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Server Roleplays as a ‘Livable Wage’ Server and a ‘Tipped’ Server, Sparks Debate on Tipping Culture

A TikTok video by user @imjustrobb has stirred controversy by contrasting service quality based on wages.
PUBLISHED APR 20, 2024
Cover Image Source: Liveable wage worker vs tipped worker | TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb
Cover Image Source: Liveable wage worker vs tipped worker | TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb

A recent viral video has ignited a heated debate among viewers, shedding light on the potential impact of providing livable wages to restaurant workers. Shared by TikTok user Robin, known as @imjustrobb, the video showcases contrasting scenarios portraying the efforts of servers based on their compensation. In the widely circulated video titled, "If Servers Were Paid a 'Livable Wage' vs. Tipped," Robin, a bartender, server, and actor, takes center stage. With over 544,000 views garnered since its posting on Monday (April 15, 2024), the video has sparked significant discussion.

TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb
TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb

In the first scenario, Robin portrays a server earning a livable wage, portraying disinterest while attending to a guest celebrating a birthday. When asked about birthday celebrations, Robin's character curtly responds with a negative. However, in stark contrast, the tipped employee enthusiastically presents a cake adorned with a candle, leading the guest in a birthday song and dance, ultimately blowing out the candle on their behalf.

TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb
TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb

In the second scenario, when the guest requests a substitution on a side order, "Livable wage" Robin firmly declines, even when informed of the guest's allergy. "But I’m allergic to corn, though," the guest pleads, to which Robin responds, "Do you have your EpiPen with you tonight?" In contrast, the "Tipped" worker Robin goes the extra mile, charming the kitchen staff into accommodating the request.

Moving to the third scenario, when the guest asks for a "strong" margarita, "Livable wage" Robin explains the limitations, suggesting paying for a double if more alcohol is desired. However, "Tipped" Robin takes a different approach, instructing the bartender to pour a bit extra, stating, "I’m trying to hook her up." In the fourth scenario, when the guest requests almonds on her salad, "Livable wage" Robin candidly informs her that the almonds are in storage and not readily accessible. Conversely, "Tipped" Robin takes proactive steps to ensure customer satisfaction, retrieving a step ladder to fulfill the request. Accompanying the video, Robin poses a thought-provoking question in the caption: "If servers were paid a 'livable wage,' the dining out experience would not be the same. What are your thoughts?" Viewers engage in the comments section, expressing a range of conflicting viewpoints.

TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb
TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb

One user commented that @phatprincesa "this is an insane take…" Meanwhile, @Lyssa points out, "They always say 'in Europe they don’t tip,' yeah and they only have 1 maybe two servers for the whole restaurant so you wait forever and refills aren’t a thing. They would lose their mind in reality." @Giselle questions, "So with a livable wage you still won’t do your job well? I’m confused?" Furthermore, @JaiiLo emphasizes, "Louder for the 'tips aren’t mandatory' peeps." @Amanda hills shares her experience, "as someone who lives in Australia where waiters are paid a liveable wage, this is not true service is amazing here." Then another user @Dougless laments said, "This is what I try to tell people but I don’t think they get it." @Robin Jordan responds, "If humans know they’re going to be paid regardless, they are not going to go above and beyond." @R E B E K A H observes, "It’s always the 'it’s my birthday' that don’t tip or leave me $2." Meanwhile, @NyaJelisa humorously asks, "Like why do they think $15 an hour is enough to make ppl pretend to care about you?"

TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb
TikTok | Robin Jordan | @imjustrobb

This isn’t Robin's initial expression of this viewpoint. In the past year, she reiterated her preference for tipping over a livable wage and highlighted the contrasting social safety nets enjoyed by European servers in comparison to their counterparts in the United States. Additionally, she voiced apprehensions regarding the potential escalation of menu prices associated with higher wages.


@imjustrobb If servers were paid a “liveable wage,” the dining out experience would not be the same. What are your thoughts? #DTLA #servertiktok #restaurantproblems #bartendersoftiktok #serverlife #tippingculture #diningout ♬ Pouring Liquid into Glass (Version 1) [Sound Effect] - Finnolia Sound Effects

For more such content, you can follow Robin Jordan (@imjustrobb) on TikTok.

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