Tips On Tipping & Other Things When In The USA

Are you considering a USA holiday but just aren’t sure about what to expect, especially regarding their tipping regime? Well, since I’ve only just returned from there I reckon I may have a few tips that I can pass onto you. The first thing is to make sure you convert some of your currency into US dollars, ensuring that you have several of the smaller notes, especially one and five dollar notes. You’re going to need these as soon as you leave the airport to pay for your cab or shuttle fare to your hotel. I’m sure they take credit cards but I find it a lot easier to pay by cash. Oh, in case you’re wondering yes, you do have to tip the cab driver, usually between 15-18% of the fare. I found this strange but perhaps it’s necessary because they’re not very well paid and need it to supplement their poor wages.

Musso & Frank Grill was one of the first restaurants that we used a credit card to pay for the meal, which by the way was superb, as was the ambiance of the restaurant. Upon getting the bill I noticed there wasn’t anywhere to add the customary tip and I thought perhaps it wasn’t required so after checking the bill for errors I placed the credit card in the folder. It was promptly returned along with a copy of the bill but this time it had a spot where you add your tip gratuity.

OK, now I’m confused. Shouldn’t they have given me this copy in the first place? Mystified I queried the waiter but I reckon he had trouble with my accent, as did most Yanks, you’d be surprised how many blank stares we got whilst over there. So I filled in the gratuity section thinking he would take the credit card again. Nope, it seems they can add the tip with the original swipe. Seems to me that a shonky establishment pancakescould embellish the amount of the tip if they wanted to. Personally I would have preferred getting the second bill, the one with the gratuity, first rather than as an after thought. Apparently this seems to be the norm so be prepared.

I reckon my favourite breakfast was at the Twist Restaurant and Bar which is found at the Renaissance which meant we could charge it to our room. I found this the simplest way of paying for our meals and the bills had a place for the customary tip. My favourite breakfast for the trip had to be the pancakes that came complete with blueberries and bananas. It was delicious. Anna couldn’t finish hers but I managed to get all mine down.

HomaAnother thing we learned whilst in LA is that if you want to know what’s going on around you the only way to do it is to go on a tour and the one we settled for was Starline Tours although there was no lack of people trying to shove brochures at you as you walked down the street. We booked our first tour via a small lady named Homa who did try to book a second tour for the next day but we insisted on doing it when we were ready and promised we would come to see her so she could get the credit for our next tour. I don’t think she believed us and I must admit she looked shocked when I tapped her on the shoulder the next day. Did you know that Muhammed Ali does not have his star on  the sidewalk? Yep, he told them that he refused to be walked on and so he’s the only celebrity that has been placed on a wall. One of the many tidbits I picked up on the tour.Muhammad

When wanting to learn something it’s always a good idea to talk to the locals. Anna wanted to do some shopping and she heard that Macy’s at the Beverly Centre was a good place to go. As a taxi was an expensive option we asked the locals which bus to take to get there. It turns out that the 217 would take us to Fairfax and Third where we would take another bus to our destination. The cost of the trip was only $1.50 each and was as simple as feeding three dollar notes through the receptacle. On the way back I wanted to get rid of some coin so counted out $3 for the first leg of our return trip. I placed the whole lot into the coin receptacle which caused it to get jammed. “Sorry mate” I said to the bus driver, “Is there a trick to it?” “Sure” he says as he calmly tries to unjam the mess, “you put it in a lot slower.” So there’s another tip for you, place the coins in one at a time.

Speaking of coins, for the life of me I don’t understand why the Yanks still use one cent pieces. We got rid of them years ago and it’s a hell of a lot better not having to carry around all that spare change.

A couple of last tips before I go;

  • If you’re an Aussie and you feel you’re not being understood, try speaking a little slower and enunciating properly.
  • Don’t catch a cab during rush hour it will cost you a fortune. Better to sit and relax with a coffee or something.
  • No need to tip a bus driver or staff in a department store
  • Don’t freak out when cab drivers don’t stop at stop signs, they all seem to do it.

If you have any questions you know the drill, ask away in the comment section.

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A MailChimp Review, For The Good Affiliate Marketer

As I was doing my normal daily blog hopping I happen to notice that there seemed to be a lot of people promoting Aweber as the best auto-responder on the market. Apart from expounding all its good points they will generally tell you, somewhere in the post, that it must be good because all the big boys use it. This may be true but I’m sure that one of the reasons that a lot of people use it and for promoting the crap out of it is because they’re also an affiliate.

