worker speaking with caption 'when a customer takes money from the tip jar to complete their total' (l) customer taking money from tip jar (c) worker speaking with caption 'when a customer takes money from the tip jar to complete their total' (r)

Badon Hill Studio/Shutterstock @joeyfobear/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Is that not stealing or?’: Worker calls out customers who take money from his tip jar to complete their total

'No cus the AMOUNT of people that do this to me is INSANE.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Aug 11, 2023

Some customers treat tip jars like the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny tray at a convenience store—they swipe cash or coin out of a worker’s gratuity container to help pay for an item they’re purchasing.

At least that’s what TikToker Joey Fobear (@joeyfobear) said he encounters at his job in a viral clip that’s garnered over 432,000 views as of Friday.

@joeyfobear yeah, my tips are for you too, dylan. #fyp #foryoupage #fy #foryou #4u #fypシ #viral #trending #trend #xyzcba #comedy #joeyfobear ♬ TIK TOK MUSIC WORLD PINK – NEXT REMEDY

Fobear records himself as he lip-syncs the lyrics to a Pink! track where she says, “I wanna wrap my hands around your neck.”

Where is the source of all this ire? The TikToker lets us know in a text overlay: “When a customer takes money from my tip jar to complete their total.”

The retail store worker sarcastically adds in a caption for the post, “Yeah, my tips are for you too, Dylan.”

Some TikTokers seemed genuinely surprised that a customer would have the gall to pull such a move while out shopping. One individual wrote, “I’ve never heard of this?? That’s crazy.”

Another thought that this kind of behavior was classified as straight theft, writing, “Is that not stealing or?”

However, judging from other viewers who replied to Fobear’s post, this is a normal occurrence for many people. One TikTok user shared an anecdote from their workplace where a patron was dropping some not-so-subtle hints that they should offer up their gratuity money to help them pay for something.

“I had a lady who didn’t have six cents and she was staring at me and the tip jar like i should offer it to her,” the user shared.

“No cus the AMOUNT of people that do this to me is INSANE,” someone else said.

On Reddit, one Subway employee shared their own tip jar theft story where two recurring customers would regularly come into the store and help themselves to the workers’ money to pay for their food.

There are stringent federal laws pertaining to gratuities according to The legal resource writes, “Federal law prohibits employers from keeping any portion of the tips or from including supervisors or managers in the tip pool. This is true regardless of whether the employer takes a tip credit or pays employees the full minimum wage.”

So, if an employer cannot take a worker’s wages, then there would presumably be repercussions for anyone else taking an employee’s money against their will.

By this logic, taking money out of a tip jar is legally defined as theft, and there are plenty of cases referenced online where folks have swiped tip jars, or their contents, and have faced legal ramifications for their actions.

This phenomenon became the topic of conversation in a Quora post, where one user broke it down simply, writing, “Stealing tip jars is theft and is punishable by law the same way any other theft is.”

It’s the same as stealing an item from a restaurant, money from a cash register, or the Grimace statue from a McDonald’s Play Place.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Fobear via TikTok comment.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Share this article
*First Published: Aug 11, 2023, 12:53 pm CDT