Why are a lot of Canadians bad tippers?




- Chosen by Voters

First - a "tip" is for EXCEPTIONAL service, not average service.

Second - the value of the tip is generally proportional to both the value of the meal (before tax, not including alcoholic drinks) AND the level of service.

From personal experience, most Canadian restaurants provide "average" service at a level that equates to "exceptional" in the US. Even then, the tip is often no more than 10 percent. In part, this is due to the understanding that Canadians are paid a relatively high wage ... in part it is also because of the significantly higher taxation applied to everything purchased.

In both respects, Canada is more in line with European nations than with the US. In the US, a "tip" is expected ... and therefore not worked for very hard. In Europe and Canada, the tip is more unexpected ... and therefore more gratefully received. The higher wage rate also tends to result in a more professional attitude toward service ... which often means more exemplary service as well.
10% is acceptable in Canada, we have a minimum wage.
You generalize from a select few, who are cheap shoppers.
Don't worry, the Canadian dollar is now worth the same.
People will stop cross-border-shopping after Jan. 01/08.
Because they'll need passports, & lines will be longer.
Canadian restaurant workers are on a very minimal wage also

maybe the US service isn't up to the standard that Canadians are used to hence the low tip

my daughter works in a Canadian restaurant and gets big tips., makes good money
Servers get paid better in Canada. However, I always tip 15-20% in Canada or when visiting the U.S.
Being in the service industry, you have a better perspective on this than others do, so I respect your observations and will believe you when you say you've noticed a trend from Canadians. I'm going to assume that you were able to determine the nationality of the people you served from talking to them or seeing their car license plates, etc.

I cannot speak for all Canadians, so I will only tell you from my point of view, that I would guess that we are simply unaware that in the US, you rely so heavily on tips.

I generally only tip for meals, room service, valet service, taxis, or if the bag boy at the store carries my groceries to the car. If I go for pickup, or if the bag boy just hands me the groceries after bagging them, I don't tip. And that goes for most other people I have seen in Canada.

My lunch and dinner (or room service) I will tip approximately 10% for basic service, 15% for good service, and 20% for exceptional service.

The only thing I don't like is that tipping seems to be tied to the cost of my food. After all, my server did just as much work to bring me a surf&turf meal as they would have to serve me spaghetti or a pizza. Which is why I for breakfast, my waitress might get $5 on a $3.25 meal just because I believe you should not tip just purely based on the cost of the meal.

Some may say that I'm a "non-typical" Canadian, but before I had the "comfortable" job I have now, I mowed lawns and worked for Texaco to earn a living, and I know how hard it is in those positions to make ends meet.

However, like another person answered to you...remember that tipping is generally something people do as a gesture that you have done something right and they are happy with you. If you get a small or no tip, the first question should not be whether they are Canadian or not, but whether I did everything I could to make their stay and their meal as enjoyable as possible. Sometimes, it is not even your service but the chef's lousy food that turned off the customer. One of my pet peeves is when I am finished a meal and then it takes 10-20 minutes for me to get the check so I can pay and leave.

So good luck to you in this holiday season. I hope you run into a bunch of nice tipping Canucks that will change your opinion of us!
First contrary to what Robert S said, passports aren't mandatory in January, it has been moved back to Summer 2008, all that is needed is a valid Gov't Issued ID and a birth certificate.

For tipping it honestly depends on the service, we normally give 10% if it is just basic, takes our order, delivers it, picks it up. We will give more though if the person has gone out of their way to greet us, make sure everything is alright, comes back to the table, etc...Not everyone is a bad tipper, maybe that group all thought someone else left a tip.
Wow that really sucks. I myself tip at least 15% no matter where I am. Unless the service was horrbible then no, I wouldn't tip that much.

Why can't you use the $2 Canadian there? New York accepts CDN money unlike other states like PA.

I think it may also depend on where you work. A lot of people tend to tip Tim Horton's employees here and I think thats ridiculus. Tipping is something you do because the person either went out of there way, is an employee who makes below minimum wage such as bartenders and waiters/waitresses or did something for you because you didn't want to such as pump your gas in minus 20 weather. So where do Tim Horton's employees fall under that? They're not a waiter or bartender that is making below minimum wage (they make above minmum wage), they're not waiting on you while you sit there for an hour or hour and a half... it frustrates me when Tim H employess expect a tip. All they do is hand you your coffee and/or bagel & doughnut. Heck, people that work at Subway or Burger King make more of an effort for your order and do people tip them? No.

