A common complaint amongst internet users is that tipping culture has gotten out of hand.
With everything from drive-thru businesses to self-serve frozen yogurt restaurants now asking their customers for tips, it’s no surprise that people are becoming fed up with the constant requests for a little extra cash. Sometimes, these tip requests can even border on the ridiculous, as TikToker Uptin (@uptin) shared in a now-viral video.
In a video with over 495,000 views, Uptin films The Tipsy Robot in Las Vegas—a location in which all drinks are made by robots. Panning down to his bill, the TikToker reveals that it includes a 10% service charge.
“I normally wouldn’t mind an automatic 10% tip for making my drink, but you’re a robot,” Uptin says in the video.
According to a later comment from Uptin, “there’s no option to opt-out.”
At first, some users made jokes about the situation.
“He has a wife and two sparkplugs at home,” wrote one viewer.
“The service is it won’t judge you for ordering a vodka cranberry,” offered a second.
“They’ll remember that during the robot uprising,” stated a third.
Soon, however, speculation began about what the fee could actually be paying for.
“Its not a [service] tip its a maintenance tip,” shared a commenter. “It should normaly be a flat rate.”
“You gotta tip the technician keeping that robot running lol,” suggested another.
Eventually, users began detailing their thoughts on automatic tips in general.
“I would absolutely complain about an automatic tip,” claimed a commenter. “It goes against my culture’s view on the value of tipping.”
“I refuse to spend money at a company that forces an automatic tip,” said an additional TikToker.
“Reminds me of ‘convenience fees’ when buying tickets online,” suggested a further user.
That said, there may be an easier explanation for the automatic tip.
As one user wrote, “Because they know half their customers are tipsy and won’t notice.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Uptin via Instagram direct message and The Tipsy Robot via its website contact form.
Update 5:39pm CT January 12: In an email to Daily Dot, Victor Valanejad, General Manager for The Tipsy Robot, explained that the bar isn’t manned solely by robots.
“As I mentioned in the TikTok video comment and to other people contacting me, Uptin didn’t mention that we actually have 8 employees all paid on an hourly rate, taking care of the robots, changing the empty bottles, making sure robots are running correctly, helping customer[s] with their order and cash payments, cleaning, maintaining…” Valanejad said. “The TOTAL amount of the service charge is disbursed to our employees, who for most of them have been working with us for more than 4 years. Our charges are very transparent, and when our clients ask about them, they gladly place their order, and many actually add some cash tips to our employees.”
“People posting these kind of videos without mentioning the whole truth is a bit frustrating,” he wrote, “but they look for exposure and getting viral and doesn’t actually reflect the reality.”