Random self-checkout kiosks are asking customers for tips. Here’s what you need to know:
Self-checkout machines are everywhere these days – airports, fast-food joints, cafes, even local stadiums. Despite their widespread presence, many consumers haven’t fully embraced them as a replacement for living-breathing cashiers. So, imagine the surprise when they find out these machines are now requesting additional compensation for doing its job.
According to The Wall Street Journal, there has been a steady rise in self-checkout kiosks along with adverse reactions to the bold tip prompts. According to the source, customers expressed frustration when prompted to tip employees with whom they had minimal or no interaction at all.
The report interviewed a half dozen customers around the US. Some people were happy to oblige when asked to pay the extra fees. However, the majority said the tip cues were not only confusing but alarming. Many consumers are left wondering where their hard-earned cash was going.
One customer purchased a beer using a self-service beer fridge in San Diego’s Petco Park. The Journal reported that the customer was taken aback when asked to add a tip to his order.
“I was confused, because it wasn’t entirely clear who I was tipping,” he told the Journal. He also tells the outlet that he ended up adding a 20% tip anyway.
Later, a spokesperson for the stadium shared that all tips went to employees.
Another traveler was prompted to include a 10% or 20% tip on a $6 bottle of water at an OTG gift shop in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. The customer tells the Journal that when he was asked, it felt like “emotional blackmail.” This customer, however, opted out of tipping.
An OTG spokesperson informed the news outlet that all collected tip money was evenly distributed among the staff members working during that specific shift.
Tipping remains a controversial topic in the country as Americans deal with what is commonly known as “tipping fatigue.” This recurring phenomenon persists because businesses continue to prompt consumers for tips in situations that may not always warrant them. When you factor in inflation, it often leaves customers frustrated, as they dislike being instructed on how generously they should part with their hard-earned money.
Even landlords have caused quite the stir as they use platforms like TikTok to make a case for gratuity to be added onto rent. It has also been reported that the first unionized Apple store in Maryland is also working towards introducing the first tipping system the company has seen.
Nevertheless, customers haven’t ceased tipping. According to a spokesperson from the payment platform Block, total tips received by full-service and quick-service restaurants increased by 16.5% and 15.86%, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2022 when compared to the same period in 2021. It’s important to note that this data encompasses all tips received, not just those from self-service kiosks.
What’s your take on the tipping crisis? Do you think asking for tips at self-checkout kiosks crosses the line between excessive and necessary?