People are frustrated by tipping culture and think it’s out of hand

Last week, we talked about DoorDash warning its customers that anyone who doesn’t tip when they place their orders risks it taking longer to deliver than those who tip up front. We also discussed how tipping has increasingly become a hot-button issue in America, as it seems like everywhere you turn, there’s the option to add a tip, and most of us feel badly saying no. Well, I do, at least. You should give a gratuity for good service, but it is kinda crazy to add a tip for the cashier at the grocery store. It feels like companies that refuse to pay their employees a living wage are passing the burden of their employees’ cost of living onto consumers.

A recent study done by Pew Research Center reveals that Americans are divided and confused over when and how much to leave in gratuities. TThe study also showed that 72% of the 11,945 surveyed aren’t into recent trends that add service fees and suggest tipping amounts. Basically, Americans are frustrated by “tipping culture” and feel the same way that many of you do: that it’s getting out of hand. Tipflation is real y’all!

72% are against the added “service charges”: Most don’t like the addition of “service charges,” the amounts that many restaurants and other businesses have tacked on to customers’ tabs under various names, often to cover the higher costs of things like food and labor — without having to raise their prices. An overwhelming 72 percent of people oppose them, with only 10 percent saying they favor them.

They also don’t like the “suggested tip” screen: They are also more likely to oppose a suggested tip amount than favor it, something businesses have recently taken to putting on touch-screens at takeout spots or on printed bills — ostensibly to make calculating them easier, but often used as a prod to get customers to shell out. Forty percent of Americans oppose such suggested tips, while 24 percent favor them. (About a third neither oppose nor favor them.)

Confusion over knowing when to tip: But with more opportunities to tip, and with some restaurants and other businesses offering prompts, there’s still plenty of confusion about whether customers should leave a gratuity — and if so, how much. Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults say it’s “extremely” or “very” easy to know whether to tip for different kinds of services these days, and a similar share, 33 percent, say the same about knowing how much to tip.

Tipping as an obligation vs. choice: While these recent and fundamental shifts in tipping might be confusing and unwelcoming, the survey also indicates that the practice in the bigger picture is divisive — Americans are not even on the same page about what tipping is. Twenty-nine percent of Americans think of tipping as an obligation, while 21 percent see it as a choice. Forty-nine percent, though, say it depends on the situation. Younger and more highly educated and wealthier people were more likely to see a tip as an obligation, Pew found.

Technology is contributing to the confusion: Advances in technology — like delivery apps and tablets at counters where you can tap to leave a gratuity — might be convenient, but they are contributing to the uncertainty. “It’s different than having a jar on the counter — people feel like they are presented with all these tipping options — but does that mean you are expected to tip?” DeSilver said. “We haven’t as a society settled on the rules for that.”

Gratuities by demographics: But apparently, not everyone abides by that, according to the Pew poll. Given a scenario in which they experienced “average, but not exceptional” food and service at a restaurant, 57 percent of people said they would tip 15 percent or less. Two percent said they would leave their server nothing. Just about a quarter said they would leave 20 percent or more. Wealthier people tend to be better tippers, the survey found, while older people are slightly more likely to tip 15 percent or less — perhaps reflecting a holdover from the earlier standards on a sufficient gratuity.

Systemic inequalities: It’s not just customers who seem dissatisfied with the American tipping system, in which workers who regularly receive tips have an hourly wage that’s lower than standard minimums. Some labor activists say the system creates inequities and leaves workers more vulnerable to the whims of their employers. They also argue that relying on tips makes women — who make up the majority of the tipped workforce — more likely to suffer sexual harassment or abuse from customers and managers.

[From WaPo]

I have mixed feelings about suggested tips. I do like when the amounts are written down on the bottom of the receipt and I can think it through privately. There’s a lot of pressure when the person who I’m tipping is standing in front of me, holding up the screen, watching what I pick. At restaurants, I generally tip 20% because that’s what I was taught. 20% is also an easy amount for me to figure out in my head. (I love math!) When we go to the movies, there’s a tip screen for the concession workers. We always leave a tip, but I honestly don’t know what the proper etiquette is in that situation! This came up when we talked about leaving credit card vs. cash tips for DoorDash drivers, but when in those non-restaurant situations, I always wonder who actually gets the tip left via card. Do those employees actually see any of that money at the end of the day?

I completely emphasize with workers who are reliant on tips. Last month, WaPo did an eye-opening story that chronicled the very long day of an Instacart/UberEats worker and shed light on gig-economy workers. That’s so stressful. How much money you make at your job should not be dependent on the goodwill or toleration of harassment from others. Gratuities should supplement income, not make up the bulk of it. It sucks that the waters have become so muddied that people are confused and fed up by the whole thing. You know what would solve this problem? We need to raise the minimum wage for all workers.

Photos credit: Tom Tillhub on Pexels, Antoni Shkraba on Pexels, Nathana Rebouças on Unsplash

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124 Responses to “People are frustrated by tipping culture and think it’s out of hand”

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  1. Kirsten says:

    Tipping culture is getting way out of hand. The restaurant we were at last night had suggested tips on the receipt that STARTED at 25% and went to 35%. That’s insane.

    • Lexilla says:

      These companies depend on our passivity. They figure you’ll go on autopilot and just tap on a tip option, versus actively deciding you want to pay a different tip or no tip. We see screens and go slack.

      • HellNah! says:

        @Lexilla – good point!

        The presence of the screen (often in close proximity or at least in full view of the server/worker) seems to force compliance to leaving a tip. I’m annoyed by the expectation to hand over “extra” rather than leaving me the choice as to whether an “extra” is appropriate and was truly earned.

      • Sandra says:

        Excellent point

      • Rose Willard says:

        Exactly! And often times the tip isn’t even going to the employees if it isn’t cash. Any type of card tip is usually processed (and taxed) by payroll or kept by the company

    • AlpineWitch says:

      I lived in the US a couple of decades ago and tipping culture, together with healthcare insurance and gun ownership, was one of the 3 reasons I didn’t even go for visa renewal when it expired.

      I hated to tip people because I was forced to, rather than awarding a tip for excellent customer service when I felt it was really due.

  2. When I tip it’s because the service is good. I won’t tip if the service is bad and lately the service has not been good. I’m tired of people expecting something for bad attitude service. When I sit down and the server comes I try to engage in a conversation with them and that usually brings me the service I want but lately I get the don’t bother me attitude which will bring me bad service and for that I don’t tip.

    • SamuelWhisker says:

      I’m visiting America right now, and while I am a high tipper and happy to tip, it’s hard to learn when and how sometimes. (We don’t really tip in my country.) I don’t mind adding to a bill when I swipe my card but there are so many situations where someone will outright ask for a tip where you’re not paying or have already paid, and as someone who isn’t used to carrying or handling cash ever (I haven’t physically touched cash in a few years before this) that was tricky. Like do you just constantly have to run to an ATM then buy something small you don’t need just to get change for tips?

      • Becks1 says:

        The only time I go out of my way to tip in cash is at hotels – if someone is holding my bag, and for the housekeeping service.

      • Felicity Fox says:

        @SamuelWhisker—credit or debit cards are usually used for payment. With paper receipts that you sign (don’t get me started on the U.S. lagging behind on PINs vs signature), there’s an option to add a tip and then tally the final total at the bottom. We leave cash when we have it, but otherwise it all goes onto the credit/debit card.

