(NEW YORK) — Facebook’s newlywed and newly minted billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg is being criticized after he reportedly skipped out on paying gratuity not once, but twice after dining out with his wife on the couple’s Italian honeymoon.
Still, tipping waiters or waitresses is not customary in European restaurants because the wait staff typically earn a salary, and therefore do not depend on tips unlike U.S. wait staff. Because Americans are generally used to tipping when dining out, they tend to also do so abroad – earning a reputation as generous tippers by local Italian restaurateurs.
“It’s far more likely that he knows the deal than is just being a cheapskate,” Genevieve Shaw-Brown, ABC’s Travel & Lifestyle Editor, said. “Certainly he has no reason to be a cheapskate. He has plenty of money, and I think we would have heard of him not tipping in the U.S. before we would have heard of him not tipping abroad – so it’s pretty likely that he knows the deal.”
So as it turns out, Zuckerberg may have just been following the old adage “when in Rome.”
That said, Shaw-Brown says Zuckerberg still could have plunked down a few bucks, especially since it’s estimated that the Harvard drop out made an estimated $20 billion when Facebook went public this month.
“It’s really interesting that these things sort of get called out,” she said. “For him, it probably would have made sense to leave the tip, just to avoid this little bit of bad press.”
Zuckerberg and new bride Priscilla Chan married the weekend following Facebook’s May 17 initial public offering in a backyard ceremony that also celebrated Chan’s medical school graduation.
Ironically, the first images from the pair’s honeymoon surfaced on Twitter, not Facebook.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ahiza Garcia, CNN
Cristina Alesci Seth Fiegerman and Charles Riley, CNN
Jose Pagliery, CNN