Stores

TikTok user takes aim at tipflation with new guideline

“If I order standing up, I’m not tipping,” he declares.
article cover

@robert_calver via TikTok

· less than 3 min read

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.

Many blame point-of-sale touchscreens, both the stationary and handheld kind, for tipflation, the portmanteau for tipping becoming more widespread and expected tipping percentages rising. After all, it likely never occurred to many of us to give the cashier at the convenience store a tip for the Slim Jim we just purchased…until the choose-a-tip screen asked if we’d prefer to leave 15%, 20%, or 25%.

Loading...

The backlash against tipflation has raged for more than a year, and the latest salvo comes from—where else?—TikTok, where Robert Calver (@robert_calver) posted a short video on May 20. In the video, he sits in a burger shop and dips a french fry into a paper ramekin of ketchup as this text appears on the screen: “New Rule: If I order standing up, I’m not tipping.”

The video had been viewed 1.6 million times at the time of publication.

Tips ahoy: A February poll by CouponBirds, the website for thrifty avians (kidding!), found that 76.1% of Americans believe that tipping culture has gone too far. Nearly half (47.3%) have been prompted to tip in self-service or automated situations, and 45.5% reported being asked to tip at convenience stores.

Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and founder of The Swann School of Protocol, told CNBC in 2023 that tipping is not obligatory in situations like Calver found himself in.

“When you have something delivered to you over the counter, as opposed to your door or your table, in those instances, you’re not required to tip,” Swann said.

Loading...

Tikflation: In a follow-up TikTok video from what appears to be the same burger shop eight days later, on May 28, Calver posited another standard for gratuities. “New rule: If I have to pay before I get the food, I’m not tipping.”

At the time of publication, the video had received 1.4 million views.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.