        When we prepare for traveling and know we’ll want to tip in cash (baggage handlers, concierges, housekeeping staff, et al), we take sufficient paper currency of various denominations.

      • Carrie says:

        I was in New York in May/June this year and all I can say is thank God for the food trucks.

      • SamuelWhisker says:

        I know, I’m talking about situations where there is no option to tip via card, since you are not paying anything by card in the moment. Things like tipping your guides and coach drivers where the tour was purchased online ahead of time (for example the New Orleans cemetery tour guides explicitly ask for tips and that obviously has to be cash only), and people working in hotels, people who help with your bags, etc.

    • Silver Birch says:

      Please keep in mind that servers in many states in the US are only making $2.13 per hour in wages. They frequently have to come in early to set up tables or stay after service to clean, and during that time they’re not making any extra. It’s a tough job, and your tip allows them to pay rent and buy groceries. The whole system is unfair, but that’s the reality.

      • bluhare says:

        You’re absolutely right. Tipping culture is allowing food service establishment to not pay their employees a living wage.

        I tip, because I know they don’t get paid well. But I wish I didn’t have to.

      • Bumblebee says:

        Yes, you should at a minimum pay waitresses/waiters a 20% tip, because that extra money is the only way they will get paid minimum wage. I will tip over that if they do a good job. I only tip under if it’s clear the service issues are the server’s fault, not kitchen staff or management, or it was super busy.
        But employees working where there is no table service get paid minimum wage, so I don’t know why they are all asking for tips now?

  3. sparrow says:

    I’m an awkward tipper. I hate tipping protocol, particularly in hotels with the staff who carry bags and get you to your car etc. This is topical for me because I feel a dog groomer has taken against me because I didn’t tip her on my first (very recent) visit, as I would a human hair dresser (if that makes sense!). I didn’t expect the expectation, and only when I got home did I fully sense she wanted a cash tip on top of the card payment. I probably won’t go back to her and find someone new. Writing from the UK, where tipping can cause embarrassment if done wrongly (my experience).

    • agirlandherdogs says:

      That’s interesting. I know there are dog groomers who work in a pet shop, so in that situation, I might be inclined to give the groomer a tip because I know the grooming fee would be going to a corporation and not to the groomer. But we also have many groomers in my area who have their own businesses, and whatever they charge for the service goes directly in their pocket. They aren’t splitting it with anyone else. In that situation, I don’t really feel tipping is appropriate because if they feel like they deserve more for providing the service, they should just charge more.

      • sparrow says:

        It’s her own business but it is shop based. It never crossed my mind. The thing is, a lot of tipping in the UK (I don’t know whether you’re here or not) is cash on top of a card payment. This could be the same everywhere, I’m not sure. No one really walks around with cash anymore and I have to make a mental note if I’m going to the hairdresser to take some with me. I got the hard stare on my way out and only when I got home did it occur that she probably thinks she’s akin to a hairdresser, which she is, in a way.

    • Meghan says:

      My first job was in a pet grooming shop and while tips were always appreciated, the extra costs involved with cutting a dog’s hair instead of a humans were built into the cost. And if your dog is matted or acts like a butthead, you know they’re going to charge you more.

      I do tip my groomer because it’s a mobile groomer that comes to my house but I didn’t tip when I was taking my dog to the place I used to work.

      • Izzy says:

        Interesting. I use a mobile groomer for my dog and have never tipped, but her rates are on the higher end for dog grooming where I live. I assume she builds her costs into her fees, and I’m willing to pay extra for the convenience.

  4. Tarte Au Citron says:

    Starting to see this in Ireland too in some chains. We often order at the counter, so why tip at that point if I haven’t received the food or observed the level of service yet. It feels abrasive somehow to me.

    • agirlandherdogs says:

      It’s very interesting that the US tipping culture seems to be invading other countries, rather than the more common global practice of paying employees a living wage and not relying on tips becoming the norm in the US.

      • Flowerlake says:

        Here waiters get minimum wage or more.
        Most people tip, but it’s usually more 10% than 25% and plenty of younger people don’t tip at all.

        I usually tip, unless the service is really bad.
        I tip for hairdressers as well, but they look surprised sometimes so I think it’s not that normal. Taxi drivers, sometimes 2 euro or anything like that, but I almost never use that.
        Apart from that, no tipping.

        EDIT; forgot about food delivery, but I haven’t done that in years. I pick up the food myself when I want take-out. I think most people just do a euro or maybe two if that. They all get minimum wage or more too.

  5. Bros says:

    My center studies labor issues and gig workers and any algorithmically-mediated work. The bigger issue is arbitrary wage changes that these platform companies enact on their workers without warning, and that forces them to be even more reliant on tips, which have become de facto paychecks instead of getting a fair paycheck from their employers (and yea, rideshare drivers should be considered employees, and they arent, which is also part of the problem).
    I think it’s ridiculous to tip at a counter for all kinds of things where a “service” has not really been provided. Someone is doing their primary job function, such as pouring coffee in a cup, to a person in line, and someone is not devoting individual time and care and attention to your experience, the way they are at a restaurant or at a bar counter. When that added level of experience with a location is part of it, a tip is expected.
    That said, a couple extra bucks for people who drive around all day delivering stuff to people who dont want to leave the house, who don’t have a bathroom most of the day, and are living hand to mouth while I order a sandwich inflated to 40% extra with delivery fees and service charges, yes, tip a few dollars. The whole endeavor is so gratuitous at that point, you might as well.

    • MF says:

      Yes to all this. I’m a generous tipper in most scenarios, but I basically never tip for counter service unless the person does something really special for me. If you’re just giving me what I ordered and processing the transaction, there was no actual service involved. Generally, I think tipping should be reserved for employees whose salary doesn’t meet the minimum wage, i.e. waiters. (Also, we need to raise the minimum wage!)

  6. Bettyrose says:

    There is an amazing and very successful family run restaurant in my neighborhood. I’m not sure of the staff who is family and who hired. Difference being traditionally you don’t tip proprietors at all, but certainly not necessary to over tip someone getting profit share. Anyway, on Saturday the card machine gave me the following options: 20%, 22%, 25%. I tipped 22% because the service was good and it felt punitive to select the lowest amount. But I’m annoyed after the fact.

    • SussexWatcher says:

      I’m glad to see your comments about the proprietor part because I was always taught that when it’s the owner (vs a person renting space within the establishment) , you don’t tip. My latest confusion about tipping is when I get my legs waxed – by the esthetician owner. But she always puts up the tip screen when I’m paying and I’m too embarrassed to just not tip or even to ask about it (if my childhood teaching about not tipping the owner is correct). And it’s usually about $200 before tip, so it seems like a huge amount to add on. First world problems, for sure, but it’s stressful (and expensive). I used to see a massage therapist (again, self-employed/owner situation) and her pay screen just didn’t even have the option to tip and I appreciated that so much because then I didn’t have to wonder or stress about it.

    • Felicity Fox says:

      I have a question for those who work in sit-down restaurants.

      When people order meals for take-out, is a tip expected? I often order my meals via restaurant apps or websites and they always have a tip suggestion of various percentages. (Or when ordering over the phone and signing the receipt at pick-up.)

