Are you suffering from ‘tipping fatigue?’ Many consumers say they are

Photo (c) JGI/Jamie Grill - Getty Images

But service workers say they depend on tips to make ends meet

Most likely, it began during the early days of the pandemic. Consumers increased their tipping to show their appreciation for employees who delivered food, served up coffee, and cut hair while many others worked in the safety and comfort of their homes.

But now some people think tipping has gotten out of hand. The issue recently blew up on Reddit with some consumers complaining that just about everyone now expects a tip.

“Nobody tips me for doing my job properly,” a Reddit poster going by Unethical Experiments wrote. “Tip isn't supposed to be an extra tax you're entitled to by virtue of being an unskilled delivery driver. Tip is for good service.”

Much of the discussion centered on delivery drivers, who can see when the order is placed whether or not the consumer has added a tip.

“By all means, I get being annoyed with nontippers,” wrote a Reddit poster using the handle Patrick42985. “But what is this really accomplishing? Like just don’t take non-tipping orders to where they eventually get the message that no tip = no one delivering their food.”

Feeling the pressure

Consumers interviewed by ABC7 in Denver say there are not only tired of being asked for a tip on more and more transactions, they feel pressure to pay up.

"I am always feeling like I have to tip everybody in every industry," one consumer, Jared Metz, told the station.

Technology appears to have encouraged the tipping trend. Payment processing company Square attributes a sharp increase in tipping to the widespread use of point-of-sale (POS) spin-around card readers that ask the consumer to add a tip. People who decline to do so admit to feeling awkward.

Not surprisingly, Square reports consumers have increased their tipping, and not just at food counters. Tips at full-service restaurants grew by 25% in the third quarter of 2022.

Employers in industries like food service, hair care, and delivery services often justify low pay for employees because of tips. Many employees depend on tips to make ends meet and point out that inflation makes a gratuity more important than ever.

What are the guidelines for tipping?

So, what are the rules for leaving a tip? According to AARP, consumers enjoying a full-service, sit-down meal are expected to leave 15% to 20% of the pretax bill. At a buffet, leave a 10% tip. If you’re just picking up a sandwich or cup of coffee, a 10% tip is expected.

Debby Mayne, etiquette guide for the resource website, urges consumers to try to have a little empathy when they’re asked for a gratuity.

"The pizza delivery guy is out there braving the elements,” she told AARP. “There's a reason why you didn't go get that pizza yourself."

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