Internet Erupts over Not Being Given Option to Not Tip

By: Savvy Dime Staff | Published: Feb 19, 2024

Tipping culture is changing. As customers become fatigued over when and how to tip, many are fighting back against companies that seem to be looking to get a tip from them, no matter what.

For every customer who says they shouldn’t tip, there’s a worker or business that says they should. As a result, tipping culture has become rather complicated. However, one thing most customers can agree on is that if you don’t want to tip, you shouldn’t have to.

When the No Tipping Option Is Not Available

While tipping is often recommended at certain establishments, or for certain services, there is no law requiring customers to tip. Normally, this means you don’t have to tip if you don’t want to, even if it is recommended.

A stainless steel container that is being used as a tip jar for a small business rests on a wooden surface near a white computer.

Source: Dan Smedley/Unsplash

However, at a boba store, one customer learned that they were required to leave a tip — as there was no other option for them during checkout.


A Touchscreen Transaction

Taking to TikTok, this customer posted a video of their transaction. Viewers can clearly see that they’re using a touchscreen to pay for their boba order. Touchscreen transactions are very popular nowadays, and they normally are an easy way for customers to check out swiftly.

A person is paying for a purchase using their card while an employee waits at a white monitor at a desk.

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Touchscreen transactions are also a great way for customers to leave a tip when paying with their debit or credit card. Often, customers are given a range of tipping percentages, such as 10% or 20%, to choose from. The tablet will then calculate your new total with this tip for you.

A Faulty Mistake

In the TikTok video, the customer showed the tipping option screen. However, there was no option to not choose to tip. Therefore, the customer had to tip, even though they didn’t want to.

A man checks out after purchasing using a tablet to complete his order while a worker in an apron stands before him.

Source; Blake Wisz/Unsplash

Some eagle-eyed viewers of the video realized that there was an option to leave no tip, as the TikTok poster could’ve clicked the “Custom Tip” button. Then, they could’ve chosen to leave $0. However, the transaction screen appeared to be faulty, and this button was hidden under the “Continue” button.

Customer Forced to Leave Tip

The customer didn’t see the hidden “Custom Tip” button that other viewers pointed out. Therefore, they were forced to leave a tip — anywhere from 10% to 25% — before they could fully check out.

A close-up view of a spilled clear jar lying on its side, spilling out various coins on the ground.

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As they were disappointed and angry that they were forced to leave this tip, something they clearly didn’t want to do, they uploaded the video to TikTok. This immediately got the internet riled up about what was right and wrong in tipping culture.

Boba Store’s Response

As this video and the customer’s story went viral online, everybody had an opinion about the situation. Many people called out the boba store for forcing people to tip.

A worker wearing blue gloves makes various different shakes and boba tea drinks of different colors.

Source: Frank Zhang/Unsplash

Once the boba store got wind of what was going on, they publicly commented on the TikTok video and apologized. They 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.”


Businesses Forcing Tips

Though the boba store may have apologized and tried to brush this situation aside, many internet users pounced on the idea that businesses were going to try to force people to tip, whether they liked it or not.

A person counts green $1 bills in their hands.

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Most customers — and many workers and businesses — feel that businesses should never force customers to tip. They may continue to ask for tips, but forcing is a different issue entirely. However, some businesses have made this move to force their customers to tip.


The Change in Tipping

Years ago, it wasn’t normal to see every business under the sun ask for tips after a service or job is completed. However, in the past few years, it seems that customers are asked to tip all the time.

A clear glass jar being used as a tip jar at a business.

Source: Sam Dan Truong/Unsplash

This has led to what is being labeled as “tipping fatigue.” According to a recent study, more than half of Americans are tired of tipping — especially because they feel like they are always asked to leave a tip.


Customers Being Forced to Tip

As “tipping fatigue” becomes normal, it appears that some businesses are choosing to force tips, or automatically take out gratuities on a bill. Across the board, customers don’t like this. However, businesses aren’t intent on changing.

A woman pays for her purchase using a card reader while an employee with red hair smiles and waits.

Source: Blake Wisz/Unsplash

After this TikTok video went viral, many people took to the internet to share their own stories of being forced to tip. One user commented on the post that they had to tip $40 when they were simply buying Harry Styles merch.


Why Are All Businesses Asking for Tips Now?

This change in businesses asking for tips has come gradually, even though it feels sudden. According to Dipayan Biswas, a marketing and business professor at the University of South Florida, businesses began asking for more tips when digital kiosks became popular.

An employee holds out a credit card machine to allow a customer, who is sitting down at a table with a drink, to pay.

Source: Blake Wisz/Unsplash

Now, it seems like every business is asking for a tip as a result. Many businesses say tipping can help them afford rising employee wages and costs of living. They also state that, without tips, they would suffer.


Customers Fight Back Against Tipping

Even though many customers would like to tip, many have started to fight back against excessive tipping. They don’t believe they should have to pay more to make up for a worker’s potentially low-paying wage.

Person pulls out green dollar bill from their dark brown wallet.

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Many customers also feel wary about tipping everywhere they go. Now, they call the current tipping culture the United States has found itself in “tipflation.”


Main Areas to Tip

Because customers are so overwhelmed with having to tip everywhere they go, some are refusing to tip at all. This has led many to take to the internet to inform people where they should tip — and where they shouldn’t.

A barista smiling while working in a coffee shop holding a coffee utensil.

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On average, you should tip restaurant servers, bartenders, delivery drivers, baristas, and taxi or rideshare drivers. Other services and people can also be left a tip, though these listed professions are the most commonly tipped.