      • BeyondTheFringe says:

        When I worked for years in restaurants, I didn’t *expect* a tip for working the takeout but it was always nice to receive one bc you are doing a fair bit to collect it all together, make sure it gets out in time, double check it is correct etc. You can go above and beyond to warrant a tip.

        But I certainly didn’t expect a full 15%. That may have changed bc it’s been a while since I was in the restaurant industry.

      • Shannon says:

        I work in a restaurant that also has a seafood market attached. When someone orders takeout by phone or in person they order mostly through the staff that can be working in either area, as a server in the restaurant who is also capable of and has to respond to the phone calls and people who walk into the market if all the market staff are serving other customers. Plus the food expeditor is a market staff person and this expeditor does both the served sit down food and take outs. Plus if you tip based on service, who is actually bringing to your food? Some companies actually have food runners who are also tipped staff because your server takes your order but off they get backed up or they have a lot of tables, when your food is ready it is served whether your server is available or not. I tip 20% regardless.

      • AmyB says:

        While I worked most of my restaurant career in fine dining, I did work at a busy Mom and Pop Italian restaurant at the counter years ago. Tipping for takeout is never expected or demanded, but it was always nice to get, especially for handling and packaging up large orders (and many people did tip for those). Mind you, working that job you are usually paid an hourly wage that is not below the minimum – servers/bussers don’t get that salary and are absolutely reliant on your tips for their income.

        But as @Shannon mentioned, many times it IS the servers/bartenders that have to take their time away from their other customers to take care of takeout orders, so even a small tip is nice to give.

        I always tip at least 20% most of the time more.

      • bettyrose says:

        I tip 20% by default, even for pickup. I try not to use delivery because with the apps it’s just giving away money to corporate entities. For pickup, though, the 20% tip is lower than eating in or delivery because it’s not on top of booze or added fees. What I’m annoyed about is that 20% was until recently the tip for the best of service. Now I’m feeling pressured to give more because 20% is treated like the lowest option? We ordered tons of food, plus take out, and two rounds of wine. I don’t mind giving a great waiter a healthy tip. I mind that 25% is being pushed as the top end now.

  7. janey says:

    I’m in the UK and whilst I do tip good service in restaurants, if the service is bad I don’t, which wasn’t always the case. I always used to tip regardless of the service levels. My hairdresser, brow tech and botox I don’t tip as they are the business owners but I do give generously at Christmas.
    I am just back from the Netherlands and tips are not included or asked for, they just aren’t mentioned. If you want to tip then you ask to do so and add however much you wish, no expectations.

    • ML says:

      Janey, I live in the Netherlands. It’s normal when going out to eat to tip a small percentage of the bill! They aren’t mentioned in the check, but 5-10% (the latter is generous) is normal.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        Weird because my MIL is Dutch and she never tips anyone unless she wants to.

      • Flowerlake says:

        Plenty of people don’t tip in the Netherlands. It seems to be less expected than it once was.

        I still think the majority does, but it’s not an overwhelming majority that tips.

        I used to think it’s ‘normal’, but have seen it happen quite often in recent years that people don’t.

  8. Kimmy says:

    Service at a sit down restaurant has to be really bad for me to leave less than 20%. I waited tables on and off for 10 years (college to 30) and I feel like I know good Vs bad service.

    I also hate grocery shopping these days, so I regularly use Instacart and tip 20% for the convenience. However, if you give me rotting produce, I will adjust the tip on the back end because COME ON. Same goes for DoorDash, etc, but I don’t really use them very often.

    Hair/ nails I also tip 20%, but I’ve never known if it’s the same as serving at a restaurant? I have no idea. I also never have cash, so I really hate that some nail places only take cash for tips. I get why, but also COME ON.

    I draw the line at tipping at check out counters…unless you are going way above and beyond for me or my order is nuts. Because I feel like taking my order and making my food is part of the job.

    • It Really Is You, Not Me says:

      I hate tipping when I order to go at fast casual restaurants. There is nothing to do but prep the food which should be included in the cost of the food. I am American and in my career as an HR lawyer saw how hard it is for employers to track tip credit minimum wage. I would gladly pay more to not have to be confronted with a tip screen every time I go to a fast casual restaurant.

    • Mirage says:

      This is fascinating.
      I live in the UK and I only tip at restaurent (10% if the service is good) and to take away courier (the odd £1)

      Life would cost me so much more if I had to add a whole 20% tip for the hairdresser and food delivery!!

    • SussexWatcher says:

      Kimmy, I’m the same about restaurant tipping (and also worked as a server during college). I remember once leaving a super tiny tip, but I asked to speak to the manager and explained why I was leaving such a small tip (server was extremely rude and basically threw our plates at us). But otherwise, I’ll always tip 20% minimum, more if I’ve been sitting for a while.

      Mirage – I would guess that the “tipping” amount is already built into the cost of your meal or service in the UK with higher wages. I could be wrong though. Servers in the US only earn a few dollars an hour before tips.

      • Kimmy says:

        Do you want to know my BIGGEST pet peeve about restaurant servers/bartenders?

        When we wait forever to even be greeted. This happens at the bar mostly, but if you can’t even acknowledge my presence with eye contact?! I see you are busy, so I don’t expect anything other than a head Bob and maybe a smile.

        At TGI Fridays in college, it was drilled into us to make some sort of gesture of acknowledgement within the first 5 mins.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        Sussex watcher, in the UK someone like a kitchen assistant or front of the house staff are on minimum wage, I’m not sure precisely how much that is now, maybe between 9 and 11 pounds per hour?

        They do rely on tips too for a bigger wage but that it’s an incentive to offer a better customer service as they know clients would tip generously only for an excellent service rather than expecting tips because the customer is forced to leave one.

        What I really dislike in the UK in terms of tips is that sometimes you need to put your tip in a general pot that at the end is shared with all staff (and owner too, sometimes!) and when I see that, I don’t tip, period.

    • MF says:

      The cash thing annoys me. I never have cash either, so I don’t tip if there’s not an option to do it electronically. I’m a generous tipper, but I do expect it as the bare minimum that you make it easy for me to leave a tip.

      • SussexWatcher says:

        My only frustration/concern with the electronic tipping is that often the employee won’t actually receive all/any of it. There’s no way to know if the person serving you is going to receive it. The whole system needs an overhaul.

  9. Aubree says:

    As someone who worked in the service industry in my 20s, I certainly can sympathize with waitstaff and the frustration of living on tips, which can vary greatly from day to day.
    I love that European countries simply pay staff a livable wage, thus not requiring tips unless service is outstanding. We really need to follow suit.

    • SussexWatcher says:

      Same. I wish restaurants (and similar businesses like door dash etc) would just pay people a living wage and not leave the workers’ earnings up to the whim of the customer.

      • Kreama says:

        This frustrates me too. Companies are profiting off of underpaying and passing the obligation to the customer. I was shocked when I was in a wine store the other day and when I purchased the wine at the till I was given the option to tip. I had never seen this in a liquor store before. No one even assisted me on the floor! In Canada we pay a very high amount of tax on alcohol – I believe some of the highest in the world. The thought that I should tip someone standing at the till as I paid a percentage of the tax going to the government is a complete shameless money grab on behalf of the company. I hit no tip every time there.

