to pay. While cash is good for most transactions, checks (or "cheques" as you Brits/Canucks call them) require ID for purchases - where they're accepted. As for the chip-in-a-card thing: most cards in the US only have magnetic stripes. I do have one card (by Amex) that had a chip embedded at one point - they've since done away with it.

2. Up here in Wisconsin, our ATM cards are sometimes called (by those of us old enough to remember them) "Tyme" cards. The acronym (Take Your Money Everywhere) was started by a consortium of banks in the state in the 1970's and 1980's, with the idea you could get cash from your bank account anywhere. Some banks with older machines, or in out-of-the-way places, still have the TYME logo on them.

3. I hate the fact that my younger self decided to get into credit card debt. I'm still paying on several cards, but I'm a lot less in the hole than I used to be.

4. Pay toilets never worked in the US. Too many people got around the coin slot mechanism by "crawling under" the door. Cash for things like that aren't seen as "value" for Americans; there are people who gripe at Aldi's having quarter slots on their carts.

5. Pre-paying for gas isn't universal in the states, but the drive-offs have made it rather ubiquitous. I use gas cards exclusively for fueling up, and pay for them in full when the bill comes at the end of the billing period.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ChaoSera on 14 Sep 2013, 04:36
I use my debit card pretty much everywhere I can, regardless of what amount I'm paying. I mostly do this because I somehow feel uncomfortable using cash where I don't need to, because that could leave me without cash further down the road, when I might need to pay something/someone who doesn't take debit cards. Also, I rarely carry more than 30€ in cash around with me, unless I expect of going somewhere where I won't be able to use my debit card for a while (like music festivals).
I don't even own a credit card, as I have no use for it. Most online shops that might require a credit card also offer paying by PayPal, so I'm all set.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Sep 2013, 04:46
I don't have a credit card and hope never to get one. I can't really think of any reason why I would have to, to be honest, but perhaps someone can enlighten me.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LTK on 14 Sep 2013, 05:01
Buying entertainment products from the UK (or even the US) saves me around 30% compared to what I'd be paying in my own currency, and that often requires a credit card. These days I use my credit card almost exclusively for either Amazon or websites that use Amazon as a payment system, such as the Humble Bundle. The rest of the time, it doesn't even leave its hiding place. I prefer to use it over Paypal due to their questionable business practices. It has a limit of €1000, but the highest monthly charge I've ever had to pay was less than €50, and I pay about 3 euros per six months for the card, so I'm happy with it. It's nice to have it as an option.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Pilchard123 on 14 Sep 2013, 05:15
I don't have a credit card and hope never to get one. I can't really think of any reason why I would have to, to be honest, but perhaps someone can enlighten me.

My parents have a credit card that they use only for buying things that could conceivably go sour (mostly online stuff, really). There's an extra layer of protection when you can call on the card provider to fight battles for you as well.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: GarandMarine on 14 Sep 2013, 05:20
I use a debit card exclusively compared to a credit card (actually it's a Visa Check Card, which can be used in both ways, and used any where a Visa is accepted). It is provided free by my financial institution (along with my actual credit card, which I carry as an "Oh fuck" back up). I have not had a balance to be paid on my actual credit card in roughly two years. I vastly prefer paying with plastic over cash though. As long as you stay on top of your financials you don't over spend, it's fast and simple, and you don't have to regularly visit a bank or ATM.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Redball on 14 Sep 2013, 05:47
I use very little cash and use a credit card for most purchases, paying it off monthly. I used to have a $5 lower limit, but with the ubiquity of card readers at fast-food places, I've dropped that to $2 or so. When I drive from MI to AZ, stay a couple of months and drive home, I take maybe $200 in cash, and typically come back with $150. My credit card puts miles on my American Airlines frequent flyer account. I looked last night: 374k.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: bhtooefr on 14 Sep 2013, 08:34
In Germany that's the nonverbal way of saying that you've finished eating. Having the cutlery crossed on the plate means that you want to continue eating.
Here in the US, leaving the cutlery on the plate at all signifies that you've finished eating any dishes that require that cutlery, whereas placing it on the table signifies that you want to continue eating.

Especially since there's signs and stuff in shops that encourage tipping and its just so weird to me.
In my area, a local barbecue chain (http://citybbq.com) actually has signs saying "tipping is for cows" - they prohibit tips. They've also got excellent (counter) service and food.

Also, regarding US payment processing, because some of this works differently between different countries... jwhouk already covered this but I'll elaborate.

US payment cards have a magstripe that has all of the card info, and some of the info embossed on the front. (This allows payment networks to differentiate between a manually entered transaction and a card-present swipe transaction, which are billed at different rates due to the fraud risk.) Chip-and-PIN isn't a thing here, the few cards that have it are marketed towards people who travel to Europe, where (as I understand) magstripe transactions are now almost unheard of.

When you swipe the card, if it's a debit card, you're often given a choice between having the card processed as credit (through a credit card transaction network, and the merchant pays the fees) or debit (through a different debit transaction network, and your bank pays the fees I believe). Businesses that accept tips always ring it up as credit, however.

Credit's main security measure is that the merchant is required to get a signature for most transactions that are $25+ (exceptions are card-not-present transactions (online primarily), and pay-at-the-pump fuel purchases), so that if there's a question, the merchant is required to present their copy of the receipt with signature. How this works in a restaurant workflow... the card is swiped, total is entered, the terminal verifies that the transaction is approved, a hold is placed on the card for that amount, and the receipt is printed. Then, you're given the receipt, and write the tip amount, new total, sign it, and leave. I think the receipts are then entered back into the terminal with the tip amount, then, and the funds taken with the addition for the tip, but I've not actually worked with that end of things.

Debit requires PIN entry (so it's a "stripe-and-PIN" system, although with no crypto whatsoever), and no signature. You can also choose to get cash back with a debit transaction, in many places. (Obviously, this doesn't work for businesses to accept tips, because the tip is collected after the authorization has already been made, and they don't want to do a second transaction to get the tip.)

