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$3 Tip On A $4 Cup Of Coffee? Gratuities Grow, Automatically

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http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/business/dollar3-tip-on-a-dollar4-cup-of-coffee-gratuities-grow-automatically.html?ref=business&_r=0

The flat white coffee drink was $4. A suggested tip was $3.

The cashier at Café Grumpy, a New York City coffeehouse, swiped the credit card, then whirled the screen of her iPad sales device around to face the customer. “Add a tip,” the screen commanded, listing three options: $1, $2 or $3.

In other words: 25 percent, 50 percent or 75 percent of the bill.

There was a “no tip” and a “customize tip” button, too, but neither seemed particularly inviting as the cashier looked on. Under that pressure, the middle choice — $2 — seemed easiest.

American consumers are feeling a bit of tip creep.

Leaving 15 percent for full service (the former standard tip at a sit-down restaurant), and less for quick transactions, is considered chintzy by some people. “We recommend 20 percent absolutely,” said Peter Post, managing director of the Emily Post Institute, which offers guidelines in etiquette.

The very concept of tipping is expanding beyond the service industry, with new platforms that enable Internet content creators to receive Bitcoin tips that reward their creativity rather than a simple thumbs up (or “Like”).

A $3 tip for a $4 cup of coffee!!!! WTF.

I wonder if they would sell the coffee for $6 or $7 and skip the tip???

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I will happily give someone a tip for a cup of coffee but where is the option to swipe to f off. They shouldn't ask for it, it's not a tip otherwise, is it?

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Everytime I read about tipping culture in the US, I a) feel a bit reticent about visiting there and B) worry that it will make further inroads over here.

The interesting thing is (for me) is that typically, the workers who depend on it seemingly advocate it over the (again IMHO) more sensible and straightforward proper wages from their employer for the job they are doing. From what I've read, most have the genuine belief that if tipping was outlawed, or went back to being genuinely optional, they would lose out massively.

Equally, the US consumer in general is in favour, because their perception is that they get better service under the system - i.e. the server works 'harder' to give them their time, expediate the arrival of their order etc.

I'd be interested to know if people who have lived both here and there find it a better system overall.

But yeah, even $4 for a cup of coffee is insane to me :). For full disclosure, I tip between 10-20% in restaurants over here, depending on how good the service is, and whether I got a groupon or something. But really, I tip simply because I know that the poor server is probably working for minimum wage, and I find the nominal value of £6.31 per/hour to be absolutely abhorrent. It is to me corporate welfare, but I find it difficult to punish the poor sod working for the system they find themselves in.

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Must be missing something here as I have used Starbucks and other similiar brands in the US and there is no pressure to tip anything. Ask for drink, drink is delivered tender note change is given. I think they have a box or something on the counter to drop a dollar or two in but there as I say there is no compulsion to do so.

McDonalds is absolutely, typically American you don't leave tips there when ordering.

Have noticed in the last few years though that self service coffee machines in cafe/retail premises is taking off big time. Tim Hortons pioneered it in Canada and it seems to be rolling out everywhere now.

As night follows day expect it to take hold over here in due course.

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These days in the UK it's getting almost impossible to get to the cafe to buy a coffee never mind give a tip due to the blanket parking restrictions then there's the parking charges on top.

Some garages have a Costa coffee machine for when you get your fuel but to be fair they don't have the same atmosphere.

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The interesting thing is (for me) is that typically, the workers who depend on it seemingly advocate it over the (again IMHO) more sensible and straightforward proper wages from their employer for the job they are doing. From what I've read, most have the genuine belief that if tipping was outlawed, or went back to being genuinely optional, they would lose out massively.

I had a friend who was a waiter in a cheap restaurant in Florida. He said, on a good night, he could go home with a few hundred dollars in tips; individuals wouldn't leave large tips, but with multiple tables, fast service and high customer turnover, it added up fast.

Plus, of course, it was all cash, so I doubt many of them paid tax on it beyond the amount required to not get audited.

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According to my sister who has lived in the US for ages, wages for waiting staff are typically so low - IIRC relatively considerably lower than min wage levels here - that they have to rely on tips. She says many people deplore the system but they can't see it ever changing - it's too entrenched.

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Barmen in the US earn almost nothing in wages. My pals and I worked there years ago and we were literally paid nothing ( there is no minimum wage - they just 'pay' you the bare minimum to cover tax etc..)

