Subway customer says worker gave him attitude for not tipping on $3 bottle of Dasani

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‘The cashier scoffed at me’: Subway customer says worker gave him an attitude for not tipping on $3 bottle of Dasani

‘I was asked to tip at the SELF CHECKOUT…Who gets the tip? Me??’

 

Tangie Mitchell

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In a world of fast food, self-checkouts, and self-pickups, some customers are asking one question: To tip or not to tip?

A Subway customer recently shared on Reddit an unpleasant encounter with a Subway employee after she decided not to tip on the $3 bottle of Dasani she purchased. 

According to her post, user u/One_Proposal_3317 entered the Subway, grabbed a Dasani from the drink shelf near the door, brought it to the register, and paid. When she checked the “no tip” option on her bill, however, she said the cashier was visibly upset.

“The cashier scoffed at me as I was walking away. The worker behind her asked if I had tipped and the cashier said no. The other worker scoffed and rolled her eyes, clearly annoyed I didn’t tip,” she writes in the post.

Tipping culture in the U.S.

Her experience is apparently not uncommon. Other Reddit users responded to her thread with similar encounters and grievances about “tipping culture” in the U.S.

“I was asked for a tip at the SELF CHECKOUT at a self service frozen yogurt place. Who gets the tip? Me???” one user pressed.

“The tipping culture in America has devolved from ‘incentivize and reward me for significant effort and excellent service’ to ‘gimme money, ’cause I want money,” another user wrote, “‘Tip me for existing in your immediate vicinity’ is not a compelling rationale.”

An opinion in The Guardian distilled the growing frustration felt by both Americans and Europeans for the changing rules of American tip culture. Columnist Arwa Mahdawi writes that America’s “out of control” tipping culture has been exacerbated by digital payment systems that now prompt customers to tip on almost every kind of transaction. Gone are the days of 20% on fine dining or a sit-down meal; consumers are now swiveling screens with 20%, 25%, and 30% tip options on coffees, groceries, and even self-checkout items. 

“The constant nudging for tips at every interaction feels intrusive and stressful. Are we really expected to give a minimum 20% tip when we pick up some bread from the bakery, or grab a vanilla cone from the ice-cream shop?” Mahdawi questions.

While tipping norms in the U.S. have always confused others, many Americans are now increasingly unsure of which instances tips are expected or not. A 2023 survey by the Pew Research Center found that only about a third of Americans say it is “extremely or very easy to know” whether (34%) or how much (33%) to tip for different types of services.

Further, the survey found that 25% of Americans always or often tip when buying a coffee and only 12% when eating at a fast-casual restaurant. A whopping 77% of American adults said the quality of the service they receive is the major factor in deciding whether and how much to tip.

As our behaviors around tipping continue to change in the U.S., and the lines of which instances warrant a tip continue to blur; consumers and service workers alike can expect some miscommunication. What certainly never gets the tip, however, some Reddit users emphasize, is the disgruntled employee. 

“A lot of workers do not seem to know or understand that a tip is a gratuity–something freely given,” commented one such user. “I would never say a word to a customer who did not tip or tipped poorly. However, I would make jokes with co-workers about it but not within the customer’s ear-shot!”

The Daily Dot has reached out to user One_Proposal_3317 via Reddit for more information.

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