CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

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Belle
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Belle » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:20 am

I wish I'd been there!! Our oldest friend/s here (husband) is an American expat (Duluth, Minnesota) and we talked today about the USA for much of the afternoon. He has lived in Australia since 1973 and his American accent remains as strong as ever. He's the dearest man in the world and a wonderful friend.

lennygoran
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by lennygoran » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:49 am

Belle wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:20 am
I wish I'd been there!! Our oldest friend/s here (husband) is an American expat (Duluth, Minnesota) and we talked today about the USA for much of the afternoon. He has lived in Australia since 1973 and his American accent remains as strong as ever. He's the dearest man in the world and a wonderful friend.
Belle the conversation was so interesting I forgot to ask the waiter to take a photo of us-got a few before others arrived-it's a pleasant looking restaurant. You must come to nyc for one of these dinners-bring Barney! Len :lol:

Image

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maestrob
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by maestrob » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:48 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:30 pm
Yes, folks, I blew it. I'm not exactly old and feeble, but from where I live I just don't have this kind of trip in me anymore. I live alone and would need someone else to kick my arse out of here to motivate me. I hope you will forgive me, and that those of you who did attend had a wonderful time.
John, you were missed! The weather turned out to be not so bad (we were sprinkled on a bit while hailing a cab to go home, but no big deal!). Hope you feel better.

maestrob
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by maestrob » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:17 am

JohnF, Sue & Len,

Just wanted to say thanks for setting up our little get-together. We must do this again soon!

Brian

Belle
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Belle » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:32 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:49 am
Belle wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:20 am
I wish I'd been there!! Our oldest friend/s here (husband) is an American expat (Duluth, Minnesota) and we talked today about the USA for much of the afternoon. He has lived in Australia since 1973 and his American accent remains as strong as ever. He's the dearest man in the world and a wonderful friend.
Belle the conversation was so interesting I forgot to ask the waiter to take a photo of us-got a few before others arrived-it's a pleasant looking restaurant. You must come to nyc for one of these dinners-bring Barney! Len :lol:

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My youngest sister keeps nagging me about going to NYC. I'm sort of like JohnB, who requires motivation to get off his backside - only our 'journey' is a little more complex and costly. And I worry about tipping in the USA.

John F
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by John F » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:07 pm

Belle wrote:I worry about tipping in the USA.
How so? The usual rate in a restaurant or taxi is 15%, I go up to 20% for exceptional service, but most services are tip-free. For example, at a concert or opera the Playbill program is free; you don't have to buy it, as in London, or tip the usher even if you can find your seat yourself, as in Paris.

Here's the NY Times guide to tipping in NYC:

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes ... 11_10.html

Restaurant waiters are paid very little and depend on tips, so unless the service has been so bad that you want to punish the waiter, you tip her/him the standard 15%.
John Francis

Belle
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Belle » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:53 am

Thanks so much, John; very thoughtful. It is a question of who, how much and how often. Thanks for the link. It's hard to 'budget' with these things in mind!!

lennygoran
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by lennygoran » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:38 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:53 am
Thanks so much, John; very thoughtful. It is a question of who, how much and how often. Thanks for the link. It's hard to 'budget' with these things in mind!!
Belle I agree it's important to keep budget in mind but please don't let tipping keep you from coming here-it would be the least of your problems! Regards, Len :lol:

John F
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by John F » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:41 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:53 am
Thanks so much, John; very thoughtful. It is a question of who, how much and how often. Thanks for the link. It's hard to 'budget' with these things in mind!!
As an experienced traveler, you know that when you dine in Vienna or Paris, the "tip" for service is part of the bill ("service et taxe compris"); you don't have to calculate it yourself, so you may not think of it as an add-on to the price of your meal - but it is. And there are many places to eat here where no tip is expected; I have lunch in or near Lincoln Center several times a week and haven't paid a tip yet.

Though I've never taken a taxi in Vienna, I often have in London, and a tip is expected there too. In this respect and others, New York is no more expensive than any other great city and less so than many. The public transportation (buses and subways) is so extensive that at least in Manhattan, it will usually take you to within a block or two of where you want to go, for a fare of $2.75 including a transfer. It runs all day and all night, so you rarely need to take a taxi unless you want to.

Of course I know my way around, after 50 years as a New Yorker, but Barney can tell you how it is for an Aussie who is new to the city.
John Francis

Rach3
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Rach3 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:23 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:53 am
Thanks so much, John; very thoughtful. It is a question of who, how much and how often. Thanks for the link. It's hard to 'budget' with these things in mind!!
We were in South Korea recently where tipping is almost universally forbidden and almost considered an affront if you offer.

