Tip Inflation?

By: Paul Aker
By: Paul Aker

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If you eat out, get ready to pay more at some places. There's a new trend in tipping that could cost you where you least expect it. No matter how you slice it, everyone wants a piece of the pie, even your buffet server wants a piece of the action. One person we talked to says he paid $6 for the buffet and tipped $1.25. If that sounds like tip inflation, consider this: the number of service people with their hands out keeps growing. A local nail shop owner says his employees rely on tips and not just fingertips.

Of course you expect to leave a tip at nice restaurants, but where does it stop? Even some Wichita drive throughs put out the tip jar. At Taco Express it's actually a tip bucket. A local premium coffee shop likes the tips too. But one of the shop's customers says "especially in the drive through, they really don't do anything. They just hand you the coffee and I don't think they need to be tipped.

Economist Janet Harrah says ultimately consumers will decide whether to accept this new form of tip inflation. She also says it depends on how consumers vote now, as to whether fast food restaurants will be given a tip in the future.

Experts say at fine dining places the standard tip is up from what was accepted practice. 15% is the standard now, compared to 10% years ago.

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