As far as charging different rates for credit/debit/cash, the credit card providers don't allow charging more than the advertised price for using credit, but you are allowed to charge LESS than the advertised price for using cash.

Also, debit/credit card usage is extremely widespread in the US. As has been mentioned, many credit cards have rewards for using them, and some debit cards do as well.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: snalin on 14 Sep 2013, 08:40
I don't have a credit card and hope never to get one. I can't really think of any reason why I would have to, to be honest, but perhaps someone can enlighten me.

If I'm going to other countries, I use a credit card for restaurants and such. If someone overcharges me (by say adding a zero to the end of the bill), I can cancel the payment later on by contacting my bank. I'm not so much worried about that here at home, because I could just go report it to the police and get it fixed.

Chip-and-PIN isn't a thing here, the few cards that have it are marketed towards people who travel to Europe, where (as I understand) magstripe transactions are now almost unheard of.

Here, cards still have the stripe, but the chip is used everywhere. If the chip is failing for some reason, you can use the stripe.

I think all of the cards that only had a strip is outdated and useless now. I'm happy with the chips - the magnets had a tendency to fail if they were exposed to other magnet sources, and not very strong ones either. Although with chips, cutting the card in two pieces to destroy it no longer really works, so that might be a problem.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Sep 2013, 09:25
When I travel I don't use my cards! I get charged every time I use them, plus a percentage of the transaction amount, so I either take cash or a travel card that I believe basically functions the same way as whatever the standard method in that country is (in the US I had one of these and I could use it as credit or debit in the way people have been describing, but I didn't know what the difference was).
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Thrillho on 14 Sep 2013, 09:32
Americans can correct me on this, but someone I know once came back from America and said that basically, where she went they didn't have manners in the traditional sense - like, for service staff, you just ask for what you want instead of requesting it. In the UK you say 'can I have a beer please?' and in the US, or this state/town, you say 'Give me a beer.'

This led to the following exchange:
'Can I please have another martini?'
*barman slams hand on the bar*
*extremely friendly, but incredibly loudly* 'OF COURSE you can have another martini, this is AMERICA, THE LAND OF THE FREE!'
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Sep 2013, 09:39
Something I noticed in the US was that people said please very seldom, but thank you very frequently. I found that to be true of the culture overall. In Britain it's more the reverse.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: GarandMarine on 14 Sep 2013, 11:06
I think they might have just been screwing with her to some extent. Especially that bartender.

Other then that it varies person to person and location to location. At bars "Pitcher of X" sometimes I throw please on there, but usually not, the bartender is busy. I am going to be direct, then when the task is complete and I receive my pitcher of boozey happiness I will thank them for their efforts. Wait staff at a nice restaurant such as the perennial mecca of American fine dining, The Olive Garden then requests are more common. Unless you're an ass.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: lepetitfromage on 14 Sep 2013, 11:12
That is one thing that drives me absolutely crazy about a lot of people here. My parents brought me up to have good manners- not just towards specific people- but to EVERYONE. Saying please, thank you and you're welcome is NOT hard. Another one? Excuse me! I can't even tell you how many times I was practically ran over by someone walking past me without a word. It's just two words, people....come on.

Manners go hand in hand with being a nice person- it's not hard to be nice, it's not hard to have manners. I get that sometimes we all have "off" days, but in general? What do you really have to lose by saying "Please"?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Sep 2013, 12:02
No bartender is ever too busy to hear the word please tagged onto the end of the phrase "a pint of lager" or whatever. You shouldn't be more polite to someone just because they get paid more, that's a ridiculous differentiator.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: GarandMarine on 14 Sep 2013, 12:59
It's not their level of pay (I'd bet good money the bartenders are making more then most of the waiters) it's the setting and circumstance that dictate behavior.

Bar: "Can I get a pint of bitter?" *receives* "Thanks mate" *tips a dollar*

Restaurant: "I'd like a bottle of your 73' Pinot Noir if you could" *booze returns, hopefully with waiter/wine steward) "thank you"

Neither request for booze is less polite then the other in their natural setting.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 14 Sep 2013, 13:07
True, different levels of formality.  Most bartenders actually ask you what they can get you if they're not too busy! 

I do that at the beer store, too.  "What can I get you today?"



Some of them actually have to think about it, despite buying the same beer several times a week for the last 10, 20 or 30 years...

or maybe because of it. 
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 14 Sep 2013, 13:16
It's not a criticism (although if you were to say "Give me a beer!" I'd consider that was rude!), just an observation about different cultures. Obviously it's kind of a blanket statement, there are plenty of people in the UK who don't say please all the time but I noticed that in the USA, people are lot more effusive in saying thank you but not as self-abasing in requesting things as in the UK.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: mtmerrick on 14 Sep 2013, 15:07
Chip-and-PIN isn't a thing here, the few cards that have it are marketed towards people who travel to Europe, where (as I understand) magstripe transactions are now almost unheard of.

Here, cards still have the stripe, but the chip is used everywhere. If the chip is failing for some reason, you can use the stripe.

I think all of the cards that only had a strip is outdated and useless now. I'm happy with the chips - the magnets had a tendency to fail if they were exposed to other magnet sources, and not very strong ones either. Although with chips, cutting the card in two pieces to destroy it no longer really works, so that might be a problem.
i love using RFID payments. About half the establishments here support it. And most people have no idea what the hell just happened.

Now if only I could get Google wallet up and running in my phone, then i could really fuck with the ignorant.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Welu on 14 Sep 2013, 15:32
Another one? Excuse me! I can't even tell you how many times I was practically ran over by someone walking past me without a word. It's just two words, people....come on.

