4 Views on Tipping on Those Tablets at the Counter

When do you tip?

How much do you tip?

Most of us have asked these questions at some point in our life. And the answers vary. You have your suggested amount, and I have mine (err on the side of generosity).

But now we have a new wrinkle in the tipping conversation—The proliferation of tablet payment systems.

The scenario often plays out like this—The customer goes to make a payment at the counter. The person behind the counter takes the customer’s card, initiates the payment process, and, before returning the card, swings the tablet around. The customer now has a screen in front of them, asking about a tip. There are usually a few pre-selected options—10%, 15%, 20%, or No Tip. And now everyone in line behind you and the employee in  front of you is watching your selection.

No pressure.

There are various views on the rise of tipping on a tablet at counters. I recently ran a poll on Twitter. The question simply asked, “Do you tip when prompted by a tablet at the counter?” Here are the results:

Always— 24%

Often— 33%

Rarely— 29%

Never— 14%

How do people take to tipping on a tablet at the counter? Here are four views I’ve seen:

  1. I hate it. Some simply can’t stand the setup. They hate the awkwardness and pressure they feel when the tablet screen is flipped around. They feel like they have to tip at a time when they don’t deem tipping necessary (All they did was give me a cup of black coffee). They also get irritated at how it can increase the price of relatively cheap items (You want me to leave a $2 tip for a $2 cup of coffee?). They hate it, and are less likely to tip.
  2. I would rather not have to deal with them. With this crew, the level of hatred towards the tablets doesn’t rise to the same level as the first group. However, they still don’t like them. The feeling of awkwardness hits them when the tablet is turned, but they endure and press the buttons quickly to get it over with. Most of the time, they avoid eye contact with the person behind the counter, press No Tip, and leave.
  3. I can understand it. This group isn’t necessarily huge fans of the tablets, but see the ask as reasonable. They often put themselves in the business owner’s shoes. They see it as a way to increase employee compensation without increasing product costs. And they can deal with that. Who knows, they might make the same decision if they owned the business. So they often include a tip, usually choosing one of the lower suggested amounts.
  4. I am for it. This group usually views the employees as being underpaid, and they are eager to help. They have no issue when the tablet screen turns their way because they are going to tip. They choose one of the tip options, smile at the employee, turn the tablet back around, and give a nod to those in line as they exit the store.

So what about you? How do you feel about these tablets (and their tipping screen) that are showing up on counters across America? Place your comments below.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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