Newsline

Newsline , Society

Tipflation: The Economic Crisis No One Is Talking About

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024
|
by Aaron Flanigan
|
65 Comments
|
Print

AMAC EXCLUSIVE

Customer handed the cash on bill paper. US dollar banknote tips in leather black bill reciept. USA Inflation concept. economy

As the American people continue to suffer from a floundering national economy and mounting financial hardships caused by Biden administration policies, much of the national discourse has understandably focused on factors like inflation, faltering GDP growth, gargantuan federal spending packages, and the left’s Green New Deal agenda.

But as significant as these factors have been in decimating the U.S. economy, one little-discussed yet increasingly unavoidable phenomenon has also been ravaging the pocketbooks of hardworking Americans: the so-called “tipflation” crisis.

Although a modest level of optional tipping has long been a hallmark of American culture—particularly for hard-working wait staff, bellhops, and other customized services like hairdressing and food delivery—in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic, tipping requests have exploded through the U.S. service industry.

Service workers responsible for basic, low-effort tasks who have historically not relied on gratuity, such as drive-thru workers, baristas at coffee shops, and convenience store employees, now commonly prompt customers for tips starting at 20 percent (which used to be considered an exceptional tip) and sometimes rising as high as 90 percent. Even some computerized self-service kiosks at airports, malls, or businesses—which are not operated by humans—prompt customers for tips. Oftentimes, consumers begrudgingly oblige out of guilt.

In some major cities, restaurants have also implemented “service charges” in the wake of the pandemic, often in the range of 20 percent. These charges were initially sold as a substitute for tips, ostensibly helping restaurants ensure that workers were paid an appropriate wage. But in all too many cases, restaurants are now making clear that these service charges are levied in addition to an expected gratuity for the wait staff.

According to a recent study by Talker Research, Americans spend nearly $500 a year tipping more than they would like. As the New York Post recently reported, “the average [survey] respondent reluctantly tips $37.80 a month due to the pressure or awkwardness of the options presented to them”—adding up to a not-so-negligible $453.60 per year.

Additionally, more than a quarter of respondents indicated they felt forced to tip at a higher rate than they otherwise would.

The survey, the Post continues, “found the average respondent tipped more than they’d like to on six occasions (6.3) in the last 30 days alone. And whether it’s the watchful eyes of a barista, the hastily swiveled tablet, or the waiter handing you the card machine, more than half (56 percent) of respondents note that pressure to tip higher is a regular occurrence.”

Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by CouponBirds found that more than 75 percent of American customers believe tipping culture has gone too far. And according to Pew Research, Americans generally oppose suggested tipping amounts and are overwhelmingly opposed to automatic service charges in restaurants.

In today’s economy, it’s no wonder why.

Under the Biden administration, American families have lost thousands of dollars annually on increased energy prices, food costs, mortgage payments, and countless other increased costs stemming from the inflation crisis.

Why, then, should Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet be expected to dish out an additional $500 a year on unnecessary tipping?

Of course, employees in the American service industry—like most other Americans—work hard to earn a living and will justifiably seek to make as much money as they can, including through tips when their industries enable the practice. But, as political reporter Caroline Downey put it, this “new demand that we tip on all sorts of low-effort activities” is not only placing yet another financial burden on already struggling American families, but it is also “eroding meritocracy and diluting what a service actually is.”

American consumers are understandably frustrated that they often can’t leave their homes to buy a cup of coffee, grab lunch at a drive-thru, pick up an ice cream cone for their kids, or take a short Uber drive without being guilted into leaving a 20 to 30 percent tip.

As the fictional Mr. Pink famously says in the 1992 Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs, “I don’t tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort, I’ll give them something a little something extra.” He continues: “But this tipping automatically, it’s for the birds. As far as I’m concerned, they’re just doing their job.”

Not so long ago in American history, tipping was seen as nothing more than an optional way to express thanks to a service worker for doing a good job. And by every indication, the American people remain committed to rewarding waiters and other workers who deserve it. But if tipping culture continues to move away from a culture of meritocracy and toward a culture of entitlement, Americans will likely be hesitant to continue providing handouts.

Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

The AMAC Action Logo

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now
Share this article:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
65 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Denise
Denise
2 months ago

My first job as a teenager decades ago, was waitressing. When you gave good service the customer was generous on his own. But to automatically add more gratuitous “tip” to a bill is nothing short of extortion…and frankly IF it’s supposedly for the waiter how do I know it’s not just going into the corporate till?