A peeve of mine I'm not looking forward to when I return to college is people standing or even sitting in the middle of the hallway, I say, "Excuse me." to get by and they just stay in the way. I've had people look at me after I've said, "Excuse me." and not make any effort to move.  :x

How chatty are shop workers in the USA? In the shop I work in we've actually been told things like, "Be polite and friendly but don't get Americanised with your service." Referring to the, "What can I get you? Would you like anything else? Is everything okay? Thanks for shopping here. Have a great day!" eagerness people think is done. I know on an individual level it would differ but in general.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: cesium133 on 14 Sep 2013, 15:57
A fun story from when I was in college: the one day the cafeteria did one of the specials they do once or twice a semester where the food is actually good. Whenever that happens there are always really long lines. So I was trying to enter the cafeteria, but the line for one of the serving stations was blocking the entrance, and nobody would let me though when I politely asked "Excuse me." So I backed up a few steps, and then tackled one of the people who wouldn't get out of my way. The crazy thing that I didn't know at the time was the college's new football coach was right behind me at the time. He (jokingly) offered me a position on the offensive line.  :roll:
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: lepetitfromage on 14 Sep 2013, 16:00
When I used to work retail, I was often afraid to bother people too much- usually the initial interaction was the hardest. But- I found that some customers liked to chat, so I based my chattiness on that. I had no problem holding a conversation for a few minutes if they wanted to.


When I'm shopping, I generally get "Hi, can I help you find anything? No? Ok, just let me know if you need something." And then while checking out, it's common to get "Did you find everything ok? Have a nice day!"






Cesium.....that is awesome.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Method of Madness on 14 Sep 2013, 17:01
In Germany that's the nonverbal way of saying that you've finished eating. Having the cutlery crossed on the plate means that you want to continue eating.
Here in the US, leaving the cutlery on the plate at all signifies that you've finished eating any dishes that require that cutlery, whereas placing it on the table signifies that you want to continue eating.
Wait, what? Why? I always leave my cutlery on the plate between because why would I put my cutlery directly on the table?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Jace on 14 Sep 2013, 17:07
Putting your napkin on your plate signifies that you are done.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Method of Madness on 14 Sep 2013, 17:27
See, that I can get behind. As for tipping, I'll usually tip 20% if service is solid, and next to nothing if it's atrocious (this has almost never happened). I don't really mind, since I just consider it another (technically optional) tax. I have picked food up from a restaurant rather than eating there to save the money I would've spent on tips, though.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 14 Sep 2013, 20:27
In Germany putting your used cutlery on the table is considered rude. While it is a common sight that somebody has the cutlery ”leaned” on to the plate with the handle on the table, it's considered good behaviour especially at formal occasions to never let the cutlery touch the tablecloth anymore after you've started using it. In general, the German ”Knigge” is a good source of information on stuff like that.

I've got another topic regarding cultural differences I'd like to talk about, but I need to sleep first. That one might take some time to explain. If somebody cares, it'll be about German ”Studentenverbindungen”, a topic I learnt a lot about today, as I met with a friend this evening who joined one a few weeks ago.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: mtmerrick on 14 Sep 2013, 21:27
i haven't even SEEN a tablecloth in a long time...
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 15 Sep 2013, 00:17
Eatin' at the fancy places, I see! 
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 15 Sep 2013, 01:47
In Germany putting your used cutlery on the table is considered rude.

I haven't seen them used for a long time; but "knife rests" used to be a solution to that.  I always thought of them as somewhat French, and knew them as "cutlery dogs" - but Google doesn't have any evidence of that name (it's not the only thing I know that Google has never heard of!).  They may be metal, crystal or plastic, plain or fancy, and are quite often in the shape of sausage dogs:

(http://www.knife-rests.co.uk/knife_rest_images/Pict0265.jpg)

(http://www.knife-rests.co.uk/knife_rest_images/Pict0142.JPG)

I had a set of plastic sausage dog ones which occasionally came out for dinner parties (they went with my first wife).  Here's some history (http://www.knife-rests.co.uk/knife_rest_history.php), from a company that sells nothing else!
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Loki on 15 Sep 2013, 05:16
They had similar stuff for the chopsticks at the sushi place I was at recently.

I've had people look at me after I've said, "Excuse me." and not make any effort to move.  :x
...to be fair, the sentence "excuse me" alone is not exactly unambiguous.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: bhtooefr on 15 Sep 2013, 05:19
I'll note that it's generally best to place the fork and knife on the napkin, so the tablecloth or table surface doesn't get dirty, but still, it's pretty damn close to being on the table. And, maybe that's more regional, and there might be some class differences as well, but here in Ohio and most places I've been, it's unambiguous that utensils off the plate don't get taken, on the plate do. (If you're present when the waitstaff comes to take plates, the utensils are on the plate, and you've not eaten much, they may ask if you still need them, but that's not that common.)
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 15 Sep 2013, 06:00
hmm. I didn't even consider that tablecloths wouldn't be so commonly used in the US. Every restaurant (except for fast food chains) has them on the table, and I know many households where they're used at all times. Even though at home it's mostly PVC coated ones, which are easy to wipe clean.

I on the other hand have never seen one of these knife rests. We just use the plate.


But now I guess I'll explain what I talked about yesterday/today (depending on timezone and/or interpretation). Studentenverbindungen.

Damn, these things are strange. I've posted about German Schützenvereine some time ago, and about the traditions around them. In a way these Studentenverbindungen (basically the word for fraternities/sororities in German tradition) are similar. They are very set on their traditions, and seem extremely anachronistically for outsiders (and only 1% of the students are members of one). A friend of mine joined one, the main reason for that is that they offer cheap living space for their members. He isn't sure if he wants to stay a member, and he doesn't know if they'd even accept him as a full member, but he experienced quite a lot about them already.
Traditionally Studentenverbindungen practise "academical fencing", something which is only known in this context. Not all still keep this tradition, especially the catholic ones don't, but a large portion still holds it, either voluntarily or mandatory. My friend joined one which is officially "pflichtschlagend", so it's mandatory for everyone to practise academical fencing and to spar with others. Members of a "pflichtschlagende Verbindung" are also required to take part in a minimum number of fights with sharp weapons, the so called "Mensur". The Mensur originates in duelling tradition. If somebody offended you, you could demand satisfaction, and if the other chose so, it would come to a duel. Even after duels were forbidden, the Studentenverbindungen kept doing them, and even demanded that their members would take part in at least 5 to 10. Because of that it was in a way "necessary" to offend somebody, only to fulfill your required number of duels. This lead to the development of an insult which was not considered offensive, but only as a request to fight. This was the beginning of the Mensuren. Nowadays it is forbidden to decide about honour through a fight, but some Verbindungen still inofficially encourage their members to demand satisfaction after an insult.

