Tipping is (not) Customary

Good morning Lovers.  I am once again distracted from work by my need to fulfill my soul and get the thoughts out of my head and into your gorgeous minds.  I will go ahead and warn you, this is much less of an update on the adventure than past posts.  I won’t be delving into the details of the brutal cold I’ve been battling, the tragic loss of one of my fellow Hartthrobs, or my relief at not needing to drop $2k on a flight for my own almost family emergency.  But I won’t apologize for this – I never promised you anything but Randomness, and by clicking the link to get here, you’ve agreed to the binding contract of indulging my need to share the beautiful mess that is my inner workings.

I had a very interesting conversation last night with the Dutch Lover (DL) about a gesture that I made – one that I saw as gratitude and generosity, and he saw as foolish wastefulness.  One of my favorite parts of this trip is that besides the 12 (and counting) cultures that I get to immerse myself in, I have access to 47 unique opinions on our everyday lives.

For those who don’t know, I put myself through school by waiting tables and bartending (and some healthy student debt, but that’s another conversation). Tipping was how I made my living, and I was fortunate to have a core group of fantastic regulars at every spot I slung drinks that supported a decent lifestyle.  That said, tipping is a way of life for me – it’s how I show my appreciation for the hard work of those who bring me the whiskey that fuels my laughter filled life.  Upon arriving in Split, we were given a brief city orientation where we were told that tipping was not customary in Croatia, yet despite this information, my guilt ate at me when I just paid the number on the bill.  We stayed rather late at Plan B last night, wrapped up in wine, whiskey and good conversation.  The lights were up, the music was off, and we were not leaving anytime soon.  Wanting just one more round, I shimmied up to the bar and bought a round for the table as well as a round for the staff – a classy move, one I’ve pulled a thousand times at home.  Or was it?  Turns out my signature move struck a chord with DL (a Holland native), and a healthy debate ensued.  I’m always open to another point of view – in fact, I just finished a conversation with Kiwi about how I wish I could crawl into each one of my Hartthrobs’ heads and see what makes them tick – so I rather enjoyed the conversation we had.  His heated view was that I was just throwing my money away, and certainly not gaining the favor I was hoping to curry with the staff that waits on us quite regularly.   As I think about it this morning, he made an excellent point.  I have been tipping staff left and right since we got here in an effort to be appreciative and get better service (Lovers, service here is T E R R I B L E), and not only do the wait staff not seem grateful, I’m still getting the same shitty service as before.  I fully trusted his guidance on Belgian beers and I’m entrusting my tour of Amsterdam to him, so why wouldn’t I at least consider his view here, especially given the evidence to support his rather adamant claim.

We are not in Kansas anymore Toto – we’re not even in our own country.  Culture and customs need to amended along the way without compromising my core values – one of which is respect.  I have immense respect for DL for being brutally honest with me (even if it was the Chimay talking) and sharing his view on my actions.  We have 11 days left here in Split, and I will spend 1 of them in Dubrovnik (GOT!!!), 2 in Montenegro and 4 in Belgrade, but I can tell you this – in the 4 days I have left here, I’ll leave behind my American arrogance and respect the local custom of paying the bill as it stands and letting the staff take care of their own libations.

Forever yours,


Check out London’s blog post here for the ugly reality of being miles away: Life is Prickly and Hurts Sometimes

Need a more lighthearted take?  Starbuck Lighting has you covered here: Time Alchemy

More visual?  Check out K-Dog’s YouTube channel here: Puppies and Cliff Jumping


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