Susabella
Susabella
2 months ago

We don’t go out to eat at a restaurant, we no longer go for haircuts (we cut our own), luxuries such as mani-pedi are out of the question, because of the outrageous tips expected. We can barely afford the service let alone a big tip. We don’t even get our dog groomed anymore and do that as best we can at home. In our state (WA) the minimum wage is being raised to $20/hour. I never even made that much when I was working in corporate America for 40 years!!

Nick
Nick
2 months ago

If I’m at a restaurant where I actually have a server, I tip well usually 20%. Everybody else just sticking their hand out can go pound sand. I have actually had merchants on Amazon request a tip when I place an order. Needless to say I cancel the order. You can want in one hand and poop in the other one, and see which one gets full first

Jeri
Jeri
2 months ago

Simplistic solution we have found is just don’t go out and spend money on crap food, go to the grocery store buy a steak or seafood or whatever and prepare yourself.

Max
Max
2 months ago

Great service – great tip; good service – good tip; poor service – poor or no tip. Simple I don’t tip machines. Most tips are divided among all workers involved at the paying of the bill. If you like your server than tip with them with cash as well as some on the final bill.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

I have no guilt about tipping $0.00

Tim C
Tim C
2 months ago

Tipflation adds up even more than most people realize. If I had a $50 meal and tipped 15%, the total tip would have been $7.50. With 20% considered the norm, that would now be $10. However, with recent inflation the price of the meal is up say 20%, so the meal costs $60. If I tip 20% on the added $10, that’s another $2 of tipping, bringing the total tip to $12 versus $7.50 pre-Biden. That’s a 60% increase in the tip!

Irv C
Irv C
2 months ago

Yet that IDIOT JO JO BIDEN says inflation is down and unemployment is at its lowest in 50 yrs. He must be sniffing GLUE.

Ronda L Hatfield-Keppinger
Ronda L Hatfield-Keppinger
2 months ago

I recently spoke with our server at a local restaurant who said if we use our card to tip the company keeps most of the tip and gives the server some of the tip. I therefore will not tip with my card and will leave a cash tip. Those other so called services can pound sand for their tips. I’m retired and and most servers make more money than I do,

sue
sue
2 months ago

When my husband was a student at the Seminary, the word passed onto the men was that they should tip 20%. Since he has retired, he still tries to maintain the 20% for the exceptional good service. Even when the service was questionable at best he left the 20%. It has gotten more difficult since the early days when he was a pastor for 2 small country churches. The pay was enough to take care of what needed to be taken care of. With smaller salaries, the retirement was also smaller. We are very careful when eating out and where we are eating. We plan the trip and include the possible tip in our planning. But by the same token, God has provided for us then and now.

Gary
Gary
2 months ago

Yeah, I haven’t felt guilty for not tipping or for tipping what ever amount for many years now, I started noticing people trying to Shanghai extra tips out of my pockets starting close to 25 years ago, I have never been particularly well paid myself so I am not kindly inclined to make outsized “tips” to others, often considering the poor service standards so prevalent today, 10% is often way too much….

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
2 months ago

I wonder how many customers will be driven away by automatic tipping? What are businesses going to do when they drive away all their customers because their customers can’t afford to pay higher prices and astronomical tips?

NinaRae
NinaRae
2 months ago

our favorite upscale restaurant, has raised their food prices close to 20%!. In addition they include a schedule of suggested amounts for tips, and will generously add this automatically to your bill, so be aware!! My Husband prefers to give the tip to the waiter/waitress to be sure THEY are receiving it. But, get this, recently we tipped our waitress personally then paid for our meal with a credit card. She gave us the receipt, & we were in a bit of a hurry so I didn’t look at it until we were in the car & on the road. Imagine my shock to see that not only did she accept our cash tip but she also AUTOMATICALLY charged us a 20% tip on the credit card! She entered it in the register herself, so I know she did it personally! I looked at past receipts when we got home & found this had happened several other times! Double tips! So we don’t go out as much, & never to that location, plus we’re very aware of what’s being charged to our card!

Shirley M
Shirley M
2 months ago

The interesting thing is with menu prices going up, tipping 15% on a meal is still providing the server a higher tip. It has always been based on the cost of the meal. I used to be a server and honestly I earned a very good living as someone who did not go to college. Even my nieces who are double major grads work as waitresses because it is a better financial option. Just saying.

Bob Chase
Bob Chase
2 months ago

I will continue to tip as I see fit. High dollar / hour hamburger flippers get nothing extra. Same for order takers and fillers at windows. They provide no personal service. That said I avoid fast food if at all possible. Dine in restaurant is a different case and good service is tip worthy.

