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Spread of 'Tipflation' into Everyday Transactions Sparks Debate on Fairness and Social Etiquette

Tipping in restaurants in fine but now tipping requests are getting out of hand!
Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok
Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok

If you've been out shopping lately, you might have noticed something new popping up more often: places asking for tips. It's not just at restaurants or when you get a haircut anymore. Now, even when you buy things online or pick up clothes at a store, they might ask if you want to leave a tip.

In 2023, tipping has become a common practice in food service almost everywhere you go. Even at small takeout places, customers are often presented with options to tip on a screen, while the cashier watches. This change has been influenced by two main factors: the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of touch-screen devices for payment.

These days, leaving a tip is expected in various food-related settings, like fast-food spots, food trucks, and even at places like farmers' markets. It's become so widespread that even activities like strawberry picking might involve tipping requests. For instance, Ted Rossman from shared a story about his family's strawberry picking outing where he was asked for a tip when making a reservation, which left him wondering why a tip was necessary.

Before the pandemic, tipping was mostly seen as a way to reward servers in restaurants where they relied on tips for their income. Outside of those settings, tipping was less common, usually limited to tip jars, but recently it became more of an issue where employees ask for tips even for the smallest of the services. 

This growing trend is being called "tipflation." It's like how prices for things go up over time, but instead of prices, it's about tipping. So now, people are being asked to tip more often, and sometimes, the amounts they're asked to tip are higher than before.

Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok
Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok

Some folks have shared some pretty surprising stories about it. One person said they almost ended up tipping way more than they meant to because the payment tablet they were using had a super high tip already added on. Another person talked about feeling awkward when a barista seemed to expect a tip, even though all they ordered was a drink and a snack. And then there's this wild tale about someone being asked to tip on a simple greeting card purchase!

Image Source:
Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok

In a video that lots of people watched, a TikTok user named Izzy talked about her experience with all this tipping stuff. She has trouble seeing, so she needs help from store workers to use those payment tablets. Izzy said it's especially awkward when they ask her if she wants to tip because sometimes she's not sure if she should or not.

Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok
Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok

While Izzy doesn't mind tipping in places where it's usual, like at restaurants, she finds all these extra tipping requests uncomfortable. She thinks it's important for her to have the choice to tip or not, but sometimes, the way it's asked for makes things awkward for everyone.

People in the comments of Izzy's video shared their own stories too. One person who used to work in a store said they would quickly skip the tipping screen for customers who needed help. Another person talked about accidentally tipping more than they meant to because the options on the screen were confusing.

Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok
Image Source: izzybayleaf | TikTok

The Daily Dot, a news website, tried to get in touch with Izzy through Instagram to hear more about her experience. This shows that people are really interested in understanding what's going on with all this tipping stuff and how it affects different people.