Customer Says Screen Flashed "Bad Tip" When She Didn't Tip on $10 Smoothie

A customer reportedtedly received a bad tip sign after she paid for an expensive smoothie. She vents about tipping culture on TikTok.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Aug. 21 2023, Updated 5:13 p.m. ET

The conversation around tipping culture has gotten incredibly divisive on the internet. For the longest time, tipping was common among folks in the United States wherein we would offer a little extra cash to an individual who provided a service for us, whether they delivered food, waited on us at restaurants, or cut our hair. However, people have become vocal about unusual responses to no tips, with many arguing that jobs should pay their employees more fairly rather than forcing them to subsist on tips.

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It's an interesting take that isn't exactly wrong. Employers should shoulder more of the responsibility when it comes to making sure that the people performing labor for them are paid and treated well. To that end, being forced to tip or even shamed when not tipping has added more fuel to the fire.

Just ask Charlotte Muller on TikTok (@breathe_strength). According to a TikTok she posted in mid-August 2023, she was shown a sign that said "Bad Tip" after she paid for a smoothie.

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A customer received a sign that said "Bad Tip" after she paid for a smoothie without tipping.

Charlotte vented about the whole situation on TikTok. According to her at the time of the post, she had recently visited a "popular smoothie establishment" to get her fiance an açai berry boost. She added protein to the smoothie, bumping up the total price to a bit more than usual.

"It was noticeably more expensive than it should have been if I added protein," Charlotte claimed.

The total came out to $10.51, which she thought was expensive, but she chalked it up to Long Island prices at the time.

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That's when things got muddy. After paying with her card, Charlotte was prompted to tip on the register's touch screen, which was already highlighted at 20 percent. While she claims to normally tip at restaurants when she stays for a while, she decided not to after she supposedly just went in to pick up her smoothie.

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When she declined to leave a tip, however, she was allegedly met with an alert on the screen that said "BAD TIP" in all caps. Needless to say, she was totally unprepared for being called out for that.

"I literally got shamed by a credit card machine," she sarcastically boasted.

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Her experience opened up the floodgates in the comments section, with folks voicing their support for Charlotte in the midst of her abject confusion.

"I only tip actual waiters [and] waitresses at this point," one person claimed.

Another user commented, "I don't even care about being shamed for not tipping in these cases anymore. I tip if I'm being served, not if I'm just purchasing food/drinks to go."

Charlotte responded to some of these in subsequent TikToks with her own thoughts on tipping. She agrees that folks should be tipped if they themselves provide a service for you, such as massages or even latte art. However, she saw a double standard in the idea that as a CPR instructor and a yoga teacher, she isn't entitled to the same kind of tips.

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She states, "I am spending two hours [a session] with direct services, I go above and beyond, I make it personal, I play fun music. It's a fun class, but I don't get tipped for that."

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Charlotte clarified that she isn't at all against tipping. But the idea that an establishment openly shamed her for not leaving a tip completely flabbergasted her.

"I stood there and waited for my smoothie, embarrassed," she recalled in her first TikTok.

For better or for worse, depending on who you ask, the act of tipping isn't exactly dead. But folks are firmly drawing the line on when to tip, especially when an establishment openly calls someone out for not doing so.

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