It depends on who you ask, but iPad tipping has become a pretty controversial practice. Should consumers have to tip for counter service?
Part of the reason why we frequent takeout or casual dining places is because then we won't have to deal with the extra time and expense that comes with a seated restaurant, right? Going to a fast-food place guarantees without a shadow of a doubt that we won't be expected to pay anything beyond the cost of the food itself.
When we go to a nicer, sit-down restaurant, the prices are higher, and the tip is related to service. Was the food well-prepared? Was the water glass replenished enough? Did the check and takeout boxes appear in a timely fashion? These are all things going into our mental tip calculation.
So what happens, then, when all of those components are taken away?
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This is where the quandary of iPad tipping comes in. Nicer takeout places (like artisanal ice cream and coffee shops) will swivel around their point-of-service device, usually an iPad, and have you sign off on the transaction -- after being prompted for a tip.
Could you refuse and proceed without leaving anything? Sure. Would it be awkward and make you look cheap? Absolutely.
Personally, I leave a tip for little things like ice cream or coffee if I'm paying in cash. Usually a dollar or all of the coins from the change, but nothing more. The iPad prompts, however, are usually much more than that. Options include 18, 20, 25 percent, or more. Seems a bit much, doesn't it, for something that requires no table service?
One theory about why tablet tipping results in more tips is that fewer people use cash than ever. Tip jars languish on counters, often occupied only with the spare change from the servers themselves. (My first thought about this is -- why aren't the store owners paying their workers more?)
We want to hear your thoughts! How do you feel about iPad tipping? Do you find it awkward? Let us know in the comments below.