Now, I'm not one to knock the septics. Indeed, I have enjoyed their company on exercises, ops and exchanges in the past. I also enjoy visiting their country and have done so on many occasions. But has anyone else noticed how the "tipping" culture, once associated with the "baksheesh" mentality of so-called 3rd world countries, has proliferated so much? Absolutely everything that someone does for you has a gratuity attached to it. Even passing you an unopened can of overpriced beer from the fridge elicits a request for a dollar tip. Forget the 10% expected in Europe at a restaurant. There it is 15% for mediocre service and less than 20% isn't even greeted with a thank you. The skycaps at the airport now expect $5 per bag and taxi drivers virtually demand a 20% tip. At a hotel in Vegas, some prat took my bag from the taxi and put it on the pavement (I had to take it inside the hotel) and expected a couple of dollars for it. Even the self-service places like Taco Bell, McDonalds and Burger King have "tip-jars" on the counter. One restaurant in Florida had a 15% service charge included in the bill but a further tip was also expected. Is the country going downhill so fast that they can't afford to pay their staff hence the "gimme, gimme, gimme" mentality has crept in to give service staff something to live on? Go to Vegas for a week and you'll probably give out more in tips than you'll lose on the tables. At St Thomas (USVI) I heard a fat, sweaty septic barman telling another Yank that he wouldn't serve Europeans because they didn't tip. All he was doing was passing beer from a fridge and telling you he "didn't serve sodas because you could buy them in the market". No wonder nobody bloody well tipped him. To cap it all, a bus driver on the Vegas strip even had a tip jar next to his seat. They could teach the vendors at the pyramids in Egypt a thing or two on how to elicit cash from tourists.