John F
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by John F » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:45 pm

What part of South Korea? I was stationed in Taegu/Daegu for a year in the Army, but I expect most who visit the country go to Seoul or possibly Pusan/Busan.
John Francis

Belle
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Belle » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:57 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:41 am
Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:53 am
Thanks so much, John; very thoughtful. It is a question of who, how much and how often. Thanks for the link. It's hard to 'budget' with these things in mind!!
As an experienced traveler, you know that when you dine in Vienna or Paris, the "tip" for service is part of the bill ("service et taxe compris"); you don't have to calculate it yourself, so you may not think of it as an add-on to the price of your meal - but it is. And there are many places to eat here where no tip is expected; I have lunch in or near Lincoln Center several times a week and haven't paid a tip yet.

Though I've never taken a taxi in Vienna, I often have in London, and a tip is expected there too. In this respect and others, New York is no more expensive than any other great city and less so than many. The public transportation (buses and subways) is so extensive that at least in Manhattan, it will usually take you to within a block or two of where you want to go, for a fare of $2.75 including a transfer. It runs all day and all night, so you rarely need to take a taxi unless you want to.

Of course I know my way around, after 50 years as a New Yorker, but Barney can tell you how it is for an Aussie who is new to the city.
My sister is a reasonably regular visitor to NYC (stays Air BnB) but we've never discussed the issue of tipping. I'll be seeing her in the next couple of weeks and we can do so. But it's not the same as talking to the locals about it!!

We always use the excellent American Express card for everything as we don't like carrying very much cash - so tipping then becomes a bit more problematic. Their 'commission' rate es for currency conversion are so low that we find it's much easier to transact this way. And they cover all our travel insurance; no need to purchase extra policies for those few-week excursions.

Three months or more away is a different matter. We can suspend our health insurance and are actually in front after paying for travel insurance. (We pay a whopping $A,6300 pa for private health insurance!!)

lennygoran
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by lennygoran » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:56 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:23 am
We were in South Korea recently where tipping is almost universally forbidden and almost considered an affront if you offer.
We flew Korean Airlines in the late 1970's or early 1980's as tourists-a trip that included Japan, Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong-got a great price in those days through Sue's teachers plan-a wonderful trip-we only liked about half of what we ate in Korea though-half was way too hot for us including the kimchi which I've never liked. There's a little Korean area here in Manhattan near Macy's and some nice Korean restaurants in the Fort Lee, NJ area. Regards, Len

PS-sorry it's so shakey.


lennygoran
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by lennygoran » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:59 pm

Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:57 pm

We always use the excellent American Express card for everything as we don't like carrying very much cash - so tipping then becomes a bit more problematic.
Belle just add the tip to the rest of the bill when it comes to restaurants-if you need cash there are always ATM cards. Regards, Len

Rach3
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Rach3 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:18 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:45 pm
What part of South Korea?
3 days in Seoul in a very small, but excellent, traditional Korean hotel, in old part of the city, not a Western-style at all ( shoes off inside, beds on floor , large Korean breakfast there every morning sitting on the floor ) , then bullet train to Busan , 2 days in Busan ( over Buhdda's birthday ), then 3 days at a resort on south side of Jeju Island.My US Amy captain son stationed at Camp Humphreys had vacation time, joined us. Friendly,courteous people, felt safe everywhere,great food, clean cities with ample public transport. The USA needs to up our game.

jbuck919
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:55 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:56 pm
Rach3 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:23 am
We were in South Korea recently where tipping is almost universally forbidden and almost considered an affront if you offer.
We flew Korean Airlines in the late 1970's or early 1980's as tourists-a trip that included Japan, Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong-got a great price in those days through Sue's teachers plan-a wonderful trip-we only liked about half of what we ate in Korea though-half was way too hot for us including the kimchi which I've never liked. There's a little Korean area here in Manhattan near Macy's and some nice Korean restaurants in the Fort Lee, NJ area. Regards, Len
Just saying, but I had two excellent Korean students (in the same class) back in Maryland, and their breath smelled of garlic every day because they even eat kimchi for breakfast. At about the same time, one of their families who were great cooks prepared a meal to honor the faculty. Some ignoramus teacher came into the faculty room and told us that there was some nice Chinese food available. Not knowing the difference at the time, I congratulated the cooks only to be corrected that it was Korean. Of course, I fell over myself apologizing. Korea is no more China than the US is Japan. Although it is a tonal language and difficult for us to distinguish, Korean is not a Sino-Tibetan language. It is what is called a language isolate, unrelated to any other language in the world.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

barney
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by barney » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:16 am

My month in New York is among the most memorable of my life. I went to a concert or the opera every night but one, when I was visiting a friend at Yale. I came with a friend, and we stayed at an AirBnB in New Jersey, actually on the boulevard overlooking the Hudson with the New York skyline. I found prices very reasonable, and tipping no problem at all, though at first I had to think about it a little. We used the subway and buses (to and from New Jersey) constantly, excellent value and good service. I never felt unsafe, in the Port Authority building after midnight or anywhere. I wish I had the wealth to spend a month every year in New York. Or more!
On the other hand, I might enjoy a visit to the world's most liveable city, so familiar to you. Today's news is that after seven years in number one position, Melbourne has been dislodged by Vienna.