Which is fine as I understand how one tends to get emotional about promoting something that they love to use, heck I do the same when telling people about the FlexSqueeze theme. I do take exception though when while promoting it they have a go at MailChimp. Yeah, I know I did the same thing when I compared FlexSqueeze to Thesis but I never said Thesis was bad in that post, just that it wasn’t as good! :innocent1_tb:

To be quite honest not all the posts actually said MailChimp was bad but some of the comments did allude to that and the biggest contention was the fact that the guys at MailChimp do not like the way some people run their affiliate marketing. It’s true though, if you’re looking for a list to push your affiliate products down people’s throats then MailChimp is not for you because you try it with them and they will kick you out. And so they should too because that type of marketing hurts their name reputation, something that’s very important to them.

Image via CrunchBase

That doesn’t mean that you can’t promote affiliates, just that your campaigns should not focus just around affiliate marketing. Honestly if I joined a list and all I got was campaigns promoting different ways of making money, growing my business or other affiliates then I can assure you I will drop that list like a hot potato.

I swore long ago that I would never have a list but that was only  because I thought the only reason for having one was to use it against my subscribers by pushing crap down their throats. It was only after a lot of thought and soul searching that I found a way in which I could use a list without going against my principals which was when I wrote my post Why The List Hater Has His Very Own List! That then led to my post Why I Chose MailChimp Over Aweber where I talked about why I liked MailChimp so much. In that particular post I described how you could be a MailChimp member and promote affiliates.

I know it seems like I’m rehashing old topics but its necessary because people need to know, especially when you’re just starting up your list and you can’t afford the expense of paying for one such as Aweber. That plus I would love to build a new breed of affiliate marketers, one that cares about their subscribers and would never use them just for the sake of peddling their wares.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of the products you get in your inbox from those affiliate marketers never make it to their blog? Now, why is that unless they’re not all that comfortable about actually posting about it, like one I received in my inbox today from a reputable marketer that seemed to be nothing less than a pyramid scheme. So its good enough for their list but not good enough for their blog?

That’s where we can be different as we would only promote affiliates that we absolutely believe in and because we believe in them we’re quite happy to post about them on our blogs. That is what makes MailChimp the perfect auto-responder for us because if you use it, as I do, to tell your subscribers when you’ve written a new post you will be driving traffic to that post, and if that post is an affiliate product you love you will be killing two birds with one post.

So basically all I’m saying is don’t write MailChimp off just because you’ve read somewhere that it doesn’t accept affiliate marketers because the truth is they don’t accept the wrong type of internet marketers, and that’s not us is it?

Happiness In New York City Is All About Peanuts

I don’t know about you but even as an Aussie I grew up with Charlie Brown and the other now famous Peanuts characters, my favorite of which would have to be Snoopy. As stated in Wikipedia, “Peanuts is a syndicated daily and Sunday comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, which ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000 (the day after Schulz’s death), continuing in reruns afterward. The strip is considered to be one of the most popular and influential in the history of the medium, with 17,897 strips published in all,[1] making it “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being”, according to Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse University.” Syracuse, isn’t that where you’re from Mitch? :drunk_tb:

Anyway, I got this email today from David Kirschenbaum, who happens to be the PR and events coordinator of the Peanut Butter and Co, that included a press release about a sweepstakes that Ziploc Peanuts All Stars CardsPeanut Butter and Co and Charles Schulz’s Peanuts have partnered to create. He thought that perhaps I would like to include it in a post, and you know, he was right because I think it is a great promotion. Without further ado here is the press release.

Happiness is a Trip to New York City

Peanut Butter & Co., Warner Home Video, Peanuts Worldwide, and Delta Vacations join forces to offer the Happiness in NYC Sweepstakes
(New York, NY) To celebrate the release of Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, and two succeeding Peanuts DVD releases, Peanut Butter & Co., Warner Home Video, Peanuts Worldwide, and Delta Vacations have teamed up to create the Happiness In NYC Sweepstakes.


Five lucky winners will be chosen from three contest periods running throughout 2011,Ziploc Peanuts All Stars Cards corresponding with the release of each of the three new Peanuts DVDs. These fifteen winners will each receive a prize pack containing Peanut Butter & Co. products, Peanuts DVDs and merchandise. Out of these winners one grand prize winner will be selected to win a deluxe trip for four to experience “Happiness in New York City.” The vacation package includes round trip airfare and hotel accommodations as well as lunch at the Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop, tickets to a Broadway show, and VIP access to New York City museums restaurants and shopping.


