Clip of Dunkin' Customer Taking Money From Tip Jar Over Incorrect Order Viewed 2.5M Times

A series of TikTok videos, filmed by a dissatisfied Dunkin' customer, showed a confrontation with an employee who refused to remake or refund an incorrect drink order. While two videos on the incident have gone viral, one in particular—showing the customer taking the worker's cash tips—has reached a massive audience of 2.5 million viewers.

As of 2014, 4.3 million Americans had jobs that paid tipped wages, the Economic Policy Institute reported. Despite how many people rely on tips for their livelihoods, actually receiving them from customers is far from a guarantee. As a result, the practice has become contentious and fiercely debated.

Critics of tipping culture argue that the widespread practice "allows businesses to offload the burden of paying workers a fair wage to their customers" and has "racist, sexist, and degrading" roots. However, others maintain that tips should not be provided when service is subpar.

The recent viral clips, shared by TikToker @itslondonlamarr, appeared to divide viewers. In the first video, shared earlier this week, the TikToker recorded the conflict that erupted between him and the Dunkin' employee after he received the wrong drink.

According to @itslondonlamarr, the employee was not willing to remake or refund the beverage. "I used to work at Dunkin' Donuts and it was never a policy that you cannot make another one," he said. "She heard me wrong, and she refused to correct my order...That's not what I wanted at all."

The employee tells the TikToker that it is "too expensive" to throw away and remake the drink, and he can come the next day and speak to the manager about getting a refund.

The conflict escalated, and the two go back and forth. "I would like to know why you will not remake my coffee," he said. "It's just [because] you don't feel like it?"

"Because I made your coffee like you asked," she replied.

The stalemate between the two continued. "You're not the only one who used to work at Dunkin' Donuts," said the TikToker. "So, to get this straight, you're not gonna remake my coffee, right?"

"The coffee's done here like you asked me," she said in response, picking up the drink.

The frustrated customer then reaches toward the employee's tip jar. "I'm gonna get my refund right here, thank you," he said, dropping its contents into his bag.

The employee tells him to give her the money back—but he refused. "You stole my tips," she said. "I sure did," he confirmed, "because you won't give me my refund."

That clip alone amassed over 965,000 views at the time of writing. However, a shorter version, showing only the moment that the TikToker takes the tips and pours them into his bag, was posted the next day and has since received 2.6 million views.

The comments sections of both videos were filled with viewers debating the TikToker's and employees' respective roles in the conflict.

"As a [Dunkin'] employee, she literally is just being rude cause she wants to. We would let you keep the mess up and make a new one for free," wrote @sincere_burritoszzz.

"I was so satisfied when you took her tips but at the same time dissatisfied when it wasn't enough for a refund," commented @judygonzalez12.

Not everyone took the TikToker's side, however. "Y'all both [Karens]" wrote @nicoleeal0.

Others, meanwhile, came to the employee's defense: "This is why the service industry has no employees and can't keep stores open for us. Did COVID steal our human decency?" asked @nmwilsonn.

"I do feel like [the] majority was on my side, so I'm happy about that," @itslondonlamarr told Newsweek, describing the feedback to his videos. "And I feel like everyone who was disagreeing didn't have any valid points."

A representative from Dunkin' has yet to weigh in on the situation. "I have not been in contact with the manager, nor the company," @itslondonlamarr explained to Newsweek. "As I said, I have worked for Dunkin' Donuts before, and I do know the franchise is individually-owned, so I didn't even bother going to the company."

He added that he didn't contact the location's manager as he hoped to "avoid any future confrontation."

Newsweek has reached out to Dunkin' for comment.

Dunkin Donuts
A TikToker posted a video of the moment he took money out of a Dunkin' employees' tip jar after allegedly receiving the wrong drink order. Dunkin' Donuts employees placing donuts in a box, 2014. Andrew Burton/Getty Images