Ronald
Ronald
2 months ago

Another of those costly gifts from obidenomics?? Under the Biden administration, American families have lost thousands of dollars annually on increased energy prices, food costs, mortgage payments, and countless other increased costs stemming from the inflation crisis. Why, then, should Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet be expected to dish out an additional $500 a year on unnecessary tipping?

Bob Hellam
Bob Hellam
2 months ago

As a young man, I worked in restaurants, mostly as a dishwasher but once as a busboy. I saw how hard the waiters and waitresses worked. In those days, employers would often pay the waiters and waitresses less than minimum wage, trusting that tips would make up the difference. When I worked in a union shop, union scale was less than the restaurant was paying us, but we still owed union dues. I don’t tip everyone. I do give a couple of bucks to the people who cut my hair. I usually tip 20% for table service. That’s about it. I don’t feel put upon.

zoe frost
zoe frost
2 months ago

Tipping is no longer an issue – thanks traitor puppets JoeBama & comrades. In the last couple years outgo began catching up to what was an income that allowed my savings to grow..2024 bidenflation hit critical mass when property tax, rent, and electric bills skyrocketed and basic necessities like gasoline and groceries increased. So, the cost of eating out, even getting a haircut, is a thing of the past. This is the first year that retirement income stayed basically the same while outgo went beyond it, causing depletion of savings every month…and it’s only May!!! It’s now a REAL FEAR that I could outlive my savings and become a burden on my family, not even on the radar when America First Trump was POTUS. But I’m the lucky one. Of my two neighbors, also retired, from past discussions I know that I have a slightly larger pension, as well as savings…I’m concerned, they must be scared to death

Thinking
Thinking
2 months ago

I don’t tip the order taker in some restaurant. When I was working nobody tipped me. I got a raise from the company I worked for. With restaurant prices already being high to tip 20% more when you have to pick up your own food. Forget it. It is just another way to get rid of our money. That way ole Joe and his minions thinks he has us under his control. The rude hateful America he has created will go under sooner or later. Love and goodness will win out. Ole Joe will be judged one day by our Creator and will spend eternity in purgatory. Then we will tip again for a job well done. Not because you work at a restaurant and don’t do anything special. Merit should be rewarded. Having a job not so much.

David
David
2 months ago

I used to enjoy tipping for exceptional service at 20% and I hardly ever tipped below 10% even for poor service. Now I’m finding it hard to tip do to my living off social security retirement now and the fact that everybody has their hand out for more money with less service. I was at a subway with a coupons that came in the mail and the first problem was they have a big notices the only thing they will honor a coupons for are the less desirable and and less expensive for them subs nothing that was common in the years past was on their list just the junk subs beer than you get to the end of the line and the coupons that are buy one get one free type coupons You’re actually getting maybe a dollar off of $12 sub. And then at the cash register they have it on their credit card checkout process wanting a 20% tip for making the sandwich that you’re paying for so they expect to see don’t get a tip they don’t make the sandwich? It’s getting extremely ridiculous and as I said every time you check out with a credit card for anything it wants a tip. I’m surprised that when you buy and I haven’t bought gas in a while cuz I don’t have an automobile anymore. But I’m surprised that the gas pumps don’t ask you for a temp when you self-service your gas. This article is spot on.

LauraC
LauraC
2 months ago

Many credit card machines brought to the table start at a suggested 22% tip. So you get the check, the waiter is hovering over your shoulder and you…avoid a potentially embarrassing situation by tipping almost a quarter of the cost of your entire meal—including the tax! Crazy. We are very reliable tippers and enjoy being able to tip generously when the service is really exceptional. But 20% for most restaurant service is way over and above. And the guy that takes your order at the sandwich counter? really?

Sean Rickman
Sean Rickman
2 months ago

The tip depends on the attitude and when the server is attentive and helpful I tip appropriately,usually very good.

Deborah Wood
Deborah Wood
2 months ago

Why not give one flat tip, per person served, for good service; half that for moderate service; and nothing for poor service?

