The new retail payment systems guilt you into giving a tip every time you purchase a dang coffee, water, protein bar, etc. from an already over-priced cafe or food shop – you are prompted, at checkout, to add an 18% or 20% tip, for example. Gone are the days of giving change or a couple of bucks at your digression, if it’s a place you frequent where you like the workers.

I also work in customer service, but my job (since it is not in the food industry) does not qualify for tips and yet I am giving the same type of service and, in most cases, more of my attention and time. I am, admittedly, not as busy; I have also worked in the food industry, so I know how stressful it can be and I don’t begrudge tips by any means, but I do begrudge this system that makes you click “no tip” with each dang purchase. Why, for the love of God, can’t there just be a place to click if you do want to give a tip but let everyone else just pay their bill and be on their way? I feel awkward each time I hit “no tip.” The employee is standing right across from you, on the other side of the computer, and now you have to smile and say thank you when you have just denied him or her a tip. It feels like the walk of shame.

I always want to give an explanation: sorry, I work at the shop next door, also for an hourly wage, and can’t afford to supplement your salary (and, while we are on the topic, since I am working next door maybe you want to give me a small discount?), which brings me to my next point: if business owners paid a more fair wage, patrons would not be faced with this awkward situation.

We need an overhaul in this area of service workers and tips, me thinks.