Americans say they have no idea how to tip anymore

One of America’s favorite customs right now is complaining about an old custom with new wheels: tipping. Similar to “what’s wrong with planes?” Jerry Seinfeld Kinda complaining about how tipping has “gone out of control” is sort of an easy crowd pleaser.

And you don’t need a tight-five Seinfeld guy to understand that the post-pandemic tipping landscape is a new reality that doesn’t excite many consumers. During the lockdown, many people left extra tips to support frontline workers and busy restaurants. turn off. Assisted by automated tablet screenstips so high, everywhere, from counter services like bakeries to automatic payment terminals– stuck three years later. Whatever the source of the tipping boom, one thing many Americans agree on is that we are dealing with a new tipping culture.

For one, tipping has become more common: 72% of adults say it is “expected in more places today than five years ago,” according to a Pew Research study. investigation of nearly 12,000 American adults released this week. Since so many people feel like a lot has changed in less than a decade, they’re understandably quite confused. Only 34% say it is “extremely or very” easy to know if you should tip, and slightly fewer (33%) say they are confident in knowing how much to tip.

They’re also frustrated by automated tablets that suggest three different tipping options when paying (some preset to 20% as the minimum option). More Americans are against (40%) than for (24%) this practice. And automatic service fees added to bills are particularly angering, with 72% of respondents opposed to them. All this led to some get out of guilt and an exhaustion faced with the omnipresence of this practice, known colloquially as “tipping fatigue.»

Inflation has messed up the changeover

It may be easy to blame blue screens, but something larger is creating this new tipping culture. This comes partly from Great resignationof labor, as many workers in the service and hospitality sectors, often overworked and underpaid, took advantage of a strong labor market and sought better-paying jobs. Companies suddenly had to make their offers more competitive; Chipotle increase in wages and Dig made their schedules more flexible. Anyway, wage stagnation remains the problem it has posed for decades, with tipped workers bearing the brunt of the costs – employers are required to pay only $2.13 per hour in direct wages if tips are equal to the federal minimum wage. Without any federal intervention, the minimum wage remains woefully low, at $7.25 an hour – the same as in the past. 14 years old and not enough to get by, especially with current inflation.

This same inflation is partly what has prevented employers from offering higher wages; they paid more for expensive products and tried to keep prices low for customers. Because they can’t always pay to make a job competitive and livable, they rely on tips from customers to compensate. “The pay workers are getting is not enough,” said Sean Jung, a professor at Boston University. NPR. “So now everyone is using this very strange way of raising wages while keeping the menu price the same.”

But consumers are also hampered by inflation and are therefore less able or willing to tip extra. After going through a few unstable years, many Americans still feel financially anxious And pessimistic about the economyeven if the cost of living has ebbed a little. most economically vulnerable generations are less likely to tip, as a Bankrate survey shows that 83% of Baby Boomers always tip, compared to 35% of Gen Zers.

“Inflation and general economic malaise appear to be making Americans more stingy about tipping, and yet we face more invitations to tip than ever,” wrote Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate, in the report. “It’s a fascinating question with few clear answers. However, there is one certainty: tipping is not expected to disappear from American society any time soon.”

So if tipping doesn’t go away and our federal government continues to fail to raise the minimum wage, the question remains: what are our new rules? People remain divided, according to Pew, with 21% viewing tipping as a choice, 29% viewing it as an obligation and 49% viewing it as situational. While tipping is a given in restaurants (92% always or often tip), people start to diverge when it comes to food delivery (76%), taking a taxi (61%) , buy coffee (25%) or eat at a restaurant. a fast casual restaurant (12%).

After all, no one seems to tip.

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