This week I was having a casual dinner in a restaurant with two international friends. After we paid, my friend took a ten euro banknote and placed it on the table. I must have been quite a sight reaching out to that note lightning-fast and giving it back. My friends looked me in disbelief when I said that it isn’t customary to tip in Finland.
Restaurants, hotels & transport
Tipping truly is a foreign concept and not a part of Finnish service culture. There is absolutely no need to tip when in a restaurant, cafe, taxi or hotel. If you have an appointment with a hairdresser or beautician, the situation is the same – no tip is given. In Finland, the price of the product or service has the customer service always included. You never have to doubt this.
In my opinion, no tipping is just a positive thing. You can spend your money on more exciting things than adding up an extra 10-15% to everything. On the other hand, if tip giving is a part of your own culture and you are suffering from a compulsory disorder of always giving tip, I have good news: it is not humiliating or rude to give a tip in Finland. It is just unusual.
My advice is that if you internally feel mandatory to tip, round up the end sum in a restaurant or in a taxi and in other places, go without any extras.
The topic of tipping often has conflicting information in the internet. I checked couple of sites about tipping etiquette in Finland, and luckily, most information I found seemed accurate. Some sites are advising leaving a tip at the hotel, and I seriously do not understand why. This is not a Finnish custom.
Homes & surprise situations
I have worked more than ten years in different customer service situations and never expected a tip when running after a client with his forgotten jacket or calling about a misplaced wallet. I think that this kind of service is built-in for us Finns, a social and moral basis. Why would I want a monetary prize for doing the right thing?
If you are staying with a Finnish host, you should never leave money behind to pay for the ”host’s troubles”. This would be totally strange. Same goes if you are renting a summer cottage. Of course you should leave extra money if you broke something or leave the cottage in complete state of mess, but this is not tipping.
Do Finns ever give a tip?
We tip rarely and most likely due to extraordinary, utterly magical, service. I have tipped only couple of times in Finland. All of those occasions were when dining and the service in the restaurant was out of this world.
Actually, the only places with somewhat regular tipping in Finland might be bar lines. If you know the bouncer, you are able to cut the line by giving a good tip when you enter or exit the bar. Bare in mind that this is done really discreetly with a handshake and only by men!