If you feel like requests for tips are everywhere, you’re not alone. From dry cleaners to shops, prompts to provide a gratuity are popping up in unusual places.
Tipping has long been part of American culture, expected in restaurants, hair salons and taxis — anywhere workers rely on them for a livable wage. An explosion of digital point-of-sale terminals and contactless checkouts has resulted in even more requests for tips.
It can be frustrating and annoying for consumers who don’t want to give 20 percent for a $5 purchase at the convenience store every morning. Nearly 2 in 3 (66 percent) of U.S. adults in a Bankrate survey said they have a negative view about tipping.
Among the respondents:
- 41 percent said businesses should pay employees better
- 32 percent expressed annoyance at seeing pre-entered tip screens
- 30 percent feel the tipping culture is out of control
- 15 percent are confused about whom and how much to tip
- 16 percent would be willing to pay more in lieu of tipping
“The tip jar used to sit quietly next to the register … now the tip screen actively asks us to say ‘no,’ ” says Lizzie Post, coauthor of Emily Post’s Etiquette: The Centennial Edition. “It’s a harder hurdle to get over.”
People grew accustomed to tipping during the pandemic to help small businesses and restaurants stay afloat. In turn, more businesses added the ability to tip to their point-of-sale terminals and — voila! — a new tipping culture emerged. “Now that the Pandora’s box has been opened, you can’t really shut it again,” says Jaime E. Peters, assistant dean of accounting, finance and economics at Maryville University in Town and Country, Missouri.
But just because you’re prompted to tip everywhere doesn’t mean you have to. There are times when it is absolutely necessary and other instances when there’s discretion. Here’s how to navigate the new tipping culture.