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Customer Leaves A Low Tip For 'Great' Server Because Things Are 'Rough Right Now'

Photo: TikTok / Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels
customer's restaurant receipt showing tip amount

A man has sparked a debate after leaving a note for his server that he couldn't leave a bigger tip, despite the server having given them a good enough service.

In a TikTok video, a customer showed off the bill they had left for their server, zooming in on the low tip amount left despite the high total of their bill. In response, many viewers went back and forth over the etiquette of tipping and whether or not patrons should be responsible for leaving servers tips.

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A customer left a low tip for a 'great' server because things are 'rough right now.'

In the video, which was uploaded around Christmas in December 2021, a customer had gone out to eat at an Applebee's, and when it came time for the bill, they realized they didn't have enough money to leave a good enough tip.

The receipt didn't show exactly what the customer had ordered, but the total for the meal had been $73.45. At the bottom of the receipt, which is a fairly common occurrence for many restaurants to include, was a suggested amount of gratuity that should be paid by the patrons.



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While the amount suggested ranged between $12.14 to $13.49, the customer chose to leave $6.55 as a tip, despite writing on the receipt that the server had been "great."

It seems the customer didn't want the person who served them all night to get the wrong idea and wrote a little note on the side of the bill to explain the low tip amount.

"You [were] great. Holidays are just rough right now," the customer wrote, adding a hand-drawn sad face at the end.

In the comments section, many TikTok users seemed to agree that tipping shouldn't be something that customers have to continuously shell out on their bills at the end of their meals. "Ban tipping. Make businesses pay their employees. Why do customers have to pay both the business and the employee?" one user questioned.

Another user agreed, pointing out that at least the customer chose to leave a note for the server. "Tips aren't mandatory. They left a note. Be understanding. They chose this line of work. Roll with the ups and downs [of] waitressing. That's life."

Unfortunately, the amount that servers are paid is a federal issue, and until minimum wages are increased, tipping servers, especially if they've given satisfactory service, is heavily appreciated.

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There has been a drastic change in the tipping system since the start of the pandemic.

According to CNN, experts explained that people are beginning to tip less due to inflation. The tipping percentage for quick-service restaurants in 2022 was 15.9%, dropping from 16.4% the previous year.

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Since the start of the pandemic, many businesses have rolled out new tipping regulations to support their service workers and businesses alike. There are more places, such as Starbucks, that are urging their customers to leave tips on to-go orders and takeout orders.

In an interview with CNBC, Dr. Jaime Peters, assistant dean and assistant professor of finance at Maryville University, explained that "it helps to understand how people are paid" when determining how much of a tip to leave a server.

“The lower hourly rate is justified by the opportunity for the waitstaff to earn generous tips, which should — theoretically — bring their wages to or above the state’s minimum wage,” Dr. Peters said.

While, in theory, restaurant servers should be able to have more monetary security with the establishments they work for, it's not that easy. In the meantime, if you're going out to eat, it's always encouraged to leave at least a 15% to 20% tip for servers.

“The majority of restaurant and bar workers rely on tips as their primary source of income,” Ricardo Pina, a personal finance expert and founder of The Modest Wallet, told Go Banking Rates.

“By tipping your server or bartender, you contribute to their ability to earn a living wage, which is not always guaranteed by their employers.” 

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics.