In the distant past, people used to trade using food and other goods instead of plain old money, but most of us seem to have moved on since those days.
Most of us, but not all, it would appear, after one person decided it would be acceptable to leave an edible “tip”, instead of cash, when ordering food.
A doorbell camera video, later shared on TikTok captured the bizarre incident, which saw a Pizza Hut delivery driver arriving at a customer’s home.
In the clip, the worker can be seen setting down the box and ringing the front door before apparently noticing a strange instruction.
According to a caption accompanying the footage, the sign in front of him reads: “No money for tip, please take slice of pizza.”
The delivery man responds by venting his despair out loud, saying: “You kidding me?” before dejectedly grabbing a slice from the box and eating it.
The driver was far from thrilled with his ‘tip’ringdoorbell.compilation/TikTok
The recording racked up more than 350,000 thousand views within a day of being posted, as commentators flocked to offer their assessment of the scene.
People seemed to read the note differently, with some understanding it to mean that the customer didn’t have cash on them at the time, while others thought it meant they were strapped for cash more generally.
“If you can’t afford a few dollar[s] tip, don’t get service,” one wrote.
“Not enough to tip? Then you shouldn’t be ordering delivery,” said another.
But a third argued: “If a family is struggling and only has 10 [cents] to spare and they can get food but not tip, then what? Don’t say, ‘if you can’t afford to tip don’t eat out’.”
And a fourth said: “I tip the dollars I have in my wallet. If I don’t have any, I don’t tip. Don’t expect me to pay you a tip.”
Meanwhile, scores of other users invoked the perennial argument that tips shouldn’t be necessary at all.
“It’s not my responsibility to pay employees,” one said. “I’m not a business owner, these restaurants need to pay their employees better.”
A second agreed, commenting: “Why do [you all] struggle to understand that tips aren’t necessary? If you think they are, you don’t deserve tips.”
And a third remarked: “Blame your job not the customer if you are unhappy with your pay.”
Others joked the driver might have appreciated the impromptu snack.
“He’s probably at the end of his day and was like, honestly, best tip lol,” one said.
But another pointed out: “He works at a pizza place, he eats it constantly.”
And a third noted: “I deliver pizzas and would be pretty annoyed. We eat free already and that’s just gas I wasted for nothing.”
Americans tend to feel more strongly about tipping than citizens of other countries because hospitality workers in the US often rely on customer gratuities to subsidise low wages.
The nation’s Department of Labor sets the federal minimum wage for tipped employees at $2.13 an hour – that’s just over £1.50 – while the basic combined cash and tip minimum wage rate is set at $7.25 (around £5.30).
According to comparison site Payscale.com, the average salary for a Pizza Hut delivery driver is $8 an hour (around £5.80).
With that in mind, we’re pretty sure we’d ask: “Are you kidding?” if we were that guy, too.