John
John
2 months ago

I only tipped if the service was exceptional and always started at 10% up or down.
Now I hardly ever tip because they pay these people $15-20 an hour now and raised the price on everything on a menu, plus value added taxes.
Screw that! Do you realize that’s $800 a week, $3200 a month for someone who just takes an order and than brings it to you.
Another reason I never tip anymore is that everytime you do management looks at it and raises prices further.
They think that they aren’t charging enough if you are willing to leave a large tip. Up go prices!!
Also I never put a tip on a credit card because everyone now charges you between 2-3 percent for using a credit card and it nullifies any percentage you may be getting back on your credit card.

debra
debra
2 months ago

Someone Mentioned Amazon, But We’ve Found with the Wallyworld+ Delivery Service, When You “ADD” the Tips You Pay Throughout a Year, Loss For Badly Dented Cans, Missing Items, Wrong Items, Or If You Order 2 & Receive 1? Guess What? Wallyworld Tells You After Any of these WHICH THEY HAPPEN EVERY TIME, At Least 1, But Wallyworld Tells You They Can’t “Process” Your Refund. Happened Twice Now & They Tell You To “Call for It”, Well I Tried that Once, They Gave the Wrong # or at Least that’s what the Person who Answered Told Me, They didn’t know What I Was Talking About. I Checked & Verified the #, Same thing Happened, tried to “CHAT” With Wallyworld CS. Forget that, It’s Worse! So, Now, I’ve Just Continued to Say We Would NOT Renew, But, They “Renewed” It Anyway. They were going to “Give Me A $50” GC For “Renewing”, Never Got It. Same BS Happened When I Tried to Contact Either By Email, Call or “Chat”, I’m Telling You, WALLYWORLD Doesn’t Even Care Their C/Service Is NO Good. My Problem? My Husband Usual 1 to “Pick Up Orders” When I’d Do them That Way But Loves the Fact They Bring it Right to Him, All He Has to Do Is open the Garage & Talk, He Loves to Talk…..He’s the “Social 1” I’m the One who Does Everything Else,….So Yea, My “Problems” Are I’m Over Whelmed With “Doing Everything” So I’ve Continued the Ridiculously Expensive “Service” & I’m Not going to Punish the Delivery Drivers for My Soooo Wanting to Cancel & My Husband Wanting to Keep it. We Are 2 Small People & Order Stuff from Sams & Commissary 2, But He Does have to Drive to the Commissary & Actually PARK For those Groceries, Which Is Where We Special Order Our Dogs Food, But, NO TIPPING! You Shop online, Pay for the Order, They Pick, Pack & Deliver to Your Car, Now That’s The Way to Go, If You Can. Even Sams Will Ship Some Items for Free & There’s No Tip There Either, So Wallyworld, I Will Cancel THIS November, Whether He Likes it Or Not. Not Worth All the Extra Expense. It’s Truly Hundreds of Dollars More than their $98.00 Annual & The Benefits? Don’t Cover it, At All. Sorry, My Vent for the Day.

Dean Brittain
Dean Brittain
2 months ago

After seeing an episode of Huckabee, I heard Mike comment that people have asked him about charity. He said he gives good tips to services people provided to him because he knows exactly who is getting the tips. I have family members who are bartending and waiters. I like what Mike said and now tip higher than 30%, the smaller the bill, the bigger the tip.

johnh
johnh
2 months ago

Have a question, if I pay for meal with a credit card & add 10% tip at bottom then does that server get that tip, the owner, or is it split between all waiters? Is is better to pay with card & then tip waiter with cash? Also, I have read that IRS expects this waiter staff to pay taxes on some percent of their wages and is that true?

Nilda R
Nilda R
2 months ago

So I did not tip on a pizza pick-up at Papa John’s and then I regretted it bc I was sure they would spit on my take-out! Why tip on take out? This is gouging!

Johnny Moore
Johnny Moore
2 months ago

I’ve been arguing this ever since it first went to 15%. As the price of food rises, the amount of a tip automatically increases. A 10% tip on a 10.00 meal purchase is 1.00. A 10% tip on the same meal that now costs 25.00 is 2.50. I’ve had low-paying jobs that received no tips. I. e. ditch diggers don’t get tips, but somehow they are forced to do so.

Wayne Peterkin
Wayne Peterkin
2 months ago

When I was young many years ago, waitstaff in a restaurant were exempt from minimum wages and were paid very little by the employer. They were expected to make the bulk of their income from tips. I have asked before, without an answer, whether that is still true. If waitstaff are now paid the minimum wage or more, tips are not necessary at all. But if they are still exempt from the minimum wage, then tips may still make up the bulk of their income.Until I know, we continue to tip in the 18 – 20% range if service is decent and friendly. One downside of not tipping at a restaurant you commonly frequent is the service may decline badly once you are identified as a miser. We never tip for fast food or other services except, maybe, a bellboy at a hotel.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

Papa Murphy’s and Firehouse Subs are the only ones I’ve noticed with a tip scale when you pay out. The ones I hate are the charity requests which either round up to the nearest dollar or ask for donations; Best Buy and Petsmart I’ve seen do this. They collect then get the credit for the donation!