        When I order my groceries on Instacart I completely disagree with paying a straight percentage tip to the shopper. sometimes the cost is very high for just a few things (ex Costco). The amount of work to grab that Vs a large produce order is very different.

    • TessaJ says:

      It’s just not European countries that don’t require tipping – in fact a lot of countries in Europe do expect tips. I’m from New Zealand and we don’t tip here – in fact it’s frowned upon and there’s an expectation that business pay their staff a living wage, however, COVID shutdowns were a huge problem for a lot of hospitality businesses in NZ, and many of them had to close down during/after the pandemic. I wonder if paying tips actually kept a lot of businesses afloat in the US post COVID, even though I don’t agree with tipping.

  10. ML says:

    Sort of related: Americans have begun to stop tipping in the Netherlands when they go out to eat in restaurants. Please tip!!
    Dutch restaurants usually work with a “zero hours contract.” This means that if they don’t have enough reservations, they can legally tell someone not to come in (sometimes just a couple hours before your shift) and not pay them. Each month, the tips are divided amongst the personnel and that can make a difference when you lose work. The problem is that you cannot work for more than one job at the same time on the same day. Americans seem to think that these people are earning minimum wage and they don’t need to tip, but that’s not how it works here.

    • SussexWatcher says:

      That’s so confusing because a poster (Janey) above says tips in the Netherlands are not included or asked for. We need a worldwide standard so travelers know what to do, lol.

      (Although, I guess your and their comments can both be true!)

      • ML says:

        Thanks, SussexWatcher, I responded to Janey.
        For a haircut or at a bar: a couple of euros. No one will ask for it, it’s part of the culture. In a restaurant, about 5%-10% of the bill. Sometimes if you have a large party, the tip might be included.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      ML, this is the case in the UK too, everyone is on ZHCs, but people shouldn’t feel obligated to tip, either here or the Netherlands.

      The staff need proper wages and contracts, passing anything to customers is not the way to go.

      • ML says:

        AlpineWitch, I full-heartedly agree! I’m 100% against ZHCs because technically minimum wage should be exactly that: the minimum you need to get by. If you need tips from customers, then minimum wage isn’t enough. We have (or rather technically my husband and his people have) a conservative government here that listened to how difficult it was for business owners.
        I read your comment above about your MIL, and was very surprised. Does she still live in the NLs, because not tipping at all is really uncommon here—at the very least people round up a few euro. The ZHC have gained momentum since Covid.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        Technically speaking she lives in the UK but she’s off to the NL every 2 months, so it’s not like she’s been really out of the NL for years like other migrants. I’ve also spoken to her mum and they don’t like the expectation you’ve to tip. I’m not originally from UK or NL (I was born in Italy) so I’m reporting what I was told.

        In Italy ‘service’ in restaurants is priced in the menu, it’s not a percentage and it doesn’t change regardless of how much you order. On top of that, if you want to personally tip your server, you usually do it in cash as electronic tipping would go to the owner, not the front of the house staff.

        The company I worked for until recently made me and others redundant (all permanent contracts) and then offered us to return on ZHCs!! I told them to take several seats.
        The ZHC issue is now OUT OF HAND in the UK.

  11. lucy2 says:

    I always tip well, but I wish we could get away from it and pay everyone a living wage, no one should be dependent on the whim of the customer like that.
    It’s also bugging me that all the point of sale systems have it built in, someone handing over an order at a counter is doing different work and on a different pay scale than a server in a restaurant.

  12. Kate says:

    My latest are you kidding me moment with tipping was at subway this weekend. It honestly just puts such a bad taste in my mouth at places where people are receiving at least min wage and not relying on tips like at a restaurant or delivery service. I either leave angry bc I felt obligated to leave a tip for some cashier or guilty bc I chose not leave one. It’s just so strange to me as someone who worked both cashier type jobs and waitressing jobs growing up. With one you get a paycheck and with the other you get a tiny paycheck and the tips you take home. It’s always been that rule. Why are we now assuming everyone who buys a food item from any store (which now costs twice as much as it ever did btw) has all this expendable income to throw around. I want an affordable lunch for me and my kid while out running errands and suddenly I’m spending $18 on a tuna sub and being asked to drop $2-4 more on gratuity for a paid employee doing their job. What is happening

    • Twin Falls says:

      Not only is there a tip prompt at Subway but it starts at 15%. Seriously?

    • Kebbie says:

      I don’t remember where it was exactly, but I was sightseeing in the NE recently and at one of the souvenir shops I got a screen asking me how much I wanted to tip. I think I added a dollar or something, but it’s become SO absurd.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    My general rule is if the person I’m paying gets to set their own prices (ie hairdresser) I don’t feel a tip is necessary. Like many of you I have also taken to adjusting my normal 20% tip down if the service I have received is particularly poor (which it increasingly is these days). I also started to take advantage of the option on receipts to provide feedback both good and negative. My main question with the whole digital tipping is if I order a sandwich online and go pick it up myself, and am asked to leave a tip on the keypad, WHO am I tipping? The person who made it? The girl who stood there and swiveled the screen around and handed it to me? Do they all split it at the end of the day? I think if there was more clarity on that it wouldn’t be so grating.

  14. Dena says:

    The most egregious request for a tip I’ve seen recently was when I was checking out at an online merchant and they asked – do you want to tip our warehouse staff?

    Um, no. I want you to pay them a fair wage. And if you have to build that into your prices, ok. I think businesses are trying to keep prices artificially low (and I say that as someone whose grocery bill has been growing at an alarming rate) and trying to underpay and pass the burden of making up the difference to customers. That way; they don’t hear complaints from raising prices. But raising prices and passing that raise onto workers (not CEO’s thanks) would be the fairer and more ethical thing to do, IMO.

    • Madi says:

      I would be offended if I ever saw that. In order to tip the warehouse worker I would need special service. Like go take a picture of what you are about to send me. I would bet my new wooden spoon set that no warehouse worker receives that tip.

  15. BeyondTheFringe says:

    Most of the explosion of tipping culture (i.e. tipping at places where it was never previously commonplace) is a result of companies like Block/formerly Square that have made mobile credit card payments off phones and pads so easy.

    They started adding the tip option not out of some love for the working man and woman but because they get a percentage of whatever you end up tipping and, much like scheme in Office Space: those pennies really add up.

    It is an absurd amount of money they are making off those tips in the form of processing fees for each individual tip and why I am very skeptical about tipping in situations where I previously had never done it. Or if I do tip in those scenarios, I try to keep cash on hand to do it.

    So we as the consumers and working class are hit twice: once when the workers are paid a substandard wage and expected to help the big corporations subsidize it thru tips and twice when other big corporations charge a fee for processing that subsidy.

    It’s disgusting.

    • Twin Falls says:

      “It is an absurd amount of money they are making off those tips in the form of processing fees for each individual tip”

      That is such a good point that I hadn’t thought of.

