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Survey: Majority of Americans Think Tipping Is Out of Control

The survey from PlayUSA also found that 62% of respondents say they'd be willing to pay more on their check if they didn't have to tip.

Is tipping out of control? Three out of four Americans think so, according to a new consumer survey released by PlayUSA, a website focused on legal gambling. In fact, a significant majority would like to get rid of tipping altogether.

The survey explores how technology influences tipping habits and “the inner conflicts people face when prompted to tip.” It found that two out of three respondents say they feel pressure to leave tips and 59% are experiencing “tipping fatigue.”

Tipping a server at a restaurant, bar or coffee shop is, of course, nothing new and is accepted by most customers as part of the cost of eating out. The same goes for tipping delivery drivers. Now, of course, more counter-service restaurants are prompting customers to leave a tip when they pay with a credit card.

Related: Body language: A server’s guide to earning bigger tips

It’s a pay boost that many restaurant employees need, but customers don’t always want to pony up just for placing an order at the counter. Yet the survey found that 56% of Americans feel pressure to tip when checking out on an iPad or a tablet, and 47% added a gratuity when they normally wouldn’t because they were prompted to do so by an iPad or tablet.

Some more interesting data from the survey:

  • 44% of consumers will tip more when the worker is in front of them and can see what they’re tipping.
  • 50% feel guilty if they don’t tip when a check-out screen prompts them to do so.
  • 71% have noticed tablets offering higher-than-typical tip options.
  • 87% believe more businesses are asking for tips that previously didn’t.

Finally, 63% of Americans surveyed by PlayUSA say they “feel overwhelmed” by all those tipping requests.

Are tips actually going down? Not from most Americans—the survey found that only one out of five respondents are tipping less these days due to the current economy. But they are increasingly confused, with 77% saying the lines as to when to tip are becoming blurred. And 56% said they’ll end up leaving a gratuity even if they’re unsure as to whether they should or not.

So it’s not like most Americans are stingy. While two out of three respondents said they “would like to do away with tipping altogether,” 62% said they’d be willing to pay more on their check if they didn’t have to tip. And three out of four are “more likely to tip if they know the service provider’s income relies heavily on tips.”

At the same time, three out of four would like to get rid of the tipped minimum wage altogether.

“When it comes to how much to tip, statistics show 43% of respondents believe 20% is an appropriate tip for good service at a restaurant,” the report notes. “Nearly 2 in 3 feel pressure to tip even if the service wasn’t good, and one out of five think it’s rude to tip anything less than 20%.”