Politics news

Tipping surrounds Americans in restaurants and cafeterias

With the phrase “whatever you do, you feel guilty,” Matt Schotland, 41, carrying a box of salad and a glass of fruit juice in central Washington, answers a question that has become almost existential for him. Americans: Do I have to tip?

Tipping is a deep-rooted tradition in restaurants in the United States that everyone abides by, and its value ranges from 15 to 20 percent of the total bill on the bill. To apply this rule to other cases, such as buying a sandwich or a bouquet of flowers, or when shopping at a feed store.
In Matt Schotland’s opinion, tips are only necessary in restaurants, unless the staff is “super nice” or if the person wants to be “very generous.”

But there is no perfect solution in reality. If he left a tip, he might feel “guilty or a little upset” for spending more than he needed to. And if he doesn’t, he may feel “guilt” too, but towards the employees.

Shotland sighs in bewilderment at this relatively new dilemma. The scope of tips is expanding to include things to which this tradition did not apply. Tipping became an additional charge that was not taken into account on the purchase invoice, since “tipping” in stores was not common before.

Several experts warn that this can lead to what they call “tip fatigue,” as Americans, who are now required to pay “tips” in many places, will no longer know where to give worthless “tips.” tip they should give. This phenomenon implies a discussion about the reward system, which is subject to more criticism.

“feel guilty”

Debian Biswas, a marketing professor at the University of South Florida, notes that this expansion is largely due to what are known as “digital kiosks,” which are electronic boxes that have proliferated in recent years and are now ubiquitous.

On these screens, through which customers pay their bills, “companies can place many options, including tips,” says Debian Biswas.

The university professor explains that a customer who does not want to pay an additional amount should click on the “No tip” option. He adds: “This embarrasses the client because he doesn’t want to do that. He saw this as a way to create guilt in the client.

This strategy is effective for Hana Cuban, 30, who admits that what she spends on tips is “much more” than before.

The blonde lawyer, who was wearing a black coat, points out that suggesting the tip option to the waiter “puts extra pressure” on the customer.

The “digital kiosks” sometimes offer amounts of up to 30 percent of the total bill, well above the usual rate.

Hana Cuban comments, “I’m constantly Googling to figure out when to tip and what the proper amount is.”

The young woman addresses the matter with a smile, but she confirms that her friends are “very upset”.

Professor Debian Biswas fears that this will discourage Americans from tipping in restaurants and cafeterias, which is what the waiters who work there are paid for, and they are the ones who need these extra sums for which they bid the most. “If you tip everywhere, you could tip less at restaurants,” he says.


However, the director of the One Fair Wage Association, Saru Jayaraman, who calls for a “fair” wage for waiters, believes that talking about “tip fatigue” is not the root of the problem.

“If we are tired of tipping all the time, let’s join the movement against very low wages.”

The commitment of people to their homes during the pandemic, and consequently the reduction in their visits to restaurants and cafes, contributed to highlighting the negative aspects of the salary system for waiters, whose employers pay them wages below the legal minimum wage.

Although the movement has returned to restaurants and cafeterias, this sector, known for its difficult working conditions, still struggles to recruit.

Saru Jayaraman points out that the sector is undergoing a “revolution” because workers are “giving up a lot”.

But she stresses that things are changing. Last November, Washington, DC, became one of the states that imposes a minimum wage, including for tipped employees.

Saru Jayaraman believes that more sectors will be willing, unless a minimum wage is imposed everywhere, to benefit from “free labor” such as “employees in restaurants”.

Related Articles

Back to top button