Customers already contending with a squeeze on their bank accounts due to inflation are now facing more pressure as businesses introduce new tipping features at self-checkout machines. The new self-serve tipping option has been rolled out by companies in bakeries, sports stadiums, coffee shops, and airports. Despite minimal interaction with employees, customers can leave tips of up to 20%, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
However, customers are now left questioning where the extra money is going, leading many to feel obligated to leave a tip. While some businesses are embracing the option to boost workers’ pay outside of salaries, consumers are left feeling frustrated. The Associated Press reported that as early as January, unexpected companies were requesting tips of up to 30%.
William Michael Lynn, a professor of consumer behavior and tip culture at Cornell University’s Nolan School of Hotel Administration, explained that businesses “are taking advantage of an opportunity” and “who wouldn’t want to get extra money at very little cost if you could?” The pressure on customers is mounting as they are forced to make difficult decisions on whether to leave a tip or not.
With the introduction of these self-serve tipping options, customers are left questioning whether this is just another way for businesses to add more pressure and squeeze more money from their already stretched budgets.