All these strict rules have been parodied in rules about drinking. Drinking is an even more important aspect of life in a Verbindung nowadays, compared to the fencing. The rules for behaviour are set in so called Comments (pronounced French), and for the official drinking events there are so called "Biercomments". These include rules about drinking games, rules about behaviour toward others, especially higher ranked members, rules about punishments, and traditional songs. Punishments usually include either not getting any more beer (until the punishment is being lifted, which can be for years and is considered extremely degrading) or having to drink a lot more.

My friend is now considering leaving the Verbindung (he isn't a full member yet), because they're drinking too much. In the weeks he has been there, he had only one or two sober evenings per week. On the other nights he had to drink at least about two litres of beer.

Well, and another big problem with some Verbindungen is, well, it's pretty obvious, isn't it? "Trying to hold up German traditions"? While most Verbindungen try to appear multicultural and tolerant, there are some, especially some so called "Burschenschaften", which are not. They are famous for singing e.g. the first stanza of the German national anthem. Singing the first stanza is officially forbidden in Germany, the official anthem is only the third stanza. While the first line of the third stanza can be translated as "Unity and Justice and Freedom for the German fatherland", the first line of the first stanza is "Germany, Germany above everything, everything else in the world". I guess it's obvious as to why this is illegal.

Another concern often raised is sexism in Verbindungen. Most Verbindungen only allow male students to join, but there are a few female Verbindungen, and about 130 mixed ones.

Joining a Verbindung is something I wouldn't even consider. I don't really see the fascination with these "traditions", I couldn't stand the discrimination against others, be it women or members of other Verbindungen, I don't like drinking, and I'd like to decide for myself how to spend my spare time.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Loki on 15 Sep 2013, 06:27
Now that you have explained what Burschenschaften are, I can see why my favourite resident leftist keeps bashing them.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 15 Sep 2013, 06:30
Not all of them are right-wing-extremists, of all types of Verbindungen, there are the most right-wing-extremists in Burschenschaften. Some of the Corps are bad as well. Well, Corps are typically hardliners anyway.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Method of Madness on 15 Sep 2013, 06:32
Yeah, but then you get the napkin dirty. Also the napkin should be in your lap.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: bhtooefr on 15 Sep 2013, 07:03
Well, if you're eating at a buffet, the napkin wouldn't remain in your lap, it'd go on the table, when you go to get more food.

Now, at a full-serivce sit-down restaurant, it's easier to grab the silverware before they take the plate. And multiple courses would usually have more utensils, or they wouldn't take the previous course's plates until they were about to deliver the next course.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Method of Madness on 15 Sep 2013, 07:24
If you're at a buffet and you're getting more food, why does it matter if they take the previous plate?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Carl-E on 15 Sep 2013, 08:03
Not all of them are right-wing-extremists, of all types of Verbindungen, there are the most right-wing-extremists in Burschenschaften. Some of the Corps are bad as well. Well, Corps are typically hardliners anyway.

Yeah, but then you get the napkin dirty. Also the napkin should be in your lap.


Post whiplash. 

About the ... fraternities.  Many in the US had a similar reputation, but that's abated a lot thanks to the intervention of the universities themselves, and the national orders of which the local fraternities are chapters.  If a fraternity wanted to have a presence at a university campus, they had to conform to the University's requirements.  And so many of the "old ways" (especially the constant underage drinking, incorporated hate practices and hazing) had to be toned down, at least publicly. 

Aside from the service fraternities, they're still pretty much nests of horridness. 

And Paul, we have a set of Noritake knife rests (12 of 'em) from my wife's mother's set, along with most of the service pieces.  We even have the matching china placecards that you'd write the name on with a crayon.  The plates didn't survive well, though - only a few remain, and no cups or saucers. 
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 15 Sep 2013, 08:15
How chatty are shop workers in the USA? In the shop I work in we've actually been told things like, "Be polite and friendly but don't get Americanised with your service." Referring to the, "What can I get you? Would you like anything else? Is everything okay? Thanks for shopping here. Have a great day!" eagerness people think is done. I know on an individual level it would differ but in general.

When I worked as a cashier at a large chain grocery store (Safeway) we had a whole list of things we were required to say: Good morning/afternoon, how are you today? Did you find everything all right? Paper or plastic bags? (now there is a bag tax so they have to ask if you need any bags. that's the signal for the customer to hand over their reusable bags if they brought any.) Do you have a club card? Your total is ___. (then any coaching through the payment machine) Here's your receipt Mr./Ms. ____. (name is on the receipt if they used their club card) Would you like any assistance in the parking lot with your bags?

For a smaller purchase, it becomes a constant stream of chatter without ever having a conversation with the customer. But they would have "secret shoppers" come through and grade us, so if you skipped any part of the script you'd lose points.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Method of Madness on 15 Sep 2013, 08:20
Aside from the service fraternities, they're still pretty much nests of horridness.
I missed the word "aside" at first and was about to strongly object (thought you were specifically calling service fraternities horrid). I rather liked the one (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Phi_Omega) I was in.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Loki on 15 Sep 2013, 08:21
For a smaller purchase, it becomes a constant stream of chatter without ever having a conversation with the customer.

