On Sunday evening, Beau and I stopped at Papa Murphy’s to get a pizza to bring home. I ordered a family-sized pie (half pepperoni, half cheese) and before the pre-made crust was even unwrapped to go down the ingredient line, the dreaded prompt was already flashing on the payment screen: How much did I want to tip?
Full disclosure: I have never worked in the service industry before. With that said, I know I might come across as sounding ignorant, cheap, and ungrateful. However, I think the pandemic trend of adding a tip to every single food transaction needs to go away.
I am a big proponent of giving my Olive Garden server 20% for her efforts. The re-filling of soda glasses, the attention to detail, the initiative to grate cheese on everything, and the hustle to always have a basket of hot breadsticks at the table is appreciated. All these things encompass a service that goes beyond just the price of the food. I feel it should be rewarded with a gratuity.
But let’s go back to the Papa Murphy’s example. On the payment screen, a 20% gratuity option was wedged next to other gratuity percentages. Before making the final purchase, I had to navigate this tipping prompt even though I had not received any type of special service. Was I really supposed to add the same percentage of gratuity on a take-and-bake pizza that I usually reserve for someone who waits on me hand and foot? AND, even if Papa Murphy’s did wait to ring me up until after they topped the crust with sauce, cheese, and pepperoni was that 30 seconds of labor worthy of any type of tip, let alone the 10%-20% range?
Perhaps the gratuity prompt on the payment screen is just the modern day equivalent of a tip jar. After all, I didn’t let the glass container with a handwritten plea for loose change ruffle my feathers. But maybe the requirement to make a gratuity decision as part of the transaction under the watchful eye of an employee is a little more obtrusive.
In my opinion, solicitations for tips where little-to-no service is rendered equates to nothing more than a money grab. It’s not just Papa Murphy’s—everyone is doing it these days. Let’s not dilute the significance of a tip. People can spend their money how they want, but I do feel a tip should be applied for quality service rendered and not an obligatory tax levied on every sandwich, pizza, and smoothie sold at the counter. Don’t Blink.