    • Surly Gale says:

      In my experience, the automatic tipping amount recommended is based on the full and final amount. In Canada, that includes the government’s 5% tax (GST) and the province’s 7% tax (PST) so you end up tipping on the tax part as well, not just the restaurant’s bill. I call that misrepresentation sneaky and think of it as stealing from me, making me an unhappy tipper. I still carry cash. I tell people quite honestly, the food I’m buying comes from the food budget, the tip comes out of my personal spending budget. Hence, the food can go on my debit card, but the tip will always come as cash. When we go out to Christmas dinner is the only time I can think of when I put the tip on the card. But I write letters, Baby, I write letters for good service. Occasionally I’ll write about poor service, but we all hear complaints all the time, so I figure they’re less impactful. When someone goes above & beyond for me, there will be a letter in their personnel file w/in a week. Sometimes I’ll even hand-deliver a copy to the person directly. To me that’s more valuable in the long run than an extra $5-10 bucks.

    • Dara says:

      Thank you. I was composing a very similar reply as I was scrolling. But even regular credit card companies do this too. 3-6% was the usual range back when I handled card payments, but it may be different now. They get this percentage on the entire payment, regardless of what’s on the receipt – tax, gratuity, service fee, etc. I wonder if the the e-payment apps are just passing that markup along to the consumer, or do they take their cut too.

      I try to tip in cash if I can, imo there’s more of a chance it gets to the people I intended it for, but more and more places are going cashless which I’m ambivalent about. I’m an old, so I always carry some cash, but I know a lot of people these days don’t.

      • NoName says:

        An old here, too. My pet peeve is being asked to tip in advance, even for food I am picking up. Every time I do this I get lousy service or congealed pizza or … I’ve started writing under comments on my electronic order, “I’ll be tipping cash and tipping well for good service and hot food.”

        Also I’m entirely confused by who gets tips nowadays. I want to give one to the person who draws blood painlessly on the first try and who doesn’t earn much money (I looked it up) or the garbage collector who keeps it as quiet as possible early in the morning. I don’t want to tip someone working retail (yes, I saw this the other day) or pouring coffee into a cup while I’m standing there.

        This is one reason I love In N Out Burger: friendly, efficient service, not a tip jar in sight (and I’d tip them because they earn it).

      • Dara says:

        @NoName, Tipping retail is something I rarely do. I’ve probably only done it once or twice and only because one of the clerks was exceptionally helpful picking out merchandise. I think the tipping option is built in to the mobile payment apps, so the store may not have the option of removing it, but I have no problem being an ingrate and selecting the zero option, especially if all they did was stand at the counter and push a few buttons.

        My dad, and a lot of his neighbors, used to leave a six-pack or a card with a little cash on top of the garbage can at Christmas time, but my garbage guys don’t even get out of the truck anymore, so I don’t know how that would work.

    • Kebbie says:

      This would explain what I said upthread, that I was prompted for a tip when I was souvenir shopping. It was one of those ipad Square payment things.

  16. Becks1 says:

    So for me as a threshold matter, tipping depends on how much of the worker’s income is reliant on tips. So at a restaurant, ordering drinks in a bar, getting my hair done? I tip 20%, usually more (and I always tip more than 20 if my bill is low, lol. like if we spent 20 dollars on drinks I’ll add 10 dollars.)

    But now more and more restaurants are adding 3% fees if you use a credit card and while we can afford that, some people can’t – for many families going out to eat is a treat and maybe you’ve budgeted for your food and a tip, but that 3% is unexpected so you have to cut somewhere, and it might be the tip. One restaurant around us adds 10% if you use a CC, that’s a significant amount.

    I feel the same way about delivery fees. We always tip the drivers well, but it does sting to pay that 3 or 5 dollars for delivery, and then tip on top of that (I’m not talking about door dash here, just a place like domino’s or our local pizza place, we always tip DD drivers well bc of the business model) that 20 dollar pizza gets to 27 or 30 dollars really fast, and maybe that’s just not what some people budget.

    And that’s without getting into tipping for buying something at a store (why am I tipping the salesperson?)

    And also the suggested tipping amounts are sometimes okay but sometimes really high. My hair salon starts at 25% for tipping, including for shampoo. STARTS at 25%!
    I don’t think I’m an especially cheap person or cheap tipper, but it does feel like tipping is being used as a way for businesses to get around paying their employees more, and that’s bothersome to me.

    And like I said above, it IS a budget issue for some people. I know the common response is “if you cant afford to tip, don’t do X” but maybe you’ve budgeted the amount plus tip for that activity, and your family is really excited and you’re going to do it – and then you get there and turns out you need to tip more or else you are called cheap, or there is an added service fee that wasn’t advertised, etc. And that can add up if you’re on a tight budget (even if you’re not.) so its not always as simple as “don’t order X if you can’t afford to tip.”

    • Madi says:

      A restaurant I like has monetized everything to the point the workers are slow rolling in order to show value/tip begging. They have sit down but it’s mainly carryout. It’s got so bad they disabled online pay so they can tip beg in person. They increased the corn beef sandwich by $5, decreased the size, added on credit card fee, charges for condiments, and the employees want REAL tips. I simply stop going. I refuse to not tip when I know they want tips.

      And a lot of people stop going. Not just cost but in that environment you have to be perfect. One burnt fry is enough to cause a meltdown.

    • L84Tea says:

      Same. I tip those who rely on tips–restaurant servers, any type of food delivery, my hairdresser, etc. And I always try to tip at least 25%. But when I’m doing mobile app orders at Starbucks or buying a sandwich at Subways or whatever, and they’re asking for gratuity (that was normally never there in the past), I pass. I feel bad doing it, but I have to draw the line somewhere. I simply cannot afford to throw all my extra dollars away out of guilt.

  17. PugsleysMom says:

    I have groceries delivered and noticed that the stores are adding a tip calculated on the total cost of the groceries, the taxes, the delivery fee, as well as the “processing” fee. In fact, if the drivers actually get the tips from the store, they would be taxed on any monies collected and I suspect have money deducted as a processing fee. I asked a couple of drivers if they actually do get the tips and they were surprised and said that they did not. They prefer the $5 cash tip I have always given.

    • Madi says:

      I had to stop using a shopping service when they lowered their workers pay. They were paid a percentage plus some fee, than I would tip. I would tip to make it a discounted personal shopping thing. So my order use to be worth $40 and up an hour. I thought that was good for the area. The new way is ridiculous. They don’t think about the shoppers gas cost. It’s not worth doing unless they get 2 customers close together.

    • sparrow says:

      I tip my grocery delivery at Christmas, whichever one we get although I hope it’s one of the nicer members of the crew, ditto our postman, bin men, DHL driver. Anyone who has a regular effect on my life, really. The grocery delivery person always refuses, because it’s apparently frowned upon, but I insist. I whack a £10/20 in a Christmas card and hand it over. I get the postman chocolates, as well, because he is pivotal and we talk throughout the year; he’s been through a lot, as I have at points. These people are sometimes more relevant to our lives and more helpful than the people we call family. I always tip deliveroo, and more so at Christmas. I don’t mind tipping like this because a lot of the time it’s a festive gesture, not pressured, and the deliveroo drivers always look knackered and I’m grateful for them feeding the kids when I’m knackered, too. It’s the expected casual tip I hate, esp in hotels.

  18. Happyoften says:

    As a person who lives off tips, waitstaff in most states make less than minimum wage. Alot of them are making 2-3 dollars an hour. We are also, usually, paying a percentage of sales into a tip pool, and also taxed on what we sell. So a 10 percent tip on 100 dollars means I am seeing maybe 6 bucks.

