Server’s Viral Rant About Customers Not Tipping During High Inflation Sparks Debate

During a period when the costs of living are rising across the board—further squeezing underpaid workers trying to survive in the time of monsters when the old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born—it’s important to tip your servers.

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Photo byDan Smedley on Unsplash

One TikTok user stressed this point in a popular video that started yet another debate about the practice of tipping, which is just another way for a business to pass on costs to customers but also the workers should not be the ones punished for this.

TikToker Ben Raanan, a recent college graduate and aspiring actor, spoke on the problem of people continuing to tip 10 percent or less even as the costs of housing, food, transportation, and other expenses required for living skyrocket out of the stratosphere.


The general rule of thumb in the U.S. for restaurant and bar servers is to tip from 10 to 20 percent of the total bill, with many encouraging a full 20 percent unless service is truly terrible.

This can add a lot to a big bill, but servers and their supporters often counter this with the idea that if you can’t afford to tip properly, then you can’t afford to eat out. Tipped employees very often count on their tips to survive, an expectation underlined by the fact that many companies advertise wages that include the expectation of good tips when they’re actually only paid minimum wage by the business itself.

“For your information, $10 is not, like, cute like it used to be,” says Raanan. “It’s not the 1950s, it’s not the 2000s anymore, okay? Inflation means that $10 is not worth that much anymore.”

He goes on to explain that for smaller bills, such as a $50 bill, leaving $10 is fine because this equals $20 percent and lesser amounts of food and drink take up less time and energy from the server, so that makes sense. However, when you leave the same tip amount on a $200 bill, that’s only a five percent tip, and if you’ve ever worked in a position where you relied on tips to get by, you understand how deeply demoralizing such a low tip can be.

“That’s f—ed up,” says Raanan of a five percent tip. “That’s a f—ing insult, okay? Don’t do that at a f—ing restaurant.”

Raanan further encouraged other tipped employees to start confronting low tippers because with inflation, the situation is becoming unsustainable and someone has to do something about it. The business and the bad customers aren’t going to step up, so it’s time for the workers to exercise their inherent power.

“If you come back to my f—ing restaurant after leaving me five percent, honestly even 10 percent, I’m gonna say something. I’m gonna be like: ‘Was there a problem with your service last time? Because you tipped 10 percent, five percent, and that is not a good tip at all.’ Im’ma put you on the spot. Servers, we honestly need to start doing that, because, like, this is f—ed up.”

He then explains how to easily calculate tip, although with calculators on every phone and even apps that will do it for you, not knowing how to tip is not an acceptable excuse.

Some commenters, as always, pushed back on the idea that tipping should be a requirement from customers. One in particular pushed the line that tips are conditional on good service, but Raanan turned that back around on them.

“If I’m not entitled to a tip, you’re not entitled to good service,” he said in a follow-up video.

“Guess what? You take for granted the nice experience that you have at restaurants. I think most people do. Until you’ve worked a service job, I think you truly don’t understand all the extra work, all the like hard work that servers do that’s extra, that they don’t have to do. It’s a minimum wage job, I could give you minimum wage work.”

He compares what he does to the experience people get at fast food chains, noting that many waiters are paid the same (on even a sub-minimum wage) but customers expect them to act like their personal servants. The implied social contract is that the servers are rewarded for their exemplary service with tips, but customers have become so spoiled that they think they can judge any hiccup in service as a reason not to tip well.

It’s no surprise that the people who agree with Raanan’s sentiments are the ones who have worked in these kinds of jobs.

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Lindsey Weedston

Lindsey is a Seattle area writer interested in all things society, including internet culture, politics, and mental health. Outside of the Daily Dot, her work can be found in publications such as The Mary Sue, Truthout, and YES! Magazine.