Self-checkout machines are becoming more common in various businesses, such as airports, stadiums, cookie shops, and cafes. They offer convenience, speed, and safety for customers who want to avoid human contact or long lines. However, some of these machines are also asking customers to leave a tip, usually 20%, for their service. This has sparked confusion, frustration, and even anger among some consumers who wonder why they should tip a machine that does not provide any personal service.
What do automatic payment machines do?
Automatic payment machines are devices that allow customers to scan, pay, and bag their own purchases without the assistance of a cashier. They usually have a touchscreen, a barcode scanner, a card reader, a cash acceptor, a printer, and a bagging area. Some machines also have scales to weigh items that are sold by weight, such as fruits and vegetables.
Automatic payment machines are designed to make the checkout process faster and easier for customers and businesses. They can reduce labor costs, increase efficiency, and prevent theft. They can also reduce the risk of spreading germs or viruses by minimizing human contact.
How does it contribute to traders?
Traders are the businesses that use automatic payment machines to sell their goods or services. They can benefit from using these machines in several ways:
- They can save money on labor costs by hiring fewer cashiers or reallocating them to other tasks.
- They can increase sales by serving more customers in less time and reducing waiting times.
- They can improve customer satisfaction by offering more options and convenience.
- They can collect data on customer behavior and preferences to optimize their marketing and inventory strategies.
What are the benefits for buyers?
Buyers are the customers who use automatic payment machines to buy goods or services. They can also benefit from using these machines in several ways:
- They can save time by skipping the cashier line and paying at their own pace.
- They can have more control over their purchases by scanning and bagging them themselves.
- They can have more privacy by avoiding interactions with strangers or employees.
- They can have more flexibility by choosing their preferred payment method and tip amount.
Why are some machines asking for tips?
Some automatic payment machines are asking for tips as an optional way of showing appreciation for the service provided by the business or its employees. Some businesses claim that the tips go directly to the workers who maintain the machines, stock the shelves, or prepare the food. Others say that the tips are pooled and distributed among all staff members. Some businesses also say that the tips help them cover the costs of installing and operating the machines.
However, some customers are skeptical about where the tips go and how they are used. Some customers feel that tipping a machine is unnecessary or unreasonable since it does not provide any personal service or interaction. Some customers also feel that tipping a machine is unfair or unethical since it shifts the responsibility of paying workers from the employer to the consumer.
How do customers react to tip requests?
Customers have different reactions to tip requests from automatic payment machines. Some customers are willing to tip generously as a way of supporting the business or its workers. Some customers are indifferent or unaware of the tip option and just follow the default suggestion or skip it altogether. Some customers are reluctant or annoyed by the tip option and choose to leave a low or no tip.
Some customers have also expressed their opinions on social media, news outlets, or review platforms. Some customers have praised the tip option as a convenient and courteous feature that allows them to show gratitude and generosity. Some customers have criticized the tip option as a greedy and manipulative tactic that pressures them to pay more than they should.
What are some alternatives to tipping?
Tipping is not the only way of compensating or rewarding service providers. There are some alternatives that businesses and customers can consider:
- Businesses can pay their workers a fair and livable wage that does not depend on tips.
- Businesses can charge higher prices for their goods or services that reflect their true value and cost.
- Businesses can offer discounts, coupons, loyalty programs, or other incentives to attract and retain customers.
- Customers can give feedback, compliments, referrals, or reviews to show their satisfaction and appreciation.
- Customers can boycott or avoid businesses that use tip requests as a way of exploiting or deceiving them.
Self-checkout machines asking for tips is a new trend that has both advantages and disadvantages for traders and buyers. It can be seen as a convenient and optional way of showing appreciation for service providers or as a greedy and coercive way of squeezing more money from consumers. The future of this trend will depend on how businesses and customers balance their interests and values.