TikToker @thejmancomesquick sparked a viral debate when he went on a tirade against "obscene" tipping practices that ask customers who are picking up their own food to provide gratuity for staff members, even if they aren't delivering, serving, or helping facilitate orders for customers making purchases at the restaurants they work at.
He says in the video, "What is with everyone thinking that they deserve a tip now. I just called a pizza place, to place an order for pick-up, and he was like 'oh, yes, sorry — we can't take your order over the phone, you have to go to our website.' So I went to the website I put in my own order."
Traditionally, if you're paying a gratuity, it's because somebody provided a service and you want them to receive additional compensation. If you're getting your food delivered, for instance, you should probably tip your driver, because that's where they make the bulk of their money.
It seems this is the basis for the TikToker's gripe: he was the one who entered the order, via the pizza place's website, and then he drove himself to the restaurant to pick it up. He couldn't fathom why the site would ask him to tip the employees, when he was effectively doing the legwork to get his pizza.
"I entered my own order, and when it came time to check out for me to place my own order and then go pick it up, they were like, 'oh would you like to leave a 20 percent tip? For what? For what? What did you do? Like 20 percent is when people like come to your table and they wait on you and they, like, pick things up and they bring you things, like what 20 percent?! For what'd you do? Directed me to your website? It's crazy!"
Many viewers agreed: they too thought tipping culture in the United States is out of control. Some said even dine-in establishments are getting out of hand.
"Went to a restaurant to eat, bill came and at the bottom of receipt for tips suggestions were 20%, 25%, 30%. What happened at 15%, 18% and 20%?"
Others said they've seen an uptick in locations asking customers to tip staff even when they're picking up their own food.
"Tipping is out of control in this country," said one person, adding "for the record, I do tip even on to go orders but I still think it's out of control."
Another admitted they don't tip on takeout. "I don't leave a tip, I only leave a tip if I’m sitting and actually getting table service."
Others said the onus of providing a "livable wage" to service staff should lie on the restaurant and not the customer, so they've taken it upon themselves to stop tipping completely and encouraged everyone else to do the same to force this change at restaurants all around the country.
"I stopped tipping a long time ago," one viewer wrote. "If everybody did it would make them pay livable wages to their employees instead of trying to get us to cover it."
For some excessive tipping expectations have affected how often they go out to eat; all the additional costs have made them prefer to stay home and prepare their own meals.
"Panera should be paying me to be a part time bus person," one person said. "I go to the counter, pick up my food, clean up after myself."
Even fast food places appear to be hopping on the bandwagon. "I went through Taco Bell drive through and lady said tips are appreciated," claimed one viewer.
"Like Starbucks," another said. "You spend a fortune on a cup of coffee and they have a tip jar."
It's clear many customers are getting tipping fatigue. "Agreed it needs to stop. I will not tip unless it's for a service that deserves a tip!"
Some folks argued in favor of tipping because food service workers are underpaid, so every little but helps and has a big effect on their bottom line. Since pandemic-related shutdowns were lifted, businesses in the food service industry have struggled to fully staff many locations, leaving employees overworked.
Do you believe this shortage means workers deserve these tips? Or do you think that gratuity is simply expected in every scenario now?