Guilt tipping

A fountain at Carefree Town Center where they hold a farmer’s market each Friday.

Have you noticed when businesses use touchscreens for payment, they now include a tip screen with 18%, 20% and 30%? I first noticed it at Starbuck’s. Most of the vendors at the farmer’s market in Carefree use touchscreens, but I don’t remember seeing a screen for tips. At least not yet.

My hair dresser uses a touchscreen for payment. The coffee shop and even more formal restaurants have waitpersons come to the table with a card reader and they wait while we tip.

I’ve read a number of articles where people are feeling guilt over tips. Instead of the old fashioned tip jars at coffee shops, butchers and bakeries with counter service, you stare at a screen that may have choices much higher than you wish to tip.

In an article called ‘Guilt Tipping’: Pressure to tip everywhere has gotten out of control by Alex Mitchell in the NY Post there was one quote that stood out to me:

“I was somewhere spending $23 on just coffee and pastries and the suggested tip was another $8 and I simply said no way. I’ll give a dollar or so as a custom tip amount, but let’s have a reality check here,” said Jared Goodman, a 26-year-old recruiter who lives in Brooklyn. “Recently I got a quick bite with my girlfriend and the suggested tip amounts were 25, 35 and even 40%. That’s just insane.”

Another complaint I read in other articles was self-service kiosks in airports that include a tip screen. Not only for snacks and drinks but for self check-in and bag tags. Think about that for a minute. What is the tip for?

What are your thoughts about the touchpads that include tips? Where have you noticed tip screens? Do you feel pressure with a person hovering over you while you select a tip?

58 thoughts on “Guilt tipping

  1. If I’m at a place where I’m placing an order that is going to be handed to me in a tray or a bag, or I’m bagging myself, I’m not tipping, unless the counter person went out of their way to find me the tea that’s on the menu but not at the counter, or they heated my milk, or did something out of their way. But…I’m not giving more than a dollar. I’m definitely not tipping at the farmers market.

    • A decade or so ago a bunch of us had this discussion: should a cashier get a tip? There are often tip jars next to cashiers… At a place you order food at a counter and then you come pick it up, what’s the point of a tip jar (or a touchscreen)? It felt awkward to ask a customer to tip to just hand over a payment? Same at a store: can you imagine a tip jar next to a Costco cashier? 😁

      I know that some countries, like Japan, don’t have tipping in restaurants. 🤷‍♀️

      • I find the tipping on alcohol interesting. I just saw this somewhere…somebody ordered and expensive bottle of wine, (like 2,000$) and should you tip more based on price of bottle, or just a regular tip because someone is just opening a bottle…same thing whether you spend 15$ or more on a bottle. They open it and pour…

      • This is a very hot debate. I’m with you…you don’t tip on the price of the bottle.

  2. I silently curse them if I go into a place that uses them. Tips have their place in the service industry but for me that doesn’t mean when someone takes a pre-bagged item off the shelf and hands it to me, or puts the item I just bought into a bag. I’m finding myself not being bothered by hitting the “skip the tip” button and not feeling guilty at all.

    • There’s no reason to feel guilt over no tip. I was much more generous with take out food during the shut down. Businesses and people were struggling. I’m with you on not tipping for being handed something off the shelf.

  3. I’ve noticed this, too! Increasingly – just as you said. I don’t think I’ve encountered a prompt to add a 40% tip…good grief. I want to be supportive of folks in service industries…but…maybe this is why I’m enjoying my homemade cold brew coffee more and more, LOL! 😉

    • Most of ours around here Vicki start you automatically at 20% pre-set. If you are unaware or in a hurry, as I have been, and you move on then boom they got you. I’ve never seen any set at 40% but still as you note- I am perfectly okay with coffee at home given I can have 4 cups to what one costs out and about even without a tip 😉

      • I’m with you, Deb! I love a treat every now and then, but I can’t justify the expense. I’m not judging those who enjoy…but it’s pricey…even before the tipping conundrums! 😘😉😘

      • Oh gosh, yes. I think that’s my favorite six letter word. Frugal! Well…maybe “cookie” is my number one…but I’m trying to avoid those temptations! 😎

      • We go out to the Carefree Coffee Roastery that my longtime friend introduced me to recently. But that’s a treat. My son used to go out every morning for coffee in Berkeley. It would drive me crazy. He finally figured out on his own that it was a huge savings to make his own coffee.

