buffet customer with caption 'This restaurant is chancing everyone that comes in to make sure they leave a tip and if you don't they block the entrance and make you feel very uncomfortable' (l) worker grabbing tip from restaurant table (c) buffet worker with caption 'This restaurant is chancing everyone that comes in to make sure they leave a tip and if you don't they block the entrance and make you feel very uncomfortable' (r)

Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock @littledobbyss/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘We put the money under the plate to see their reaction’: Customers say buffet restaurant workers block exit if they don’t leave a tip

‘Don’t really tip at buffets because what are they doing?’

 

Jack Alban

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In a recent TikTok video that’s garnered 1.4 million views, user @littledobbyss sparked a lively debate about tipping etiquette at buffets, which other folks on social media have previously discussed.

The video shows the TikToker and a friend at a Chinese buffet, subtly leaving a tip under a plate to test what they’ve heard from other guests. When they attempt to leave, the waitress inquires about a tip, leading to an awkward exchange.

The TikToker further explained the restaurant’s tip-seeking policy in a text overlay of the video. “This restaurant is chancing everyone that comes in to make sure they leave a tip and if you dont they block the entrance and make you feel very uncomfortable,” they wrote.

They added in a caption for the video how they felt about effectively being accosted by restaurant staff in an almost accusatory fashion for not leaving a tip. “We put the money under the plate to see [their] reaction because we see them chancing everyone that dosent tip we come here quite often butttt this is crazyyyy,” the user wrote.

This innocuous situation has opened up a larger conversation about the expectations and norms surrounding tipping, especially in self-service settings like buffets. The TikTok community had much to say, with comments ranging from staunch support of tipping to outright refusal if prompted.

One user commented, “Look I tip. And I tip good. BUT IF THEY DO THIS, and basically try to bully you into a tip I would absolutely not do it.”

Another shared, “sorry but if you ask for a tip I’m not leaving one and will go back and take it if I had left it already.”

The sentiment was echoed by another user who questioned the necessity of tipping at buffets, writing, “I don’t really tip at buffets because what are they doing? Getting me a drink? thanks.”

@littledobbyss we put the money under the plate to see there reaction because we see them chancing everyone that dosent tip we come here quite often butttt this is crazyyyy #chinesebuffet #restaurant #fyp #foxnews #news #7news #servers #viral #ny #CapCut ♬ original sound – Welcome to funny tiktok

The tipping culture in the United States is notably different from many other countries, often leading to confusion among both locals and tourists. The emergence of payment systems like Toast, Square, and Clover, which prompt for tips in situations that traditionally wouldn’t require one, has added fuel to the proverbial fire.

@littledobbyss video highlights a crucial point in the tipping debate: context matters. While the standard 20% tip is a benchmark for full-service restaurant experiences, it’s not a one-size-fits-all rule. Each tipping situation should be assessed individually, especially in cases like buffets where the level of service differs significantly from a typical restaurant setting.

The Daily Dot has reached out to LittleDobby for comment. 

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