Are you being asked to tip too much?

Jun 5, 2024, 2:10 PM

Photo: A tipping option is displayed on a car reader tablet in 2023....

A tipping option is displayed on a car reader tablet in 2023. (Photo: Nam Y. Huh, AP)

(Photo: Nam Y. Huh, AP)

Does it seem like you’re being asked to tip everywhere you go and for every service you receive?

“People are annoyed about tipping,” Bankrate Senior Analyst Ted Rossman told KIRO Newsradio.

The online financial service is out with a new survey on tipping. It found that about 6 in 10 Americans have a negative view about tipping and it’s getting worse.

“Thirty-five percent say tipping culture has gotten out of control. That’s up from 30%, last year,” Rossman said.

The survey found that Americans are feeling inundated with “tip creep-” or the increasing number of businesses now asking for tips.

“I was asked to tip at a self-checkout machine at Newark Airport. I’ve been asked to tip at a pick-your-own strawberry farm. I mean, some of this does feel like it’s gone too far,” he said.

There’s particular angst about the proliferation of tipping screens that pop up after you’ve handed someone your credit card or cash.

“Those tip prompt screens do annoy a lot of people, 34% say they’re annoyed about these pre-entered tip screens,” Rossman said.

He added the choices you’re offered often appear to be random. Customers may wonder why they’re being asked to choose between a 15%, 20% or 25% tip … and whether there will be any repercussions for opting not to pay a tip to the person handing them a pre-made sandwich at a gas station.

Interestingly, Rossman said, there ARE people who have no qualms about skipping tips. The difference is generational, with older Americans and women tending to tip the most.

“Young adults are the worst tippers, by far,” Rossman said. “In fact, two-thirds of GenZers fail to tip at least some of the time at a sit-down restaurant.”

He said it’s not just that younger people tend to have less money.

“A lot of young adults seem to have this kind of social justice view of tipping, as in, it’s not fair, so let’s not do it. And it’s true that tipping can be sexist or racist, unfortunately at times,” Rossman said.

However, Rossman believes you should tip for services where they are traditionally expected, including sit-down dining, taxis and hair services. Those tips are usually counted as part of the worker’s pay.

“If you’re failing to tip, you’re really hurting that worker much more than the business,” he said.

Nevertheless, people are tipping less often than they did during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During and immediately after the pandemic, there was this kind of groundswell of support for service industry workers, and people were tipping more generously,” he said. “I feel like that groundswell of support, though, has long faded.”

Heather Bosch is an award-winning anchor and reporter on KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of her stories here. Follow Heather on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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Are you being asked to tip too much?