Would you tip more if the waitress touched you? – Mini Chinese lesson

In an effort to read more Chinese I recently picked up the Mandarin version of Elephants on Acid: and Other Bizarre Experiments. It’s a book that explores some of the more interesting experiments in history and their results. I love books like this and often read stuff like Freakonomics, or Predictably Irrational, but this book I had not read the English version first so figured it would be better study material as I’d have to pay attention more.

The first experiments are simple ones – how we react to the touch of others. One particular experiment looks at how our willingness to tip at a restaurant is influenced by the touch of the server. To find out the result the you’re going to have to read a bit of Chinese – I’ve simplified and summarised the experiment below. First have glance over the keyword list and then read the text.

實驗(实验)

shíyàn
experiment

觸碰(触碰)

chù pèng
touch

肩膀

jiānbǎng
shoulders

手心

shǒuxīn
palm

小費(小费)

xiǎofèi
tip

顧客(顾客)

gùkè
customer

服務生(服务生)

fúwù shēng
server at a restaurant or shop

Traditional Chinese

女服務生的觸碰對於顧客給小費的影響

在找錢時女服務生可能有三種方式觸碰顧客。第一是要觸碰顧客的手心,第二是要觸碰顧客的肩膀,第三是完全不碰。實驗的結果是完全不碰顧客的小費最少,觸碰肩膀的小費多了18%,但觸碰手心的小費最多37%。

Simplified Chinese

女服务生的触碰对于顾客给小费的影响

在找钱时女服务生可能有三种方式触碰顾客。第一是要触碰顾客的手心,第二是要触碰顾客的肩膀,第三是完全不碰。实验的结果是完全不碰顾客的小费最少,触碰肩膀的小费多了18%,但触碰手心的小费最多37%。。

Pinyin

Nǚ fúwù shēng de chù pèng duìyú gùkè gěi xiǎofèi de yǐngxiǎng

Zài zhǎoqián shí nǚ fúwù shēng kěnéng yǒu sānzhǒng fāngshì chù pèng gùkè. Dì yī shì yào chù pèng gùkè de shǒuxīn, dì èr shì yào chù pèng gùkè de jiānbǎng, dì sān shì wánquán bù pèng. Shíyàn de jiéguǒ shì wánquán bù pèng gùkè de xiǎofèi zuìshǎo, chù pèng jiānbǎng de xiǎofèi duōle 18%, dàn chù pèng shǒuxīn de xiǎofèi zuìduō 37%.

The result of a further experiment was that if the customers were a couple then the waitress should not touch the man, as this would cause his partner to become jealous reducing the tip they gave – however, interestingly the tip from touching the man was still more than not touching either of the customers!

If I come across any other interesting experiments while reading this book I’ll post more summaries like this.

One response to “Would you tip more if the waitress touched you? – Mini Chinese lesson

  1. Thanks for this! I really enjoy your blog and it’s so fun when I can read an entire paragraph (studied/lived in Taiwan for many years but seem to have forgotten most of my characters now). I wish you would do more of these posts!

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