The American Tipping System: An Exploitative Practice Exposed

Noah Silverbrook

Updated Monday, July 1, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

Many individuals have voiced their discontent with the American tipping system, and a recent image circulating on Imgur vividly captures this frustration. The image features a scene from a movie where a middle-aged man, clad in tinted glasses and a beige vest over a dark shirt, holds a handgun pointed upwards. His intense and frustrated expression underscores the gravity of the message superimposed on the image: "AM I THE ONLY ONE AROUND HERE THAT REALIZES THE AMERICAN TIPPING SYSTEM EXISTS SOLELY FOR BUSINESS OWNERS TO ESCAPE PAYROLL TAXES AND DUMP THAT RESPONSIBILITY ON THE EMPLOYEES?"

This powerful image has sparked a flurry of comments and heated discussions. One user pointed out that minimum wage laws should be consistent for all workers, regardless of whether they receive tips. They highlighted that in some states, tipped workers earn significantly less. Another commenter shared a personal anecdote, stating that their sister’s entire paycheck went to cover taxes on her tips, leaving her with nothing.

The tipping system in the United States is seen by many as an exploitative practice rooted in exploitative capitalism. A commentator expressed that merely refusing to tip underpaid workers would not hurt the corporations but rather the employees who depend on tips to make a living. The suggestion was made to avoid patronizing businesses that do not provide a living wage and instead support mutual aid networks that benefit low-wage service workers.

Contrasts were drawn with other countries, such as Japan, where tipping is non-existent, and everything seems to function smoothly. The introduction of tipping in Sweden was mentioned in a comment, with hopes that the practice would not take root.

A fascinating historical insight was shared, revealing that tipping in the US has origins linked to slavery. Freed slaves in the North were exploited by employers who did not pay wages but allowed them to collect tips instead. This practice has evolved but continues to disadvantage workers.

Some users noted that businesses are increasingly exploiting the tipping system by asking for tips at self-checkouts, a move that many find frustrating and unnecessary.

The consensus among the commenters is clear: the tipping system in America is flawed and primarily benefits business owners at the expense of employees. Real change will require systemic reforms, such as enforcing consistent minimum wage laws and ensuring that all workers receive fair compensation.

This image and the ensuing discussion highlight a critical issue that affects millions of workers across the country. It serves as a call to action for consumers to be more conscious of how their tipping habits impact low-wage workers and to advocate for fairer labor practices.

Noticed an error or an aspect of this article that requires correction? Please provide the article link and reach out to us. We appreciate your feedback and will address the issue promptly.

View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


Minimum wage should not be lower for tipped workers - should be the same for all. In some states it's much lower.


You're absolutely right! But now it's so entrenched in the culture that it wouldn't matter; your reasons for choosing not to do it. You'd be the a****** bc your server's hourly wage is still $2.65. My sister used to get paychecks for $0 bc her whole paycheck went to cover the taxes on her tips.


By refusing to tip the underpaid servant (and further decrease their pay), that will strike a direct blow to their corporate overlords, because...reasons!


Let’s talk about that f***ing round up to the nearest dollar b******* while we’re at it…


The American tipping system is absolute BS, but the solution is not just "stop tipping." That hurts low wage employees, not the corporations upholding the system. Stop frequenting businesses and using services that don't pay a living wage, and contribute to mutual aid networks in your community that benefit low wage service workers. If you have no choice but to use a business that underpays workers, then tip.


No, literally everyone knows that the tipping system in the US is s*** exploitative capitalism at its worst. This is not news, and it's something that's mentioned every single day here.


Oh boy, yet another tipping thread!


I get the argument but until the laws are changed/enforced I won't punish my server, not their fault.


Businesses taking advantage of pro corporate laws to screw over their employees? I'm shocked.


responsibility on the employees or the customer, to make up lost/low wages?

Check out our latest stories