Jerry
Jerry
2 months ago

In a restaurant I will typically tip a server 10 or 20% if they do a good job. I hear that restaurants usually pay servers low wages maybe 4 or 5 dollars per hour and expect them to make up the difference in tips. I don’t know if this is true.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago

Is the “Donate Now” button above a request for a “tip”? If so, I still believe that a tip is an extra for a job well done!

KLO
KLO
1 month ago

We don’t tip when asked for one. We just glare back at the offensive individual that believes they “deserve” one. If they question, and they have, we just say, “Tell me why. You’re already making $20 an hour doing an entry level job, that will soon be replaced by a machine. You make more than I do. No. I don’t tip for you to just perform your job.”

Lelia
Lelia
2 months ago

Tipping has become Americans paying salaries for certain workers and a business pocketing profits turned from offering low paying jobs. If an employer, such as a restaurant owner, can’t afford to pay employees a fair salary, they should close the doors. My pet peeve is occasions where I am expected to put a tip on a service that I haven’t even received yet. If tipping is a reward for service, how can I know what kind of service I am going to receive in the future. It is very possible that once this “employee” receives the tip, they are going to revert to mediocre service. I read an article the other day that said that if Americans couldn’t afford to tip a minimum of 20% in a restaurant, they should stay home. Don’t mind telling you that this really struck a nerve. In many cases, an employee is expected to turn tips into the employer who keeps or redistributes the tip money according to their whim. And the idea that I should tip the kid that makes a decent, part time wage to stick their arm out a window with a sack of food dangling from it, takes me over the top. It isn’t going to happen. Just do your job and I will make the determination if the service you gave deserves praise in the form of a tip. The “tip” scale has far outreached raises given to the American worker. We are close to the point where workers should be tipping us for showing up.

Jeff
Jeff
2 months ago

So many of the checkout systems prompt for tips or a gratuity for service. I will provide a gratuity for dine in service where the wait staff is paid at a rate where the tip is earned. Simply adding a tip to get a cup of coffee where the staff is being psid st nontip wages and is receiving pay over and above minimum wage is ridiculous.

Mike Kapic
Mike Kapic
2 months ago

Inflation increases and then settles and then increases again, repeating. It is caused by the government. The government also sets the minimum wage in each state. And that seems to be following the inflation curve in going up to the point where a tip is not required or necessary as it once was. Servers make as much or more than I do. My boss doesn’t tip me. Why should I tip when the server is being paid a good wage today compared to 15-20 years ago? Tipping has become passe.

Neal M Christensen
Neal M Christensen
2 months ago

The acronym TIPS used to mean To Insure Prompt Service and was paid up front.

Dennis Selby
Dennis Selby
2 months ago

I will tip staff who personally provide me with excellent or exceptional service, and I always tip in cash. Especially wait staff. While I often use a debit card, I do not trust businesses to pass on tips to their employees. I have worked as a service provider in the past and know how important it was to have a little extra money at the end of my shift.

Paul Romano
Paul Romano
2 months ago

The thing about tipping is to use common sense. The people receiving the tip for the most part work very hard for the service they provide. Bankrate.com and realsimple.com have 2023 articles regarding tipping guidelines. The two links are: bankrate.com/personal-finance/how-much-to-tip/ and realsimple.com/work-life/money/money-etiquette/tipping-etiquette-guide

Darlene
Darlene
2 months ago

I have started carrying cash again. About every 10 days or so, I go to my bank and get some cash. Pretty hard to suggest a top if there is no screen. I have a safe place to keep some of my cash at home. That way I don’t have to go to the bank very often. Works for me.

California Gulag Prisoner
California Gulag Prisoner
2 months ago

My problem with the machines telling you how much tip to pay? The tip is supposed to be calculated ONLY on the cost of the food BEFORE tax. But if you look at the “suggested” tips, it is always based on the total bill amount.

Melinda
Melinda
2 months ago

I don’t like traveling, so I refuse to go on guilt trips! I only tip what I think is fair for service received, usually 15-20%. They can suggest all they want, and if a place has mandatory tipping, I won’t go there.

DBM
DBM
2 months ago

The minimum wage rate (Federal Fair Labor Standards Act) for employees in restaurants is $2.13 per hour. In some states it is higher, but many states (15 in fact) use that minimum to pay their employees. These employees depend on tips to make a decent living. Note that $2.13 per hour results in an annual income of $4,260 per year (assuming the standard 2000 hour work year). So to those who choose not to tip in a restaurant, my response is: try living on $4,260 per year.

Trending News

time is short

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

65
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games