People online are debating on whether it's ok or not to not tip your servers.

In an era where tipping has become almost pervasive, one anonymous TikTok creator from Los Angeles is stirring controversy with his unconventional practice: refusing to tip. Known by his handle @idontip, this TikToker has sparked intense debate by documenting his savings from not leaving a gratuity, even in sit-down restaurants.

The idea struck him during a visit to a local bakery. "After ordering a Danish that cost $3, the cashier turned on the iPad, and I saw $1, $2, $3 tips options; $3 tips for a bun that costs $3, man. That was the moment when NoTip was born," he explained in an interview with The Post.

In his TikTok videos, @idontip meticulously records his daily expenditures at coffee shops and restaurants across LA. At the end of each clip, he tallies the amount he has saved by skipping the tip on everything from coffee to pasta.

Heated Debate Ensues

Over one week, he claims to have saved $152.92, a revelation that has garnered over 82,000 views and sparked a heated online debate.

The reactions to @idontip's no-tip policy are far from unanimous. Some viewers applaud his audacity with comments like "You're an inspiration to us all," while others express outright disgust, labelling his actions "utterly disgusting." This stark divide in opinion highlights the controversy surrounding the issue, particularly in the context of different types of service establishments.

Many find it more acceptable to skip tipping at coffee shops or fast-casual joints, where tipping was less common until recently. However, most draw the line at not tipping in sit-down restaurants, viewing it as a breach of social etiquette.

Despite the backlash, @idontip remains unapologetic. "I feel great not tipping, no matter where I go," he said. He acknowledges the difference between various dining settings but emphasises his mission: promoting freedom from social judgement.

"In coffee shops, people feel obligated because of the other people in line looking at them and baristas turning their iPads and waiting for a tip before they start making a coffee. While in restaurants, it's the judgement of the waiter," he explained.

@idontip How much money I made in a week of leaving Zero Dollars Tips 💸 Ep 8. Making Money #zerodollarstips #coffee #dinner #restaurant #losangeles #money ♬ Nasty - Tinashe

The American Tipping System

The issue of tipping is deeply intertwined with the American dining experience, primarily due to the low federal minimum wage for tipped employees, which stands at just $2.13 per hour compared to $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees.

This significant wage disparity means many workers in the service industry rely heavily on tips to make a livable wage. Major cities' tipping landscape varies significantly due to differing state and local minimum wage laws, further complicating the issue.

Tipping Rates in Four Major States

Exploring tipping rates in four central states sheds light on regional variations in consumer behaviour and service industry norms. This analysis examines how tipping practices differ across these states and what factors contribute to these differences.

California: Tipped employees receive the same minimum wage as non-tipped workers, $16 per hour. However, fast-food employees at major chains must make at least $20 per hour. This uniform wage helps reduce the dependency on tips but does not eliminate the social expectation.

New York: In New York City, tipped employees must earn at least $10.65 per hour, but their total earnings must reach at least $16 per hour with tips. This dual wage system underscores the importance of tipping in ensuring workers meet the minimum income threshold.

Texas: The state adheres to the federal minimum wage of $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. This starkly low base wage makes tips crucial for workers to achieve a livable income.

Florida: Tipped employees in Florida earn a minimum of $7.98 per hour, which is higher than the federal rate, but still rely on tips to meet the standard minimum wage of $12 per hour for non-tipped workers.

The Risks and Rewards of Skipping Tips

The debate over tipping is not just about economics but also about social norms and expectations. While @idontip's practice of not tipping may seem revolutionary to some, it challenges a deeply ingrained aspect of American dining culture.

For workers, the reliance on tips can lead to financial instability and a sense of dependency on the generosity of strangers. For patrons, the obligation to tip can create pressure and resentment, especially when faced with high suggested tip amounts for minimal service. The discourse sparked by @idontip's videos might be uncomfortable, but it is a necessary conversation about the future of service industry compensation.

His actions provoke important questions about the fairness and sustainability of the tipping system, especially when the cost of living continues to rise. This ongoing debate highlights the need for a more equitable approach to service industry compensation that does not burden the worker or the customer.

What Would You Do?

As tipping practices continue to evolve, it remains to be seen whether more people will follow @idontip's lead or if traditional tipping norms will prevail. Regardless of where one stands on the issue, it is clear that the conversation about tipping is far from over.

By addressing these concerns head-on, a new, more balanced approach to tipping can be established, ensuring fair compensation for workers while alleviating the pressure felt by patrons.