The Larger Issue Behind “Tip Shaming”

Much debate has ensued over the recent story of highly-paid Philadelphia Eagles football player LeSean McCoy having “stiffed” a server at a local Philly eatery by leaving a 20-cent tip on a $60 check. According to McCoy, the service was terrible, and he wanted to convey that opinion very clearly. In response, the management of the restaurant, PYT, decided to “shame” McCoy over his tiny tip, and posted a photo of the receipt on social media.

Predictably, a lot of people in “Internet-land” went ballistic over the idea that a multimillionaire athlete would leave such a small tip for a server, and, in doing so, missed the real offense – namely, that a restaurant, or any business establishment, for that matter, would think it appropriate to post a customer’s receipt on social media in an effort to embarrass him.   

There is an even larger issue at play here, however: a lot of folks have become far too comfortable with the notion that, in this age of social media, each one of us should expect that anything we’re doing as private citizens, going about our private business, can be captured on film and posted on Facebook, Twitter, et al., for the rest of the world to see. I am quite aware there is no overtly-expressed constitutional right to privacy, but should we not ask ourselves just what sort of world it is in which we want to live with respect to this sort of thing? I shudder to think about the public villain I might have become if any of my, say, 10 worst social moments in life was singularly captured on film, with no context whatsoever, and shared with everyone. Who wants to be judged on the basis of that? No one, of course, and yet far too many are unable to contain themselves when they see someone who happens to be flailing about in the midst of one of his own 10 or 15 worst moments; out comes the cell phone, which today doubles nicely as a high-quality camera, and now that particular moment can not only live on, but it can be shared with the universe. How wonderful.

At the end of the day, what, precisely, the circumstances were at PYT restaurant that prompted McCoy to leave his 20-cent tip are known only to the people who were there, and even among them the story is not the same. It would be a grave mistake, however, to believe the salient issue here is about tipping; rather, it is about the growing sense of entitlement…on the part of a frightening number of folks…that declares anything anyone does while he’s essentially minding his own business is now also the business of everyone else on the planet.

The information contained here is for general information purposes only. The Financial Writer blog and Bob Yetman disclaim responsibility for any liability or loss incurred as a consequence of the use or application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein. Nothing contained in this article, or any other article featured at this blog, should be construed as a solicitation or recommendation to engage in any financial transaction. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any changes to your personal financial profile.

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