17 Situations Where It’s Fine to Not Leave a Tip

Tipping is a massive part of American culture, and declining to leave a tip often makes you look rude and ungrateful. However, despite the importance of tips to workers who don’t make much of a wage, sometimes it’s acceptable not to leave anything. Here are 17 situations when you shouldn’t feel bad for not tipping.

You Completed the Service Yourself

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Lots of people argue that there’s no need to tip if you’re completing a service yourself. Many don’t tip for pick-up orders because they drive out to get the food. It’s also not customary to tip at self-service machines. The Independent reports that customers feel ‘emotionally blackmailed’ when requested to do so in airports, stores, and stadiums.

Your Server Was Rude

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Servers need tips to make a living wage, so if your server is inattentive or seems rushed, it’s still nice to tip. However, if your server is actively rude to you and their behavior ruins your experience, it’s fine not to tip. Servers are usually very polite, so a purposefully rude server can’t expect a tip just because it’s customary.

You Received Counter Service

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Tipping culture now extends beyond eateries where table service is provided. You’re also given the option to tip counter service workers, like cashiers. Etiquette expert Elaine Swann says offering a tip for counter service is a nice gesture, but you don’t have to. People working counters usually make a proper wage, so tips aren’t essential.

The Food Was Cold

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It’s unfair to penalize servers for mistakes relating to the content of your meal, but if your food is cold, chances are the server forgot to bring it out on time. Chefs send food out freshly made and hot, but it will get cold if the server leaves it sitting out. Receiving cold food makes it acceptable not to tip.

You Were Served An Allergen

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Any food worker knows the significance of ensuring they ask diners about allergies. If you make your server aware you’ve got an allergy and they forget to add it to your order, you could end up in a life-or-death situation. When you’re served an allergen, it’s acceptable not to tip to reflect that service.

Gratuity Is Included

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Some establishments automatically add gratuity to your bill, which covers the tip. You don’t need to leave a cash tip on top if you are already paying gratuity; any place charging gratuity won’t expect you to give more money. Always check your bill for an automatic gratuity to gauge whether or not a tip is needed.

There’s No Option For a Custom Tip

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‘Tipflation’ is becoming a huge issue, with some businesses taking away the ‘custom tip’ option to force customers to leave a specific percentage. The Guardian warns that forced tipping takes away customers’ freedom to choose what they tip and makes them feel ‘duped’. It’s fine not to tip at all if a business is trying to take advantage.

You Were Waiting a Long Time

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If you go out to eat during a holiday or on the weekend, you should expect bars and restaurants to be busy. Not tipping your server because they were rushed off their feet is unkind, but if you’re kept waiting a ridiculously long time, you can decline to tip. Sometimes, servers forget tables, and your tip depends on your experience.

You’re Visiting a Country With No Tipping Culture

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While we must follow the tipping culture in the US, checking if tipping is required when traveling is a good idea. StartTravel reports that it’s considered rude to tip in Japan, China, and South Korea because it implies their employer doesn’t offer sufficient pay. In these circumstances, it’s actually better not to leave a tip.

The Worker Makes a Good Wage

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Tipping culture was established to help get underpaid employees, like servers, a living wage. However, many other professions are trying to take advantage of it. You don’t need to give a tip to workers already making an excellent salary, like the plumber who fixes your leaky taps or the electrician who fixes your AC.

The Service Was Appalling

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Some people say you should tip regardless of the quality of service, but you’re not obligated to reward appalling service. If your stylist gives you the wrong haircut, your server never approaches your table, or workers ignore you asking for help in a store, you don’t need to leave them a tip.

You’ve Already Tipped For the Service

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Tips should go to the person doing the work. If you’ve tipped your nail technician, you don’t need to tip the worker who rings you up at the desk. If you’ve tipped the bartender for your drink, you don’t need to tip the server who clears your glass. Don’t tip everybody else if you’ve already tipped for the service.

The Server Won’t Receive It

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Most restaurants and bars let servers keep their tips, but some businesses have a reputation in local communities for keeping tips. In any case, if you know the person serving you won’t receive the tip, it’s fine not to leave one. Otherwise, you’re supporting bad business owners who steal tips from their employees.

The Server Was Presumptuous

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When you pay with cash, it’s customary for your server to return with your change. If you want to leave the extra money as a tip, you can tell them to keep it, but the server should never presume that your change is their tip. If they do, you might choose not to tip, even if you originally planned to.

Someone Else Brought Your Bill

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When you tip, you want the money to go to the person who did the work. So, if a different server brings your bill, there’s no guarantee they’ll give your original server the tip if you leave one. It’s a shame for the person who served you, but you don’t want their rightful tip to go to someone else.

Your Delivery Was Damaged

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Etiquette teaches that tipping delivery drivers roughly $5 is a nice gesture, but you don’t have to if they damage your package while delivering it. Videos of delivery drivers throwing packages into trucks and onto porches demonstrate the importance of checking your item before you tip. Otherwise, it’s the same as tipping a server who forgot to bring your food.

The Manager Helps You

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Tips are a massive help to underpaid, overworked employees, so why should high-salaried managers and business owners get to take advantage? Managers and owners typically aren’t involved in the service that customers receive, so they shouldn’t be dipping into the tips. If you know you’ve been helped by the owner, you don’t need to tip them.

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