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Awkward Tipping? Acts 20:35

January 27, 2023

I’ve lived on tips. Ask me about those summers sometime. Meanwhile, Jean Chatzky’s too good here not to simply point to and get out of her way, so lemme do just that —

It’s Not Just You: Tipping is Awkward Now

We’ve all been there. You pull up to a drive-through for your favorite Frappuccino (or move to the head of the line inside) and a staff member holds a point-of-sale device in your direction. As you tap your card, you have a split second to decide if you should tip, and how much, as the screen happily flashes options for 15%, 20%, or sometimes even 30%.

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when determining how much to tip was something accomplished from the privacy of your dinner table. No more. I got so nervous I tipped 15% when I bought a pound of cookies at a South Philly bakery over the weekend. I can’t even tell you why. 

The Atlantic’s Charlie Warzel perfectly captures much of the cultural angst surrounding tipping that many of us are experiencing as we navigate the murky 2023 waters of how, when and where to offer extra money to show our gratitude. “I’ve found that some employees feel as uncomfortable about the point-of-sale moment as many consumers do,” he writes. “One barista in Colorado told me that he’d watched a customer contort his fingers on the tablet to make it look like he was tipping 20 percent when he was really selecting “No tip”; far from being offended, the barista said he now deploys the tactic when checking out elsewhere.” Warzel also points to data from payment platform Square “showing that tips received by both full-service and quick-serve restaurants exploded from 2020 to 2021; growth continued in 2022, but more modestly—full-service was up by more than 25 percent in the third quarter of 2022.”   

A few weeks back, we tackled the subject of tipping on the HerMoney podcast with Barbara Sloan, who spent two decades working in the service industry as a server, a bartender, and a stripper. Sloan shares how tipped workers have to approach their budgeting and financial planning differently and why we should be tipping more when we can, not only because of inflation, but also because many tipped workers (particularly those in industries that have traditionally relied on tipping) depend on our dollars. Her take: In these cases, if you can’t afford to tip, then you probably can’t afford the service being provided. Check it out.

— And so? Whaddya say, whaddya do?

I still like the Dave Ramsey line, “Live like no one else so you can give like no one else.” Let’s pick up right there tomorrow. Between now and then, here’s something from Rachel Cruz to consider —

What I want you to understand is that we all have choices in how we spend our money, and giving isn’t only a good choice for the recipient—it’s even better for you!

People who give are generally happier and less stressed because giving actually releases oxytocin in your brain. 

“It’s better to give than to receive” isn’t just a nice thought for the holidays—it’s actually in the Bible too (Acts 20:35). And—go figure— it turns out Jesus knows what He’s talking about.

—- Hope to see you back here tomorrow.

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