I Used to Support Tipping Culture — Now, I Think It Has Gone Too Far

The only solution seems to be paying workers more, rather than pushing the burden onto the consumer

Ryan Fan
Corporate Underbelly

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Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

I have always staunchly defended the whole practice of tipping 20%, no matter what I actually think of the service. I did it out of a sense of principle and solidarity with people who might not make the most in wages and be very reliant on tips.

It was a part of my identity, and I could not live with myself if I left a restaurant without having tipped 20%. I could not live with myself, still, if I didn’t tip the Uber driver or DoorDash driver, and my personal experience as both a Uber and DoorDash driver in the gig economy most made me see things from the other side.

However, in the past couple of years, many of us, myself included, have become familiar with paying at the cash register and having the screen reader in front of us. Tipping culture has changed, and it has changed very, very fast. The options on the screen might be 20%, 22%, and 25%, and “Other.” The baseline has gone up from options of 15%, 18%, or 20% quite significantly. The cashier is usually very nice, but can usually see exactly what we’re deciding to tip. It also can seem like everyone expects a tip these days, or at least significantly more…

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Ryan Fan
Corporate Underbelly

Believer, Baltimore City IEP Chair, and 2:39 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Support me by becoming a Medium member: https://bit.ly/39Cybb8