That's annoy the hell out of me as a customer.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 15 Sep 2013, 08:29
Yeah it felt kind of stupid. Especially having to ask the able-bodied 30-something with two bags and a gallon of milk if they needed any help.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: cesium133 on 15 Sep 2013, 08:29
Not all of them are right-wing-extremists, of all types of Verbindungen, there are the most right-wing-extremists in Burschenschaften. Some of the Corps are bad as well. Well, Corps are typically hardliners anyway.

Yeah, but then you get the napkin dirty. Also the napkin should be in your lap.


Post whiplash. 

About the ... fraternities.  Many in the US had a similar reputation, but that's abated a lot thanks to the intervention of the universities themselves, and the national orders of which the local fraternities are chapters.  If a fraternity wanted to have a presence at a university campus, they had to conform to the University's requirements.  And so many of the "old ways" (especially the constant underage drinking, incorporated hate practices and hazing) had to be toned down, at least publicly. 

Aside from the service fraternities, they're still pretty much nests of horridness. 
At the very least, they've had to pretend to tone them down. Supposedly there's no alcohol at any of the fraternities here. I guess the puke piles that show up on the sidewalk in the frat house neighborhood every weekend are due to Alpha-Beta-Whatever's Raw Oyster Fridays...
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Welu on 15 Sep 2013, 12:53
I've had people look at me after I've said, "Excuse me." and not make any effort to move.  :x
...to be fair, the sentence "excuse me" alone is not exactly unambiguous.

I think if you're sitting on the floor of a hall with your legs stretched out, what I'm requesting is obvious. If someone says, "Excuse me." to me and I'm not sure what they want, I ask or at the least ask, "Yes?" I don't turn to look at the person, stay silent while staring for a moment then turn away. Also most people would also consider me rude if I included "Excuse me, can you move, please? / Can I get past, please?" because I've suggested they were being awkward.

How chatty are shop workers in the USA? In the shop I work in we've actually been told things like, "Be polite and friendly but don't get Americanised with your service." Referring to the, "What can I get you? Would you like anything else? Is everything okay? Thanks for shopping here. Have a great day!" eagerness people think is done. I know on an individual level it would differ but in general.

When I worked as a cashier at a large chain grocery store (Safeway) we had a whole list of things we were required to say: Good morning/afternoon, how are you today? Did you find everything all right? Paper or plastic bags? (now there is a bag tax so they have to ask if you need any bags. that's the signal for the customer to hand over their reusable bags if they brought any.) Do you have a club card? Your total is ___. (then any coaching through the payment machine) Here's your receipt Mr./Ms. ____. (name is on the receipt if they used their club card) Would you like any assistance in the parking lot with your bags?

For a smaller purchase, it becomes a constant stream of chatter without ever having a conversation with the customer. But they would have "secret shoppers" come through and grade us, so if you skipped any part of the script you'd lose points.

Sounds similar to here, we get secret shoppers too. The only things I'm obligated to say/do is, "Hello (while smiling). Do you want a bag? Is that everything? Thanks. Goodbye."  Although there's some lenience for people who come straight to the till with no items and want cigarettes or lottery. I'd only ask someone if they needed help with their bags if they seemed unable and/or had a lot of items. Also giving a receipt is hard in my shop. It's only a small convenience with 90% regulars who don't want it. If they need to return something, we'll usually trust a regular or the purchase can be brought up again easily if it's they come back within a couple hours.

Right now we're meant to be trying to sell something which people qualify for after spending a certain amount on particular items but I hate asking customers. I haven't managed to sell on one, except to another worker who pity-bought one.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 15 Sep 2013, 13:03
I'm glad I didn't have a script I had to follow when I worked in Sainsbury's - we did get secret shoppers but they simply looked to see if we were being polite, friendly and helpful. Sometimes if I cheerfully said hello to a customer and they didn't respond, I would take that as my cue and not chat. Other times people would be obviously in the mood to talk so I would do that. I'd have hated any fake interaction that neither person wanted.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Caspian Sea Monster on 15 Sep 2013, 23:00
Here's your receipt Mr./Ms. ____. (name is on the receipt if they used their club card)

This ranks unreasonably high on my banes-of-existence list for possibly obvious reasons (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,28457.msg1185506/boardseen.html#new).

The constant stream of faux conversation grates on my nerves and to that I always make a specific point of shaking the cashier out of their vocal script by actually engaging them in conversation.  Sometimes the cashier looks stunned when you respond "I'm fine, how are you today?" or "I have 20 stitches in my foot.  How're you?"  My regularly scheduled misgendering at Safeway is nothing something I look forward to, though.

As for tableware ('cutlery', in my mind, refers to various knives that do not belong at the table,) eating anything that requires actual cutting is done with a knife in the right hand and fork in the left hand; in both cases, the 'back' of the implement is against the palm of the hand while the index finger runs down the spine to give added leverage, the fork speared downward into the food while the back of the tines act as a guide for the knife.  I always understood this as the "proper" way to eat steak... and also that steak is the only thing you have to eat "properly" because all the ☆☆☆☆ and ☆☆☆☆☆ restaurants where I grew up (or that I knew about or went to, anyway) were steakhouses.  In basically all other circumstances where the fork is involved, it stays in the right hand, held like a spoon or pencil while eating (like the previously linked graphic,) but the edge of it is used to cut apart (smash, really) things like fish and chicken whilst holding it similar to in the fork-and-knife scenario above - pommel in palm, index finger along the edge for strength and/or great justice.  Ultimately neither is the primary way of eating - I'd say at least 60% of my main meals are finger-foods; sandwiches, burritos, pizza, etc.

One of my best friends is mildly germophobic and refuses to eat anything with her hands.  I will never not poke fun at her for, in My Kingdom For A Fork level desperation, eating a donut with a plastic spoon.

