It has been a busy month for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Not only did his company go public (and take quite the epic nosedive), but the 28-year-old billionaire married his longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan.
The newlyweds visited Italy for their Honeymoon, and according to sources they quickly adopted one particular aspect of the European culture – forgoing the tip.
According to the Telegraph, Zuckerberg and Chan went for a nice meal of sea bass ravioli and fried artichokes at a local Jewish restaurant in Rome. Per the report, the bill came to 32 Euros and that’s exactly what the Zuckerbergs paid – 32 Euros.
Apparently, the owner of the restaurant recognized Zuckerberg, who apparently enjoyed the meal:
“I asked him ‘how was it?’ and he said ‘very good'”, the owner said. “I had gone up to him and said ‘Are you …?’ and he said ‘Yes’.”
But not good enough for a tip, apparently.
Of course, we can’t knock Zuckerberg for going against what is customary. In most European countries, leaving a tip is considered extra and is not expected as it is in the States. Many countries in Europe impose a service charge that’s worked into the bill, and waiters there typically receive a higher compensation than the $2-$3 per hour rate common in the U.S.
Then again, some European establishments may expect a tip from American tourists as they know that it is customary in the culture. Travel guy Rick Steves explains that tipping in Italy isn’t expected, but it is definitely accepted for outstanding food or service:
In Italy you tip if you really like the place, the food and the service; if the waiter was very friendly for example. In US a waiter has a small salary, but just because he will have a lot of tips: tipping is necessary; in Italy no, the salary is good and the tip is something exceptional, so a guest can tip or not and normally only the 10/20 percent of guests tip. Giving a tip to the waiter or leaving it on the table it is up to you. Leaving it on the table is the standard
So, Zuckerberg technically wasn’t in the wrong with his lack of a tip, but when you’re worth $20 billion it definitely comes off as a bit cheap. Maybe he had just heard the latest on the dropping Facebook stock and decided he better start saving up.