Woman talking into a subway card(l+r), Tip bowl(c)

Lucky Business/Shutterstock @subwaytakes/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘I agree 100% with her’: Woman shares if she has to go up to counter to order, she won’t tip. Here’s why

'As an ex server of 17 years I’m with her.'


Phil West


Posted on Mar 20, 2024   Updated on Mar 20, 2024, 8:39 am CDT

A New York City woman asked to give her opinion about tipping was emphatic: If she’s going up to a counter to place an order, she’s not tipping, regardless of what she’s buying.

The hot take came from TV writer Robby Hoffman via the Subway Takes (@subwaytakes) TikTok account. In that series, host Kareem Rahma does one-minute interviews with passengers on New York Subway cars.

In this one, he starts with his customary opening, “What’s your take?”

Hoffman responds, “If I have to go up to order, I’m not tipping.” She goes on to say that many restaurants are now self-serve and states, regarding her participation in the process, “At this point, I work there.”

Still, she defends workers’ rights to a living wage, making a point that a number of anti-tipping advocates do. “I’m telling you right now: The business must pay their employees,” she says. “They continue to levy more and more on the consumer.”

She also had thoughts about the person she didn’t tip that morning to get the coffee she took onto the subway.

“This guy was rude as hell. I want to even cover the name here. I don’t want to give them anything,” she says.

She went on to observe, “Now we’ve lost the essence of the tip. Now we’re doing wages. Now I work there, and I’m paying to work there.”

She also states that being made to pay tips on inflation is essentially “double dipping” because you’re paying out a percentage of inflated prices. She notes that if you’re moved to tip, you should tip, but it shouldn’t be obligatory.

“Pay your people and leave us alone already,” she concludes. “Bring back the $2 tip.”

@subwaytakes Episode 98: If I’m going up to order, I’m not tipping! feat Robby Hoffman (@robbyhoffman on IG) 🎤 @KAREEM RAHMA 🎥 @Anthony DiMieri @Willem Holzer #nyc #newyorkcity #podcast #subway #hottakes #interview #conversations #subwaytakes ♬ original sound – Subway Takes

In a New York Times article about tipping at self-service kiosks and in other scenarios where gratuities might be puzzling to customers, one expert theorized as to why people feel obligated.

“Michael Lynn, a professor of services marketing at Cornell University who has studied tipping, said people often leave gratuities for social approval, from the service provider or from fellow customers,” the article stated. “So for some, it can feel awkward to tap ‘other amount’ or ‘no tip’ on a payment screen if they feel that the employee or others in line are watching. Under those circumstances, he said, people can feel coerced to tip, or guilty if they opt out.”

Commenters shared their thoughts—as they’re prone to do with TikTok videos on this topic.

“I agree 100% with her,” one declared.

“I was asked to tip [at] a place where you paint pottery,” another shared. “I PAINTED IT. WHY ME TIP?”

“Facts,” someone else agreed. “Why am I tipping a regular employee for doing their job? Unless I’m getting an extra service, like delivery or sitting down at a restaurant or bar, I’m not tipping.”

“Had a tip screen pop up at Cinnabon the other day,” yet another relayed. “Like all you did was put a cinnamon roll in a box, why is it asking for a tip.”

The point about paying employees was especially resonant for some.

As one commenter opined, “Employees need to blame their employer, not the customer.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Hoffman via Instagram direct message.

The internet is chaotic—but we’ll break it down for you in one daily email. Sign up for the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter here to get the best (and worst) of the internet straight into your inbox.

Share this article
*First Published: Mar 20, 2024, 10:00 am CDT