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Tip A Self-Service Kiosk? How To Deal With The Many Requests For Tips

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If you feel that you’re being asked to tip more often, you’re not alone.

Most American adults say tipping is expected in more places than it was five years ago, a recent survey from the Pew Research Center found.

Once limited mainly to sit-down restaurants, hotel bellhop services and taxi rides, invitations to tip — with suggested amounts — now appear on checkout touch screens in more places, including casual restaurants without table service, mobile food trucks, delivery apps and even self-service kiosks.

“People used to feel there was a line,” said Ismail Karabas, an assistant professor of marketing at Murray State University in Kentucky who has studied tipping. “It’s a lot more blurred, and it throws people off. Where do we stop?”

A survey published in June by the financial website Bankrate found that two-thirds of Americans had a negative view of tipping, while about one-third felt that tipping culture was “out of control.”

Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate, said that what was meant to be a gesture of gratitude or a reward for good service, felt increasingly like a surcharge. “The constant asks are rubbing people the wrong way,” he said.

Mr. Rossman recalled encountering a tip screen this year at a self-checkout station at Newark Liberty International Airport. He was also taken aback when asked to tip at a pick-your-own strawberry farm. (He did, he said, because his wife was in favor of doing so.)

“It’s becoming more of the exception not to be asked to tip,” he said.

Replacing the old-fashioned tip jar, new digital payment systems have made it easy for businesses to ask customers for tips electronically.

Michael Lynn, a professor of services marketing at Cornell University who has studied tipping, said people often leave gratuities for social approval, from the service provider or from fellow customers.

So for some, it can feel awkward to tap “other amount” or “no tip” on a payment screen if they feel that the employee or others in line are watching. Under those circumstances, he said, people can feel coerced to tip, or guilty if they opt-out.

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This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.