Zuckerberg's tip-less meal not unusual

May 31, 2012 at 2:35 PM
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ROME, May 31 (UPI) -- Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg's failure to leave a tip at a Rome restaurant is not unusual for diners at Italian eateries, experts said.

Britain's The Telegraph newspaper reported waiters at Nonna Betta were surprised at the lack of a tip they received from Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, because Americans have a reputation for leaving generous tips, but etiquette experts said it is not unusual for diners to skip the tip at Italian restaurants, USA Today reported Thursday.

"It is not customary to tip for meal service in Italy," Jodi Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting told MSNBC.com. "Here in the states, servers are paid less than minimum wage and are expected to make up the difference in tips. In Italy, servers are paid a living wage and tips are for extraordinary meals and/or service."

Kathy McCabe, a writer for travel site Dream of Italy, said Zuckerberg's lack of a tip "is a bit of a faux pas, but really because of Italian expectations of Americans."

"Europeans know or expect that gratuity is almost automatically included," McCabe said. "But Americans absolutely have a reputation for tipping, and many Italians have come to expect a tip when serving them. If I have had a good meal and decent service, I always leave a few extra euros, more if it was exceptional. Am I bowing to expectations? Maybe a little."

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