On Saturday, I had a table of three Polish girls. Their meal came to $29.40, and they left $30 in their bill-holder. There was no problem with the service; in fact, they seemed happy with everything.
Like I often do when I get a bad tip, I tried to figure out why. With them, though, it was easy to do; they were from Europe, and often European people don't tip well. It reminded me of a conversation I had last year with a friend of mine. I talked of another table - and we get a lot, actually, since I work in an eastern european ethnic restaurant - that stiffed me on the tip. I then explained how when I went to Italy, I researched about customs to make sure I understood basic guidelines. I knew about the tipping in Italy before I got there. I expect the same of tourists who come here. I said, "People need to learn the culture they're in."
I didn't think this was an outlandish thing to say. In fact, it's what I did when I visited another country, and it's what I'll do when I visit another foreign country. However, my friend I was with - who has a gift of hyperbole anyway - said how xenophobic I sounded. I then repeated the phrase over and over again until she went into a tizzy. It kind of became a big jok, and it's still something friends bring up, jokingly: "Oh, you know that Epiph hates foreigners."
So the three Polish girls reminded me of that conversation, and made me miss the person whose hyperbolic gift the reaction was.
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