Why do waiters wait behind you while you're paying the bill?
Having been to Hong Kong a few times now, the custom of having a waiter stand right behind you after presenting the bill no longer seems odd (I've even seen it happen a few times in the Bay Area). Even the more old-fashioned practice of the waiting holding out your change and not letting go is no longer a shock.
But my question is this - how did this custom originate?
Actually, I prefer the waiters to wait after presenting the bill (at least to see if I am going to pay immediately).... since a lot of times when I am finished I am ready to leave immediately.
I suspect the "custom" though has more to do speeding up turnover of tables.....
#1 To Make sure you pay and don't skip out---waiters often are responsible for those whi skip
#2 To turn the table faster
#3 To increase the tip by being attentive to the end of your visit
If they follow you to the cash register if you pay there and not to the server
#4 To make sure the cashier/hostess/manager doesn't take a cut of the tip you leave
#5 Same as #1
Have to say, I've never really noticed that it's happened. We usually want to glance over the bill to check that it's right and I'm sure I would have notcied if a server was hovering around