Everyone’s Tipping More These Days. How Did We Get Here?

By Francis Tunwase

Tipping has become a staple in modern American business. You might not have noticed it, but it’s true. Wherever you go, you’re constantly being asked to drop a tip for someone – and it’s gotten so ingrained in our lives that people could give you dirty looks if you don’t tip them. 

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Think about the last time you went out and weren’t prompted to leave a tip. You take a ride; you’ve got to tip the cab guy. You go out on a date; the waiter’s probably going to ask for a tip. Lodge at a hotel? You might have to drop something off for the concierge. 

The interesting thing is that tipping culture hasn’t just affected the frequency of tipping – it’s also shown in how much people actually give. According to reports, people usually tipped about 10% of the bill back in the 50s. By the 70s and 80s, that percentage had risen to 15%. This year, tips are hitting as much as 25% of the total bill amount.  

All of this has led to a trend that experts are calling “tipflation.” And tipflation is coming for us all!

Primarily, experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic must have led to a significant surge in tips. More people relied on restaurants, delivery people, and other essential workers during the pandemic and lockdown periods, and they wanted to show their appreciation for these people by giving them tips.

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Businesses are now able to directly add tipping suggestions to their services, so you literally see an option to tip whenever you’re about to make a payment. All of this has led to greater pressure on people, who pretty much leave tips just because everyone else is doing the same thing. 

So far, experts are unsure when the tipping point for this trend will be. But, for now, it’s interesting to watch things unfold.