Editorial: Right here’s a tip… Don’t be a slave to a Sq. inviting you to dig deeper in your pockets | Editorial

What’s all the fuss about tips lately?

Do we really need a public discussion about paying a little more so we can offer greater compensation to the employees who have been taking our orders and processing our payments without a tip?

Actually yes, we do.

For years in Ripon, we’ve been tipping our servers at Mr. and Mrs. P’s Eatery and the Ripon Family Restaurant, leaving a snack on the bedside table for hotel staff at Cobblestone Suites and Boarders, and digging through our wallets for Domino’s and Roadhouse pizza Delivery people and others, not because we had to, but because we wanted to.

We recognize that these people’s livelihoods depend on more than the meager hourly wage they are paid, so we were happy to give them an extra percentage of our purchase. And we didn’t flinch as the traditional tip rate slowly went up, from 10% to 15% and now 20%.

We did this for a reason other than tradition. We really appreciated their efforts to take care of us; A tip allowed us to say “thank you” in the most meaningful way.

So there’s no problem.

But an employee? One who stands at a counter and takes an order and then hands us a payment processing system that when we slide in our credit card asks if we want to add a 15%, 20% or 25% tip?

Hmmm. Brings up some questions, doesn’t it?

1. Who actually gets the tip? The employee or the business?

2. How much should the tip be? A 20% surcharge because that’s the current recommended amount? Or a “custom tip” of 5%, because that’s more like a meager minute of service compared to the greater time and attention of a waitress who keeps returning to a table to take and deliver customer orders, or a pizza delivery boy of the Five Driving miles through the snow to deliver a cake, or a hotel maid removing, washing, and replacing linens when she’s not emptying wastebaskets and cleaning toilets?

3. Why do we tip people that companies should already be paying enough (and passing such fixed costs on to consumers via increased prices) even in times of labor shortages, so that their employees do not have to depend on the generosity of a capricious public? ?

4. Who decided it was time to tip employees?

The answer to that question is why all this hype about tips has arisen.

This wasn’t a decision you or I made as we huddled together in a quiet interlude of our busy lives to decide, “How can we brighten the days of those who care for us?”

No, if that had happened, we would tip those who do the dishes after we leave the restaurant, those who check us into our hotel, and those who put pepperoni on our pizzas. We would also tip auto mechanics, manufacturers, medical staff, teachers, plumbers, police officers and anyone else who makes our lives a little bit easier.

The answer to the “Who decided?” question lies in San Francisco.

In this town are the people who sell Square point-of-sale payment processing. Square, owned by Block Inc., is a mobile application that enables small businesses to accept debit and credit card payments through connected iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android devices.

Square was co-invented and developed in 2009 by Jack Dorsey, the $5 billionaire who also brought us Twitter, and Jim McKelvey, a $4 billionaire who is now an independent director of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis designed to make it easier for small business owners to collect payments while freeing consumers from their hard-earned dollars with new tipping opportunities.

When a customer swipes her card, Square asks her to select an amount to transfer to the recipient and then sign her name to confirm. So, while waiting in line with friends and family, a shopper is asked to tip the innocent but expectant salesperson who just smiled at him as he was handed his seat.

What’s a few cents more to not feel petty? A few coins to clear your conscience? A dollar or three to make a transaction without guilt?

At that very moment, as the Square is handed over to the consumer, the public encounters what the New York Times has dubbed “tip creep,” where people end up giving a little extra, not out of gratitude, but out of shame that someone might see you doing your Scroogiest, dare you click “don’t tip”.

This is a technological imperative in which a machine directs consumer behavior, in this case appealing to their benevolence. That doesn’t make it a moral imperative, as they probably wouldn’t tip the employee unless they first learn that the person is underpaid or has for some reason provided exceptional service.

Technological imperatives are double-edged swords.

The best example is social media. The same tools that unite us as communities have divided us politically in ways we could not have foreseen but over which we now have little control.

The same man who encouraged us to tweet now wants us to tip.

Call them Luddites if you will, but glory to those who say they’ll keep their hands on their wallets and their watchful eyes on the machines trying to run their lives, thank you very much.

No tweet.

No tip.

No thank you.

– Tim Lyke

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