Thanks I didn't know that. In America to do so would drive up taxes and wages so the meal would actually cost the consumer around double (that's like Chapter 20-something for me, stay tuned) so the customer here is actually way better off by being given the option to tip at their discretion on a sliding scale (20% is the expected norm here for good service, but over 20% is pretty normal for outstanding service - I receive over 20% at least once almost every shift but I'm pretty experienced). Unfortunately there are some sleazebags here who think the tip not being added automatically is their excuse to not tip, or tip only 10% or so, and that's if the server is lucky. It's kind of rare to get 10% or less, but like I said there are sleazebags who do it routinely - fortunately they are in the minority, I might go all week and get only one or two of those.

Worth noting that in U.S. laws, whenever "the tip" (ie, gratuity) is included, it now becomes a mostly non-negotiable charge which the establishment is required to also charge sales tax on to the customer! Same as a mechanic's hourly labor, etc. So again the consumer benefits more under the present system, but some still abuse the system and cheat the waiters with less than 20% routinely even if service is adequate. But by adding the tip the customer than has to pay tax on top of the 18 or 20% autograt in most states these days. Paying them hourly and abolishing tipping is even more expensive to the guests because of Social Security, Medicaid, Insurance, etc that all has to be covered, so the increase in price to cover the "abolish tipping via hourly labor" argument only benefits government, but hurts the pockets of both servers and consumers ... all that in a future post!