Skip to content

Bartender Sparks Heated Debate by Admitting "Big Tippers Get Priority"

The gratuity you give may be affecting the service that you get.

Tipping is always a divisive topic of conversation. Some people won't dine out without leaving 25 percent, while others tip moderately and say businesses should be responsible for paying their workers more. But no matter which side of the argument you fall on, most of us can't help but wonder: Does how much we tip actually affect our service? One bartender is now speaking out with a clear answer: "Big tippers get priority." Read on to see what he had to say, and to find out more about the debate that his viral video has sparked.

RELATED: Server Pleads With Customers to Always Tip in Cash: "We Don't Get Instant Money"

Many people think tipping culture is "out of control."

Woman putting tips into glass jar on wooden table indoors, closeup

Tipping has become so controversial that people in the U.S. are actually doing it less often now than they were before. According to a 2023 survey from Bankrate, the frequency of people tipping has declined steadily since 2019. That may be because roughly two in three people have a negative view about tipping, with 30 percent reporting that they feel the country's tipping culture has gotten "out of control."

"Few topics elicit as many passionate opinions as tipping," Bankrate Senior Industry Analyst Ted Rossman said in a statement. "Inflation and general economic unease seem to be making Americans stingier with their tipping habits, yet we're confronted with more invitations to tip than ever."

RELATED: 5 Places Where Tipping Can Get You Much Better Service, Experts Say.

One bartender is admitting that those who tip better get better service.


Idc about your basic vodka soda and espresso martini. I work for tips #fyp #foryou #bartender #bartok #serverlife #servertok

♬ original sound – Roman

You might be frustrated by tipping, but being stingy could slow your service. Roman Sparkles, a bartender based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, posted a video to his TikTok account @romansparkles on Aug. 14, indicating that he would snub another customer in order to prioritize someone who is known to tip big.

"POV: The heavy tipping customer comes in," Sparkles wrote in text overlaying his video.

In his TikTok, the bartender appears to be acting out a sketch where he ignores a customer who is in the middle of ordering drinks when a big tipper walks up. The off-screen customer reprimands Sparkles for his "rude" slight, but the Michigan bartender stands his ground.

"No, no. He tips me 50 percent every time he comes in. You gotta [expletive] off right now," he responds.

RELATED: New Law Wants to Introduce Tipping at Walmart and Other Major Retailers.

Other bartenders also confirmed that "big tippers get priority."

Charming young bartender in apron serving beer and smiling

Sparkles' TikTok has garnered over 1.6 million views in just two days. "I don't care about your basic vodka soda and espresso martini. I work for tips," he captioned the now-viral video.

The TikTok has also received over 1,000 comments, with many bartenders chiming in to back up this admission. "Big tippers get priority," one user responded.

Another person commented, "50 percent tipper is HEAD of the line every time."

Others urged younger people to take this information to heart if they want better service.

"This! Right here! Gen A, take note," one user replied. "If you find a cool place you like, the first tip that night should be AT LEAST $20! It's an investment in your fun."

RELATED: For more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

But some people aren't happy about this revelation.

Twenty dollar bill in a tip jar

Not everyone was commenting in support of Sparkles. In fact, the bartender's video sparked a heated debate, with some people calling out servers for giving preferential service to those who shell out more money.

"Imagine your first time going somewhere and this happens," one user responded.

Another commented, "That's actually kinda [expletive] up. Money hungry bartenders."

Others spoke out against the current tipping culture, calling it "toxic" and "beyond stupid." Some customers even said that this kind of treatment from bartenders would negatively impact their tipping behavior at the end of the night.

"Jokes on you I was GOING to tip you big but now will not," one person commented.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
Filed Under
 •  •  •