Tipping in the United States is unique and fraught with controversy. It began with racist roots but has not ebbed. Traditionally, you add 20-25% to any restaurant or service bill. While it’s not required, servers do not make minimum wage in some states, and the establishments pass on that cost to the customers.
Suffice it to say: it’s a hot topic. Some people tip too little, others tip way more than expected, and it has to be impossible for a service industry worker to budget, which is why TikToker Ben Raanan recently posted a video calling out small tippers.
“Inflation means that ten dollars is not worth that much anymore. You can’t just leave a little cute five, a little cute ten for your server, and think that that’s like fun and cute. It’s not fun and cute,” Ben said in his video.
He adds, “If your bill is like 50 dollars you can leave ten, that’s 20 percent. If your bill was 200 dollars and you leave me ten dollars, that’s five percent. That’s fucked up. That’s a fucking insult.”
He then encourages his fellow servers to speak out if customers tip lower than 10%.
“I’m going to be like, ‘Was there a problem with your service last time? Because you tipped ten percent, five percent, and that is not a good tip at all,’” Raanan says, “I’m going to put you on the spot. Servers, we honestly need to start doing that. Because this is fucked up, people shouldn’t be doing that.”
Here’s Ben’s full rant:
Ben chatted with Bored Panda via Instagram about whether he noticed an increase in small tips due to inflation. He told them, “Like a lady handed me $10 for a $200 tab and was like ‘There you go honey’ with a smile on her face, and I genuinely don’t think she meant it in a bad way, I really think she thought it was a good tip,” Ben explained. “That’s why I made the video I wanted to raise awareness for people who don’t understand why tip is a percentage.”
He also explained why tips are so important. “Tips are our pay for our service. The bill is what you pay for the food, and the tip is what you pay for the service,” he said. “The capitalist institution/the restaurant industry has convinced people that tips are optional for some reason, and I believe that reason is that people are happier paying for something when they feel like they’re doing it out of the kindness of their own heart, rather than being forced to.”
Customers were quickly divided in the viral video’s comment sections.
“I tip when the food is good and the service is above and beyond. You aren’t entitled to a 20% tip, if you don’t like it then get another job,” one person wrote.
Another said, “Who created the 20% rule anyways lol we always tip 20 but this video rubbed me the wrong way. It’s what I WANT to give not HAVE to”
“Tipping has gotten out of hand ppl are so greedy and ungrateful yes I’ve been a server before and I was never ungrateful,” added someone else.
Users did agree that “broke” customers shouldn’t go out to eat.
“If you can’t afford to tip 18-20%, you can’t afford to eat out,” was the general consensus, as writ by one TikToker.
“If you can afford to run up a $200 bill you can afford to tip properly,” another said.