We went to dinner at a local taco fast food place recently and they had me sign for my credit card on an iPad – the kind that many small businesses use nowadays. Prior to signing however, there was a screen where you could select a tip amount to add to the bill – $0, 10%, 15%, 20%, or more. The counter-service employee pretends to look away while you do/do not fill in the gratuity and press ‘complete’.
When did tipping become a thing in a counter service restaurant? Why would I give someone a gratuity for simply punching my order into a computer and letting me swipe my card? There is nothing exceptional in this simple procedure that warrants a small ‘bonus’ to the employee, is there?
I am also see tip jars everywhere now – including many places where they make no sense at all. You’ve always seen them at a cash bar and they have long migrated to coffee places, ice cream stands, and sandwich shops where employees can put a little of themselves into what they are serving up. But I’ve also started to see tip jars – or have been given an iPad prompt for a tip – at gas stations, dry cleaners, salons, and even a hardware store.
Apparently anywhere there is a cash register now seems ripe for someone to place an empty mayonnaise jar to collect customer change. I’m not even sure if these jars are “to insure prompt service” as much as to simply be a useful repository for clunky coins that no one wants to carry around in their skinny jeans and yoga pants.
The Atlantic wrote an article about the expansion of tipping and tip jars and that it is a new front in the longstanding struggle of class warfare. They wonder if it is a visible manifestation of income inequality, but comment that “This tipping is out of control!” and ask “when will it end!?”
The answer is likely that it won’t end. We are quickly becoming a nation of beggars -with tip jars sprouting on increasing numbers of retail counters (and panhandlers on so many city street corners).
There are now thousands of Pinterest articles posted that promise to help retail workers with headlines like “Boost Tips with these 15 Tip Jar Slogans” and “27 Tip Jars Too Clever to Resist”.
I try to be a cheerful giver when someone provides an extra service with warmth & hospitality, but counter service tips for cashiers with witty tip jars are an idea I can’t get behind. How are these beggars ever going to save & plan for retirement themselves?
How do you feel about counter-service tips & tip jars?
Image Credit: Pixabay