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Tipping With Gift Cards; Not on Your Life or Yes, Please?

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

We all know people who are great at tipping and those who aren’t. We know people who will not tip, we know people who do so excessively. In America getting paid with tips is the bread and butter of thousands of citizens. Depending on the restaurant and the type of people that the establishment caters to, one can make anywhere from poverty level earnings to six figure earnings.

Tipping has also become a heated debate many times through the past thirty or so years. Among what’s complained about is whether or not you should tip the waiters in cash only, on your credit/debit cards only, or if tips should be taken at all. Then there’s the how much do you tip debate. 15%? 18%? 20%? It doesn’t help when you get those “suggestions” at the bottom of your bill offering gratuity information for 18, 20 or 22%. They don’t even offer the 15 on most receipts that I’ve seen.

In several countries outside of the US, tipping isn’t just frowned upon, it’s not socially acceptable. In Japan, for instance, tipping is considered rude and insulting and it’s why most establishments make you pay for your food before you are even seated.

“Tipping is not customary in Japan. In fact, it can be considered rude and insulting in many situations. Most Japanese restaurants require customers to pay for their meals at the front register, rather than leave money with the waiter or waitress. Tipping also isn’t required for cab or bus rides and many hotel services. You will probably receive some of the best service in the world here…but this about people doing their job with pride rather than hoping for a tip.”

In the tweet below, note the receipt’s bottom portion. “Following the custom in Japan…service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted.”

But that’s not just true in Japan. France feels somewhat similarly as they also frown on tipping since they pay their wait staff a living wage. Most restaurants also have a gratuity or service fee that is included in the price. While they won’t say no to a tip for good service, they absolutely do not want tips being handed out to anyone wait-staff that has not gone above and beyond. Most Europeans will round up their bill to the nearest Euro.

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In America, this simply isn’t the case. We have to tip for everything. Haircuts, restaurants, manis and pedis, coffee or tea, tattoos, movers, packers, food delivery, grocery delivery, taxis or ride services, bartenders, bellhops, hotel cleaning staff, and more! What’s worse, some of these professions don’t want just a 15% tip, they want up to 30%. Worse still, our own tourist sites for America tell people that leaving no tip is beyond rude and even if someone is horrible you should give them at least 10%!!!

Bad service is unusual but it happens. To not tip at all, though, the service would have to be dreadful. Leaving just 10 per cent is a clear indication that the experience was not up to par. If you really don’t think your waitperson deserves to be paid for their service, the best course of action is to explain to the restaurant manager why you’re not leaving a tip. If you depart without tipping or providing an explanation, your server will want to know why.

If you were that bad at your job and you can’t figure that out on your own, then that’s a “you” problem. Maybe stop playing on your phone, flirting with the manager, or ignoring a table because you’re sure they won’t leave you a tip anyhow.

This all leads us to the big question currently being posed on social media. Is tipping a gift card acceptable in America? The question is posed because a teenager who really wanted to assist with the bill asked his waiter if he could throw down a $25 dollar gift card on a $95 bill. The waiter apparently laughs it off and the sibling of the teenager just put the tip on the credit card instead.


holidays left us #broke 😮‍💨😮‍💨

♬ Spongebob Sad Song Steel Lick – Some guy in the internet

Apparently, this was beyond rude to some people in the “service” industry. They complained about a lack of cash to pay bills, rent, and buy groceries. They said while it was a decent attempt at trying to be a good tipper, many found it to be bad form and said they would not want or accept a gift card as a tip.

Others, however, pointed out that even in gift card form, the tip the kid offered was well over 20% and they’d be grateful for it. Others stated they have received other types of gift cards and were simply grateful and understanding that not everyone has cash on hand. Besides, technically speaking, you can lie about getting tipped and not claim gift cards and cash. It’s something I witness often back when I used to be a server/waitress. When they put the tip on their card, you have to claim the tip and you’ll get taxed on it.

Yet another reason people are beginning to turn their nose up at the practice of tipping. Knowing there are entire business sectors that get to fib about their income because it comes in the form of cash means someone isn’t paying their “fair share”.


This article was written by Tillie Toro utilizing the following sites in the order in which their information appears.

Do you Tip in Japan? Japanese Tipping Etiquette | InsideJapan Tours

Five reasons there’s no tipping at restaurants in Japan | SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Tipping Etiquette in France ⋆ SECRETS OF PARIS

The Ultimate Guide to Tipping in America | Travel Insider (

Customer’s $25 Amazon gift card tip for restaurant server sparks viral debate on TikTok | Fox News