I’ve seen it before. The audacity struck me no less the last time I saw it than the first time.

You’re paying with a card at a register and a prompt appears on the screen asking what tip you would like to leave.

To make oh soooo convenient for you they have pre-determined options, often 15%, 18% or 20%. You’re expected to press one of those.

Normally off to the side or far down on the bottom and in much smaller font is a fourth option they’d really rather you not see. That option is “no tip.”

Young couple standing at the checkout counter in a supermarket

Now we’re not talking about a sit-down restaurant where servers are paid below minimum wage and historically we are accustomed to tipping.

Instead, we are talking about all the many types of businesses that never used to do this.

These tip screens have been popping up on registers at crazy places according to Reddit users. Places like oil change shops, Botox clinics, ice cream parlors with only counter service, picture framing shops, etcetera.

The other day I went inside a fast food place with my little boy to get him a burger and fries. It’s a big national chain that I would have guessed would be above this nonsense. Sure enough, for the first time ever that I saw there, a tip screen popped up.

Come January those counter workers will be earning at least $15.13 per hour. The job of taking your order, maybe getting it right, and shoving a tray at you hasn't changed.


What’s changed is greed. Corporate America is passing the COB (cost of doing business) onto the backs of customers at every turn. Just because they can do it doesn’t mean they should do it.

People are picking a tip option mostly out of guilt and awkwardness. But it’s beginning to backfire. Hopefully soon this obnoxious trend implodes completely.

According to Toast, a restaurant management software firm, 48% of quick-serve places such as McDonald’s, Panera and Starbucks are now using tip screen options on registers. That’s up from 38% just three years ago.

But tipping at these types of places is dropping. From 16.4% last year to 15.9% this year.


No one should. Don’t be afraid to hit “no tip.” This practice is no better than corporate panhandling and it needs to end.

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