Tipping Etiquette

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Tipping has always been relatively controversial. There are differing opinions over whether it should be required, or if it should truly be optional and based on the service provided to consumers. However, with many shops giving the option to tip the employees working behind the counter, it’s hard to know how much to tip or if it’s even appropriate.

Nowadays, 48% of fast food restaurants and coffee shops include a tip during the last quarter of 2022. This was up from only 11% before COVID-19. With that being said – America has been tipping less. In 2021, average tips were 16.4%, but by the last quarter of 2022, they were at 15.9%. 

People are now even able to tip on an IPad with their card – and it happens everywhere. I don’t even know how many times I’ve been told “the screen will ask you a question before you put in your card.” I am all for tipping mom-and-pop shops and small businesses, but it doesn’t make sense to me for places like Crumbl Cookies, Dairy Queen, and Starbucks to have this option, as all three are large companies who provide their employees with a set wage. 

Companies have done away with the cash jars, as people have been moving away from paper money for a while, and this trend accelerated during COVID. With that being said, the new digital payments and touch screens have proven more invasive to many consumers. 

There are absolutely appropriate and necessary times to tip. I personally generally tip 20% when I’m being waited on at a restaurant – and it fluctuates based on how good the service is, because they’re actually working to run and grab things, and it’s in good taste to tip as in general, tipped workers don’t even get paid a base salary as much as the minimum wage. It’s also considered appropriate to tip bartenders, barbers, and other service workers.

Inflation has vastly increased the stress and the guilt over tipping or not tipping. For instance, Starbucks used to be $4. Well, now it’s 7 or 8 dollars. Many people ask themselves in their heads: “I’m already paying seven dollars for coffee. Should I really tip?”

For services not reliant on tipping, such as car services and to go orders, you can still leave 10-20 percent if you feel it is earned, but it is not necessarily poor etiquette not to tip these industries. 

If you are a frequent customer or had great service or a large order — then you may want to leave a tip, but for the average to-go coffee or ice cream cone, you’re fine to walk from the kiosk. 

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