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Was everything OK with your meal Sir?
I found the North American fixation on ‘near-mandatory’ tipping curious at best. Where I live staff are paid legislated minimum wages and tipping is not expected, though ‘rounding up’ is reasonably common practice. Nonetheless, we thought we had more or less come to terms with the tipping system by the time we visited Québec: though I was under the impression it remained at the discretion of the customer. Maybe it’s because Québec is “tourist central”, but it seems the tipping protocols are not necessarily the same there.
When we finished our meal at the “Café de Paris”, the waiter brought me the bill, I passed him some $20 notes totalling about ten percent more than the cost of the meal and he asked me "Was everything OK with your meal, Sir?". I replied that it was indeed – and never saw him again! It rather seems his question was code for "Can I call the change the tip”?
The following day began with a similar experience at “Mike’s Café” where we had a light breakfast costing $12.50. I paid with a $20 note and again had my tipping decision made for me: the waitress simply handed me a $5 note as change!
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