Self-Checkout Machines Now Ask for Tips in Latest Attempt To Pinch Consumers

Tipping has long been a common practice in the service industry. So much so that employees of such establishments make less than minimum wage, and the end consumer is largely responsible for supporting employees while businesses get away with paying low wages.

Most customers don’t mind if the service is good and the product is quality. However, we now have a new hand in our pocket, even if it is digital.

Self-service machines that include a tipping option have started popping up in stadiums, bakeries, coffee shops, and airports, among other places, often with little to no interaction with actual employees. People are starting to notice, and many people are mad. Check this out.

Companies, including airports, bakeries, coffee shops and sports stadiums, have now introduced the self-serve tipping option, where customers can leave tips including the typical 20%, despite facing minimal to no interaction with any employee, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal.

Customers report feeling obligated to leave a tip as they question where and to whom the extra money is actually going, but businesses are increasingly embracing the option to boost pay for workers outside of salaries, according to WSJ.

It is unclear as to who exactly is benefitting from the self-serve tips. We know the business is, as they are almost assuredly getting at least a cut, especially since there are no actual employees involved. The prices haven’t lowered either, as they should if the customer is actually doing the work.

So, why not just decline the option? Because businesses know people are conditioned to tip.

William Michael Lynn, a consumer behavior and tip culture professor at Cornell University’s Nolan School of Hotel Administration, told the newspaper that businesses “are taking advantage of an opportunity,” and “who wouldn’t want to get extra money at very little cost if you could?”

At the start of 2023, consumers were already feeling the frustration as unexpected companies were not only requesting tips, but some businesses were asking for up to 30%, according to The Associated Press. 

It is one thing to throw an extra couple of bucks in if the service is on-point and the product is good. However, if you have to do the work yourself or the employee does a minimum, then it should not be expected to pay extra for a product or service that already wasn’t discounted.

Many are wondering where the extra dollars go. For example, Papa John’s clearly states that any delivery fees do not go to the driver, yet they tack on a delivery fee and a service fee that often runs upwards of five dollars. For what? Some are calling for transparency.

“I feel like if there’s an automatic question to ask for tipping, there should be fine print stating where these tips go,” day trader Shaun MacDonald told Fox.

 “It doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be in writing on the screen saying these tips help out employees or these tips go to all employees, which includes management. It should be specified.”

Truly, tipping is out of control. There need to be some questions answered, some accountability for where the money is going, and far less pressure to tip when you are doing most of the work yourself. The option? Maybe a Steve Buscemi-type attitude from Reservoir Dogs? A little sad song, the world’s smallest violin action, and no tippage.


Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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