Asked for Service Charge on Coffee, Social Media User Calls Tipping Culture 'Out of Control'

Asked for Service Charge on Coffee, Social Media User Calls Tipping Culture 'Out of Control'
Cover Image Source: TikTok | cbwritescopy

Whether you're at a cafe, bar, or hotel, tipping the staff for waiting tables or carrying your luggage has become a socially accepted norm in most parts of the world. But one TikToker's recent experience in Miami has reignited the debate on the ever-growing culture of mandatory service charges in the United States.

Christian, better known as @cbwritescopy on TikTok, recently expressed his frustration with the mandatory tipping system in a video that has gone viral. The incident took place at a coffee shop in Brickell, Miami, where Christian ordered a pumpkin spice latte and was surprised to find a compulsory service charge on his bill. This was applied by default, which means that the influencer had no say in how much he wanted to tip the staff for their service or whether he wanted to leave a tip at all.

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Image Source: TikTok | cbwritescopy
Image Source: TikTok | cbwritescopy


Expressing his discontent, Christian stated, "Tipping in the United States is out of control. I didn't even get the option to tip, I had to tip as part of my order." He went on to explain that while he is more than willing to tip for a great three-course meal with good service, tipping for a simple cup of coffee was not something he typically did.

The core issue, as highlighted by Christian, was the lack of choice in the matter. The server simply presented the bill with a fixed percentage labeled as 'service charge,' eliminating any opportunity for customers to decide for themselves whether and how much to tip.

The viral nature of Christian's video sparked discussions on various social media platforms, prompting many users to share their own experiences and opinions on the escalating tipping culture in the US.

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Image Source: TikTok | cbwritescopy
Image Source: TikTok | cbwritescopy


Some echoed Christian's sentiments, expressing frustration at the automatic addition of gratuity to bills, even in scenarios where tipping traditionally might not be expected. One TikToker revealed, "I live in Miami, and the majority of restaurants automatically add 18 percent gratuity to bills. If you don't pay attention, you'll end up tipping double."

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Image Source: TikTok  | Ariel Bessette
Image Source: TikTok | Ariel Bessette


Another user shared a peculiar experience, stating, "I went to a restaurant to buy a gift card, and the screen asked for a tip." Such incidents highlight a broader issue of tips being squeezed out in other scenarios, going beyond the scope of traditional dine-in experiences.

The debate also brought attention to the complexity of tipping etiquette, with some users admitting they have stopped tipping altogether, except in sit-down restaurants where the practice is more customary.

Image Source: TikTok  |  老邪
Image Source: TikTok | 老邪


The question that arises from Christian's experience is whether tips are meant to reward exceptional service or have become an obligatory component of everyday transactions. Traditionally, tips were a way to express gratitude for exceptional service, but the mandatory inclusion of service charges blurs the line between reward and obligation.

As the discussion unfolds, it's essential to consider the perspectives of both consumers and service industry workers. While tipping serves as a crucial income supplement for many in the service sector, the increasing trend of mandatory charges warrants a closer examination of the ethical implications and potential reforms in the tipping culture.


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