After reading this post (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/660562) and my personal akwardness with tipping, I would like to do a quick survey about tipping trends.
How much should you give? Do you calculate before or after tax? Regional differences Montreal vs Canada vs USA. What about tipping jars, take-out, delivery?
Is service better on the premise of a tip? Are you allowed not to tip/reduce the tip if the service/food was poor?
To give you and idea where I'm coming from: I'm European. I had to get used to the whole tipping system. Although I understand the reasoning behind tips (waiters/resses being seriously underpaid), even after 3 years of living here I still feel I am being ripped off when I pay the bill. Taxes and tip add about 30% to the prices I saw on the menu.
However I do find service better here in general than compared to Europe. I've been to a lot of places where you're lucky they serve you at all. Addressing issues with food or service in Europe only causes more aggrevation and corrections or make-goods seem seldom made.
Also food substitutions and splitting the bill are uncommon.
It seems service staff are trying harder to accomodate you in N-America, but all for that holy tip? (Mind you, I have had bad service here too).