The moment I first saw the contents of a Tide Pod frothing from the mouth of a community college student with more parking tickets than brain cells, I was pretty much done with social media challenges.
There’s no way you can see that kind of thing and tell yourself, “You know, peer pressure on the internet can certainly be used in positive ways.” Just, no.
Maybe I was a bit premature on that assumption, however. Not about the Tide Pods, of course — I’m hoping that whole thing has stopped but I just ate my breakfast and I’d like it to stay in my gastrointestinal tract, so I’m not going to check.
I’m talking about the possibility of using social media challenges in positive ways that don’t involve laundry detergent.
Instead, it involves tipping your server. And not just giving a few bucks extra or anything like that — it involves tipping the entire cost of the meal.
“The ‘Tip the Bill Challenge’ encourages restaurant diners to leave 100 per cent tips on their meals — a trend that seems to have sprung up in March this year,” the U.K. Independent reports.
— ?mariah nesha? (@mariahmargolis) August 8, 2018
“There are already 665 posts under the #tipthebillchallenge hashtag on Instagram, with many users praising the virtues of customer service employees in their captions.”
“I used to be a server. So I know the struggles,” one user said.
“Serving is hard work. Heck anyone dealing with customers has a tough job. Servers usually only make a couple dollars an hour,” another said.
— Sarah Wallis (@SarahEWallis) August 13, 2018
This is a great example of people being generous and giving their money to hard workers in the food service industry. How could this be divisive in any way?
However, this is 2018, a year where I’m guessing a photo of a cute puppy could probably end up with a debate over institutionalized racism. So, of course there are detractors:
#tipthebillchallenge Dont do that. Organize. Start a union and demand your job pays you. Servers and NCAA athletes Are the most exploited employees in developed nations
— Griot (@Eugenius48) August 9, 2018
I’m Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and I approved this message.
Now, I’m not going to go into the particulars of how servers are paid and why it’s fair because that’s a 4,000-word FEE article and this is a piece about a viral tipping trend. However, let me just point out that people — and this isn’t the only one — are turning a hashtag about exceptionally generous tipping into a debate over union organization.
My guess is the servers would probably rather have the tip than the pro-union tweet. My guess is also that @Eugenius48 isn’t going to be participating in the #tipthebillchallenge anytime soon.
In fact, I can prove the first part of that guess pretty easily with another tweet:
And as for the second part, well, make your own judgment. I don’t have any direct evidence, but ask yourself this: Do you think someone who sits around tweeting about how people spend their money helping other people and instead insists the government and unions step in to help them out is the type to give a generous tip?
To quote a shopworn phrase, liberals love the masses, it’s just the individual people they don’t particularly like.
If you can, do me a favor: Try the #tipthebillchallenge sometime if you get good service. Don’t just do it for me. Don’t just do it because it’s the right thing to do. Do it because every time you do, @Eugenius48 gets an unwanted mental image of some teenager eating a Tide Pod.
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