"Proper" place setting is a pet peeve of mine.  I know how to "properly" set a table (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NsLyt4WwH1o/UMT8R2SX2pI/AAAAAAAAFO0/Spu-nfOoTx8/s1600/formal-place-setting.png), it was something I was taught in high school.  I want to travel back in time, find the person who invented this asinine way of doing things, and flog them to death.  I'm right handed.  When I set my own table at home, the cup and all of the flatware go on the right side of the plate.  If I'm doing fork-in-left-hand-knife-in-right, then I'll pass the fork hand-to-hand.  My family has just learned to deal with this and not argue with me about it.  In-use silverware sits on the edge of the plate when not in-hand.  We also almost universally serve food buffet-style in this household; most of the food stays in the kitchen, you load up your plate there and bring it to the table.  I don't think this is typical anywhere in the US, we're just weird and/or lazy.

At home, Paper napkins (I know, terribly wasteful) only come from the Lazy Susan in the center of the table when they are needed.  At restaurants the cloth napkin goes in my lap and stays there for the remainder of the meal.

What I'm more interested in is elbows.  I was always told growing up (not necessarily by my parents) that having your elbows on the table while eating is extremely rude and the kind of thing you get flogged for in etiquette schools and at West Point and the like.  This seems insane to me.  My elbows are always up on the table while I'm eating, and it seems like most people I interact with do it too.  Does anyone else have anything to say about that?

I have grown up with self-service gas stations all my life.  Full-service gas stations in California are about as ubiquitous as unicorns.  Meanwhile it is against the law in the state of Oregon (and New Jersey I guess) for various reasons to pump your own gas and I find this completely bizarre.  For also various reasons full-service gas stations make me very uncomfortable.  No, I'd rather pay the machine or the person at the counter in the store.  No, I don't want you fondling my car's nether bits, get the hell away.  Also I didn't know that pump-then-pay was even a thing anywhere in the world - like, seriously?  You trust people that much?  This is unfathomable.

Also, I find squat toilets absolutely terrifying.

Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Loki on 15 Sep 2013, 23:58
I think pump-then-pay is the usual way in Germany. I have only seen my favourite ex doing it, and I don't precisely remember.

On the elbows, it's exactly the other way around in Germany (the reasoning suppposedly being to prevent kids doing "nasty stuff" while having the hand in their lap. No, it doesn't make sense to me either.)
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 16 Sep 2013, 00:18
Well, having your hands in your lap is considered much worse than having your elbows on the table, but that is considered very rude too. Usually you have your forearms on the edge of the table.

And yes, pump then pay is the usual way in Germany. I'm even confused as to how it works the other way around. How do you know how much to pay, before you filled up? Here you simply drive up to the pump, fill your tank with gas or diesel (I gathered that diesel cars are very uncommon in the US) and then go inside and tell the operator which pump you used (they are numbered). You pay and then drive away. In case you shouldn't pay there are video cameras above every pump, recording your license plate, so the next day you're going to get a visit by the police.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Loki on 16 Sep 2013, 00:21
Speculation: you walk up to the cashier, pay and he "unlocks" a specific pump up to the amount you paid? That's how I'd implement it.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 16 Sep 2013, 00:29
But how do you fill up? I wouldn't know if I'd need 40 or 50 litres (random numbers, our driving school car actually had to be filled by about 60 litres, the Punto of my grandparents only by 35). Here you just fit the nozzle into the car, pull the lever and then there's a small switch, which locks the lever. The lever is released automatically when the tank is full.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Papersatan on 16 Sep 2013, 00:41
Most Americans use a credit or debit card, and most modern gas pumps have a place to swipe the card at the pump, so you swipe it and then pump as much as you need.  If you have to pay cash you have to estimate the amount you will need and in mot places you go into the cashier to pay an tell them which pump you are at.  If you over pay then you have to go back and get change. There was one station in Rochester though which actually had a slot to insert cash at the pump and could give change, like a very expensive vending machine. :)

Most gas stations let you pump then pay in the 90's when gas was 89 cents a gallon and we drove mostly sedans, but as gas prices went up, and fuel tanks got bigger, the risk of someone driving off was higher.  Also I think that as more and more places started taking credit/debit cards it became the normal way to pay and so consumers were open to the idea of swiping their card at the pump instead of going in to pay, because for most consumers they were going to pay with a card anyways, so this is less work. 
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 01:02
Some petrol stations in France (I don't recall coming across it elsewhere) are arranged so that you fill first, but the exit from the station is through the cashier's booth.  This seems eminently sensible, but does mean they can't make extra on things you buy in the shop that the cashier is in - but then, the ones I'm thinking of are part of a supermarket, so you've probably already spent with them.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 16 Sep 2013, 01:18
Well, as there is no real way of leaving without having the police infront of your door very soon, our system works just fine.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 01:21
True; our petrol stations usually have cameras recording your number plate.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Caspian Sea Monster on 16 Sep 2013, 02:18
Speculation: you walk up to the cashier, pay and he "unlocks" a specific pump up to the amount you paid? That's how I'd implement it.

That's precisely how it works - remotely from the register, obviously.  The pump cuts off either when the tank is full (the back-pressure valve in the fill nozzle kicks it off) or when you hit the pay limit if you paid cash.  Like Papersatan said, if you pay cash and then fill the tank without spending it all, you go back to the cashier to get your change.  Everyone I know generally pays more attention to how many dollars worth of gas they put in rather than how many actual gallons (yes, I know, stupid US unit system.)  That is, after looking around to see which station has the lowest current price.

I also find it mildly amusing that in Europe it's called (in English anyway) 'petrol' while in the US it's 'gas' while neither term is actually very accurate or descriptive.  And no, small diesel cars are also ultra-mega-rare in the state.  Mostly just for large trucks, and most stations that have diesel (not all of them do) only have it at one or two of the pumps.  I don't know if that's normal on the other side of the pond(s).

Having my forearms on the edge of the table hurts after a while.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 02:28
A modern UK filling station will have both diesel and petrol at every stand; commonly two grades of each (ordinary, and with additives of unknown and unspecified usefulness).  A couple I go to have a few LPG nozzles as well.  And the UK was later embracing diesel than continental Europe (France in particular).
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Pilchard123 on 16 Sep 2013, 02:43
I also find it mildly amusing that in Europe it's called (in English anyway) 'petrol' while in the US it's 'gas' while neither term is actually very accurate or descriptive.