So possibly if you fall under something like that may be why you're not getting decent tips. But by the sound of it you are a waitress. And I'm sorry to hear that people are being cheap towards you. Please understand we're not all like that. Maybe you could speak to your boss and ask that gratuity be added to the bill due to the lack of tips you receive. A lot of places do that. Or even some place have it if theres 6-8 people gratituity is automatically added on.

Hope it gets better!
There's likely a number of reasons for this some of which have been mentioned here already. One thing to keep in mind is that until recently the exchange rate wasn't very good which no doubt has had in impact on spending in general by Canadians south of the border, including tipping.

10-15% is customary in Canada, so expecting upwards of 20% is expecting a lot.

Most people I know do not considering tipping mandatory (as would seem to be case from what you're saying). A tip is a bonus from the customer for providing exceptional service, not just average service. You're paid by your employer to serve the customers. The fact that servers in the US are paid below minimum wage is not likely to be something that most out-of-country tourists are going to be aware of. (And an article in a Toronto paper is hardly going to be read all across the country.) It's also not my problem, as a customer. As was suggested by another poster, perhaps it's time for servers to unionize or to petition the appropriate government to put an end to this.

I have certain expectations when I'm eating out, and those expectations don't change simply because I'm south of the border. I expect "average" service at the very least. The more a server goes out of his/her way to make sure my dining experience is as enjoyable as it can be, the more likely I am to be generous when tipping. I don't expect the quality of service to deteriorate when I chose not to order alcohol (that seems to happen a lot).

And before you try telling me I don't know what it's like being a server, I worked as one for many years.
In Canada we tend to tip 10-15% unless it was exceptional service. In my family we were taught to tip 20%, unless the waiting staff was rude or slow, and did not have a good reason, as in if they weren't all that busy and the food still took over an hour to get to us.. I find, however, that some places over charge for food anyhow, and maybe that's why we don't tip as much.. We're not going to pay 30$ incl. a tip for a meal that we could have made at home ourselves, in half the amount of time, for only, say, 10$. I have to disagree with a previous answer when she talks about Tim Hortons employees. I find that they do tend to be more courtious to customers than wait staff at restaurants do. I always tip when I go to Tim Hortons as long as I get efficient service.. If you can make me 5 coffees in under a minute, I think you deserve a little more credit than minimum wage.. I generally do get a smile as I go in there, and get good service, no matter what part of the country I am in. I've currently been in the UK for two months, and am going to be here for another few, and I cannot WAIT to get back to a Tim Hortons.. Those employees deserve some credit!
So in general - Wait staff, don't just be nice when you're taking their order or bringing them their food, strike up a bit of a conversation, don't be shy..
As tipping is not mandatory in Canada as it is in the US, we generally tip for a good product. That includes good service and/ or good food.
If the product is not up to par or expectations, the tip is usually less to none.

The (bad) habit of needing to tip only applies to the US. You guys should not call it a tip, but rather an "Expected Additional Service Charge" or similar. I personally find it ridiculous and highly irritating to see my bill arrive with a suggested tip amount on the bottom, or even a tip already added.
A tip is for good service and the people providing service should not take it for granted.
Unfortunately, even in Canada it becomes more and more expected to leave a tip, no matter how bad the experience.

The fundamental problem is rather the way the American food and beverage/ restaurant industry pays their staff. If a guaranteed tip is calculated as part of your income maybe the industry needs to change its direction.

Just for your info, there are places/ countries in Asia where tipping is understood as an insult. In other places the smallest tip, maybe only 1%, makes the service provider go through the roof for you.
Only in America is a tip expected, anywhere else in the world it's a kind gesture!!
I think we just don't realize the garbage wage servers get in the US.
Where I live right now fast food workers are getting $10 - $12/hr starting wage due to an economic boom and lack of available staff.
As a Canadian I pay for the "service" I receive and in no way feel obligated to supplement their wages. I'm not going to give a server with an attitude a tip just because of some unwritten rule and the fact that he is paid below minimum wage. I didn't agree to the wage he accepted why should I be responsible for that persons livelihood.
Most Canadians don't realize that American wait staff make such lousy wages. Up here the tips are above and beyond their wages, not part of it.

I personally didn't find out until about a year ago about the wage differences. I think waitresses and waiters in the States need to start a union frankly. You are all getting hosed and your employers are making a fortune.
I know I'll get a lot of thumb downs for this, but in general Canadians are cheap. My own opinion is that, since they are killed with GST and PST taxes, they take it out on waitresses.

Edit:
FWIW I was right on both counts. Just listen to the canadians

" As a Canadian I pay for the "service" I receive and in no way feel obligated to supplement their wages"

Definition of cheap.