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Shopper Forced to Tip on Self-Service Machine: "That's Crazy"

Consumers are being forced to tip when there's no option to skip gratuity.

Maybe you always carry cash to drop in a tip jar, or you have no problem tapping the $1 or $2 option on a digital payment kiosk. But people are increasingly becoming frustrated with tipping culture and choosing to opt out entirely—until they're not given a choice. This is exactly what happened recently when a customer was getting boba tea: He tried to select the "no tip" option and found that the button was hidden, forcing him to leave gratuity. Read on to find out how tipflation is taking over the service industry and the ways consumers are responding to self-service tipping.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Scenarios Where You Can Tip Less Than 20%, Etiquette Experts Say.

What is tipflation?

Customer Giving Waitress a tip with One Dollar Bills

Tipflation (a combination of tip and inflation) has become a hot topic of conversation, especially in the last few years. It's the idea that customers are expected to tip more often and give higher amounts in places that previously weren't accepting tips.

According to Forbes, "Tipping has become so ingrained in our culture that customers feel obligated to tip, even when the service is subpar, or zero labor took place."

While many workers rely on tips as part of their income, a lot of consumers believe that companies and businesses should be paying their employees more money in the first place, rather than relying on customers to supplement their wages.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Times You Shouldn't Use an ATM, According to Finance Experts.

A TikToker recently posted about his experience buying bubble tea.

Tipping Screen Bubble U
© @Joostanah / TikTok

In a recent TikTok video, user @joostanah posted a clip of a checkout screen at a boba tea shop called Bubble U. It showed his total of $14.55 and a choice of tip for either 10, 15, 20, or 25 percent to be added to the total.

However, he noticed that the custom tip option, which would allow him to opt out, was blocked by the button marked "continue," ultimately forcing him to give something.

RELATED: 7 "Polite" Tipping Habits That Are Actually Offensive, Etiquette Experts Say.

Other customers share their frustrations.

man holding tablet with tipping screen
Backcountry Media / Shutterstock

"NO NO TIP OPTION," @joostanah noted in the text overlaying the video. And he wasn't the only one upset by the lack of options.

"Went to a boba store in the Bay Area with 25%, 30%, and 40% only options. I paid in cash instead," wrote one commenter. "I wouldn't have paid. That's crazy," said another.

Bubble U actually responded to the video directly. "Thank you for bringing this to our attention and we're sorry about your experience! We checked our systems and found no problem selecting the $0 tip."

And according to Daily Dot, Bubble U also reached out to Snackpass, their point of sale provider, for more clarification. "Snackpass has confirmed that this is not a system issue and has found no record of this customer's transaction in their subsequent investigation," they said. Bubble U went on to add that their highest priority is ensuring clients have full control of their tipping options.

READ THIS NEXT: Server Pleads With Customers to Always Tip in Cash: "We Don't Get Instant Money".

Tipping options seem to be appearing everywhere.

Self Service Checkout

Not only are more digital kiosks popping up with obligatory tipping, but self-checkout machines are requesting gratuity as well. This is a fairly recent practice and it begs the question: Who does the money actually go to?

Tipping becomes even more confusing when you're not giving money directly to a person. Grocery stores, airports, and even sports games are seeing an influx of tipping requests from self-serving kiosks. Merchants have programmed the machines with pre-set tip amounts starting at 18 percent or higher at times, leaving customers baffled and overwhelmed, according to a report from CBS News. People tend to feel obligated to tip when they see this, even though they haven't interacted with anyone.

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Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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