Is 'gas' not short for 'gasoline'?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Caspian Sea Monster on 16 Sep 2013, 02:52
...yes.  Derp.  It is, but that's very easily forgotten, I think - including by me, just now.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LTK on 16 Sep 2013, 03:24
As for tableware ('cutlery', in my mind, refers to various knives that do not belong at the table,)
Huh? That's new to me. I distinctly remember that I was trying to find out the English translation of the Dutch collective noun for forks, knives and spoons (bestek) and it turned out to be cutlery, a word I didn't know before. Why would it refer to kitchen knives?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 04:23
They are also cutlery, in that they cut.  I might use the phrases kitchen cutlery and table cutlery to distinguish them - but I would normally use cutlery on its own for table cutlery.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Caspian Sea Monster on 16 Sep 2013, 05:03
Clarification: Cutlery broadly refers to knives.  Forks and spoons are not knives, therefore I don't consider the set of eating implements typically set at a dining table to collectively qualify as cutlery.  Free association, the first thing that jumps into my mind at the word 'cutlery' is a large shop full of bowie knives and shitty ornamental swords.

In my house growing up they were collectively called silverware, except this stopped making sense to me at some point because they aren't silver.  So unless they are actually silver, I interchangeably call them either flatware or tableware.  There is also the possibility that I'm just dumb though.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 05:19
Clarification: Cutlery broadly refers to knives.  Forks and spoons are not knives, therefore I don't consider the set of eating implements typically set at a dining table to collectively qualify as cutlery.

We are, of course, in different countries, and speak different though related languages - so our usages are naturally different as well!

The Oxford English Dictionary says:
Quote from: OED
Cutlery (noun): The craft or trade of a cutler; (collective noun) knives and other wares made or sold by cutlers, esp knives, forks, and spoons for use at table.

The more modern Oxford Dictionary of English is explicit in both our usages:
Quote from: ODE
Cutlery (noun): knives, forks, and spoons used for eating or serving food; (N America) cutting utensils, especially knives.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Caspian Sea Monster on 16 Sep 2013, 05:22
::mutters something about pants and suspenders::
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 05:24
Pavement is another good one.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: phLOx on 16 Sep 2013, 05:27
Good day peoples.

Some insight to the above mentioned on my current location: South Africa

With regards to table manners concerning cutlery, we use the same method as mostly mentioned. The fork in your left- and the knife in your right hand. Cutting takes place before taking a bite. The many small piece method is also popular for parents to exercise on their children's plates. I'm only speaking from experience though, and there are exceptions. My fiance for one is right handed, yet she still uses the fork in her right hand and her knife is in the left hand. I believe this comes from learning to eat with cutlery, starting out without a knife and holding the fork in the dominant hand.

With regards to tips; most restaurants do not pay their waiters, and they rely solely on tips from patrons. A generally accepted minimum tip is 10%. People that are feeling gracious or have a good income will tip 15% to 20%. Many restaurants have a policy in place, where if your table has six people or more, tip will automatically be included in the bill, generally at 15%.

Finally, talking about the gas stations. We refer to them as a "garage" or as a "petrol station". We also have what is called a "petrol jockey". This person will attend to your needs, be it to fill up, check tire pressure, water, oil etc. etc. Half of the time, if not more often, your windshield will be cleaned during fill-up. Tipping is recommended here but not mandatory. There is no "self service" option when it comes to filling your tank.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Method of Madness on 16 Sep 2013, 05:34
(and New Jersey I guess)
Wasn't sure if Oregon was still true, but yeah, definitely still illegal in Jersey.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Akima on 16 Sep 2013, 07:41
Credit cards pretty much all have the embedded chip in Australia now, and the "RFID" ones that you don't have to swipe or insert in a slot are coming in rapidly. I have a credit-card and use it regularly, particularly for shopping on-line. I'm one of those annoying people who pays off their entire balance each month. I am very careful never to carry a balance on which they can charge interest; as everyone knows, their rates are ruinous!

They had similar stuff for the chopsticks at the sushi place I was at recently.
Chopstick rests (hashioki in Japan, kuaizi zuo in China) are common all over East Asia. They're generally a formal dinner or restaurant thing; not something people bother with much at home.

Out in the country, there are still "full service" service-stations in Australia, where they pump the fuel for you, but in the city I don't think I've ever seen one.  I think "servos" all have CCTV recording everyone's number-plates, as PWH described, and I've never heard of "drive aways" being a problem.

Diesel-engined cars are still much less common than petrol here, but they're steadily becoming more popular. Typically a servo will have two pumps that can supply diesel, and the rest will be unleaded petrol (91, 95, or 98 octane (RON), though not all sell the higher grades) or E10 (petrol with 10% ethanol) or LPG (most of our taxis run on it). You still see diesel sold as "distillate" here, especially in country districts, which some visitors find confusing, but that is getting less and less common. Also, in the country, you still find diesel sold in the traditional way, from an isolated pump, unsheltered from the rain, surrounded by oily gravel rather than a paved surface, and often located rather too close to a large dog of the junkyard variety...
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: ankhtahr on 16 Sep 2013, 07:56
Well, 92, 95 and 98 octane (ROZ) are the common types here. They are named "Benzin", "Super" and "Super Plus". Diesel is called Diesel, it's named after a German inventor after all.

You'll also get some expensive stuff with additives and an octane number of up to 100.

Diesel is very common here. It costs a bit less than "Benzin", and while you have to pay more vehicle tax, it's generally cheaper to buy a car with a diesel engine if you drive more than 20000 km per year. And you can get almost every car as a diesel if you want to.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Barmymoo on 16 Sep 2013, 08:18
I've heard of "flatware" but I always thought it was plates?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Grognard on 16 Sep 2013, 08:20
Here on the US East coast, we have 87 Octane, 89 Octane and 93 Octane.  Different vendors have slightly different mixes for their 89 and 93 octanes, so we get GOLD and SILVER and SUPER...
And then there is Taxed (Road) Diesel, and untaxed offroad (Farm) Diesel.

