New Starbucks Tipping System: Prepare To Pay More For Your Daily Fix (or Feel Like a Christmas Grinch)

Dallas, TX, USA - November 21, 2015: A cup of Starbucks popular holiday beverage, served in the new 2015 designed red holiday cup.
leekris / Getty Images

Recent surveys reported by GOBankingRates have shown that 75% of consumers have tipped for over-the-counter services “out of guilt.” That sense of guilt is sometimes amplified when an iPad terminal at the point-of-sale prompts users to leave a tip — often in clear view of the person serving them.

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“It’s awkward and you have little time to think, [so] you check the 20% option because it’s expeditious,” Julie Paulson, a long-term-care volunteer in San Antonio, Texas, previously told GOBankingRates.

Starbucks is one of the most recent companies to implement “suggested tips” at the point of sale. And, based on the response on social media, it seems some baristas and customers alike are unhappy about it.

Customers took to Twitter to complain, with the bulk of reactions ranging from anger to anxiety. User @_treagan tweeted bluntly: “Why tf Starbucks just ask for a tip on the pin pad????” while user @toxicjajin confessed that, “Starbucks stresses me out every time they ask me to tip.”

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Others pointed out that the coffee chain should increase wages rather than passing costs to customers.

Tips to Avoid Tipping

Of course, you can simply hit “0” at the prompt and go about your day without tipping your barista — and according to some reports, there could be some anxiety on the barista’s side of the transaction, too.

“Some people feel incredibly awkward about asking for tips and having to adjust to a new system,” wrote redditor MassRevo in a now-deleted thread.

Of course, there’s no need to announce you aren’t tipping, just click the “no tip” option on the screen.

If you’d like to avoid the awkward exchange on both sides, you can simply pay cash instead, or order through the Starbucks app.

Accepting Tip Culture With Grace

Tip culture has become a part of society. While many baristas dislike the new system, others are welcoming the increased income they’re receiving as a result.

Redditor Cats_with_tentacles wrote: “We normally get around $500 in tips each week in cash. Our first week with cc tips… that number went up to $2,500.”

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Whichever side of the register you’re on, the best way to handle this new tipping culture is to take it in stride. As Redditor Sugarhicccup, purportedly a Starbucks barista, wrote: “Please stop complaining about getting money we deserve.”

Other baristas on Reddit agreed, with many offering advice on how to make the exchange less awkward by simply telling customers they will need to “answer a question on the screen before they can pay.”

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Sugarhicccup took a practical, straightforward stance: “Hand them the credit card machine. It doesn’t need to be a big deal.”

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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