Tipping Culture Is Coming To Korea And People Aren’t Happy About It

Unlike in other parts of the world, tipping service workers is considered rude and frowned upon.

A well-known custom in Korea is the way they handle tipping culture. Servers are able to earn a living wage and tipping can seem as if they don’t earn enough and must rely on charity.

Korean Won | iStock

London Bagel Museum is a popular cafe in Seoul that recently received backlash online for incorporating a tip jar at their register.

  • “They’ve really lost their mind as people keep praising them for being so good. If you’re going to implement tip culture, go to the States.”
  • “Why did they start tip culture here? Please explain this.”
  • “I heard they started doing it because foreigners kept asking where they could tip… but if you look, foreigners that are used to tip culture are usually people from the States. Tourists who come to Korea are usually people from Asian countries. Since when did Asian tourists visit different countries and ask where to tip?”
  • “I heard if you want to eat here, you have to tip… If that’s the case, Korea is a country where the staff’s service charge is included in the price, so requesting to calculate an amount that has not been specified in advance is clearly illegal. If you want to give a tip to an employee who worked hard, the boss can do so. Looks like you will be sued soon…”
  • “There is no tip culture in the U.K.”
  • “Asking for a tip must be reported to the National Tax Service as a violation of the Food Sanitation act.”
  • “They said they wouldn’t forget where they came from, yet they installed a tip box.”

The cafe responded to the backlash with a statement on Instagram, saying the tip jar was added as “decoration” and the jar was removed a few days later.

Not only are some cafes accepting tips, but taxi rides are now incorporating a tip option in their apps after the ride.

A recent addition to a Taxi ride app which involves option to tip after finishing the ride.

A common complaint within the controversy is that it is legally required for businesses to disclose the full amount of their products, thus making the addition of a tip illegal.

Many residents of Korea see the lack of tipping culture as a good thing, as it keeps service fair for both the workers and customers. Although the concept is currently run on a trial basis, the rise of tipping in the country have started controversy, and a discussion on the ethicality of tipping in general.




Source: Wikitree and Nate
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