New ‘Awkward' Tipping System at Starbucks Prompts Criticism From Some Customers and Employees

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Those who start their day with a drink from Starbucks have been met with a surprise when paying in recent days. And according to some comments across social media, the change has prompted criticism from employees and customers alike.

Now, when purchasing a beverage with a debit or credit card, customers are given a prompt to tip their barista -- whether they order the drink online, inside a store, or at a drive-thru window.

And while many customers online have said the system works fine when paying for a coffee in-person and interacting with a cashier and barista, paying for a drink in the drive-thru has not gone as smoothly.

"I'm really not trying to be rude bc I know customer service jobs are hard work but now they want tips at the drive-thru at my Starbucks when you pay with a card… you’re literally just handing it to me…," a tweet from one Starbucks drinker reads.

Some 100 comments, mainly from those claiming to be Starbucks employees, on a now-deleted Reddit post titled "This new tipping system is so awkward" have complained that it may be difficult to see what is displayed on a credit card PIN pad screen to begin with.

"From my experience, the customers have a hard time with it," one comment reads, from a Reddit user who indicates they are a supervisor at Starbucks. "Many other drive thru places don’t have a tip option through drive thru. The devices that Starbucks uses tend to have a bad glare, especially if your store's window is facing the sun, so it’s hard for them to see the screen. At least at my store, there’s no stand to put the card reader on so the baristas either have to hold it out for the customer or hand the device to them. Don’t get me wrong, I love that they’ve added credit card tipping, but there’s definitely improvements that could be made."

Some comments on Reddit said the measure did not make much of a difference in the tips made.

"When I worked there I think I made like maybe $15 of tips in a 4-month period, working usually 4-5 days a week. Like, this ain’t worth it," one commenter said.

Others, on the other hand, had the opposite experience.

"It may be awkward but I have seen a huge increase in tips and I'm game for that anytime," one comment said.

"Can I just say that, at my store, we normally get around $500 in tips each week in cash. Our first week with cc tips... that number went up to $2500," read another.

According to Fortune, the move reflects a demand from the Starbucks Workers Union as part of an effort to add to the existing wage and benefits system.

However, a May statement from Starbucks said the addition of the digital tipping system was being considered even prior to any union activity.

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