Reddit Is Furious About This Restaurant Customer's Tip 'Game'

The landscape of restaurant dining has changed in many ways since COVID-19, The Food Institute attests. Unfortunately, the pandemic and these changes have brought out the worst in some customers, Today reports. This disconnect between customer expectations and service is often reflected by terrible tipping. A report done by One Fair Wage found that 83% of workers say their tips have gone down — and 66% say the decrease has been by at least half. 

According to Food and Wine, abuse of servers and other restaurant workers is at an all-time high. One worker, who chose to remain anonymous, told Khushbu Shah, "We are expected to provide them with above-and-beyond service, even if they are abusive. It makes us feel like we are not allowed to have the expectation of being treated like a person." Shah identifies one possible crux of this issue as that the idea of good service at a restaurant is highly subjective — what is too long of a wait for one may be totally reasonable for another. 

As Business Insider reports, in November 2021 alone, 1 million hospitality workers quit their jobs. Thus, many restaurants are understaffed, according to Restaurant Business, and bad service can occur when workers are spread thin. Yet regardless of the current atmosphere with restaurant service, staffing, and tipping, one person played a ruthless "game" with a server's tips that had Reddit users furious.

A man treated a server's livelihood 'like a game'

One Reddit user recounts an experience in a restaurant where a date pulled out around $15 in cash singles and placed them on the table. Then the man told the waitress it was her starting tip, and every time she messed up, he would take some away. The Reddit user became shocked and embarrassed, and the server was nervous. The waitress made a few mistakes and "seemed overall lost." By the end of the meal, the man deducted $13 and called restaurant service "not a respectable job." The user then gave the waitress an additional tip because the man "decided to treat her livelihood like it was a game."

The federal minimum wage is $7.25, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, but just $2.13 for servers and other tipped restaurant employees. This means that if the couple stayed about an hour, that server could have possibly made just over $4 before taxes — including the man's tip — if she worked somewhere that paid the tipped minimum wage.

Nearly 3,000 people have commented on this post, many of whom are up in arms about how the man treated the server and what he said after. "I've never been a waiter but when people put needless stress and expectations on me (especially in an already stressful job) it definitely affects my performance, I could easily believe the waitress usually does a much better job," one user wrote.