Starbucks rolled out a new tip system that allows customers to recognize their favorite baristas by giving them credit or debit card tips.
However, the minor change has caused a lot of online commotion among Starbucks customers and employees.
"I've literally been pressing 'no tip' before giving them the card reader because I really don't want to ask them to tip," says one TikTok user who may work at Starbucks.
But one barista, @yassimodo, on TikTok, went viral after uploading a cautionary tale about what happens when an employee hits "no tip" on a touchscreen at Starbucks.
The post has struck a chord with 71,000 views and has been shared over 14.8K times.
"The amount of baristas on here saying that they just hit the no tip button before handing out the card reader, that's scary," says @yassimodo.
He continues: "First of all, my loves, that's fireable. You can't touch the screen at all. It was in the training."
The video has over 500 comments with views on the new tipping system at Starbucks
One person wrote: "As a customer I have been WAITING for Starbucks to add card tips! Y'all deserve all the tips!"
Another added: "I don't want customers to feel pressured, so I say "it'll ask you a question, you're free to skip past it, and would you like a receipt today?"
However, others asked why employees would stop someone from giving a tip?
One person wrote: "My barista today straight up said, "it's going to ask you if you want to tip but just hit no" um ma'am? Are you okay?"
Starbucks' new tipping system and how it works
Where tipping in sit-down restaurants is standard, it's not so typical for fast-casual or retail employees.
The new tipping system adds tips on its point-of-sale system (POS), including for drive-thru orders.
When a customer places an order, the new tipping system asks for a tip, and baristas need to explain to the customer how to tip or decline tipping for their order.
According to this TikToker, pressing the 'no tip' option is against the company's POS protocol, which states that employees are not allowed to touch the screen while accepting payments.
The reason why employees are forbidden to touch the screen, @yassimodo says: "Cause even on the camera it's gonna like, they, how do they know you're not adding a tip?"
How technology made it easier to tip — but more people feel pressured to do so
Tipping can be awkward for both the tipper and the recipient.
Why do some Starbucks employees feel 'undue stress' about asking for tips on a touchscreen?
Unlike writing a tip on a receipt or putting it in a tip jar, tip-by-tablet transactions are public affairs. You must publicly declare your generosity or cheapness to servers and other customers.
According to Professor Zhu of Johns Hopkins, asking customers to tip can encourage some people to do so.
He tells Vox that this practice can be especially beneficial when a business transaction has already occurred.
The post explains the psychology behind tipping on touchscreens:
"The tip prompts are also designed to push the customer into not just leaving a tip, but leaving an amount that the business "suggests." Businesses can set those suggested amounts, which is why one place might go with something like 10 percent, 15 percent, and 20 percent, while another might do 20 percent, 25 percent, and 30 percent. They can also request dollar amounts instead of percentages, or enable "smart tipping," which switches from percentages to dollar amounts if a purchase is under a certain threshold. That's how you might get a suggestion to leave an extra $3 for a $3.75 chocolate croissant, which is effectively an 80 percent tip."
Twenty-six percent of people tip more when suggesting an amount on a machine, according to a recent survey conducted by CreditCards.com.
As of November 28, 2022, there were 15,812 Starbucks stores across the country, with the most stores in California (3054), Texas (1316), and Florida (826).
Being asked to tip on a tablet or POS had gained popularity over the past couple of years, but 2020 created a new, pressing need for fast, relatively contact-free payment options.
During this time, people were also more willing to tip for services they didn't tip for before, like carryout orders at restaurants, food deliveries, or quick service restaurants.
The tip request on a touchscreen from Starbucks adds even more debate on the topic because there's an element of control in place.
Now we're back in an era where people are expected to see the service before paying. Still, people find themselves in situations where they need to tip people who are not accustomed to tips.
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Disclaimer: This article is only for educational and informational purposes.