Monday, August 1, 2011

Much ado about David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, like many of their countrymen, are on vacation in Tuscany right now, lucky dogs. They're on a swank estate near Arezzo, an area I dearly love, called Villa Petrolo (in the photo).

The poor man got much attention from the press for not having tipped at a local cafe', after the young woman at the counter, who had too many customers, told him to take his own cappuccino to his table. This was perfectly justified. I never tipped in Italy in restaurants and bars; service is included. Sometimes one might round off the amount due, if paying in cash, but mostly as a matter of convenience. Also, customers normally are charged more if they sit down as opposed to eating and drinking at the counter- so a tip is superfluous.

Many foreigners, especially Americans who are used to tipping, don't know this or are insecure. Don't expect the Italians to be forthcoming with this information; it's obviously not in their interest to do so. The prices for eating and drinking are already high enough in Italy, don't inflate them any further.