Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Reverse Culture Shock - Let me charge you more.

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and moms. I thought I would have blogged more in the past few months. Well, let's try again, shall we?

We were in Australia for the holidays. Well, we left the UK on Christmas Eve (December 24) and arrived Boxing Day (December 26) in Sydney. We weren't delayed by the snow in the UK, we actually planned the trip that way. It was £100 cheaper per seat and it only postponed things by one day. Plus Santa managed to land on the wing of the plane and drop off a couple of presents for the kids while they were sleeping. Pretty good flying I thought.

But let me get back to my post. We had a great time in Australia, both Sydney and Perth, seeing family and friends. No floods or cyclones where we were, thankfully, just wonderfully warm and sunny weather.

Just a couple of things bothered me about Australia. Any time I had been to Australia before, there was never any tipping. This time, I saw plenty of change boxes at the tills of coffee shops and spaces left on your bill in restaurants for a tip. A friend said he figured this was still limited to just big cities, but I didn't really have a chance to check. I think it would be sad if Australia becomes a tipping country. I tip where it's normal to do so, but I wish it wasn't becoming normal to tip in Oz.

The other thing that really bothered me was having to pay a surcharge of 10-15% on Sundays and holidays in food establishments. Not everywhere did it, but it certainly wasn't a one off. Sure, they probably have to pay the staff more on those days - but do you know what? That shouldn't be my problem. Or at least, that shouldn't be my problem on those days, don't tell me your profit margin is so slim that on a holiday you are making a loss because of staff costs. As G pointed out, if you are open on holidays, you are probably getting more trade because not everywhere else is open, and your extra turnover should more than cover any extra costs. If I lived in Australia, I would make it a point to boycott anywhere that did that, and probably not just on Sundays, but permanent ban.

Anyways, just a short note for today. Now that I got that off my chest, I feel much better.