On this beautiful day, let’s participate in a quick thought exercise. It won’t be hard, I promise. And I don’t break promises, so from the almost nothing you know about me, and that statement, there’s zero reason for you not to trust me. Ok, let us wander down memory lane to a time when you could buy things, anything really, and simply pay for it. List price plus any sales tax. That’s it. You pay for it, and then you grab the bag and leave feeling satisfied. How far back in time did your mind travel? 

Actually, pause, I think we should address the question in your head. Was I supposed to go far back? Technically, I gave you no real instructions other than a time you spent money, so I guess not. My bad. But, if you think about the last time the custom additional payment line was added to a receipt, it may have been a while. That’s right, I’m talking about tipping! And America, I believe we have a tipping problem. Not the tipping you experience from consuming maybe one too many adult beverages. No, I’m talking about the tipping that comes from your wallet. The tipping that you have to do math to get to. The tipping that is optional, but mandatory. 

Are you picking up what I’m leaving on the table? When was the last time you weren’t asked to leave a tip for someone? It’s getting consistently more difficult to find examples of plain old pay and walk away. We tip for everything now. Not just when eating out, back when that was a more mainstream, and safe, adventure, but we’ve gotten to a place where almost every business feels it’s acceptable to ask you for a tip. You can count on it with any food adventure. It’s almost guaranteed for any type of experience you participate in. Don’t think that retail isn’t trying to hop on this bandwagon either. Where did we go wrong?

Since this is an opinion based blog, I would like to take some time and dive into my thoughts about being asked to make additional payments on things I spend money on. If this is your first time realizing there are zero factual backings to any of these posts, I apologize. But, also, we may need to discuss your ability to interpret sarcasm. Anyways … moving on … tipping! Or robbing, you decide. I think there are limits to the number of “services” that can acceptably ask me to spend more money than my receipt says.

If you give me a fantastic tour of a distillery, then of course I’m going to tip you – excellent service pays off. If you’re refilling my drink before I even know it’s getting empty, then of course I’m going to tip you – hard work pays off. If I order food and you drive it to me, then of course I’m going to tip you – not being lazy pays off. If I, however, pick out all of my own groceries and place them on the conveyor belt, then why would I leave the cashier a tip? You’re just doing your job. And I did all the hard work, so, what is that about?

For starters, why not just factor my tip into my bill? Then I wouldn’t care. Make me calculate it, though, and all of a sudden it’s an extra expense (and an annoyance). Use mind tricks with people – make us believe that was always going to be the total. Basic math equations aside, if I do all of the work and you simply are working at the register, what on earth is making it acceptable for you to ask for a tip?

Don’t get me wrong, tipping is not something that I see as an employee problem. In fact, I actually support adding extra money so they don’t have to make whatever absurdly low hourly rate their business has decided is appropriate. The main problem is that we still have places paying people less than half the minimum wage and banking on the fact that tips will push them, on average, to the federal minimum. How horrible would it be for you to start their pay at minimum wage and allow them to earn much more than that for their hard work? Why is that like asking for the moon?

Second imagination station train of the day. If you’re at your job, and have a meeting with your manager, what do you think their reaction would be if you asked for a tip / bonus for meeting the basic requirements you were hired (and are already paid) to do? You may be job hunting the next day. You may get laughed off as a joke. You may get the silent stare of terror. You may get a snarky comment. Small chance you get a tip, though. I feel like that should be no different in the consumer industry, but maybe that’s just me.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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