People in Eastern Carolina respond to recent ‘Tipflation’ studies

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – ‘Tipflation’ is the term that refers to the increased rates that people are now expected to tip at restaurants and for other goods and services, according to Pew Research.

“It’s gotten to the point that people are expecting tips rather than it being a gratuity based on the services provided and it’s really gotten out of hand lately,” says Rachelle Butcher, a Greenville resident.

A recent survey by Bankrate found that around 66% of Americans have a negative view of tipping.

Around 30% of respondents think that tipping culture is “out of control,” with more companies encouraging customers to tip at their counters than ever before.

CJ Korba from Grounded Coffee in Winterville says it’s all dependent upon the service and quality thereof.

“I think it should depend on how we greet you and our overall service and whatever you feel is right when you come in. You’re not obligated to tip, we don’t require it. It’s whatever you feel is right,” Korba told WITN.

Economy experts also say developing technology can prompt a person to tip differently.

Greg Howard, an ECU Economics Associate Professor says “Instead of sort of being left up to the consumer to decide if they’re going to tip, they’re being prompted. So when you’re at a restaurant or purchasing a salad or something, instead of having the option to tip and letting it be unsaid, you get a question at the checkout asking if you want to tip.”

Butcher told WITN that one thing to consider is workers who make less than minimum wage. “The food industry business where you go and sit down in a restaurant. Their wages are subpar, and they have to tip out others in their restaurant as well—bartenders, cooks, bussers as well, and they rely on those tips. Those tips are definitely warranted.”

Despite the pressure that consumers feel, tipping is always at the customer’s discretion.

“Tip your servers well,” Butcher says.

Around 72% or 7 in 10 U.S. adults say tipping is expected in more places today than five years ago, according to Pew Research. Pew also reports that even as Americans say they’re being asked to tip more often, relatively few have a great deal of confidence about when and how to do so.

Only about a third say it’s extremely or very easy to know whether or how much to tip for different types of services.

Following how people feel, the new kiosks and tipping screens often result in people feeling pressured to tip larger amounts than usual.

Even so, people are tipping less on average now than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Pew Research.