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Where You Do and Don't Need to Tip Around the World

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Nov 8, 2019 9:29 AM 2 min read

Here’s a tip: if you’re ever in South Korea, don’t tip.


Right Here Waitering For You: In many countries – especially the US – it is customary to tip a service vendor. This could be a waiter, a cab driver, a hair stylist etc. The amount varies, but the custom itself is very commonplace.


It is becoming more common in other countries, too – including India. If not a hefty tip, at least rounding up the bill is considered polite behaviour.


Tipping Point: But in some countries, tipping is not only non-existent, it could also be offensive to do so. Like in Japan and South Korea. Here, not only is gratuity considered alien, it can also be considered to be rude and offensive since good customer service is treated as the job description and always expected to be top-notch and satisfactory, and a monetary reward for just doing your job is regarded as demeaning.


Where You Do and Don't Need to Tip Around the World


Know Your Cultural Norms: In some other countries, tipping might not offend people but they’d still be confused if you pay them more or ask them to keep the change. These include places like Norway, China and Thailand.


In some others, tipping is quasi-formalised by being charged by the establishment in the bill in the form of a service charge. And in others, tipping might not be expected, but if given it would be accepted gratefully.


Here’s an interesting map about tipping norms around the world!



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