March 23, 2023

With “whatever you do, you feel guilty,” Matt Scot, 41, carrying a box of salad and a glass of fruit juice in downtown Washington, answers a question that has become almost existential for Americans: should you tip?

Tipping is a well-established tradition in U.S. restaurants that everyone respects and ranges from 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. flowers or when shopping at a fattening store.

According to Matt Scot, tips are only needed in restaurants, unless the staff is “very nice” or the person wants to be “very generous”.

But the ideal solution does not really exist. If he left a tip, he may feel “guilty or a little upset” about spending more than he should have. And if not, then he, too, may feel “guilt”, but in relation to the employees.

Scotland sighs in disbelief at this relatively new dilemma. The sphere of tipping is expanding to include what this tradition did not apply to. Tips became an additional burden that did not count towards the purchase bill, as it was not customary to give “tips” in stores before.

A number of experts warn that this could lead to what they called “tip fatigue” as Americans, who are now required to pay “tips” in many places, will no longer know where they should tip “tip” who do not have values. they should tip. This phenomenon entails a discussion about the reward system, which is subject to further criticism.


Debian Biswas, professor of marketing at the University of South Florida, points out that this expansion has a lot to do with so-called “digital kiosks,” which are electronic boxes that have become widespread in recent years and are now ubiquitous.

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

The university professor explains that a customer who does not wish to pay an additional amount must click on the “No tip” option. He adds: “It confuses the client because he doesn’t want to do it. He saw this as a way to make the customer feel guilty.

The strategy has worked for Hana Cuban, 30, who admits she spends “a lot more” on tips than she used to.

A blonde lawyer dressed in a black coat notes that offering a tip to a waiter “puts extra pressure” on the customer.

“Digital kiosks” sometimes offer amounts up to 30 percent of the total bill, which is much higher than the regular rate.

Hana Cuban comments: “I’m constantly looking on Google for information on when I should tip and what is the appropriate amount.”

The young woman regards the matter with a smile, but acknowledges that her friends are “very upset”.

Professor Debian Biswas fears that this will discourage Americans from tipping in restaurants and cafes, which are paid for by the waiters working in them, and they are most in need of these additional amounts they bet on. “If you tip everywhere, you can leave less in restaurants,” he says.


However, the head of the One Fair Wage Association, Saru Jayaraman, who is calling for a “fair” salary for waiters, believes that talk of “tiring fatigue” is not the core of the issue.

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

People’s commitment to their homes during the pandemic, and the resulting reduction in their visits to restaurants and cafes, has contributed to exposing the negative aspects of the wage system for waiters whose employers pay them wages below the legal minimum wage.

While the movement has returned to restaurants and cafes, the sector, known for its harsh working conditions, is still hard to find employees.

Saru Jayaraman notes that the sector is undergoing a “revolution” because workers are “laying off a lot”.

But she emphasizes that things are changing. Last November, Washington, D.C. became one of the states that has a minimum wage even for tipped employees.

Saru Jayaraman believes that unless the minimum wage is universally enforced, more sectors will want to benefit from “free labor” such as those “employed in restaurants”.

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