High-Tech Tip Jar Foils Credit-Card Wielding Coffee Grinches

With the decline of cold, hard cash and the rise of cold, hard plastic, food service workers everywhere are seeing their wages go down because, how convenient, no one seems to have a dollar bill to stuff in the tip jar any more. In sunnier days, according to Reuters, a barista could bring home nearly $3 more per hour thanks to the generosity of the tip jar, but who uses cash these days?

A new invention called the DipJar (currently in beta testing in select coffeehouses) aims to change that:

With a quick dip of their credit cards into the sleek machine, grateful customers are able to leave a pre-set tip (generally $1) for baristas. An old-fashioned cash-register chime alerts them that the transaction has gone through, but there is no receipt. Counter workers later divvy up the proceeds, which right now are not subject to a processing fee.

Seriously, though, it sounds like a pretty awesome idea for tip-based industries with counter service — but Reuters warns that technology might not be the solution for burgeoning wage issues:

When Swork Coffee in Los Angeles recently swapped paper receipts for an iPad checkout system at its three locations, tips dropped more than 25 percent overnight, says owner Patricia Neale. Neale laments that her baristas, who make between $9 and $12 per hour, could once count on $50 in tips per shift, but now sometimes make less than $5.

So basically, as soon as we remove the tip-proving paper trail, our innate stinginess runs rampant. Way to be, humanity. Way to be.


  • KingPsyz

    The real problem is businesses not simply ENABLING the tip field in the transaction…

    I have seen plenty of of debit/credit machines print a reciept with a tip field.

    If you are going to implement a paperless checkout system for your business and NOT INCLUDE a tip field in the transaction screen, you cannot complain about your wage slaves tips dropping overnight.

    I’m glad they have this device, but honestly it’s not needed if a business takes the steps to make sure it’s just as easy for a card customer to tip as a cash customer.

    As a former barista I could easily pull $50-$100 extra a shift. When I left the job, I left after a Saturday morning shift and put a sign on the tip jar it was my last shift… I made about $600 that day.

  • KWDragon

    I have a problem with the wage scale in these places like coffee bars (ditto for pizza delivery folks). The owners are counting on customers to VOLUNTARILY contribute to their standard wage. When I eat out at a sit-down restaurant or a food truck (or order in), I always tip generously and scold those who say, “I only have enough money for just the meal.” Then you shouldn’t have eaten out; the tip is part of the package.

    Where I live now, however, which is a very expensive East Coast city, I am finding tip jars at Dunkin Donuts, the line at the local burger joint–basically anyplace that has a cash register. That’s not food service tipping; that’s covering a living wage for employees. It’s time these places raise their prices to pay good wages and let consumers decide if it’s worth the cost, not take advantage of people who need sub-minimum wage jobs to live.

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