Freaking out over the new tipping systems

People are freaking out about the new Starbucks tipping system, but it isn’t just Starbucks.

The freak out is about the awkwardness of it all. At the airport recently I came upon this where when you pay with a credit card, you have to go through a process of tipping or not tipping before you scan your card.

This is now a thing everywhere – in person at the register and also on apps where you order food or drink.

I’ve seen this at ice cream stores, sub shops, fast take-away places and of course sit down restaurants. You order and then when it’s time to pay, the tip portion comes up. And you’re not even in the store when you order on apps and you are tipping before you even receive service, or even enter the store at most instances. Tip first, ask questions later.

And a new thing at many restaurants is where they use this new scanning device at the table; they don’t take the credit card away to process it anymore, which is a good thing, but the waitstaff now stands over you waiting for you to tip and pay for the order, You don’t really have time to think.

Last week I split a bill with a friend, we both gave a credit card and split it in half and we both tipped 20% and left. We didn’t get a receipt and we asked each other, “Do you even know how much the bill was?” Neither of us did.

In NYC recently I was at a diner with another friend, an expensive diner (diner, not dinner), and the waiter was quite pushy. He was an older guy and I guess worked as a waiter most of his life, so he knew the ins and outs.

He handed me the black box to pay and then said, “Put your card in this way,” and “Here is the tip section, I’ll push the 20% button for you here,” and he did. He pushed the tip button himself.

One thing about that tip thing – I think they are losing out because I usually give more than 20% tip and most times I’ll round up the tip to a higher figure. Like if the tip is $17 or $18, I make it $20. So if their 20% button gives them $17.25, if they left me to my own devices, I would have left them $20.00 and sometimes even more if I liked the waiter or waitress, or if I know them personally.

There is one Starbucks I frequent in NYC daily, it’s a convenient location for me. But they are terrible. They are slow, they ignore orders placed on the app, they once made me break a $20 bill for a 5 cent bag (they charge you for shopping bags in all NY stores now) and they are not tip-worthy. But if you don’t leave the tip ahead of time when placing the order, you worry about the treatment you will get. But now that I think about it, could it be any worse than the service you get now?

At the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone was staying home, I used Instacart and had things delivered from the supermarket. You would tip in advance there, too. I usually gave $5, but at that time, they were so overwhelmed, they literally would take up to four days to deliver the products. Now it’s two hours, but then it literally was days, they would tell you on the app, “We’ll be there next Thursday, between 2 and 4 pm.” It was a mess.

But I read that if you gave a big tip, you would get faster delivery times, so I started giving $20 and it worked; I was prioritized and received my delivery on the same day. So it seems as if on these apps and such we are now paying to get a fast and decent order before we even get the fast and decent orders and it’s almost a bribe to get the fast and decent order.

I heard that people don’t tip Uber drivers much. I always do. I used to give them a cash tip, but now I put it on the app. It’s easier. As I exit the car I tell them, “I’ll put the tip on the app.” I don’t know if they believe me, but I always do add it later.

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One thought on “Freaking out over the new tipping systems

  1. I don’t go to Starbucks, but have noticed this system at Subway for quite a while. The only one on the staff who seems to care or even notice is the owner (or I guess franchisee) when being cashier. He always just says thank you.


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