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Tipping Is A Complex Topic With No Clear Solution

Tipping has become a hotly debated topic in recent years, and as CNN reports, it can evoke negative emotions in customers when asked to tip.

New York resident Carly Cullen told CNN, “It’s tricky everywhere. If you’re at a coffee shop, if you’re out at the hairstylist, if you’re coming out of a taxi—I don’t know the rules then, and I often don’t know what to tip.” Cullen also said she feels pressure to tip in those places and almost always does.

A joint study conducted by the University of Temple and Purdue University found that when presented with a screen asking for a tip, participants experienced more negative emotions than those who were not. Tipping, as a practice, is standard in the restaurant industry, a trade-off for the typically low, sub-minimum wage hourly rates. However, that trend is creeping into other sectors, such as coffee shops or pizza parlors, and this sometimes increases the pressure to tip while other customers or employees watch.

In eight states, the tipped minimum wage has been eliminated. A group called One Fair Wage is pushing for businesses to pay a state’s minimum wage plus tips. Business owners, however, are thinking about their bottom lines and say that low minimum wage plus tips enables them to keep costs down.

Emily Mingrone, owner of a butcher shop and two restaurants in New Haven, Connecticut, told CNN, “I’m against it, and I think frankly it’s kind of clueless,” Mingrone explains. “That’s money that’s going to come out of my pocket, take away from the people that aren’t getting tipped. I would need to raise my prices, which then causes pushback from the guest.”

Workers worry that the growing push for tips from businesses could end up hurting them. Destiny Fox, a restaurant worker at two establishments in Chicago, told CNN that her opposition to eliminating the tipped wages minimum wage stems from a fear that it could erode good customer service. “It would damage the city big time. It would push business out of the city, push people out of the city, customers even. I don’t think they would be coming to restaurants if they don’t get the service that they’re used to. I don’t think it’s a good idea at all.”

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