New York City has a lot of particularities that many tourists obviously don’t know. Always keep the right way of the side walk and escalators, so people can run by you, it’s one of them. Say “God bless you” to every sneeze that you heard, even it comes from people that you never saw in your life, it’s another one of the some pretty common examples easily picked from the streets. But, only one occupies the top of the most important social rules in NYC: Must give “tip”!
Theoretically, “tip” is a specific amount of extra money that you, voluntarily, use to give to who spend time doing some service to you. Also theoretically, tip is not payment! Tip is a kind of “reward”, expensive or not, that you give to waitress, hair stylist, taxi drivers, whoever, if you really like his or her service. Ms. Bush, one of my teachers, would say “the worth of my tip depend of how many qualities they show on their jobs well. For example: smile= + $1; listening and patience = + $2; understanding when I ask for a ‘Shirley Temple’… Oh, then I can give them a double price!” lol. However, unknowing tourists fast tend to realize the difference between theory and practice!
At the Diner where I worked for almost one year, to break Tips’ rule is the main reason of waitress nervous collapse and tourist panic. “How do Brazilians call ‘tip’?” It was the first question that I heard in my first work day. Fondly, I answered: “gorjeta!”, then full of joy and hope my co-workers waitress started to say to all Brazilians costumers who receive their check notes: “thank you! ‘Gorjeta’ is not included!”. Then, the unknowing Brazilians, just like me when I got my first check in USA, after make a typical face of doubt – “what is she talking about?” - started to throw up their pocket of pennies on the table. “Why these f_ Brazilians are so frugal?” It was the second question that I heard from a very upset and angry waitress. Then I realize, maybe lately, the difference between “taken and pig nose”. Unlike that happens in Brazil, there is here a specific weigh of 10% or 15% of total costumer check that correspond to more than 50% of the day salary income of those so curious, sharp and unfortunately so disappointed waitress.
“Propina” in Spanish, “Pinhosky” in Polish, “Mancia” in Italian, “Gorjeta” in Portuguese. Everywhere you have a way to call "tip", but it doesn’t mean that it has the same meaning or takes the same place at the podium of social rules in each different country. More than it, being the mediator to many tip troubles I learned! People will forgive you for do not say “God bless you” in a sneeze event, they will pass by you anyway if you don’t keep the right side, but you must give tip in NYC! Disobey its commandment is just an unforgivable sin! It is more than a social rule, from it depend the survival condition of those workers and all good service in NY for completely happiness of those conscious costumers or for desperately puzzle of “poor” unknowing tourists.