As I mentioned, I have been in New York City for a while.
There are lots of nice things there and it is a great place to visit, but I wanted to write about a couple of matters that were not so good.
First, the exchange rate is bad, very close to being £1 = $1. Given the generally high prices there, it makes shopping, especially clothes, almost impossible for anyone not extremely rich. Yes, places do have “knock 30% off” labels, but they are still a lot of money.
The big bugbear is tipping. You have to tip virtually everyone now. It’s not like these people don’t get paid, but they do expect extra. The rule used to be twice the tax, but now, especially in restaurants, suggested tip is printed at the bottom. Mostly they start at 25%. There were one or two going from 20%, but none in the teens. An extra 25%+ on an already expensive meal is something that, well, let’s not say it is a con or a liberty, but something you have to watch out for.
Many restaurants have security at the door. It happens in the UK too. I was told that if you attempt to leave without tipping, or it is too low, the security will come and, er, “help” you pay the right amount.
It’s not like you get good service. I went to one place for breakfast and ordered eggs benedict ($19), orange juice ($6) and coffee ($5). The juice never came, which was fine. I assumed it was forgotten, and was expensive anyway. But it was on the bill.
“The juice never came” I told the waiter.
“So what do you want me to do about that?” was the reply.
“I’m not paying for it” I said.
“Well, you ordered it, you pay for it”.
In the end, I won.
And in most parts of the USA, $5 for a coffee would include a refill. I can think of some restaurants where you take one sip of your coffee and they’re already freshening it up. Not in NYC. No refills, ever. They put signs up…