Are requests for advice getting out of hand? Many consumers say yes.


Around the country, there is a silent frustration with an age-old practice that many say is getting out of hand: the dip.

Some bored consumers are posting social media frenzies others say they’re tired of leaving a gift for a muffin or a simple cup of coffee at their neighborhood bakery. What will happen next, they wonder – will we tell our doctors and dentists?

As more businesses adopt digital payment methods, customers are automatically asked to leave a premium — many times up to 30% — where they wouldn’t normally ask. Some say they are more upset with the rise in prices of goods due to inflation. 6.5% annual rate in December but still remains painfully high.

“They’re talking about 18% gift already credited. Girl, that’s water,” one person said. He recently said on TikTok.

Label expert Thomas Farley, who thinks the whole thing is a bit of an “invasion”, says: “Suddenly every business we come across has these screens. They’re popping up online for online orders too. And I’m afraid there’s no end to it.” .”

Social pressure from the screen

Unlike tip jars, which shoppers can easily ignore if they don’t have spare change, experts say digital cravings can create social pressure and are harder to bypass. Your generosity, or lack thereof, can be revealed to anyone close enough to see the screen, including the employees themselves.

Dylan Schenker is one of them. The 38-year-old earns about $400 a month in tips, a useful supplement to her $15-an-hour salary as a barista at a Philadelphia cafe inside a restaurant. Most of these tips come from consumers who order coffee drinks or contact the cafe for other things such as order fulfillment. The allowance helps pay her monthly rent and eases some of her burden while she juggles graduate school and her job.

Schenker says it’s hard to sympathize with consumers who can afford expensive coffee drinks but complain about the price hike. It’s often frustrating when people don’t add anything, especially if they’re regulars.

“It’s about making sure that the people who are doing the service for you are paying their bills,” says Schenker, who has been in the service industry for about 18 years. But he added that it is primarily up to the employer to ensure that workers receive fair wages.

“The greater responsibility should definitely be on the owners, but it doesn’t change overnight,” he said. “And it’s the best we’ve got right now.”

Traditionally, consumers have prided themselves on being good tippers at places like restaurants, which typically pay their employees less than minimum wage, to make up the difference in expected tips. According to the Labor Department, wages for restaurant workers vary widely from state to state, with some states capping the hourly wage at $2.13 an hour.

But scientists who research the topic say many consumers are now annoyed by automated requests for baggage at coffee shops and other counter-service eateries. minimum wage and service is usually limited.

“People don’t like unsolicited advice,” said Ismail Karabas, a marketing professor at Murray State University. “They don’t like being asked anything, especially at the wrong time.”

“It makes you feel bad”

Some of the requests may come from strange places. Clarissa Moore, 35, a supervisor at a utility company in Pennsylvania, said even her mortgage company has been asking for tips lately. Typically, he is happy to leave a gift at restaurants, sometimes coffee shops and other fast-food places when the service is good.

However, Moore said he believes consumers shouldn’t be asked to tip everywhere they go, and it shouldn’t be expected of them.

“It makes you feel bad. You feel like you have to do it because they want you to,” he said. “But then you have to think about the position that puts people in. They pay for something they don’t really want to pay for, or they tip when they don’t really want to tip — or they might ‘not be able to tip’ — because they don’t want to feel bad.”

In Emily Post’s Etiquette, authors Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning advise consumers to tip on ride shares such as Uber and Lyft, as well as on food and beverages, including alcohol. But they also write that it’s up to everyone to decide how much to tip at a cafe or food service, and consumers shouldn’t be embarrassed or obliged to give an explanation for choosing the lowest tip offered. themselves if they don’t tip.

Digital payment methods have been around for several years, though experts say the pandemic has accelerated the trend toward more remittances. Michael Linn, a professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University, said consumers were more generous with tips to support restaurants and other businesses in the early days of the pandemic. He was hit hard by COVID-19. Lynn said many people genuinely wanted to help and sympathized with workers in jobs that made them more susceptible to the virus.

“It’s a relatively new phenomenon,” said Dipayan Biswas, a marketing and business professor at the University of South Florida. This was reported to the CBS Philadelphia TV channel.

Professor Biswas has been studying betting for ten years. Like Cornell’s Lynn, he says this new pivot started with the boom in digital kiosks, then the pandemic “fueled that fire,” plus inflation and more businesses allowing tips to make things more profitable at your expense.

“I see it becoming more widespread,” Biswas said.

Bigger tips at restaurants

According to Square, one of the largest companies operating digital payment methods, tips at full-service restaurants increased 25.3% in the third quarter of 2022, while payments at quick or counter-service restaurants increased 16% compared to the same period in 2021. increased by 7%. . The data provided by the company shows continuous growth for the same period since 2019.

As requests for tips become more common, some businesses advertise it in their job postings to attract more employees, even though the extra money isn’t always guaranteed.

Danny Meyer, CEO of the upscale Union Square Restaurant Group, It was announced in 2020 its restaurants will move away from the five-year period immersion policy when it reopened after being closed for months at the start of the coronavirus.

The company, which owns Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, has laid off more than 2,000 workers after New York ordered the restaurants to close in 2020. Concerns that workers would not return without attracting prizes was a big factor in the decision to restore betting. , Meyer said on LinkedIn when announcing the decision.

In December, Starbucks introduced a new tipping option for credit and debit card transactions at its stores, something a group of the company’s hourly workers called for. Since then, a Starbucks spokeswoman said, about half of credit and debit card transactions are distributed based on the number of hours a barista works on the days the tips are made, along with cash and tips received through the Starbucks app. got it.

“Contrasted Decline”

Karabas, the Murray State professor, said some customers, such as those who worked in the service industry in the past, want to provide information to employees at quick-service establishments and are not annoyed by automated requests. But for others, research suggests they may be less likely to return to a particular job if they’re annoyed by the requests.

Analysts at technology company Branch point to a “recession that is receding” as continued inflation causes changes in US consumer attitudes. Since the onset of COVID-19, the number of restaurant patrons has steadily declined, falling from 77% in 2019 to 73% in 2022, according to a survey by Creditcards.com.

The last tab can also affect customer response. In research with other scientists, Karabas said, they manipulated tip amounts and found that consumers were no longer irritated by tipping requests when the check was high. This suggests the best time for a coffee shop to ask for a 20% tip might be four or five coffee orders, rather than a $4 small cup.

Some consumers may continue to decline requests regardless of the amount.

“If you work for a company, it’s their job to pay you for doing work for them,” said Mike Janavey, a shoe and clothing designer based in New York. “They shouldn’t be draining the juice from consumers who are already spending there money to pay their workers.”



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