Belle
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Belle » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:57 am

barney wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:16 am
My month in New York is among the most memorable of my life. I went to a concert or the opera every night but one, when I was visiting a friend at Yale. I came with a friend, and we stayed at an AirBnB in New Jersey, actually on the boulevard overlooking the Hudson with the New York skyline. I found prices very reasonable, and tipping no problem at all, though at first I had to think about it a little. We used the subway and buses (to and from New Jersey) constantly, excellent value and good service. I never felt unsafe, in the Port Authority building after midnight or anywhere. I wish I had the wealth to spend a month every year in New York. Or more!
On the other hand, I might enjoy a visit to the world's most liveable city, so familiar to you. Today's news is that after seven years in number one position, Melbourne has been dislodged by Vienna.
It was a pleasure reading this! And you're right about Vienna: number 1 most liveable city. I'm seeing my European doctor friend on Thursday and it will start off with the usual German greetings then a massive "high five" about Vienna's current ranking!!

maestrob
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by maestrob » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:12 am

lennygoran wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:59 pm
Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:57 pm

We always use the excellent American Express card for everything as we don't like carrying very much cash - so tipping then becomes a bit more problematic.
Belle just add the tip to the rest of the bill when it comes to restaurants-if you need cash there are always ATM cards. Regards, Len
Actually, the better restaurants give you an idea of how much to tip printed right on your check/bill, so you can round off from there. We usually tip 20%: In NYC wait staff live off their tips and are paid the ridiculous salary of around $2+ per hour. Our taxi drivers all accept credit cards now as well. They are in competition, unfortunately, with Uber, Lyft and various car services, and are currently making a very low income. The cost of a licence (medallion) to drive a cab has dropped precipitously from $1 million to $200,000.00 these days. The City Council finally put a limit on licences for black car drivers a few days ago, but it's way too late for taxi drivers paying exorbitant mortgages on their medallions.

lennygoran
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by lennygoran » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:46 pm

maestrob wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:12 am
Actually, the better restaurants give you an idea of how much to tip printed right on your check/bill, so you can round off from there.
Brian I like when they do that-for the restaurants we've been using it happens only ocassionally but I see the trend for doing it rising. Regards, Len

Belle
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Belle » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:22 pm

maestrob wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:12 am
lennygoran wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:59 pm
Belle wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:57 pm

We always use the excellent American Express card for everything as we don't like carrying very much cash - so tipping then becomes a bit more problematic.
Belle just add the tip to the rest of the bill when it comes to restaurants-if you need cash there are always ATM cards. Regards, Len
Actually, the better restaurants give you an idea of how much to tip printed right on your check/bill, so you can round off from there. We usually tip 20%: In NYC wait staff live off their tips and are paid the ridiculous salary of around $2+ per hour. Our taxi drivers all accept credit cards now as well. They are in competition, unfortunately, with Uber, Lyft and various car services, and are currently making a very low income. The cost of a licence (medallion) to drive a cab has dropped precipitously from $1 million to $200,000.00 these days. The City Council finally put a limit on licences for black car drivers a few days ago, but it's way too late for taxi drivers paying exorbitant mortgages on their medallions.
Firstly, I'm utterly appalled by that hourly rate for wait staff!! Completely unacceptable by any measure whatsoever. I'm sorry, but I'd be tempted to avoid restaurants on some kind of boycott. The staff are effectively subsidizing the business and the customer. :evil:

Secondly, I refuse to use Uber or any alternative to a conventional taxi for the same reason. I know from talking to drivers in Sydney that the cheaper alternatives do not carry the kind of insurances that taxis have. Anyway, I don't like grubby competition!!! You pay for infrastructure and a standard of living or you don't.

