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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PRAGUE: TIPS AND SERVICE

PRAGUE: TIPS AND SERVICE

DISCLAIMER: This (like pretty much everything I write) is an 80% thing. In other words, there have been places with service that really doesn't fit into what follows but they are about 20% of the time...

In most of Europe, they don't seem really do tips often. This is good in that it saves you money but you get shittier service. Note that when they do tips it isn't a percentage, just a small amount of extra coins. For example, we were told a tip of 20 CZK on a 2000 CZK meal is OK. [If you are an American and think the service was indifferent or only slightly bad, this may be considered exceptional and you may wish to tip. See below.]

In Prague, they do tipping but you still get (by American standards) kind of shitty service.

In the subway stations and such, they don't sell all of the available tickets at all windows. Some windows are closed at random, others have a 'be back in a few minutes' sticker in them. Free brochure stands are mostly empty. Oddly enough, the people who made the prices for these are on crack. 1 day is 100 CZK. A 5 day is 500 CZK. Huh? Stupid but not as stupid as a 3 day being 330 CZK. The pricing makes no sense, really, but now you know - just buy one day passes.

According to Pete, in Australia (and the USA for that matter) the streetcars only stop if someone pushes the button indicating that they would like to get off at the next stop. In Prague, it is like a train with very brief stops. At every stop, the doors open and they wait for about 20 seconds before sounding the alarm, closing the doors and moving on. Also, like in the UK, the driver is safely fenced away from the passengers. Pete felt this is to keep anyone else from monkeying around with the controls. I thought it was to keep someone from clubbing the driver, putting on their coat and taking control of the bus/subway/streetcar, looking over his shoulder and yelling "You boys like Mexico?"

In Prague, it is 'service with a frown'. If you get to talking to the wait staff (if they speak English) they can be friendly - but the default setting is a quote from Jana on it: "Why are you talking to me?"

After they take your order and bring your food, do NOT expect them to 'check up' on you and ask "How are you folks doing?" like they do in America. In America, they carefully time it to make sure your mouth is full so that you can do nothing but nod and grunt attempting to dislodge the huge amount of shit that has gotten inexplicably lodged in your mouth by having someone interrupt your grazing. Then, they whisk off before you can clear your mouth in order to request something. My guess is that most wait staff in America (not all, Travis!) simply do not give a shit how you were doing and just want to keep their managers off of their backs. In Europe, you know they usually don't give a shit how you are doing on your meal.

Also as a side note, when you order, you order everything all at once - appetizers and mains. If you order an appetizer they will take your menus away and assume you don't want anything. And usually not care enough to check on you ever again.

If you say 'thank you' when giving them the money, that means keep the change. Never say anything as it may be misinterpreted as 'thank you' such as 'Go die you wretched person'. Instead, just hold up the money and stare beady eyed at them. While they are pausing to see if you can make any noise that could be interpreted as 'thank you', slowly lean back in the chair and cross your arms. You may want to practice this ahead of time to make sure your chair doesn't squeak as that may also be misinterpreted. They may look a bit put out that you didn't give them any tip but the service (almost guaranteed) won't (by American standards) have come close to warranting anything but a savage beating. Jana and Pete have often expressed that they thought the service was acceptable but they are foreigners and not to be trusted with opinions on restaurant service unlike Americans who like to live there and graze almost continuously. We know what good service is and any wait staff who does not live up to our expectations runs the risk of a drive by eating. Hum. Talk of cannibalism makes Logan hungry.

Some places won't even give you fucking tap water - because they make no money on it. I believe that should call for a fine from the owner of the restaurant every time an incident of that type is reported.

A Jana quote on typical Czech service: "Smile from Czech service people - never! i hate them. I hope they come after me so I can punch them! Will you write everything I say? Stop it!"

Some people I've met, like Marek (from Slovakia) who was bar tending, did an excellent job. He actually gave me my first taste of absinthe here. It is fucking moonshine.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap |

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