An age-old practice in the service industry has recently been the subject of many American consumers’ ire: tipping.
More Americans say they are frustrated with how often tipping is expected of them, according to a survey conducted by consumer financial services site Bankrate. About one in three U.S. adults said they thought the tipping culture “has gotten out of control,” according to a survey conducted in May.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor Marla Royne Stafford said recent shifts in tipping culture can largely be attributed to changes in technology. Many modern point-of-sale systems prompt customers to provide a tip, effectively changing the narrative from “would you like to tip?” to “what would you like to tip?”
“Tipping is everywhere and in your face, and customers are starting to resent that,” Stafford, a marketing professor who studies customer service, said. “You go to the self-serve frozen yogurt place, there’s somebody who comes from the back to ring up your order and a tip prompt comes up on screen.”
More tipping options can also come with more confusion from the consumer — an impact some Strip workers may see, Stafford said. A customer is often aware they should tip a server, valet or bellhop, but may not realize they should also tip the housekeeper and cocktail server, she said.
Some service industry members say they’ve seen a change in customers’ attitudes toward tipping. Ashley Ezekieva, a server at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., said she believes most restaurant-goers are still following tipping norms but also has seen how some customers react to the tipping customs in resorts.
“They don’t come with that mindset because most of them don’t have casinos where they live, so they don’t know,” Ezekieva, who’s worked on the Strip for about two years, said.
If customers are ever unsure of when and what to tip, Stafford suggests a few simple rules. When in doubt, tip and tip 20 percent. But don’t feel bad about selecting ‘no tip’ at the cash register.
“It’s ultimately to the consumers’ ballpark right now what they want to do,” Stafford said.
McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.