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Tipping Culture – Just a Little Extra, or Completely Out of Control Here on the Suncoast

| Angela Naff |

What is the weirdest place you have been asked to tip? Yep, we know you have had a similar thought when checking out are a fast food restaurant, coffee shop, or other establishment – is this new that they require a tip? Post-pandemic, the places that now have that question on the checkout screens or receipts they hand you have exploded. Why is this happening? Is there any reprieve in sight, and what is the proper tipping protocol these days are all questions we wanted to explore.

Why Has Tipping Increased

There are two reasons we have seen tipping for services increase. The first reason is the pandemic, in which essential workers and others were compensated with bonuses and higher wages. For workers in many service industries that continued working during that time and getting food and goods out to people with a fair amount of risk, tipping was one way that the populace helped provide additional incentives to those individuals. Tips during that time were often recorded via social media and other platforms at higher-than-normal levels.

The second reason that tipping has increased is technology itself. Touch screens and self-checkout functions are everywhere these days, and this makes it simple to just program in a screen before you provide payment, requesting a tip. Basically this technology has just replaced the traditional receipts with a spot of tips, tip jars, and the like making this easy enough for more establishments to roll this function out.

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What is the Proper Protocol

Where tipping once was much more black and white – you tip those directly providing food delivery, restaurant services, and hotel staff; for example, today’s protocols are much more grey. With the continued growth of tipping technology and even employers backing this form of payment to staff to offset the growing cost of staff, things are getting harder to translate when tipping is appropriate and at what level.

The more skill and experience that goes into service, the more you should consider tipping. Someone with who you have a personalized relationship and that knows your preferences also might earn a bigger tip since they can offer knowledgeable advice and higher-quality services.

“In general, for things like sit-down restaurant meals, haircuts, and taxis/rideshares, I’d say a 20 percent tip is recommended,” Bankrate Senior Industry Analyst Ted Rossman said. “Unfortunately, many people are tipping far less — sometimes even nothing at all. But for all of those services, I think a 20 percent tip should be standard practice. These people are working hard and depend on tips as a big part of their salary.” Remember, though, that even the experts agree that if asked for a tip in industries or services where this was not traditionally accepted pre-technology or pandemic, and you do not wish to tip – hit that no tip button!

Is a Downturn in This Tipping Trend Expected?

Unfortunately, the tipping culture of today is no longer based on gratitude for a job well done but rather a societal shame. How many have not seen a social media post, article or had a conversation with someone that felt they were owed a bigger tip than they got? This onslaught of bad reviews for consumers that do not meet the expectations of those seeking tips is causing a “tipflation” as it has been coined in this country. We all know that feeling of anxiety when that screen pops in front of us, seeking a tip confirmation and value from our pocketbooks. We freeze, but more often than not, we give something just to ease our conscience. Unfortunately, several high-scale attempts to turn back this tidal wave have failed, and it is becoming so ingrained in society that a downturn any time soon is not expected.

We would love to know your thoughts on these tipping changes and what is the oddest place you have been asked for this additional form of payment. Do you think a change in the tipping policies is going to be forthcoming? As we navigate this new world of tipping for services in expanded areas of our life, we need to make tough decisions on a personal level on how, when, and how much we personally want to tip. Getting over the feelings of shame when that screen comes up is a new reality for all of us, and as we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of those societal norms, we will see how and when new changes come to be.

Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos

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