Regardless of the service, there is an expectation to leave a generous tip in the United States. This usually doesn’t impress outsiders. Why do so many American workers rely on tips instead of getting a decent wage? It is still an unsolved mystery and many of us cannot wrap our heads around it.

Employees are often the ones who pay the price for businesses giving workers a fair paycheck. A recent post on the Anti-Work subreddit is an example of how big of a toll this approach has on them. A security guard at an office in Dallas, Texas, opened up about an encounter he had with a Pizza Hut delivery driver.

The worker was excited about the $938 order she was about to deliver and the tip that would follow. “It’s hard out there,” the mother-of-two told the user as she carried dozens of boxes onto the elevator. She was excited when she came down, but she didn’t have any money in her pocket. Be sure to share your own takes on the tipping dilemma in the comments after reading the story and the heated discussion that followed.


An excited Pizza Hut delivery driver was let down by a corporate party who gave her a $20 tip for a giant $938 order.


The author of the story decided to help out.

We reached out to ShaolinJohn who was kind enough to answer some of our questions. The user explained that he shared the story on the Anti Work subreddit because he knows it to be a place for shining lights on the injustices of the current state of how workers are treated.

“I was pretty shocked at how quickly it happened to blow up,” he told us. “I also didn’t realize how much of a hot button topic tipping is.” The main reason this post was so popular is that the service industry is enormous. Everyone is a customer of the service industry.

When asked about the tipping culture in the US, the user told us, “[It] is one of the biggest scams against low-wage workers in the country. It’s exploitative and is only kept in place by companies as a way to keep labor costs way down by having the customer be the primary source of a worker’s income.” The problem is that tipping isn’t mandatory. “The worker is reliant on the customer feeling generous at that moment. There is no feeling of security as you never know what the whims of a customer are going to be.”

While 15% to 20% is a typical tip for servers and bartenders, there is a debate as to the appropriate amount of gratitude to a delivery driver. The founder of Ridester stated that tipping the driver varies depending on the items you order, the platform you use, and what happens during the delivery.

Most drivers’ wages are dependent on tips. “[Drivers] are often classified as self-employed, they’re responsible for all their own expenses, sometimes while just making or making under their local minimum hourly wage before gratuity,” Helling wrote. “Due to this, standard tipping etiquette calls for you to tip at least 15% — just as you would a traditional pizza delivery driver, a restaurant server, or even a Lyft or Uber driver.”


The user clarified a few details in the post after adding more information.

He worked as a waiter for a few years before entering the workforce. “So, I understand the plight of the people in the service industry. This means I don’t have a problem leaving a good tip regardless of service. Fantastic service gets even more from me.” The user pointed out that there will always be people who don’t believe in tipping and don’t know that a waiter at a restaurant is only making $2.

With inflation hitting a 40-year high and pinching their pockets, signs that Americans will become better tippers are fading. The number of people who always tip has fallen from a high of 77% in the year of the survey to a low of 73% in the year of the survey. 4% said they never tip. “Inflation is cutting into consumers’ purchasing power and a tight labor market has left many service industry businesses understaffed and struggling to provide top-notch customer experiences,” said senior industry analyst Ted Rossman. He said that the promise that one-third of Americans made to be better tippers had apparently worn off.

We were curious to hear what ShaolinJohn had to say about changing this tipping practice to favor the workers and make them feel safer. He told us, “Ideally, the whole system of tipping would be tossed out because companies would pay their workers a livable wage. Or maybe a step before that dramatic change would be for companies to add automatic gratuity onto the bills.”

He said that companies should stop pocketing the delivery fee and give it to the driver. now that one causes a lot of delivery drivers to lose out on tips because people think the delivery fee is for the driver but it’s not,” the user said.

“Even though tipping culture is a scam, until a drastic and immediate change is able to happen, tip your service industry workers. And for those people that justify not tipping because ‘they should just go get a better job,’ stay home and cook for yourself or go pick up your own food instead of having it delivered. Some people have to take [low-paying] jobs due to circumstances we have no idea about. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to earn a living. Even if it is based on our tips,” ShaolinJohn concluded.


The story has caused a stir in the Anti Work community.