Woman sparks debate about ‘pressure to tip’ on iPad check-outs: ‘Tipping culture is getting out of hand’

·3-min read
Woman sparks debate about ‘pressure to tip’ on iPad check-outs: ‘Tipping culture is getting out of hand’

A woman has sparked a debate about tipping after acknowledging the “awkward” pressure that comes with the practise.

Aubrey, who goes by the username @aubreygracep on TikTok, uploaded a video about the “pressure to tip” last week, in which she reenacted a barista asking a customer to tip via an iPad screen presented at check-out.

“The iced chai will be $6.49. Enter your card and it will ask you a few little prompts here,” Aubrey said in the video, as she turned an iPad with the options 15 per cent, 20 per cent and 25 percent displayed on the screen towards her friend.

Aubrey’s friend then played the customer role, with the TikToker about to press the “no tip” option as Aubrey hovered over the screen to watch.

“Umm,” the “customer” continued as her finger hovered over the 15 per cent option before ultimately clicking the 25 per cent choice to add a $4.08 tip to the order.

“The pressure to tip,” Aubrey wrote in a text caption on the video, before adding in the caption: “The awkward moment when they can see what you’re tipping.”

The TikTok reenactment of the increasingly common encounter has since been viewed more than 1.6m times, with viewers debating tipping culture, and the introduction of iPads into the tipping equation, in the comments.


The awkward moment when they can see what you’re tipping #squarereader #tip #tipping #baristatok

♬ original sound - AubreyGrace

“I used to feel so awkward but now I just hit the ‘no tip’ and walk away,” one person commented.

Another said: “Been on both ends of this situation, it’s awkward either way.”

“One time the iPad asked: ‘This order has no tip. Are you sure you want to continue?’” someone else recalled.

The video prompted others to share their experiences being asked to tip on services that one wouldn’t normally include gratuity for, such as clothes shopping.

“The worst is at self-serve frozen yoghurt places lol,” one person commented, while someone else said: “I was clothes shopping at a boutique the other day and it asked for a tip! For a shirt I picked out myself!”

“It was asking for a tip at a literal self-checkout at the airport,” someone else revealed.

Others acknowledged that it is rare for the iPad to include a 15 per cent option, as many coffee shops now offer customers the option to tip 20 per cent, 25 per cent or higher.

“My local coffee shop goes 20 per cent, 30 per cent, 35 per cent,” one viewer said, while someone else joked: “Options really be like 25 per cent, 49 per cent, and your neck paycheque.”

While some viewers were critical about the pressures associated with tipping, others acknowledged that workers such as baristas rely on tips.

“I know it’s a joke but these people are just trying to do their job. Often they don’t get a say what comes up on the screen,” one person pointed out.

Another said: “The sucky thing is, companies should be paying their employees more. Instead baristas have to rely on tips to earn a living wage. So yes, please tip.”

According to etiquette expert Emily Post, tipping etiquette recommends customers give servers an extra 15 to 20 per cent, while tips for delivery can range from 10 to 15 per cent of the bill.

While tip amounts increased in the beginning of the pandemic, a recent survey found that tipping in certain categories has since fallen below pre-pandemic levels, according to The Hill. Four per cent of customers surveyed even revealed that they never tip.

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