    Up shot, people who are being paid less, legally, and are depending on your tips…. please tip them. I am feeling the result of this backlash, and it is frustrating and disheartening, to say the least. Cause I am hoofing it to get people everything they want, how they want it, when they want it. I am making suggestions, answering questions, and smiling for huge swaths of my day, and I have bills to pay.

    I am not suggesting tipping everyone you come into contact with, because yeah, that aint right. But people who got that hustle? Tip them.

    • Becks1 says:

      I think this is where the backlash is becoming problematic, because its hurting people who DO need and rely on those tips. Like no I’m not going to tip a warehouse worker like someone said above but eventually if everyone is asking its easy to feel burnt out with the requests, so then people like servers, bartenders etc are going to feel it unfortunately.

    • Torttu says:

      The real solution is that employers start pricing their product so that they can pay the staff a normal salary. It’s crazy the customer should try to guess how badly the service people might need a tip, or that the service person has to act like a circus animal. Tipping just makes everything awkward, it’s an abusive system. And I never understood why hairdressers are tipped.

      • BeyondTheFringe says:

        This is a symptom of the bigger problem of the dollar losing its overall purchasing power at an alarming rate and businesses are scrambling to hide that fact by pricing up their products as little possible and building in all these work arounds (shrinkflation in packaging, tipping in every aspect of society) to avoid paying their employees a liveable wage on top of the inflated cost of goods.

        Because if the actual cost of goods reflected what it took to pay a fair wage and reflect actual prices, Americans (and the world) would truly revolt.

        I remember reading somewhere that if farms weren’t subsidized for corn to feed cows and wheat for the bun, a Big Mac would cost $25. And that was years ago. Probably closer to $40 now 👀

    • Madi says:

      As someone who worked in sales for a long time I just want to add : Not everything is a tipped position. Just because someone wants to declare this position a tipped position doesn’t make it so. Take Starbucks- which many are empty. There are tipped drinks and then there are JUST RING UP THE MUFFIN. The real customers are suppose to make up the difference. And Starbucks isn’t a good example because they are paid a regular wage. I use them because some really know the products.

  19. blue says:

    I waitressed in college & know the importance of tips but I am offended at being constantly badgered to tip. I bought 1 cookie at a bakery, handed to me from the display case, not bagged, and was prompted to tip from 18 to 25%. When said amount is shown, it’s based on the subtotal which includes our 10% sales tax, making the %age even higher than posted. It’s a rip-off.
    In my CA county & the adjacent ones, minimum wage is now $20.50 per hour. Window signs @ In-n-out, Taco Bell, etc, offer starting pay $21- 25 per hour. I don’t tip for picking up a take-out order or a plain coffee from the urn @ Starbucks. Tipping is way out of hand, especially when restaurants add a “service fee” for employee benefits or $2 for the packaging paper & bag for a sandwich to go.

  20. Madi says:

    The American tipping system is broken because people who never tip get “tipped” jobs and expect a tip for everything. Flip side is non-tippers going into “tipped” places and expecting to be treated like tippers.

    Example instacart is a personal shopping service. I tip $15 minimum and up in cash. However, I went to a chain ice cream parlor and ordered a standard milk shake. I didn’t tip on that. But the week before I went to a little factory ice cream parlor and I tipped. I don’t tip them all the time because it’s an easy order.

    If a place wants a tip and I don’t agree I stop going. Some of these places pay standard rate and the employees tip beg and they don’t follow standards. A lot of restaurants are empty because of this.

  21. SussexWatcher says:

    After reading everyone’s comments I am more confused than ever *insert the melting face emoji*

    • Dara says:

      I don’t know that it was ever easy, I’ve had mild tipping anxiety since I was old enough to pay my own tab, so we are talking decades now. It’s only getting murkier.

  22. Stelly says:

    Where I live there’s a 15% sales tax so when you go out to eat and add 15% tip on top of tax that’s 30% extra on every bill. It’s a lot. I also hate the suggested tip at coffee shops or bakeries. I get tipping a barista for making a nice coffee but if you’re handing me a loaf of bread? I dunno it seems unfair that we as customers are continually expected to subsidize employers paying people a shitty wage.

    • Madi says:

      Those places should pay their employees a commission. I understand tipping in real restaurants but tipping the store clerk to ignore you is too much.

    • Deanne says:

      A bakery I used to frequent suggested a 30% tip on a loaf of bread that I grabbed off of a display myself. The woman behind the counter didn’t acknowledge me when I said hello and didn’t even put the bread in a bag. She just glared at me when she handed me the screen to pay. I scrolled down to no tip, paid and left. I won’t ever go back. I always tip well at restaurants, for most takeout, for any personal beauty services, deliveries etc. I’m not going to be guilted or bullied into tipping when I buy a magazine or a loaf of bread. The wine store I used to go to started doing this as well. If I pick out a bottle of wine and carry it to the counter myself, I don’t appreciate being asked to pay another 25% for the honour of serving myself. I got asked to tip at an airport kiosk recently. It’s getting ridiculous.

  23. Turitops says:

    We have to get away from the idea that we will feel badly when we are asked (or pushed into) doing something that is wrong and unreasonable. I refuse to feel guilty because I’m not prepared to tip 20%, on top of taxes, when servers in my area make the same minimum wage as everyone else.

    Tips are supposed to be for superior service, not a supplement to the server’s wages. On that theory, tips prompted at the point of sale before any product is delivered are unwarranted. At least hand me my coffee and let me taste it before you demand that I reward “good service.”

    Be careful when relying on “suggested” tipping amounts. Those are frequently calculated after taxes, and are sometimes dead wrong, always in excess of the actual amount, never less than.

  24. K.W. says:

    It’s nice to see an honest conversation about tipping culture instead of people de facto treating you like a monster if you are reluctant to tip 30 percent everywhere.

  25. Concern Fae says:

    Curious about doing a ballot issue drive to ban tip prompts at businesses where the employees are paid a full wage.

    As someone said above, you don’t know where the money is going, especially if the people aren’t being paid tipped wages. My state has laws to cover that (employees have to get the tips, but employers are allowed to take out some amount to cover wages). But what are the laws for auto promoted tips at the register? Especially at a bakery or coffee shop where they have multiple people on the same register?

    We seriously need an increase in the minimum wage here in the US.

  26. Plums says:

    I don’t like it as a transaction before you get your food, tbh. Feels like extortion for good service rather than a reward for good service. Or like I’m paying a fee for a basic service that’s in the job description and therefore should be in the server’s paycheck. Like I still tip but I liked the freedom of choosing to either round down or up to the nearest whole dollar to 20% based on service received, or more if there was something exceptional about the service, but now they’re forcing you to pay in advance and it’s like, what is even the point, just include a service fee up front and pay your employees a living wage.

    • Twin Falls says:

      “I don’t like it as a transaction before you get your food, tbh. “

      It makes me feel weird when I go to pay at the drive through coffee place and the worker is staring at me, sometimes they even ask if I want to add a tip, before they hand me the coffee. It makes me just want to make coffee at home and not have to deal with it.

