To tip or not to tip? That is the question so many people are asking themselves every time a tablet swivels back to them asking for a tip.
In a viral video that’s nearing a million views, TikTok user Ivnie (@ivnies) shared a recent experience with tipping while she worked as a barista.
In the TikTok she shared what seemed to be disappointment over receiving a $0.50 tip on an order with 20 drinks. Let’s say each drink was $5 and the drink total was $100 without tax. That means they left her a less than 1% tip. Keep in mind that tips are often 10-20%.
Over the last few years, it seems the number of places where a tip is not expected has increased. Tipping has always been the standard for servers, bartenders and other service workers like hair stylists and taxi drivers.
But the expectation to tip is now coming up when you get a coffee at your local cafe, pick up food at a restaurant or even at the mechanic.
One reason is the rise in checkout technology—tablets in particular. We’ve all had the experience where a worker turns the checkout tablet back at you, and you have to choose a tip amount before you can close out the transaction and walk away. Confronted with the button on the screen and the worker right there, likely knowing if you chose to tip or not, you might panic tip 20% on your pizza or smoothie.
When it comes to check-out tablets, customers often feel awkward not tipping, and companies feel emboldened to add a tip screen because they see other places doing it, and it’s just so easy to integrate into the payment process.
Business Insider reported that some companies may be using tipping as a way to pass on the responsibility of workers earning a decent wage from the company to the customer.
“It’s absolutely the case that many employers prefer tipping to paying adequate straight wages to employees,” said Ben Zipperer, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, in an interview with Insider. “The entire cost is paid for by the customer when workers have to rely on tips for wage increases.”
NPR gave a third reason, stating that during the pandemic people had a lot more goodwill toward service workers than those deemed essential workers, who had to risk their health and lives during the shutdown. To support them and business owners during this crisis, tipping (and tipping well) became the expectation, but it hasn’t seemed to go away.
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The video has amassed more than 940,000 views. In the comments, users were split about the video and whether the tip was sufficient.
“Eh if you’re not a waiter/delivery driver than no tip is needed,” the top comment read.
“Used to be a barista, getting tipped was nice but def not a service that deserves tipping,” a person said.
“I know no one in the bad comments has worked a job in food industry yes you should tip a TWENTY DRINK ORDER,” another added.
Ivnie has yet to post a follow-up video responding to the mixed comments she got. The Daily Dot reached out to her for comment via TikTok direct message.