I have a dear friend that I met shortly after he had moved to the US from Spain. Having just come back from a semester in Spain myself, I was a little obsessed with the country and its inhabitants. We instantly became friends.
One time–not too long after meeting–we went to grab some drinks downtown. Fernando, being the gentleman he is, offered to pay. Everything was going great until I noticed that he had only left a 10% tip. I started to panic a little. I didn’t know him well enough to tell him to tip more, and I certainly couldn’t add to the tip without an explanation. I decided the best course of action was to wait till he wasn’t looking and throw a few extra dollars onto the bar.
Long story short, I got caught. He saw me stealthily try to sneak the dollar bills onto the bar and asked me deadpan, “Did I not tip enough?” I fumbled around for an answer and finally just said, “Nope.” He laughed and said that I should tell him these things, that he is new to the the US and doesn’t know what is customary. Moral of the story: honesty is the only policy, and you should always do your research before going abroad. The following infographic discusses varying tipping etiquette from around the world. [via]