... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

i is for incentivized work

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Incentivized work is just another name for working for tips but since it takes forever to type, I'm going to say tips for this post :)

I'm sure it's known far and wide that the American service industry works for tips.  Obviously this includes waiters but I found out the hard way that it also includes hair dressers, nail technicians, spray tanners and any other beautification service folk.  When I say I found out the hard way, I mean that shortly after moving to the States, I got the best eyebrow wax of my life then left without tipping.  Will was waiting in the car and asked me how much I tipped and I turned bright red!  Needless to say I was way too embarrassed to ever go back again, plus I'm sure she would have recognized either me or my "cute" Aussie accent and made my eyebrows uneven for revenge!  Thus, I have missed out on ever experiencing that level of amazing waxing again...

But seriously, in America: when in doubt, always tip!  You see in movies how concierge staff get tipped and I have to say this pays off every time because they appreciate it so much and go above and beyond for you!  Same with landscapers, electricians, car washers, dry cleaners (no one ever tips them but they LOVE it when you do) and so on.

Tipping is a definite cultural aspect that many other countries do not share.  In Australia for example, tipping is considered vulgar and inappropriate with the mentality of: how dare you assume I'm only doing this for the money and not because I enjoy it or am simply willing to help?  Nobody in America pretends to enjoy work or giving exeptional service: work is work and that is money over here. To those foreign to this concept or who think tipping is unnecessary - get a load of this: although minimum wage varies State to State - the average American min wage is $2.  Yep $2.   Think of that next time your waiter fusses over your table!  Without tips, work would be pointless in many scenarios.


  1. Great post! I always try to make sure to tip. I appreciate good service and I know it isn't easy working with the public.

  2. Great post, Lena. When we were in Charlotte last year we were talking with our delightful waitress (that's probably the politically incorrect term but I am anti PC anyway) and were horrified to learn that she was earning $2.15 per hour. We got used to tipping whilst in the US but, you are right, it is out of the Aussie comfort zone.

    1. Thanks Mrs G I really love hearing that coming from you, still feels like a pat on the head or a gold star! :)
      Yep, the restaurant I used to work at was one of the fanciest in Atlanta and the waiters there were on wages between 2.15 and 2.75/hr. Most of the time they made up for it in tips but when they didn't they actually owed money to the restaurant! This is because of how the system works - (it's assumed they earn more so they have to share percentages out of their cheques) - they sometimes owed money to the line cooks/ bar staff or food runners!

  3. Replies
    1. Hi Eileen, are there situations that call for tipping in the UK? That's interesting, I'd love to hear more... especially before my trip!




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Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.


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spring in Austin TX

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