Tipping Has Turned into Emotional Blackmail

Backcountry Media / shutterstock.com
Backcountry Media / shutterstock.com

The economy is broken. Whether you want to call it Bidenomics or simply point the blame toward Joe Biden, we’re all dealing with less money in our pockets. And yet, we can’t stop tipping employees who don’t really deserve tips.

Once upon a time, tips were reserved for those who provided a personalized service. Typically, the employees were paid less than minimum wage, so the tip was a way of saying “thank you” while also ensuring that they made a decent living.

Tips were reserved for such things as:

  • Valet drivers
  • Sit-down service at restaurants
  • Taxi drivers
  • Bellhops

Now, it seems like everywhere we go, tips are being requested. Even if you just go to the counter to place an order for a coffee or a burger that’s hurriedly shoved into a bag, the screen spins around to ask what kind of gratuity you want to leave. As you read the screen, the employee looks at you.

It’s emotional blackmail.

You’re not really going to tip them anything, are you? They worked hard to do the job that they were paid to do…

That’s the thing. Most of the places where tips are being requested don’t actually deserve the tips. And the employees are paid more than minimum wage. While they may not be getting paid a LOT of money, why is it that we, the customers, are expected to make up the difference?

With the gratuity being requested, it also means that many employees end up making a SIGNIFICANT amount of money per hour.

Well-known mall-based pretzel shops are a perfect example. They are given an hourly wage that is above the minimum. Then, they ask each and every customer for a tip. Assume that everyone leaves one dollar because they are blackmailed into doing it. With the volume that most of those shops have, each employee working behind the counter could end up making $20 an hour – and probably even more. To make and serve pretzels. Meanwhile, people with master’s degrees are struggling right now.

Fair? Absolutely not. Will they get away with it anyway? Absolutely.

Toast is a point-of-sale platform. They said that at quick-service restaurants (you know, the ones that don’t involve personalized service), 48% of the transactions involved a tip within the digital payment.

Corey Gary is a customer who went to Petco Park to see a San Diego Padres game. He used a self-sustaining beer fridge. When he checked out, the payment processing system asked about a tip. “I was confused, because it wasn’t entirely clear who I was tipping,” the 28-year-old stated. Despite his confusion, he still decided to leave an extra 20%.”

That’s ridiculous. Does a computer deserve a tip? The person responsible for stocking the beer fridge?

Now, every place that has the tip option on their screen will tell you that tips are optional and that you have the ability to select “no tip.”

Still, most people choose to leave the tip because of the emotional blackmail. It hurts – and it means that Biden’s economic landscape stings just a bit more.