The Terrible Tipping Advice Servers Say People Actually Follow

File this one under "You can't really do that ... can you?"

A Redditor called taashfin raised the hackles of restaurant servers by posting a photo of a receipt where a customer had written in a negative number for the tip. The patron attempted to reduce a $22.47 bill to an even $20 by scrawling "-2.47" on the line for the tip. They also wrote "Nah bruh," revealing a Gen Z-specific disdain for their meal's cost. The headline on the Reddit post ironically suggested this was a life pro tip: "Get 11% discount on your next visit to the restaurant."

The photo of the restaurant receipt no doubt caused servers to imagine what it would feel like if a customer actually reached into their tip haul and pulled a few bucks out, instead of adding to it. The top comment on the post was from a Redditor who claimed this very unhappy tipping experience happened to them ... twice, at least. "One was a girl maybe 13 years old who chose to pay for her friends," they commented. "Had me crackin' up."

In practice, of course, this restaurant bill hack won't work. You can't invent your own discount on a whim. "lol I've seen a few of these too and charge em full price every time," Redditor red_doggo commented. "Who genuinely thinks someone is gonna see this and give them a discount just because they wrote in the wrong value?" User back_to_the_homeland agreed, replying, "I don't think they think it will actually work like that, they just want to really express extreme disappointment with the service."

Some restaurant owners think tips should be abolished

The Reddit post about the negative tip a customer wrote onto a restaurant receipt went viral, attracting more than 46,000 upvotes and 1,700 comments by November 20. The discussion ran the gamut between good service and bad service, and between getting stiffed and getting a huge tip. A few commenters pointed out the injustice inherent in the tipping custom in the United States. "Really tipping just shouldn't be a thing (as it exists in the U.S.)," Redditor pilgermann said. "Servers just deserve to be paid, not evaluated customer to customer. Tipping is stressful."

As Michelle Alexander wrote in The New York Times, tipping in America justifies sub-minimum wages and denies wage-law protections to women and people of color especially. A report from the Shriver Center on Poverty Law says women working in restaurants who need to make a good impression on customers to make their income face more sexual harassment than those who work in other types of jobs. The Shriver Center says all workers, including servers, should be paid minimum wage at least.

Some restaurant owners have recognized the unfairness in the custom and have experimented with abolishing tipping — including Paul Fehribach, owner of Big Jones in Chicago (via Chicago Tribune). "It's wrong, it's always been wrong," Fehribach said about tipping. "Our workers deserve the security of knowing what they are making when they come to work."