So after buying a bottle of beer in Manhattan for $6 - that the bar owner gets for $1 in bulk - you are expected to pay a dollar direct to the server as their salary. Its a ******ing piss take.

I once had a barman literally throw a dollar note back at me - because one was apparently not acceptable. I had smile ony face after as knowing the US - he will do it to the wrong bloke one day and get a bullet in the face. Hopefully already :)

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I thought 15% was customary for US restaurants (or 20% after taking off tax and drinks). The system in the US is confusing. They seem to want tips for everything (e.g. a doorman holding a door for you) and it's annoying having to make sure you have a stack of 1's to tip the cleaner every day. They should just pay their staff better (I believe they're taxed on the assumption of receiving a set amount of tips whether they get them or not).

My friends from the far east barely ever tip at restaurants in London (and I've seen a japanese restaurant that states that they will reject any tip you give them as it is uncustomary and give it to charity).

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Guest Jemmy Button

Im not a fan of expected tipping, but during the time I spent in Texas the staff in restaurants and fast food places were very helpful and cheerful.

And so should be paid a good wage...without all this tipping ******.

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10-15% is 'normal' for most of the world, but I understand that 25% is typical in the US. I wouldn't object to 25%, if goods and services were correspondingly cheaper to relect low staff wages. I think it is businesses who are taking the p***, not the low-paid staff.

$4 for a coffee? That's 'only' £2.60. My local coffee shops charge more than that, and I don't live in Manhattan.

Waitrose serves free coffee to customers... for the moment

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I find the whole tipping being the rule rather than the exception thing pretty objectionable and have no doubt left people feeling insulted the few times I've been to the States (didn't go as high as 20% IIRC). Pay a decent wage to begin with and don't expect more just because you're in a job that happens to directly face customers.

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Tipping is expected most everywhere. It is pretty much the UK which is out of step with the rest of the World.

US waiting staff have to pay their tax up front on self assessment (pretty much like self employed here) 2 payments a year a catch up on what is owed at the end of the year and a payment towards the following years at the half way point. Sometimes they don't make the figures they declare and overpay tax. Unlike here I don't think there is a mechanism where they can get overpaid tax back.

Just another symptom of the Capitalist giant of America. Why pay your staff a decent wage when you can develop a culture where your customers will do it for you.....

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Everytime I read about tipping culture in the US, I a) feel a bit reticent about visiting there and B) worry that it will make further inroads over here.

Depends on how thick skinned you are, on a recent trip I tipped based on the English system, if I didn't think it was worth a tip I didn't give one. I won't be going back to any of the places I ate at so no real skin of my nose. If people continue to go along with it things won't change.

I don't think it will make inroads over here.

I'd also say the famed American service culture was seriously lacking IMO, a bit like the US in general if it is there at all (which I would have said it wasn't) it was rather superficial.

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I'd also say the famed American service culture was seriously lacking IMO, a bit like the US in general if it is there at all (which I would have said it wasn't) it was rather superficial.

The worst thing is having 'service' forced upon you when you don't want it. Some doormen virtually wrestle your suitcase out of your hand to put it in the taxi and then expect a tip for it.

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The worst thing is having 'service' forced upon you when you don't want it. Some doormen virtually wrestle your suitcase out of your hand to put it in the taxi and then expect a tip for it.

Had that in a hotel, we were checking out but still had most of the day in the city so wanted to leave bags, they had a stupid system where you took your bag to reception and then back up a couple of levels, from what I could tell simply to get a couple of other tips. Of course one tip wasn't enough, you needed one tip to get the bag up and then another to get it down again. From my perspective giving a tip is for doing a good job, in that case only when the bag is back with me is the job complete.

Although the worst example was in Egypt, a tip for the bloke who puts the bag on the trolley which was then pushed by another bloke expecting a tip, the bags were then off loaded and put in to the bus by somebody else who wanted a tip and then at the other end somebody else getting the bag off wanted one. Don't go to the toilet in the airport either as it's then paper hand towels with menace.

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My experience of US tipping is first: it's gone up by 5% every time I go there, and second, it's bribery - you tip the waiters generously and in return they give you stuff you didn't order, the loser being the business.

Americans are surprisingly fluid on price. In a Subway in New York I ordered a sandwich coming to around $9, they guy said, "Just give me a dollar," I said no and gave him a $10 bill (don't want to be party to robbing the business) and he gave me $5 change. And that is just one example of many. What can you do?

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