John F
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by John F » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:20 pm

Fortunately, maestrob is mistaken about the base pay for waitstaff in New York restaurants.
In New York, the minimum wage varies depending on the location of the restaurant and, in New York City, the size of the restaurant. The applicable minimum wage rates and tip credits are as follows:

NY City – Large restaurant (11 or more employees)
-- Full. Min. Wage Rate (as of 12/31/17) $13.00 per hour
Up to $4.35, with $8.65 per hour in house pay (Tip Credit)

NY City – Small restaurant (10 or less employees)
-- Full. Min. Wage Rate (as of 12/31/17) $12.00 per hour
Up to $4.00, with $8.00 per hour in house pay (Tip Credit)

In New York, restaurants are allowed to use a “tip credit”, which ranges from $2.90 to $4.35 per hour, to count towards the minimum wage that they must pay their tipped employees. In other words, they can pay their waitstaff less than minimum wage on the condition that the employees will make at least minimum wage per hour after receiving their tips from customers.
https://waiterpay.com/top-ten-violations/minimum-wage

The restaurant business is very hard. I've read that 60% of new NYC eateries close within a year or two, and 20% more don't make it to 5 years - and it's worse in hard times like 2008 and after. Worth keeping in mind.

Boycotting restaurants, and thereby depriving their waitstaff of your tip and possibly helping to put the restaurant out of business, doesn't help them any.

As for non-public transportation, I hail licensed taxis on the street, but when I need transportation from home at a specific time, I use a car service not because it's cheaper - it isn't - but because it's my only option, as empty licened taxis are nonexistent on the street where I live. The cars in the service I use are not "grubby," they are not only clean but essentially limousines like the Packard Town Car, generally more spacious than standard taxis which with my legs I find it hard to get into. (Others' experiences may differ.) Fortunately, I can almost always get where I want to go using public transportation, which is not only much cheaper but often faster.
John Francis

Belle
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by Belle » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:02 pm

Our basic minimum wage here in Australia is $719.20 per week; on top of that the employer has to pay 9% of that amount into the employee's superannuation fund. Until recently wait staff were paid 'penalty rates' - which means 'time and a half' on Saturday and 'double time' on Sunday. On top of that they often get tips if working in a more upmarket restaurant. But penalty rates have now been reduced because, together with the high cost of energy in this country, businesses couldn't open on Sundays as it was just too expensive. Some restaurants still do impose 'Sunday surcharge' costs to patrons. Quite a few, actually.

By 'grubby' I didn't mean anything to do with dirt - rather, underhand and not on a level playing field. Here in Australia taxi drivers pay a fortune for licence plates, have the cost of running vehicles and paying wages and numerous insurance imposts. Others, like Uber, don't bear those same costs (imposed by government!!) and I won't support these because I regard it as unfair trading. I've spoken to lots of taxi drivers about this and most are immigrants, have families and HUGE Sydney mortgages and are going through extraordinarily difficult times because of competition from things like Uber etc. We pay circa $50 to go by taxi from our Sydney Central Railway to the International Air Terminal; it's $36 on the private rail line and I couldn't be bothered hauling all the luggage up hill and down dale to save $14!!! (My husband usually tips the taxi driver as well.)

I don't see why government should subject one sector of the transport industry to one set of costs and another gets to pay none at all. In our case, the consumer will decide.

lennygoran
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by lennygoran » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:59 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:22 pm
I'd be tempted to avoid restaurants on some kind of boycott. The staff are effectively subsidizing the business and the customer.
Belle I advise against that-there are so many restaurants in nyc with so much variety you could find many that would meet your specifications! Regards, Len

John F
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by John F » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:00 pm

The minimum wage etc. is set by New York state law. Boycotting any particular restaurant or all of them won't change that. Leave it to the waitstaff - and their union - to look out for themselves. If you really care about the waiters and want to help them, tip them generously, in cash!
John Francis

John F
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by John F » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:42 am

On the TV program "Bandit Patrol," about rehabilitating wild animals and returning them to the wild, I see a woman playing Dvorak's "Humoresque" on a violin to a cage full of raccoons who certainly look as if they're attracted to it. She believes that "music soothes the savage beast," as she says, not just a tame raccoon such as I mentioned.
John Francis

barney
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by barney » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:20 am

Unfortunately, what William Congreve actually suggested was that music hath charms to soothe the savage bReast, not beast. Quite different, though a raccoon of course does possess a breast.

John F
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by John F » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:43 am

I know that, but I wasn't quoting Congreve, I was quoting the woman violinist in the TV show when face to face with a number of pacified wild beasts..
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: CMG luncheon Sat Aug 11

Post by maestrob » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:24 am

So, wait staff have finally gotten a raise! I note that the law changed at the end of 2017 from your post, JohnF, which is a good thing. I'll still tip generously. Waiting tables is a difficult, stressful job, and when it's done well, I appreciate it. It's a job I could never do, because my head is always full of distracting music for some reason! :D

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