server speaking in car with caption 'The non tipping couple' (l) server picking up tip (c) server speaking in car with caption 'The non tipping couple' (r)

New Africa/Shutterstock @sassyserver0529/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Probably gonna catch some smoke for this’: Server says she’s against ‘livable’ wage for herself and prefers tips. Is she onto something?

'I would refuse to wait on them, PERIOD'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jan 17, 2024   Updated on Jan 16, 2024, 5:32 pm CST

TikToker and restaurant worker Sassy (@sassyserver0529) stirred the metaphorical pot in the restaurant tipping debate with her video, which has attracted 193,000 views.

Titled “The non-tipping couple,” the video calls to light Sassy’s frustrations with a particular couple who frequent her restaurant once or twice a month, always arriving just before closing and never leaving a tip. This pattern, she explains, has persisted for years, regardless of the service quality or the server attending to them.  

Filming from her car, Sassy shares, “They always came in about 15 minutes before we closed. They never tipped. It didn’t matter how much or how little they spent, how great the service was, or which server they got, they did not tip.” This pattern led to most servers at the restaurant avoiding the couple, often declaring themselves as “not it” as soon as they walked in.

Sassy’s story resonated with many in the service industry. She explains the financial impact on servers who often have to tip out other front-of-house staff based on sales, even from tables that don’t tip. This means serving the non-tipping couple actually costs the servers money. Sassy says that despite coaching her fellow servers to continue providing excellent service in hopes of building trust, the situation remained unchanged, leading to most of her servers refusing to wait on this couple.

“And before you guys come at me about, ‘Pay your employees a livable wage,’ you don’t know what you’re asking for,” she says. “I didn’t create the tipping culture, but I’m just here existing in it like everybody else.”

“If we were to pay them a ‘livable wage,’ the prices of everything would go up so high, you would probably not be able to afford to eat there anymore, and they would just be a regular hourly employee that the standard of service would go so far down that you wouldn’t want to eat there anyway,” she continues.

@sassyserver0529 #fypシ゚viral #serviceindustry #fyp #server #bartender #hostess #customer #manager ♬ original sound – Sassyserver0529

Tipping culture in general, and especially in restaurants, is a contentious topic, and the comments on Sassy’s video mirror this divide. One user expressed exasperation with the current state of tipping culture, saying, “I just don’t go out much anymore. Tipping culture has gone insane. And the restaurants already charge $20 for a $3 hamburger.” Another user suggested a proactive approach: “You should add 18% to the bill. then when they complain, kindly explain why.”

A different user asked whether the couple was rude. “Are they rude? Otherwise it’s part of the job and you take the good with the bad,” they said, to which Sassy replied, “They’re very nice to be honest.”

This points to the complexity of the issue; tipping doesn’t always correlate with rudeness or dissatisfaction with service.

Another commenter suspected the couple was “absolutely doing it intentionally.” “Yeah, that’s a manager table. 100%. Every Single Time,” they suggested.

As food prices soar, patrons might find themselves less able to tip generously, or at all, creating a domino effect on the income of servers. These servers, in turn, might be forced to cut back on their own expenses, including dining out, further straining the restaurant industry. This vicious cycle underscores the broader economic struggle where the ripple effects of inflation impact both the consumers and service workers.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Sassy via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Jan 17, 2024, 1:00 am CST