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University Student Explains Why The Tipping Culture Needs To Be Relooked

Edric Meng felt the customers do not have the responsibility to worry about a restaurant’s finances.
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA production
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA production

The tipping culture across the West has become a subject of debate. From legislators moving to abolish the tip credit system in New York to students at universities in Canada stirring conversations over tipping on campus, the topic has reached a tipping point. New terms like “tipflation” and “tip fatigue” have emerged to express the negative view of the tipping culture.

Recently, a post from a student on the UBC subreddit sparked debate on the topic. A 19-year-old second-year civil engineering student, Edric Meng, posted on the UBC subreddit that the tipping culture in the West can be exploitative.

Meng’s thoughts were based on his own experience with tipping at restaurants on his campus. He put forward four points.

The first was that Meng felt the customers do not have the responsibility to worry about a restaurant’s finances. He argued that subjects like wages should be the concern of employees and the restaurant owners only and customers should not be held responsible for paying the servers.

“Our role is to pay for the service and food provided, not to ensure the financial well-being of the employees.” Meng wrote.

The second point was about the percentage-based tipping system. Meng called it faulty as a server bringing food worth $50 gets $10 as a tip for the same amount of work as a server who brings $100 worth of food. So, the latter should not be tipped $20.


The third point was that the tipping culture also promotes inequality, racism, and sexism. Citing a study, Meng stated that black and minority servers receive lesser tips compared to their counterparts while attractive women tend to get tipped more.

Meng’s fourth point was that why should only the servers get tipped? Restaurants also employ different workers like chefs, housekeepers, cleaners, etc, who go without earning any tips.

Meng also said that people often don’t have a choice. “Opting not to tip often leaves me feeling guilty, highlighting a system that seemingly exploits both employees and customers under the guise of ethical obligation,” Meng wrote.


While Meng expressed his displeasure with tipping, he did suggest that something can be done. He suggests that tips should not be removed entirely and the students at UBC should advocate for fair and just compensation practices directly from the employers.

In response to his post, several Redditors shared their views on the topic.

One of the users, who is a fourth-year student, said they have worked at several jobs and benefited from the tipping culture, adding that it is indeed out of control. As per the user, servers should be obligated to share at least 4% of their tips with the kitchen and other support staff. The user further suggests that customers should not be forced to tip and they should do so only if they receive exceptional service.

Image Source: Reddit | @r/UBC
Image Source: Reddit | @r/UBC

Meanwhile, another user pointed out that the culture primarily exists in the West. The user said that in Asia even if customers want to tip, the workers politely reject it.

Image Soure: Reddit | @r/UBC
Image Soure: Reddit |@r/UBC