Is it good or bad that customers can tip workers electronically at Starbucks? Good, to the extent that they are paid very poorly. Good, to the extent that the cash tip jars always looked empty. Bad, to the extent that there are usually three tip levels on the screen where people see and approve their credit card charges. The levels are usually $1, $2 and $5. (These companies have the worst reputations.)
The employees watch the customer tip electronically. That puts on more than a little pressure to tip or not to tip at lower levels. It is a minor scheme, but a scheme nevertheless.
Starbucks workers should have the chance to get tips. For decades, the only means was via cash, although people could use credit cards and Starbucks-branded cards almost that entire time. Those customers could not tip electronically, even if they wanted to. Workers who are paid $15 an hour should have a chance to be thanked by customers and make something more than their base pay.
Tip jar amounts were almost always near empty. Presumably, the tips were spread among the staff, which means any one of them was lucky to get a few dollars.
How does the problem get solved? Although it would take a few extra seconds, customers should be able to decide on the amount of their tips. However, the employee is still hovering there, so the pressure is not gone altogether.
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