tip & baristas

do you leave one?

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Tipping is more confusing than ever. In some countries, tipping is looked down upon. Here in America, it’s looked down upon if you don’t tip or if you leave a “bad” tip but shouldn’t a tip correlate with the service you received? Let’s face it, times have changed. Americans got used to tipped and settled on some basic rules.

Basic Rules

  • $1-2/bag for skycaps, bellhops, doormen, and parking valets if they handle bags, $1 per coat for coatroom attendants, $1 per diner at buffets, $2-5 per night for housekeeper, $5-10 for concierge (only if they arranged tickets or reservations), $1-3 per bag for grocery loaders (not in all areas of the US). Doormen who merely open doors are not tipped, unless they call a cab or provide another service. Parking valets are paid upon pick-up $3-5, depending upon much effort is required to retrieve a vehicle.
  • For waiters at sit-down restaurants, bartenders, barbers/hairdressers/attendants at beauty salons, taxi drivers, tour guides, and food delivery folks, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren’t totally happy, 15% usually means all was acceptable, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding. 15-20 percent is considered standard in most communities.
  • For ski instructors, tipping 15 percent for adult groups and 10 percent for private clients is pretty standard.

In addition to all of the other “rules” we have to keep straight, there is potential for another to be added: Baristas. As a former barista of a mom and pop-shop, it was more an accustomed norm to receive tips. At my coffee shop, we didn’t rely on tips we had a normal wage.

Last week, Starbucks released a new App where you have a digital tipping option. Because the payment system is handled digitally, customers can tip the Starbucks barista up to two hours after buying a drink. Instead of tipping before tasting their cappuccino, users now have more than enough time to decide if the beverage merits a tip. The system will push out a tip notification after each eligible transaction.

Of course, I tip my barista every so often, but I don’t make it a frequent thing. Now that a tipping option is added to my iPhone App, I don’t see why it would make me more willing to tip them.

I want to hear you thoughts! How do you feel about the option to tip on your app? Is this taking the power of tipping too far? By adding a tipping feature, is this pushing tips to be more of a requirement rather than optional?