A Generous Tip or a Stingy Gesture? The €500 Controversy in Saint-Tropez

Italian Diner Falls Foul Of France's Tipping Culture

Paying a restaurant bill. Credit: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

Is a 500 euro tip generous or insufficient? A recent incident in Saint-Tropez involving an Italian customer and a demanding waiter has sparked debate.

In Saint-Tropez, on the French Riviera, a ‘very rich Italian’ who has not yet been identified was chased by a waiter for leaving a tip that was deemed unsatisfactory, reports News Italy 24.

According to local newspapers Nice Matin and Var Matin, the incident occurred after the man left a €500 tip at the restaurant where he had dined.

‘Stingy’ Diner Chased Down By Waiter

The waiter found the customer in the parking lot and invited him to increase the tip to at least €1000. A French friend of the anonymous Italian was quoted saying, ‘He thought he had been generous by leaving €500, instead he was reprimanded. The waiter told him that it wasn’t enough and that he could still make a small effort to reach €1000 because it was more consistent in approaching 20 per cent of the total amount of his bill.’

This incident is part of a broader controversy on the French Riviera over the alleged ‘filing’ of customers by establishments. A recent survey revealed that in renowned areas of the Côte d’Azur, restaurants may check a customer’s wealth and generosity before accepting a reservation.

Mayor Sylvie Siri has also intervened, using words such as ‘racketeering’ and ‘extortion.’ She decided to have restaurants and bars in the city display ‘Signal Conso’ stickers, allowing consumers to report any abuse through a QR Code.

Tipping Around The World

In contrast, tipping culture varies globally. In the United States, tipping is common practice, with workers relying heavily on tips. Service is not included in the price, and tipping in bars and restaurants is expected, amounting to 15-20 per cent of the bill.

In Spain, the general consensus is that tipping in bars and informal cafes is not expected and is at the discretion of the diner. In more up-market establishments there may be a service charge included on the bill, but if not, it is not uncommon to add a tip of 10 per cent.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals. When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.