Touch-screen kiosks and payment apps have made it a breeze to check out at shops and pay for food at restaurants. But those near-ubiquitous payment screens are also increasingly putting some customers on the spot by asking for a higher "recommended" tip or a gratuity for goods and services that many would otherwise not consider tipping for.
While there's plenty of debate over how much you should tip for takeout — if at all, some customers now have found that they're asked to tip for everything from grocery store checkouts to mechanics. Even in situations where one might consider tipping, preset gratuity amounts may suggest higher than usual percentages, reports The New York Times. While apps like Square or Stripe offer options to select a custom tip or no tip at all, those alternatives are usually not as prominent as the predetermined percentages. Before you click the "recommended tip" (which is oh so easy), you may want to think twice about how much you actually want to tip.
@funkshe TIPPING HAS GONE TOO FAR THIS TIME LMAO I AM NOT TIPPING TO BOOK MY OWN HOTEL ONLINE #economist #nyc #comedy #guilt #tippingculture ♬ original sound - funkshe
Restaurants and other businesses using a payment app can set the gratuity option to preset amounts — and many consumers add the gratuity to avoid an awkward exchange with employee should they decline to tip. Sometimes referred to as "guilt tipping," the trend particularly increased during the pandemic when many opened their wallets to show appreciation for front-line service workers. While the height of the pandemic has faded, the requests for tips seem to have only increased.
For some, the current tipping culture feels "out of control" and even "weird." Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to show your appreciation by tipping when you want and the amount you feel appropriate without feeling like you're being put in an awkward situation. For the next time the tip screen is offered to you, here are some, well, tips.
- Take a second. It's always a good idea to review a bill, and if you've never tipped for this service before, you may not want to start.
- Be prepared. If you know you only tip a hairstylist or other service worker a certain amount, be prepared if that number doesn't pop up on the "suggested gratuity" screen. If the payment is a set fee that you usually pay, look for the option to add a custom amount or bring the tip you expect to pay in cash.
- Research. If you're not sure what the industry standard is, or even if there is one, head to the internet. Chances are good there's been an article written with suggested guidelines (or even just complaints about customers who didn't give enough) for nearly every industry you're likely to encounter.
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