  27. Green Onion says:

    How does one tip before receiving the service? We are supposed to guess how well we will be served? Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

  28. Kebbie says:

    Kind of related, but I hate when huge corporations and stores ask for a charity donation. They donate it in their name and the company gets the tax write off, but I’m supposed to be guilted into giving money, for them?

    I was on a Delta flight a couple of weeks ago and they made an announcement that they were collecting donations for breast cancer research or something and literally walked up and down the aisles with a pink bag collecting money.

    • Turitops says:

      That’s unconscionable. You’ve already paid far too much for the flight, more if you want to pick a seat, another fee for luggage and checked *yourself* in online or at the airport, and now they want to pick your pocket so that they can claim that they “raised” this donation? So, they get the glory and the tax deduction, and you get the shaft, have I got that right?

    • olliesmom says:

      I’m tired of being asked at the register if I want to contribute to this and that. If I want to contribute I’ll do it myself in my own name. Tired of these big companies trying to get credit for being so benevolent (and the tax write off) when It’s really their customers who made most of the donations and they aren’t telling the public that.

  29. Lush says:

    Bear in mind I only speak in terms of restaurant/delivery workers:

    A lot of people are not aware of the concept of a “pooled house” and don’t realize that everything will usually be split between about 5-10+ people, in addition to being taxed out the wazzoo by the time our share reaches our bank accounts. Many of us also do not even qualify for benefits like health insurance, vacation days or 401ks to help soften the constant out-of-pocket blow.

    Service is so much more than bringing your food over to you or making you a drink. In my case as a bartender, I tend to fill a range of roles — on top of being expected to set the vibe for our guests, I’m also a therapist and a babysitter for grown ass drunk adults (and, let’s be real, A LOT of ppl do not know how to act once they’ve had a few) alllll while being sexually harassed the entire damn time. I’m expected to do it all with a smile on my face and spring in my step, no matter what is happening in my life outside of work.

    It really is disheartening to come home with all the aches and pains of an incredibly physically demanding job not knowing for sure whether I can pay my rent or not.

    To have your “salary” rely on the benevolence/consideration of not only your bosses, but the general public is stressful as hell. It’s a big reason why many of us in the industry work multiple jobs. It’s not the employee’s fault that their employer/the government set these wages using some sort of archaic math that certainly doesn’t take inflation or things like rent increases into account, while assuming that everyone will tip 20% (which, evidently, many don’t).

    If you have an issue with your service, it is usually indicative of a bigger problem that starts with the people at the top. Bring it to the attention of a supervisor/manager on duty so they can address it from an informed perspective. A good manager is there to make sure the guest is happy and are trained to do whatever they can to rectify the issue (which usually means a discount or free food/drink for you). Penalizing the entire staff for the behavior of one person is NOT it and you just look like a jerk.

    If you can afford to go out, you can afford to tip. If someone is making less than the state minimum wage, they need those extra 1-20 or so bucks more than you do. Plain and simple.

    • BeyondTheFringe says:

      Not to mention all of this on top of the fact that if you do work in a pooled tip/tip out establishment and guests stiff you or undertip, there is a VERY good chance you just *paid* to provide service to them due to the tip out requirements. I understand/theoretically support the logic behind tipping out bussers, food runners, expo etc but the system as a whole is so effed that it often becomes a burden on the server no matter the quality of service provided.

    • Becks1 says:

      but if you read most of the comments here, most people here (that are US based) are specifically NOT talking about someone like a bartender or a server.

      People are drawing the line at tipping for a loaf of bread they get themselves and take to the register.

    • Anne Keane says:

      Again with the ‘if you can afford to go out you can afford to tip’. A very sweeping and evidence-free statement. How does a server know the financial status of the people eating in a fairly cheap restaurant? Should they stay home because they aren’t able to give a 30% tip? Skip dessert so they can tip 30%? I’m more of a ‘If you can afford to start a business you should pay a living wage’ person. And maybe if the US had more effective trade unions and didn’t elect criminal billionaires its workers might have some of the benefits enjoyed by workers in countries which aren’t as rich. And I am, btw, a pretty decent tipper.

    • Torttu says:

      That’s just what nearly everyone here is saying: people should be paid enough so that they don’t have to rely on tips! Tipping is an idiotic system.

  30. olliesmom says:

    I feel like all of these tip jars on the counter are like participation trophies.

  31. Kelly Sunshine says:

    I have a 2nd job as a bartender at the hockey arena in my hometown. It’s a large arena, with tons of hockey games, concerts, etc.

    This year, the beer price is $15.00 CAD (plus tax) for a 24 ounce draught beer. Highballs are $13 CAD. Bartenders have to tip out 2% of total sales to the house, regardless if we get tipped on each order or not. Last night, I had one guy ranting and raving about the cost of alcohol (as if someone is forcing him to drink) He was buying for himself and friends, with his total order being right around $120. He did not tip, and even threatened to take the cash tips I had on my bar mat. So he ended up costing me money. I had to pay the house $2.40. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect a tip on every single order and am appreciative of all the tips I do get, but I hate it when customers literally freak out and swear at me about the price of drinks, as if I’m the one who sets the prices…

    For the non-tippers out there, I would suggest that you talk to your severs or bartenders when you’re dining out or going out for drinks. See how much they have to tip the house. Quite often, the server may have to tip out 6 – 7%, it could end up taking money away from servers.

    • Twin Falls says:

      “Bartenders have to tip out 2% of total sales to the house, regardless if we get tipped on each order or not. “

      Your employer sucks and I’m sorry.

      • Kelly Sunshine says:

        *L* I agree. I really wish they’d just take a portion of our tips, and not a portion of sales. There are times when more than half of our tips goes to the house.

    • NoName says:

      Genuine question as someone who poured beer in a dive during college, waited lots of tables long ago, and now sometimes has drinks in swank, overpriced places: If the amount of work doesn’t change – ask what customer wants, get bottle of wine, pour the drink – but the price is quadruple, is it really fair to ask people to tip quadruple? I was somewhere with $25 glasses of wine recently, treated two friends, and was expected to tip $18 or more for very little service (and that’s if I figured out the tip not based on tax added). It just feels exorbitant and I am never sure what to do anymore.

      • Kelly Sunshine says:

        I can’t say that I expect tips to get much higher than I’m receiving now. One thing I hate about the tip option screen at the arena where I work, it STARTS at 18% tip. It does have a skip tip option as well as a customize tip option. I wouldn’t be upset if it started at 5-10% and went up from there. 18% to start is ludicrous, even I know that. For hockey games, a lot of my regulars are season ticket holders, and I think most of them can write off purchases as business expenses, so many tip generously.

  32. phlyfiremama says:

    It drives me nuts. Companies justify paying “starvation wages” by putting the onus on the customers to provide a living to THEIR employees, while CEO’ s make millions with other outrageous “benefits”. The auto suggested tips RARELY have 10 or 15% options, they will START at 20-25% and most people don’t have time to look for the VERY hard to find “tip another amount”. Why do we tip Starbucks employees, but not fast food employees? Why is there an automatic tip assumption when indifferent to crappy service is received? Tipping SHOULD be a gesture of appreciation for good service, to encourage BETTER service, not to encourage indifferent service. I am against “forced guilty tipping”, even while I tip outrageously because I feel guilty. 😡

  33. Dara says:

    If it’s a place I go a lot, and am treated well, they get more. If it’s a one time visit (traveling or not a great experience) I give 15-20%, more if the service was good and there’s a different reason I won’t be back. For take out, I round the bill up to an even number, usually ends up being in the 10% range. Fast food gets my change, maybe a dollar or two if the change was low. I tipped my movers in cash, because the guys worked their asses off and were very conscientious – and their company was probably paying them peanuts. Same with the guys that delivered my new sofa. My hair stylist makes bank, but I still tip generously because she’s a frickin’ genius.