      • I’ve had the same chat with our daughter…I think it begins to dawn on them…but still, I enjoy the treat once in a while…but I think the scones pull me in just as much as the coffee. Sigh! 😘

      • Our coffee shop has to cinnamon coffee cake from the owner’s German grandmother’s recipe. I’ve never tasted anything like it!

      • I enjoy a cup of hot lemon water in bed while I journal and then follow up with a cup of coffee when I’m up and moving. My husband usually makes it for me. Perhaps I should give him a tip!

      • Hahaha! Wow, now that’s an arrangement. Let us know if he reaches the 40% level 😉

    • I haven’t seen 40% yet either. I feel weird when a waiter at a sit down restaurant stands over me while I tip! Some are more courteous and walk away.

  4. When we had the bakery. we used Square. It had a built in tip column that automatically came up. I had to disable it, so I suspect that the vendor either does not know how to turn it off, or take their chances on how many people do not look at the bill and just hit a percentage. With all the publicity, many are now looking at their bill more closely, and as they choose not to tip (and maybe choose to not return), then they will figure out how to disable the feature.

    • Good for you for disabling that feature. I’m sure many people don’t know how to do that. Many people believe the tipping feature on Square allows employers to pay their employees less.

  5. I recently was prompted to tip the self-checkout machine at the grocery store. Who am I tipping, and why?? Like others have said, I’ll tip for effort or extra service, but some of the requests seem presumptuous. I’ll tip 20% or so, but I’m not tipping 40% unless it’s a magical experience… and I’ve never had a magical self-checkout kiosk experience haha!

    • You made me laugh. Self-checkout isn’t magical! We did take-out during the shut down in Palm Springs and we were big tippers because the restaurants were being told to have take out, then were allowed to have street seating, then were closed down again. It was a nightmare because they’d invest in outdoor seating and stock up in food only to have the governor shut them down again. Quite a different reason to tip that at a kiosk.

  6. I tip my hairdresser well. I don’t think many businesses are choosing to disable because all over it seems people are complaining about the cost of items and struggling. Some professions lend more easily to gifts such as teaching overseas. It was not unusual to accept a gift for a grocery store that was very generous. The only gifts I have received in the states as a teacher during holidays were at a charter school and working with young adults in an ESOL program. The students were Asian and Middle Eastern. I don’t expect gifts. As for our bakery, at times when we really went out of our way with delivery and service I did feel they should tip. Some did and some did not. The best tip was from a wedding party and they were not wealthy but middle class. I guess it is up to the person.

    • Our teachers at our children’s Catholic school got showered with gifts at Christmas and at the end of the school year. Maybe because it was a small school with a total of 300 students from K through 8th grade and the parents were pretty affluent.

    • It was great until they made a bad hire of a principal who changed the atmosphere of the family friendly school. Some of the best teachers quit. I ended up homeschooling my daughter for middle school when my son started high school.

      • Yes, the Principal and Admin are very important roles and they can either be supportive or horrible. Some teachers will follow Principals but it is hard to know what to expect in large districts as they change constantly. Sometimes it is luck of the draw.

  7. What a great topic, Elizabeth. I agree – this has gotten to be nuts. And as a math person, since it’s a percentage, when the price of food goes up, as it has in the past years, the amount of the tip goes up too even if you don’t raise the percentage.

    I’m all for recognizing people and being generous – but somehow this trend has short-circuited this so it’s not as meaningful.

  8. This is the issue: in a store like Walmart or Kohl’s, there should never be a tip jar because the tips will never be returned to the employees. I always tip at Starbucks because they work SO HARD. Those tips are collected and distributed evenly throughout the shift. (At least, that’s what they’re supposed to be doing.)

    The way I see it, if they are performing a service that you cannot perform yourself, they deserve a tip if one is suggested.

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