by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[W]hat’s this nonsense about customers being asked to tip at self-checkouts?
You read that right. Biden’s economy is so bad that businesses from airports to cookie shops to mega coffee chains to stadiums are asking customers to tip at self-checkouts, presumably to help bolster employee wages even if patrons aren’t interacting with those employees at all. Unlike an actual server, faceless machines never go the extra mile, but they do sometimes malfunction and slow customers down or charge them too much for a sale item.
It gets worse when you consider that businesses install self-checkout machines in part to save themselves the money they would otherwise have to pay an actual person to operate a register. Yet these greedy gutses have the gall to ask you for an extra few Washingtons — or even a full 15, 18, 20 percent, or more — for you to ring up your own purchase. …
… The harsh reality of the situation is it’s our own dang fault we’re being pressured to tip a robot for work we’re doing ourselves. After all, takeout and coffee shop extortionists have been squeezing every last buck out of us with their fancy iPads now for years, and we’ve let them.
Surrounded by a line of strangers — who may or may not even be paying attention — and a barista who pretends to look away when we swipe our cards, we jab the $2 tip button for a $4 iced coffee. Emotional blackmail, indeed.
Some of us have conditioned ourselves to tip even when we know nobody is watching. If you’ve ever used the mobile app for Chipotle or Starbucks, for instance, you’ve been prompted to “tip the crew.” In other words, you search a menu from your screen, place your own order, pay for it, drive yourself to the establishment, and grab your food or drink from a to-go counter without any human interaction, all while corporate giants sit there with their hands out Mona-Lisa Saperstein-style whining “Money pleeeeeease!“