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When to tip and when to skip to avoid 'tipflation'

While we're paying more for just about everything these days, you've probably also noticed you're being asked to tip more than ever too. Don't be afraid to say no!

HOUSTON — You’ve heard of inflation and shrinkflation but how about tipflation? It seems like more businesses than ever are expecting tips these days. 

"It's a relatively new phenomenon," Dipayan Biswas, a marketing and business professor at the University of South Florida, said.

Biswas has studied tipping for a decade and believes the boom started with the introduction of digital kiosks. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened, along with inflation, and businesses allow tipping to make jobs more lucrative.

"So, that's my biggest worry that it might actually affect the industry where it really matters the most," Biswas explained.

Etiquette expert Thomas P. Farley has a "tip without hesitation list" that can help you decide. He gladly gives gratuity to servers, bartenders and bathroom attendants.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey has a much longer list of who to tip. He also offers guidance on how much to give. 

"The very concept of a tip is that we are rewarding a service employee who's being paid less than minimum wage," Farley said. "I really wonder, where is the line? Will you one day be in your doctor's office or your dentist's office, will you be tipping?"

To avoid tipping, especially the kind that gets added automatically, Farley recommended paying in cash. He also said you shouldn’t feel pressured or guilty about not giving a gratuity.

The bottom line? It's your choice!

"You need to own your position, you do not need to feel guilty about it,” Farley said.

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