Sonic sign(l), Woman talking(c), Drive thru tip screen(r)

Brett Hondow/Shutterstock @shasteenjamae/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘If you’re broke, use the drive-thru or go to McDonald’s’: Viewers divided after woman hits ‘no tip’ at Sonic carhop

'Never have I ever tipped at sonic what.'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Apr 17, 2024   Updated on Apr 17, 2024, 9:38 am CDT

Are you supposed to tip at Sonic? A lot of people aren’t sure.

This debate opened up after a viral video showing a woman not leaving a tip went viral.

In the TikTok, Shasteen Jamae (@shasteenjamae) checks out at the Sonic drive through when the tip screen comes up. Her video has well over half a million views.

Now, oftentimes, if you’re not expecting a tip screen to come up, people will panic-press a number or do it to feel less awkward with their server (who may or may not know how much they tipped).

But based on her videos, Jamae is a Sonic regular and knew the screen was coming up. When the machine asks for a tip, she is determined to not leave one.

While no tip is one of the options on the screen—along with $1, $2, keep the change, and custom—Jamae keeps pressing it. However, nothing happens, so she goes in and manually enters $00.00.

Some people thought maybe the “no tip” button wasn’t working because Sonic wanted to discourage people from not tipping. However, several commenters pointed out that the screen wasn’t changing because Jamae still needed to click “confirm.”

@shasteenjamae Replying to @Cannamountain #sonic #tip #food ♬ original sound – ShasteenJamae

“Tipping culture has gotten out of hand,” Jamae says in a previous video she posted.

For the most part, it’s typical to tip 15% to 20% at sit-down restaurants if the service is good and 25% if the service is excellent. Even if you didn’t love the service, it’s expected that you’ll leave at least 10%, Bankrate reported.

It’s important to note that certain workers, like waitstaff, are legally allowed to be paid below the federal minimum wage. The expectation is that their lower wage will be padded by tips.

While tipping used to not be expected at fast-food restaurants, digital checkout screens have made it so more and more places where you used to not tip, like the coffee shop, now present it as an option. The term “tipping fatigue” is gaining popularity as people’s wallets start to feel the effect of extra tips.

While fast-food restaurants used to be a spot where tips weren’t expected (you’re picking up your own food, after all), people are conflicted about whether you should tip at Sonic. Sonic has people who bring your food out to your car, adding an extra level of service that many other fast-food spots don’t have.

“I tip at Sonic. If you’re broke use the drive thru or go to McDonald’s. They bring it to your car and will bring sauces you forgot to ask for. The car hops are awesome,” a top comment read.

Jamae responded, saying that if Sonic can’t pay their employees, it shouldn’t be open.

“I’ve been going to sonic since 2015 and the tip option at least on the machines is new,” a commenter wrote.

“Never have I ever tipped at sonic what,” another added.

“I used to work at sonic. They work for tips I was making 2 dollars an hour w/o tips,” a worker shared.

“My sonic girls are so amazing. I always tip them. Here in Oklahoma these girls are either freezing or burning up in our crazy weather and they are always so kind and have a smile on their faces,” a person chimed in.

The Daily Dot reached out to Jamae for comment.

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*First Published: Apr 17, 2024, 4:00 pm CDT