Woman Refusing To Pay 20% Tip for a Sandwich Applauded: 'Out of Hand'

Woman Refusing To Pay 20% Tip for a Sandwich Applauded: 'Out of Hand' Stock images of a restaurant bill and subway sandwich. A woman reacted angrily to being charged for service during a visit to Subway.

A woman who refused to pay a 20 percent tip on her Subway order has been applauded for challenging a practice some online feel has got "way out of hand."

Tipping might be a common practice in America today but, in truth, there are occasions when some are reluctant to do so.

A survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by Talker Research found respondents reluctantly tip $37.80 a month due to the pressure or awkwardness of the situation.

All those tips add up too, with that monthly figure equating to $453.60 a year in guilt-induced gratuity. All told, 26 percent of respondents said they felt they are always or often forced to tip more than they would like.

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Now, one woman in Washington State is taking a stand after a trip to a local Subway. Writing in a post shared to Reddit under the handle u/CardiologistSilly926, she explained how, at first, their visit to a branch of the popular sandwich shop franchise had been normal enough.

"My husband and I each ordered a pretzel and my two nieces each ordered a footlong sub sandwich," she said. "I am the only one who got a drink, which they promptly handed me an empty cup and a straw to fill myself."

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It was only when it came time to pay that the woman noticed something that did not sit well with her. "When we checked out they added an automatic 20 percent tip which equaled $8.51," she wrote.

The woman was furious and demanded immediate action. "I was indignant and made them remove the tip," she said. The woman said she told a member of staff: "I do not tip where I have to stand to order my food, get my own drink, and clean up after myself."

Newsweek contacted Subway multiple times for comment.

The woman said "tipping pressure is real" in Washington, where the minimum wage is $16.28 an hour but felt the enforced charge was a step too far.

Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, backed the woman's response, admitting that "tipping fatigue is real and the opportunity to tip is more prevalent and frustrating than ever."

"A tip at the counter to order a cup of coffee, bagel or sandwich is completely discretionary, similar to a tip jar. This customer was not obligated to leave a tip for a routine service and asking to adjust the bill was within her rights," Gottsman told Newsweek.

"If gratuity was automatically added at a restaurant with table service, however, she could ask to adjust, but not remove, the gratuity because servers are working for less than minimum wage and depend on gratuity as part of their income. Counter employees make minimum wage. Gratuity is appreciated but not mandatory."

Those responding on Reddit were of a similar mindset.

"Tipping is way out of hand nowadays," one wrote, with another commenting: "The fact that they added the tip on without your permission is out of line and should be illegal."

A third wrote: "Tips should not be automatic, they should be earned. You should be given the option to pay extra for better service, not forced to pay for great service and then receive mediocre service."

A fourth added: "Tips/Gratuity by definition can't be automatic or mandatory, that's what's so stupid about this. If it's automatic it's a surcharge."

Newsweek reached out to u/CardiologistSilly926 for comment but could not verify the details of the case.

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