In NC, you can purchase 103 Octane Racing fuel at some filling stations.
as a teenager, I put some in a walk behind lawn mower. 
Sucker blew a 12" (30cm) blue flame out the exhaust until it ran out of gas.
Made my Dad a little angry.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Papersatan on 16 Sep 2013, 08:24
I am positive our gas stations have cameras and prosecute people.  I don't think drive offs were very common, but common enough to be annoying, or at least to enter public contiousness.  You have to think in a matter of a few years our gas quadrupled in price, and because of our previous super low gas prices, many people were driving suvs with big tanks and terrible mileage, so a tank of gas in the family vehicle could be $80, and only get you  300 miles, which since we also drive more than people in other countries (for a number of reasons) might not make you a whole week,  (our average commute distance is 16 miles, and an SUV from the start of this century only got 20 mpg *highway*). 

I think though, if I can be a cynic, pre-pay, with the pay at the pump card readers saved gas station owners money, not because they reduced drive offs (which would be prosecuted, though that takes time/money to do) but because it reduced worker load inside the store and therefore the number of workers needed.  It is not uncommon now for gas stations with a store to only have one person working, because there is rarely a line, because we are all serving ourselves at the pump.  I think that drive offs entering the public consciousness just gave a way to justify the change.

There is a whole other conversation to be had on that though, the trend in allowing/forcing consumers to do their own work, (looking at you "self serve check outs) which is not really more convenient for the consumer, but does reduce the number of jobs (and isn't, as it ought to be, increasing the wages for the remaining workers)



Flatware = silverware, but with the notion that it is likely not made of silver.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 09:09
Here on the US East coast, we have 87 Octane, 89 Octane and 93 Octane.  Different vendors have slightly different mixes for their 89 and 93 octanes, so we get GOLD and SILVER and SUPER...
And then there is Taxed (Road) Diesel, and untaxed offroad (Farm) Diesel.

In the UK all modern petrol cars run on 95 octane (RON) unleaded fuel; it is hard/expensive to get other fuels for classic cars that require them.  (Note that RON figures are about 5 higher than MON figures, which I presume those US ratings use.)

Before the introduction of unleaded petrol, we had four grades: ** = 92 RON, *** = 95 RON, **** = 98 RON, and less commonly ***** = 101 RON (also * = 89 RON, but not for road vehicles).  In those days it mattered to use the appropriate fuel, at least one of high-enough octane.  Now all cars will run on the standard unleaded fuel, but the petrol companies all sell 98 RON "premium" fuel at a higher cost to those who want to pay more for no advantage (and some sell 100 or 101 RON for even more).  In fact, they even sell two grades of diesel, simply to get people to pay more.

We also have farm diesel, which has a red dye in it to enable illegal on-road usage to be detected.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Redball on 16 Sep 2013, 10:46
The only place I don't pump my own gasoline is in New Jersey. But I can't call that full-serve because that's all that's done when I pull up to the pump. No windshield wash, no oil or tire pressure check, as in the "old days" before self-serve.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Thrillho on 16 Sep 2013, 13:52
Hodgy, genuine question, why do you know so much about basically everything? Is it actually because of life experience, or are you just a walking, breathing, fountain of knowledge?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Welu on 16 Sep 2013, 13:58
I think he's a Mimir.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 14:12
Hodgy, genuine question, why do you know so much about basically everything? Is it actually because of life experience, or are you just a walking, breathing, fountain of knowledge?

Both, of course.  Plus extreme search skills which enable me to produce the answer to things I knew nothing about fast enough to fool you. :wink:

When I quote dictionary entries, of course, I've looked them up.  I have the OED (two versions), Chambers and Merriam-Webster all to hand on my iPhone.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LTK on 16 Sep 2013, 14:16
The knowledge of a man who possesses over 60 years of life experience as well as finely honed google-fu is formidable indeed.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Valdís on 16 Sep 2013, 15:18
I think he's a Mimir.

Mímir = The god whose well that was. Not the well itself.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 15:19
Also, wasn't his head cut off and carried around by Odin?  I don't fancy that.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: LeeC on 16 Sep 2013, 15:21
Sounds like God of War mixed with Lollipop Chainsaw.  It worked well for them.  Why not the all father?
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Valdís on 16 Sep 2013, 15:43
Well, I suppose it depends on what sacrifices one is willing to make in order to become the most powerful lobbyist in all the realms.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: pwhodges on 16 Sep 2013, 15:52
Well, I suppose it depends on what sacrifices one is willing to make in order to become the most powerful lobbyist in all the realms.

Hmm, tricky; but that's never really been my ambition.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: bhtooefr on 16 Sep 2013, 17:17
I'll note that the laws in both NJ and OR that prohibit pumping your own gasoline are restricted to "flammable liquids" (that is, those with a flash point below expected ambient temperatures).

Diesel has a flash point around 150 ºF, and therefore can be pumped without an attendant. (So there's an advantage to diesel, if you don't like people messing with your car. The downside is, you have to be quick to physically block an attendant from trying to fill it with gasoline.)
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: mustang6172 on 19 Sep 2013, 19:36
Here on the US East coast, we have 87 Octane, 89 Octane and 93 Octane.  Different vendors have slightly different mixes for their 89 and 93 octanes, so we get GOLD and SILVER and SUPER...
And then there is Taxed (Road) Diesel, and untaxed offroad (Farm) Diesel.

In the UK all modern petrol cars run on 95 octane (RON) unleaded fuel; it is hard/expensive to get other fuels for classic cars that require them.  (Note that RON figures are about 5 higher than MON figures, which I presume those US ratings use.)

US octane ratings are (RON+MON)/2.
Title: Re: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Post by: Method of Madness on 19 Sep 2013, 20:00
Aka the AKI.