Column One: A Tip for Waiters: Don't Bother to Serve Norwegians

Article excerpt

"NEI, JEG insisterer, behold pengene" (No, I insist, you keep the change), is not an expression that trips lightly from the tongue of the average Norwegian. They and their fellow Scandinavians are, it seems, among the world's most dismal tippers.

Their neighbours the Finns are almost as bad, and the Icelandics performed so dismally - they didn't tip anyone - that researchers threw them out of the survey on the basis that no one could really be that mean and there must have been a technical error.

But the apparent aversion of the Scandinavians to tipping is not because of any inherent meanness, no, no, no. They are simply introverted and non-neurotic, if the researchers are to be believed. While Norwegians will tip in little more than half a dozen trades and professions, the neurotic American will tip almost anyone in 32 different jobs.

The research, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, says tipping is dictated by national characteristics: Put simply, the more neurotic or extrovert the population, the greater the tip.

Anxious and neurotic people tip because they see it as a way of ensuring they will get served well and won't have any of the waiter's DNA in the soup.

"There are vast differences across countries in the number of service professionals it is customary to tip," says the report's author, Michael Lynn. …