    Is the rule you don’t tip skilled tradespeople? Because my plumber’s hourly rate was twice what mine is. He did amazing work, so I don’t begrudge him that, but I wondered after he left if I was supposed to tip him.

  34. Stef says:

    Yesterday, someone on Twitter posted about how they were using a hotel rate shopping service and were asked to tip 10% of the savings the website provided.

    My local weed shop has even added a tip function that you have to scroll down to bypass. Ridiculous!

    I’ll continue to tip 15-20% (before tax) for good restaurant and delivery services, but that’s about it. Beyond that, expecting a tip for every single transaction you make in a day is just ridiculous!

  35. AC says:

    If I have to go to the counter and get tea or blueberry muffins etc, Even though it’s Voluntary, I tend to tip a few dollars. Many behind the counter are students and if they’re earning money to help pay for their college education then for me why not(unless their service is really bad). At this day and age, some has to work 2 jobs to make ends meet to make a living. For me I see it as voluntary and not mandatory to tip. I don’t think it’s any different than random people setting up a gofundme account for a specific need and it’s voluntary to give .
    As for tipping servers/waiters, I guess it also depends on a state to state basis. CA and a few other states need to pay at least the minimum wage(and Grubhub has to pay benefits here) but I’ve heard other states can get away with paying waiters $2-$3 an hour and they solely depend on tips.
    I’ve read articles that the younger generations also don’t tip nowadays.

  36. Morgs says:

    While I don’t currently, I’ve worked for a long time in retail/customer service/food settings, and I really think people are letting the idea of an awkward interaction put extra pressure on them to tip and then be angry about it. Not exactly the same, but when working as a cashier and having to ask if people want to donate to what charity the company partnered with customers acted like I was personally evaluating their character and reporting back to someone if they didn’t donate. When in reality I could not have cared less! A lot of it comes down to you’re the main character of your life and a lot of the time you think you have an outsized impact on the people around you…when really the service person is not going to remember you in five minutes and probably feels awkward about having to ask for a tip too!

    That being said, obviously companies are super predatory and will use any excuse to not pay people more, but you should never take this out on a service person who has literally zero control over it. I know I tend towards over tipping even if the service isn’t great, but that’s my choice! And I do appreciate the convenience of being able to tip on a card in so many places (although I know cash is better for workers, I just almost never have it!)
    Stepping off my soap box now 😜

  37. Jj parker says:

    Raising minimum wage is definitely part of the solution. Additionally how many people have looked into the origins of tipping any why it first started. It was started as a way for slave owners not to pay forever slaves a decent wage. It’s now so ingrain in America society that it would be very hard to get rid of. Dairy Queen start bucks almost everywhere business are putting pressure on people to tip. Most recently a locksmith was asking for tips. It’s insane.

  38. Sophie says:

    I went to a play over the weekend and bought a bottle of water. For $5! Anyway, the waters were sitting next right next to the register and the lady behind the counter literally just handed the bottle to me. When the tip screen came up, starting at 25% I was shocked! Then I felt guilty for not wanting to leave a tip. That’s one ridiculous emotional roller coaster for a bottle of Dasani.

  39. Sass says:

    Yep. Everyone expects tips now. I’m sorry but it’s become outrageous and I’ve always been a generous and joyful tipper because I have been there. But it is definitely putting customers and service providers (of all kinds) against one another instead of people demanding the companies do the right thing. Seems to be a theme…

  40. Ethel says:

    I worked as a server for 20 years. I can unequivocally state that probably 50% of people who say they are great tippers are lying, especially women. We laughed and laughed about always giving the man the check so you’d have a ghost of a chance of getting a tip. I can also unequivocally tell you which ethnicities do not tip at all, so stop playing at all of this sanctimoniousness. And yeah, I went to Subway this very weekend and tipped on the machine. On the way out I stopped to check with a worker to see if they get all of the money. They do. She said, “It comes right in our paycheck.”

    • NaTalia says:

      I disagree. I think men are the cheapest. I have gotten paltry tips always from men when I was a server. If they gave me a good tip because they were trying to come on to me. Both are gross.
      I am a minority. Ethnicity is always coming up over here. It is messed up. Yes, certain cultures don’t tip. As a server just respect that. I have received tips from those that usually don’t tip.
      My son used to deliver UberEats. I was ordering dinner from GrubHub when he was over. He saw the tip I gave. He said I was probably the most popular house to deliver too. He wished everyone tipped like me. I said “Oh, is that alot?”. He said “Yeah!”. I don’t know how to tip. I click 30% and call it day.
      I refuse to tip at Subway when I get the cup out of the holder and get my drink and all the cashier had to do was ring up my purchase..

      • Normades says:

        I also disagree. I think women especially older women tip better than men. Men tip better if they think you’re cute. Women tip because they can empathize.

  41. AnneL says:

    I’m a good tipper and inclined to be generous, but it has definitely gotten out of hand. I get asked for a tip when someone has barely done anything. If I order food from a delivery service and it’s drizzling a little, they put up a little “raining” emoji and ask me to tip 25% (on top of the delivery/service fee). I just go based on how much the person has been called upon to do and how well they did it. And I’m not picky; I just expect decent, reasonably friendly service.

  42. Athena says:

    Not directly related to tipping but I was at a restaurant recently that charged an extra 4% for no cash payment. Basically they’re passing off the charge from the credit card companies to the customer. As if that wasn’t already accounted for in the price.

  43. Lily says:

    I always tip in cash. That way the server or hair stylist can decide to declare my tip to the IRS or not.

    Please God. Never get rid of cash. Please!

  44. Lex says:

    When you are from somewhere with no tipping, a lot of the comments above seem utterly unhinged. Tipping for retail workers?!? My word.

  45. Rad says:

    I won’t tip just because someone hands me a cup that I have to then go an fill.

  46. Scorpiomoon says:

    Tipping is supposed to be a choice, and it’s supposed to be in response to good/exceptional service. Restaurants are the only places where I feel like tipping should be “mandatory,” because it is ingrained. To that same extent, tipping a delivery driver is also fine to me. I’ll give 20 percent usually, in those instances.

    But tipping culture has gotten totally out of control. We get asked to tip for everything. Tips at the movies? Tips for someone who literally just put a muffin in a bag and handed it to me? Tipping online on sites to help with “processing.” Ugh.

    I get it—you’re hard up. We all are. I feel like the pressure to constantly tip now is all from companies trying to force us to pay living wages to workers. When products/food have gone up so much and these same companies are boasting record profits, it infuriates me. I have stopped tipping outside of restaurants and direct deliveries, and I will not be pressured otherwise. Pay your workers a living wage—it’s not the middle class’ job to foot the bill YET AGAIN.