If You Feel Like You're Getting More Pressure to Tip, You're Right
More and more when you buy something at a retailer with a credit or debit card these days, you’re presented with an option on the checkout device to provide a tip.
I don’t know about you, but I feel pressure to give when the cashier is standing right in front of me. Apparently I’m not alone.
A LendingTree survey found that 24% of Americans say they always feel pressured to tip when the option is presented, with another 42% saying they sometimes do. And 26% say they don’t like the pressure. I certainly don’t.
Thanks to the convenience that technology provides, 60% of Americans say they’re now tipping more than they did before.
I’m more likely to give if the cashier is particularly friendly or goes above and beyond to serve me. But sometimes I give just out of guilt or because I’d be embarrassed giving nothing right in front of someone. To be sure, sometimes I don’t tip anyway.
The Guilt Factor
The guilt factor is common among us, says LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz. “I think part of the reason why Americans tip out of guilt is that most people deep down want to be seen as generous with their money,” he said.
“They don’t want to be known as a cheapskate who is a bad tipper, so they give a little bit more to feel better about themselves.
“Also, I think there’s some fear of repercussions for not tipping well. People might think that if they pay in advance and don’t tip well, the service they receive might suffer.”
It’s nice to think that companies are trying to help their workers make more in tips through the checkout option. But some companies may hope to pay their workers less if they’re making out well on tips. Also, we don’t know how the tips are divided among workers, or even if they receive 100% of the money.
“Technology has made it so easy for businesses to implement tipping,” Schulz said. “Most businesses run on such tiny profit margins that the ability to add a new revenue stream by doing nothing more than adjusting some settings on a payment terminal is a pretty appealing thing.”
Could it Backfire?
The new policy may backfire. A total of 41% of Americans have changed their buying habits due to gratuity expectations, and 60% believe it’s gotten out of hand, according to the LendingTree survey.
I can understand why we’re expected to tip someone who does a fair amount of work to serve us – a waiter/waitress, a taxi driver, an airport wheelchair pusher, a delivery person. But why are we expected to tip someone who merely rings up our items for payment?
These people generally aren’t making much money, so it might be nice to help them out if you can afford it and feel inspired. But it doesn’t feel right that we should be put under pressure to do so.
To be sure, the mere act of giving someone something creates goodness all around. At Talula’s Daily in Philadelphia (the city’s finest food shop), where there’s no request for tips, I give $1 per transaction. I go there almost every day, and the workers are very nice.
One dollar obviously isn’t going to change anyone’s life, but the workers seem appreciative that I’ve thought of them.
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