Airport customer prompted to tip at self-checkout station

u/_seaweed_/Reddit Tupungato/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘It finally happened’: Airport customer prompted to tip at self-checkout station

‘Tip who?’


Jack Alban


It seems that no matter where you go, if there’s a point of sale (POS) system for transactions, shoppers will be greeted with a prompt if they would like to leave a tip/gratuity for whatever it is that they’re paying for. This has often led to a number of debates on social media as to what exactly constitutes a gratuity-deserving service.

Some have argued that tipping a cafe worker behind a counter, for instance, for pouring a cup of drip coffee or grabbing a customer a bagel, isn’t one of those instances. Others would say that tipping hourly wage workers at Shake Shack who are being paid to prepare your orders aren’t on the “list” of employees who should earn tips, or at the very least, there shouldn’t be an expectation for one.

The aforementioned Shake Shack reference is one that seemed to particularly grind people’s gears, because the tip prompt popped up at a self-checkout machine and many argued that there wasn’t even a specific employee to give a gratuity to: The customer is the one who made their own order and processed their own transaction.

It seems that another social media user, redditor @_seaweed_ has come across this same robo-checkout tip suggestion: Paying for their own food at an airport self-serve POS system.

it finally happened. i was prompted to tip at the airport self-checkout station.
by u/_seaweed_ in mildlyinfuriating

They write in the title of their post, which has earned over 106,000 upvotes on the popular website (as of this writing): “it finally happened. i was prompted to tip at the airport self-checkout station.”

In the picture, it appears that they were charged $23.05 for a chicken caesar wrap and 16.9 ounce Vita Coco beverage. Options for a 15%, 18%, or 20% tip, along with “No Tip” appear on screen.

One commenter who saw the post couldn’t seem to wrap their head around the nature of the request as they couldn’t understand where the tip would even go: “Tip who exactly?” Someone else jokingly responded: “The robotic overlords.”

Another user on the platform made a good point. If anyone should be receiving a gratuity, it should be the customer who got their own item, rang it up, and bagged it for themselves: “Can you imagine if the tip went onto your bill as a negative?! ‘I bagged my products perfectly. I’ll give myself %25.. subtract it from my tab..’”

Someone else said that it’s because of omnipresent tipping culture they intentionally frequent fast casual establishments that have self-ordering systems set in place: “This is why I like fast casual places that let you go up to order and give you a number. Even better if you can order right to your table with a QR code. I get faster service whenever I want it, and don’t have to tip someone $10 for bringing me food.”

Tipping culture in the United States has been the subject of many critical pieces, with some even stating that the practice has “racist roots.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @_seaweed_ via Reddit DM for further information.

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