21 Times American Tipping Culture Went Beyond Reason

Are you tired of feeling pressured to tip for every little service? American tipping culture has spiraled out of control, leaving many feeling like they’re constantly shelling out extra cash. But where do we draw the line? Here are 21 instances where tipping has gone from a gesture of gratitude to an expectation that’s gone too far.

#1. Coffee Shop Counter Tip Jars

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Do you really need to tip for simply pouring coffee into a cup? It’s getting excessive when there’s a tip jar staring you down as you just pick up a simple black coffee.

#2. Tipping on Takeout Orders

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You’re already paying for the food—why should you tip extra for simply picking it up yourself? This seems to double charge for no additional service.

#3. Mandatory Service Charges

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Some restaurants add a mandatory service charge, effectively making tipping compulsory, regardless of the service quality. This removes the voluntary aspect of tipping entirely.

#4. Tipping for Self-Service

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Why should you tip at self-service stations where you do all the work, from pouring your own beverages to clearing your table? This defeats the purpose of tipping for service.

#5. Tipping at Fast Food Drive-Thrus

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Should tipping be expected when grabbing a quick meal from a drive-thru? This practice extends tipping culture into fast food, where service is minimal.

#6. Tipping at Buffets

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If you are serving yourself and even clearing your table, why should a tip be expected? The service element is significantly reduced in buffet settings.

#7. Tipping at Food Trucks

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Food trucks often serve up quick bites without table service, so should tipping be automatic? It’s worth rethinking tipping for casual, street-side food service.

#8. Tipping for Hotel Housekeeping

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While it’s nice to leave something for housekeeping, should guests feel compelled to tip on top of their already pricey hotel stay? This can add an unexpected cost to your trip.

#9. Tipping for Routine Hotel Shuttle Rides

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If a shuttle service is advertised as a free perk of the hotel, guests might wonder why they should tip, especially for a short, routine ride.

#10. Tipping on Group Tabs

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Automatically splitting and adding a tip on a large group tab can lead to disproportionately high tips. Isn’t it better to allow individuals to decide on their own contributions?

#11. Tipping for Package Deliveries

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Is it necessary to tip your delivery driver when you’ve already paid for shipping? This expectation can be especially burdensome around the holidays.

#12. Tipping at Electronic Payment Screens

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When electronic payment screens suggest high tip amounts for quick counter services, it can pressure customers into paying more than they feel is warranted.

#13. Tipping Bartenders for a Simple Beer Pour

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Should you tip a bartender the same amount for popping the cap off a bottle as you would for a more labor-intensive cocktail?

#14. Tipping for Complimentary Water

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When restaurants serve a complimentary glass of water, should there really be a tip expected for such a basic courtesy?

#15. Tipping Furniture Assemblers

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If you pay a delivery fee that includes assembly, should you also need to tip the assemblers? This can be unclear and varies by retailer.

#16. Tipping Cable Technicians

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Should tipping be expected for technicians who install or repair your cable and internet, especially when you’re charged for the service call?

#17. Tipping in High-End Retail Stores

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Is it appropriate to tip for personal shopping assistance in luxury stores where you’re already paying a premium for goods?

#18. Pre-Tipping for Services Not Yet Received

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Some services request tips when you book them, not after the service is performed. How can you judge the service quality in advance?

#19. Tipping at DIY Hardware Stores

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If you pick up your materials and load them yourself, should there be a tip jar at the checkout?

#20. Tipping Apartment Building Staff Annually

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While holiday tipping for building staff is customary, the expectation can feel like an obligatory end-of-year bonus rather than a genuine thank you.

#21. Tipping for Basic Information or Directions

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Should there be a tip expected when asking for directions or other simple information in hotels or tourist information spots?

Tipping Culture: Time for a Reality Check

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From coffee shop tip jars to unexpected tips at checkouts, the reach of American tipping culture has perhaps gone too far. It’s time to reevaluate when and where tipping is truly warranted and relieve the pressure on consumers to tip at every turn. Let’s encourage fair wages and reserve tipping for exceptional service.

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