As touchscreen payment processors have become more common, so too has being prompted for a tip.
Numerous users on TikTok have complained about this in the past. One clip went viral after a user questioned why workers at Subway should receive tips. Another claimed they were asked for a tip on a $2 soft pretzel. A third user, who is a bartender dependent on tips, alleged that her tips have been reduced owing to the new prevalence of tipping at previously non-tipped destinations.
Throughout all of these tipping experiences, one may wonder if the tip they select on the touchscreen actually goes to the person who is serving them. According to one TikToker, she was told it does not—instead, the tips allegedly went straight to the owner.
In a video with over 448,000 views as of Friday, TikTok user Skye Elizabeth (@pilotskye) says that, on a recent trip to Subway, she was told to simply skip over the tipping screen. When she asked why, the worker told her, “We don’t see any of that money anyways. It goes straight to the owners.”
@pilotskye Something about that aint right 😭 #tipculture ♬ original sound – Skye Elizabeth💜
“Unless you see a jar, don’t ever click the tip button,” the employee allegedly advised.
Elizabeth ends the video by asking if anyone else’s job steals their tips. In the comments section, users claimed it was more common than one might think.
“As a teen my manager at took most of the tips and required us to lie and say we got $20 everyday or he would fire you,” a user claimed.
“Yep. My boss even take the ones in the jar,” asserted another.
“It’s seems to be a common thing with subway,” a third user shared. “My first job at 17 was subway and the manager took our tips too.”
To be clear, the FLSA notes that “an employer cannot keep employees’ tips under any circumstances; managers and supervisors also may not keep tips received by employees, including through tip pools.” This means that, if the owners were truly taking the employees’ tips, they would likely be in violation of federal law.
On TikTok, users shared their own thoughts about tipping.
“I DO NOT tip on the readers & more recently have began to HAND the cash directly to the server,” detailed a user. “So many people are complaining about not getting tips!”
“I always ask if they’re actually going to get it before I do it,” offered a second.
“It all depends on the owner of each subway. I work at a subway in MT and we get to keep ALL our tips! Just ask the workers, they will tell you,” declared another TikToker.
The Daily Dot reached out to Subway via email and Elizabeth via Instagram direct message.