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Front of the House

Are Californians Really Crappy Tippers?

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Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 11:48 AM
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Here are some interesting statistics: Numbers released by Square, the payment service developed for small businesses that allows smartphones and tablets to take credit card payments, rank states by which populace tips the most. And guess what? California is near the bottom of the list. 

According to Square, Californians tip 15.5%, ahead of only Wyoming, South Dakota, Hawaii and Delaware. Delaware is worst by more than a full percentage point - tippers there tip 14% on average. At the top of the list is Alaska, at 17%, followed by Arkansas, North Carolina and West Virginia. So what does this all mean? Should we feel terrible about ourselves? Are Californians just really crappy, stingy people?

Probably not. There are a lot of caveats to these numbers. First, Square is a service used mainly for retail and small food operation purposes. It's especially common in coffee shops. It's not the payment method of choice for restaurants. So, while many of us are likely to tip 18% to 20% for a full meal, counter service coffee tipping is way less standard, and feels way less obligatory. These numbers also do not take into account cash tips, even at the locations that use Square. 

See also: Should Tipping Be Abolished?

Second, the difference between the "worst" and "best" tipping states is only 3%, and that's with Delaware a full percentage point below the next lowest. For the other 49 states, the range is from 15% to 17%. It's not that much of a difference, really, especially when you consider that the tips we're talking about are mostly not restaurant tips.

So for now, we probably shouldn't fret too much about our bad tipping reputation. 

[The Atlantic]

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