Promotion for the sweepstakes will appear on Peanut Butter & Co. products throughout 2011, as well as in national print, online, direct response, and social media channels. There is no purchase necessary to enter the sweepstakes.  For a complete set of rules and to enter, consumers can go to


The contest entry site also includes a link to watch the trailer for Happiness is a Peanuts MetLife All Star Cards - LucyWarm Blanket, Charlie Brown. This new and original work is the first of 3 new Peanuts specials in five years and is comprised of original comic strip ideas created by Charles Schulz. In this heartwarming new tale, Linus is pushed to his limits when he learns his grandmother is coming to visit and plans to rid him of his most cherished possession, his beloved security blanket. As grandma’s impending arrival looms closer, the Peanuts gang finds ways to try and help Linus lose his dependence on his fuzzy crutch.


“Peanut Butter & Co. is thrilled to be a part of the launch of this exciting new chapter in Charles Schulz’s storied Peanuts franchise,” said Lee Zalben, Founder & President of Peanut Butter & Co.  “We think that this is a promotion that consumer will really “go nuts” for…pun intended!”


Craig Schulz, son of the Peanuts creator, served as one of the executive producers and writers of the film along with Stephen Pastis, who wrote the special as well.  Peanuts MetLife All Star Cards - LinusHappiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown was also executive produced by Paige Braddock and Linda M. Steiner and was directed by animator Andy Beall (Up, Ratatouille) and Frank Molieri (The Simpsons Movie, SpongeBob SquarePants Movie).


The film, produced by Warner Premiere, is set for release on DVD by Warner Home Video on March 29, 2011 and will retail for $19.98 SRP.


The two other Peanuts films for release this year are Happiness is…Peanuts™: Snoopy’s Adventures on June 14, 2011 and Happiness is…Peanuts ™: Snow Days on October 18, 2011.



About Peanut Butter & Co.

Peanut Butter & Co. began as a sandwich shop in New York City serving nothing but peanut butter sandwiches.  The Company’s ten varieties of all-natural peanut butter: Smooth Operator, Crunch Time, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, White Chocolate Wonderful, Ziploc Peanuts All Stars CardsDark Chocolate Dreams, The Heat Is On, Mighty Maple, The Bee’s Knees, Old Fashioned Smooth and Old Fashioned Crunchy are made exclusively from a special blend of USA-grown peanuts chosen for their taste, texture and natural sweetness.  The Company’s products are sold at over 10,000 stores throughout the US and Canada, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Target, and Walmart, as well as other leading grocers and natural and specialty food shops.  Peanut Butter & Co. brand peanut butter contains no cholesterol, no trans-fats, no partially hydrogenated oils, and no high fructose corn syrup, and is both dairy-free and gluten-free.
About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution, interactive entertainment/videogames, direct-to-DVD production, technical operations and anti-piracy businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. WBHEG is responsible for the global Ziploc Peanuts All Stars Cardsdistribution of content through DVD, electronic sell-through and VOD, and delivery of theatrical content to wireless and online channels, and is also a significant worldwide publisher for both internal and third party videogame titles.



The Peanuts characters and related intellectual property are owned by Peanuts Worldwide LLC, a joint venture owned 80% by Iconix Brand Group, Inc. and 20% by members of the Charles M. Schulz family. Iconix Brand Group, Inc. owns, licenses and markets a growing portfolio of consumer brands.


About Delta Vacations

Delta Vacations offers customizable vacation packages that combine flights on Delta Air Lines®, Peanuts MetLife All Star Cards - SchroederDelta Connection® carriers and Delta Worldwide Partners with hotel stays, rental car, sightseeing,  entertainment and escorted tours to more than 200 of the world’s most appealing leisure destinations. Its marketing alliances allow travelers to earn bonus miles, credited flight miles, and Medallion Qualifying Miles with the SkyMiles program via more than 16,000 daily flights offered by SkyTeam alliance carriers. For more information, consult a travel agent or visit


I included the whole release, except for the pictures as I added those because I thought it was a nice touch, as I thought there was a lot of stuff in there that many of you might find interesting.

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