Guess What Stores With Self-Service Checkouts Want From You Now

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Self-service checkout stands were first introduced by big box retailers like Wal-Mart. You know, the ones where we customers unhappily perform the tasks of the retailers for free while being closely monitored both online and in person, and all without receiving even a single discount or a fulfilling personal interaction? Now, however, thanks to the Biden economy, forcing and guilting customers into adding unearned tips to their total is the newest trend at eateries and shops with self-service checkouts.

Dear Reader, I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a time when tipping was directly related to the caliber of the service received. A higher tip was given in exchange for better service, but the service element had to be present. Today, not so. When did the straightforward act of purchasing a good turn into a service? And it’s much more perplexing when a customer visits the store, locates and gets the item off the shelf, takes it to the register, scans the item, and then bags it by himself. Exactly where in that transaction is the service? When none exists, why is a gratuity still expected?

The New York Post reports that several companies assert “these tipping prompts are completely optional, and the extra gratuity is split between all employees.” However, in practice, “tips at a self-checkout machine might never even get to an actual employee since the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s protections to tipped workers don’t extend to machines.”

This form of tipping is, without a doubt, nothing more than a flagrant attempt by businesses to boost income, not to commend outstanding service. Costs are rising, taxes are rising, and consumer inflation is rising all the time.

Granted, the businesses could disable this new tip coercion at self-service checkouts if they truly wanted to, but do they? No, most companies rely on the pressure consumers feel to behave morally and avoid being viewed as scrooges, even when no service has been provided. “Tip creep,” as it’s known, has been found to prompt “customers to leave higher tips in transactional situations,” and self-checkouts are seen “as a way to guilt-trip the person into tipping on something when they typically wouldn’t.”

Even if the majority of people in the United States have charitable attitudes, I feel like a culture where “everyone gets a trophy” prevails when it comes to tipping. It is also a relic from the time of the epidemic when individuals sought to be charitable in order to assist businesses in continuing to operate and workers in maintaining their employment.

According to a statement made by a former busboy named Bryan Reilly, who is now 24 years old and hails from Massapequa on Long Island, “It feels like it’s becoming my responsibility to make up for their workers being paid so little.” This ‘tip everywhere’ thing is getting extremely out of hand.”

Buyers beware. Don’t feel pushed to tip when it is not appropriate and always review your receipts.


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