Letter: Beware — You might be giving a 32% tip

Have you noticed that at most restaurants, etc., when you pay using a credit card an automatic 15% gratuity is added to your bill? Then, when the credit card slip is brought back to you to be signed, there is a line for a tip on the amount that already includes the gratuity. If you then tip 15%, you tipped over 32%.

When I have queried this with managers, I usually get the answer that it is the banks that design the credit card slips. One even argued that there was a difference between a gratuity and a tip, because a gratuity is compulsory and a tip is voluntary. In my dictionary, a tip can be defined as a gratuity and a gratuity as a tip.

Now, having paid a 15% gratuity on my bill, I write “Already included” on my credit card slip in the space for a tip.

George Tustin


  1. Hi Friend! That line is not there to trick you.

    The additional tip line is exactly that – a means to write in if you want to tip over the included gratuity. An included gratuity exists in order to make sure the hospitality industry makes a living wage. No matter what you think of tipping in our culture, this is the reality in which they live. In many restaurants, your included gratuity might get split amongst various staff while the additional gratuity you might leave is usually directly given to the server or bartender.

    Note that North Americans’ tip standard is 20%.

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