According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, a server must be paid at least $2.13 per hour from their employer, with the rest of their wages coming from tips. For some servers, their combined hourly pay plus tips are enough to get by. But for others, it’s almost impossible to make a living when the majority of their pay is supposed to come from customers.
On TikTok, a conversation has started around whether people should be allowed to eat out if they can't afford to tip. One waitress implied that tipping should be mandatory.
Meanwhile, another creator challenged her views, believing no one should feel obligated to reward a server for just doing their job. He gives more reasons to support this argument below.
Is tipping optional? One TikToker presents an unpopular opinion.
Creator Daylie Waters (@iamdaylie) shared a TikTok about an issue that's near and dear to her as a waitress: tipping. "If you don't have money to tip your server and you go out to eat and don't tip your server, I have zero respect for you," she said into the camera in tears.
After watching her video, TikTok creator @heyy_amir decided to stitch it and explain why he disagrees with that logic. "This is probably an unpopular opinion and I'm saying it anyway because I'm annoyed. Tipping is optional, whether we like that or not," he said in his video.
@heyy_amir explained that he personally will tip if the server gives him good service, and even if they don't, he'll usually still leave a little something extra for them. However, circling back to Daylie's point, he does not agree that tipping is a must. "People should be able to go out to eat, enjoy their time with their family and leave a tip if they feel like they want to do that," he said.
@heyy_amir continued: "They are only obligated to pay for the meals that they're eating. End of story." He further explained that a server getting paid only a couple of dollars per hour is not the customer's problem, but rather, the "employer's problem." He also noted that "the restaurants are fully capable of paying their workers more, but choose not to.
He ends the video by explaining that servers are yelling at the wrong people (the customers), instead of their employers.
In the comment section of his video, viewers weighed in on the topic, with many agreeing with him.
One user entertained the scenario that some families might rarely go out to eat and shouldn't be prevented from celebrating a special milestone because they don't have the funds to tip.
Another user from Australia explained that tipping is a "mind-blowing" concept to them as they've never tipped in their life because it's not the norm in their country. According to Indeed, the average pay for servers in Australia in $28.60 per hour, which towers over the baseline rate for American servers.
So, should those who cannot afford to tip still eat out? Also, how do we redirect this argument toward the restaurants, who likely could afford to pay to their employees more?
As one TikTok user explained in a recent viral video about tip-sharing, she only makes $2.64 an hour, which is almost laughable considering all the hard work she has to put in.