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When should you tip your service worker?

People are really starting to feel that pressure as the question pops up in more and more places.

HARTFORD, Conn. — You’ve ordered and paid for your food, but then you’re asked one more question.  

Would you like to add a tip?  

“I think there is a pressure when someone’s in front of you watching you select your tip,” said Angeli Gianchandani, a marketing professor at the University of New Haven. 

People are really starting to feel that pressure as the question pops up in more and more places.  

Like so many other things, experts say the pandemic has played a role.  

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“All of these iPads started showing up where you could just make your payment and easily do it without having to have any contact with the server,” Gianchandani said. “That’s where all of this has kind of spiraled into something different and I think people are feeling it now,” she said.  

With the option to tip, showing up in places we’re not used to seeing it, like at the counter of fast-casual restaurants or a bakery or according to a Wall Street Journal report, even at self-checkout machines in some places, when should you be dishing out some extra cash? And how much?  

“What I always tell people is this, you are the judge of how much to tip. Tipping is always up to the giver. However, you should go in with the caveat that if you cannot afford to tip you really cannot afford to eat out,” said Karen Thomas, an etiquette educator.  

Leaving something for servers who make less than minimum wage and work for tips has been a long-standing rule but it can get a little more complicated for those grayer areas. Thomas said, it really just depends.  

“I do not tip on things that really do not have a lot of service. For example, opening a fridge grabbing my own water and going and paying for it I won’t tip. However, I do tip the barista if I’m in a drive-through line,” Thomas said. 

We brought the question to people at Parkville Market in Hartford, what are your tips when it comes to tipping?  

“I usually have like a base tip that I do for everywhere but the better the service the more money I’m gonna give you,” said Rhea Henrizquez of Worcester, MA.  

“I always tip. The amount of the tip or percentage wise is based on the service but you always have to leave something,” said Philip Oliveira, of West Hartford. 

“I think tipping is important but it depends also on their attitude and how they treat you as well whether it’s a restaurant, Uber, or anything like that,” said Daniel Correia of Hartford. 

Experts said there is no one-size-fits-all rule around it. If the people providing a service have done a great job… throwing an extra dollar or two in the jar or making a selection on the iPad can let them know.  

“It is a case by case because some people feel like they had such a great experience that they want to give something more to the people behind the counter others are satisfied with the pricing and the service that they get,” said Rui Correia, owner of Taste of Portugal Sandwiches at Parkville Market.

He said, those on the receiving end of tips always welcome them.

“It’s always appreciated very much so. It’s not something they expect,” he said.

Despite the guilt some may feel around gratuity, it’s important to remember it’s just a way to say thank you.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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