Are Americans reaching the saturation point when it comes to tipping for counter service? Adding a gratuity after you pick up your lunch from a sandwich chain used to be an anomaly, but now it’s become so common that you can get shamed by the credit card machine for not providing enough padding to your receipt. One frustrated customer on TikTok voiced her frustration with the new status quo.
Alli (@allithatglitters) is a hairstylist as well as a TikToker, and she knows what it’s like to rely on tips for a living. But in a video that she posted in August, she admits to feeling a little exhausted with the excessive amount of tip screens she encounters every time she pays for counter service these days.
In the video, which has received 35,000 views and counting since it was originally posted, Alli reminisces about the days when one wasn’t expected to shell out extra bucks for the counter people every time they picked up a sub to go.
@allithatglitters Companies need to pay their employees. #moes #over30 #millennial #economy #inflation #money ♬ original sound – Alli 💚
“Do you remember when you could go to a place like Moe’s [Southwest Grill] or Subway or Jersey Mike’s, and they didn’t flip the thing around and ask you to tip them,” Alli asks, speaking about the now omnipresent touch screens that automatically ask if a customer would like to tip.
“It just feels icky,” she says of the automatic expectation.
But there is another factor in Alli’s discomfort at the new expectation.
“I just looked up what Moe’s revenue was last year, and it was $901 million dollars, but yet, here I am, broke, trying to get a cheese quesadilla for my kid,” she tells her viewers. “My Moe’s came out to $35. … and then I had to tip on top of that.”
“Why don’t they just pay their freaking employees?” Alli asks. “$901 million dollars in revenue; they have 13,330 employees; the average revenue per employee is $67,000.”
It seems Alli pulled those numbers from Zippia, which provided a breakdown of the company in 2022.
“What is wrong with this America?” she continues.
Alli’s viewers tended to agree with her in the comments—at least on the tipping issue in general.
“Hit that no tip button,” advised apmiller1982 (@apmiller1982). Allie replied, “I feel too awkward.”
“I don’t tip carry out,” another viewer stated flatly.
“I don’t tip unless it’s a sit down restaurant. Workers need to stop looking at us for a tip and start looking at their employers for better pay,” added another viewer.
One commenter pointed out that the profit breakdown can be muddied by the fact that many restaurants are franchises, writing, “I agree but Moe’s is a franchise so the individual owner is prob making 100-200k in profit.”
The Daily Dot has contacted Moe’s via email for further comment.
Another viewer expressed the same frustration as Alli when it comes to tip fatigue. “I used to feel bad until every damn place under the sun started this process. not I’m just annoyed af, I don’t tip and don’t feel bad.”
The Daily Dot has reached out via TikTok to Alli for further comment.