Avoiding ‘Tipflation’: When to tip, when to skip

Ella Castle

MIAMI – You’ve probably heard of “shrinkflation” and “greedflation” before. Here is another one to add to your vocabulary: “tipflation.” Tips, a staple of the service industry, are now extending far beyond. Shoppers say they’re seeing more and more tip requests in more unusual places. “It’s a relatively new phenomenon,” […]

MIAMI – You’ve probably heard of “shrinkflation” and “greedflation” before. Here is another one to add to your vocabulary: “tipflation.”

Tips, a staple of the service industry, are now extending far beyond. Shoppers say they’re seeing more and more tip requests in more unusual places.

“It’s a relatively new phenomenon,” Dipayan Biswas, marketing and business professor at the University of South Florida, said. “I see it becoming more widespread.”

Professor Biswas has studied tipping for a decade. He says this new tipping trend started with the boom of digital kiosks, then the pandemic “added flow to that fire,” plus inflation and more businesses allowing tips to make jobs more lucrative at your expense.

“Like I’m sick and tired of tipping right? So that’s my biggest worry that it might actually affect the industry where it really matters the most,” Biswas said.

Thomas P. Farley, an etiquette expert said, “the very concept of a tip is that we are rewarding a service employee who’s being paid less than minimum wage.”

Farley has a “tip without hesitation list” and just three jobs make the cut – servers, bartenders, and washroom attendants.

“I really wonder, where is the line? Will you one day be in your doctor’s office or your dentist’s office, will you be tipping,” Farley asked.

When it comes to holiday shopping his top tip to avoid tipping is to pay cash. But if plastic is a must “you need to own your position, you do not need to feel guilty about it,” he said.

He added that there’s power in saying “no.”

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