'Tight' Friends Spark Debate After They Didn't Tip at Family Restaurant

A post on the discussion site Mumsnet has sparked a debate about tipping etiquette after a user shared how their friends did not leave a tip at the end of a meal, gaining over 100 replies from other users.

User tvsavec, who is in the U.K., explained: "Me and three friends went to a little family-run Greek restaurant. The bill came to around £80 [$96] for four of us. At the end of the meal, friend 1 put £2 on the table and I also put £2. Friend 3 said, 'is that for a tip?' We said yeah, she shouted the waiter and hands him the £4 and says thanks. They didn't bother to put a couple of pounds in each.

"Am I being unreasonable to think it's a bit tight?"

Unlike in the U.S., tipping in the U.K. is not as commonplace. At pubs and bars, it is not customary to tip in the U.K., while in restaurants a service charge is sometimes added to the check, but if not, tipping 10 percent of your total bill is usually the standard.

The reasons for the lack of a tipping culture in the U.K. is often linked to the country's standard National Minimum Wage which currently says that workers aged 23 and over must be paid at least £9.50 [$11.42] an hour, while those aged 21 to 22 must be paid at least £9.18 [$11.04]. Because of the minimum wage, workers are at least guaranteed a certain level of pay, meaning that customers feel less pressure to tip.

By contrast, a server in Nashville—who relied largely on tips—recently captured viral attention when she shared her low paychecks on TikTok, with one totaling just $0.01 and others containing nothing at all.

One commenter in reply to the viral video said: "Tipping culture is trash. Blame these corporations for not paying you," while another wrote: "It's not my job to pay your bills, I got my own to pay."

In the story shared on Mumsnet, the diner explained that the check was £80, meaning that a 10 percent tip would be £8—double what the diners left with their check.

But Mumsnet users were divided on whether leaving such a small tip was fair or not. One commenter wrote: "As long as they paid their share of the bill you are being unreasonable. Some people don't tip, maybe she didn't enjoy her meal or service as much as you both did."

Meanwhile, another reply said: "Entirely up to your friends if they wished to tip or not."

But some commenters felt that not leaving an appropriate tip was wrong. "Very tight," said one commenter: "It would make me think less of them." While another reply said that it was "Very embarrassing."

"I think tipping is weird and I don't do it," said another commenter: "I think a service charge is cheeky as well. To me, it's like tipping for someone to scan your items in the supermarket. They get paid a wage. There's no need."

Service check with cash tip
A stock image showing a service check open on a table, alongside a cash tip. Online debate has been sparked after a diner complained that their friends did not leave a tip after a meal. AndreyPopov/Getty Images

Correction 7/19/22, 6:10 a.m. ET: This article was updated to correct the summary to reflect the content of the story.