It appears that regardless of the location, whenever there is a point of sale (POS) system for transactions, customers are often presented with a prompt asking if they would like to leave a tip or gratuity for their purchase. This has sparked numerous debates on social media regarding what exactly qualifies as a deserving service for gratuities.
As someone who frequents Subway, I have to actually click “No tip” prior to paying with a credit card… As if paying $12 for a takeout lunch isn’t already enough.
Perhaps this will be commonplace if it already isn’t.
So, what deserves a tip?
In some discussions, it has been argued that tasks such as pouring a cup of drip coffee or fetching a bagel from behind a cafe counter do not warrant a tip. Others believe that employees at places like Shake Shack, who receive hourly wages for preparing orders, should not be included in the list of individuals who traditionally receive tips, or at the very least, there should be no expectation for gratuities.
The mention of Shake Shack specifically has sparked frustration among many, as the tip prompt appears on self-checkout machines where there isn’t a designated employee to receive a gratuity. In these instances, it is the customers themselves who place their own orders and handle the transaction process.
It seems that a social media user, @seaweed on Reddit, has also encountered a similar tipping suggestion at an airport self-serve POS system. The post’s title, which has garnered over 106,000 upvotes at the time of writing, reads: “it finally happened. i was prompted to tip at the airport self-checkout station.”
Accompanying the post is a picture showing a charge of $23.05 for a chicken caesar wrap and a 16.9 ounce Vita Coco beverage. On the screen, options for tipping percentages of 15%, 18%, or 20%, as well as a “No Tip” choice, are available.
One commenter expressed confusion about the nature of the request, pondering who exactly would receive the tip. Another person jokingly responded, mentioning “the robotic overlords.”
it finally happened. i was prompted to tip at the airport self-checkout station.
by u/_seaweed_ in mildlyinfuriating
Another user on the platform made an interesting point, suggesting that if anyone should receive a gratuity in such a scenario, it should be the customer themselves, as they are the ones who select and process their own items.
The commenter humorously envisioned a scenario where the tip would appear as a negative charge on the bill, saying, “I bagged my products perfectly. I’ll give myself 25%… subtract it from my tab.”
My theory: Businesses do this because they make extra money off of people who:
1) are in an extraordinarily good mood or high
2) believe leaving a tip is a prerequisite for purchasing (perhaps foreigners) or
3) feel embarrassed or cheap not leaving a tip.
Even if only one in 25 purchasers tips, it probably adds up to sweet income at the end of a year.
Someone else mentioned that due to the prevalence of tipping culture, they deliberately choose fast-casual establishments that offer self-ordering systems. They prefer places where customers can walk up to the counter, receive a number, or even order directly at their table using a QR code. This way, they receive faster service without feeling obligated to tip someone $10 for simply delivering their food.