After seeing so many horror stories on how tipping is perceived on both sides of the argument, I'm starting to understand the complexity behind the issues. On the one hand, lower-rung workers working in industries as harsh as food service deserve a little extra compensation for putting in the effort for typically low pay. On the other hand, filling in the gap in fair wages could be more easily filled by the businesses themselves rather than putting the onus on the customer.
I can absolutely understand why there's a disparity within tipping culture, especially when food establishments try to be sneaky about tipping. In one instance, a customer thought that they couldn't choose a "No Tip" option when ordering at a kiosk. We break down what really happened, but the reality isn't much better.
This customer thought they couldn't choose to leave no tip at a restaurant. Here's what really happened.
Joostan on TikTok (@joostanah) shared the weird occurrence in a video on Oct. 18, 2023. At the time of recording, they were visiting a boba store called Bubble U.
They'd captured the very end of their transaction, most of which took place on a touch screen. While a touchscreen transaction may be friendly toward a customer's social battery, what happened next was apparently worth recording.
When it came time for OP to leave a tip, they weren't explicitly given the option to leave no tip. They were prompted to leave anywhere between a 10 percent tip and a 25 percent tip, but if a customer didn't want to leave a tip, they weren't immediately able to.
We say "weren't immediately able to," because as it turns out, the option to leave no tip might have been there from the beginning. It was just exceptionally well-hidden.
As some eagle-eyed commenters pointed out, there was an option to leave a "Custom Tip" below the regular tip options. However, it was hidden under the Continue button. Presumably, OP could have used that button to not leave a tip, but as far as we could tell, it was rendered inaccessible due to UI error.
Interestingly enough, Bubble U left a statement in the comments section of the video.
The store wrote, "Thank you for bringing this to our attention and we're sorry about your experience. We checked our systems and found no problem selecting the $0 tip."
While the store itself confessed that the ability to leave a $0 tip was in place, it still doesn't explain why the button itself was hidden. It almost seems as if it's in place to discourage anyone from choosing to put down a custom tip.
Just as customers can come up with fiendish ways to avoid leaving a tip, it can be said that food workers are firing back with their own ways to encourage tipping off the bat. Whether or not you're a fan of this, however, is totally up to you.
For all intents and purposes, all food service workers should be paid fairly. But incidents like this have given plenty of folks pause on when and how they distribute tips when they're an option.