The highest inflation in four decades is undermining the custom of tipping everyone from housekeepers and childcare workers to teachers and landlords for the holidays.
Consumers say they’re turning down their annual year-end tips for most service workers, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com. Childcare workers are likely to feel the biggest impact, the study found, with Americans planning to pay $25 per childcare provider in 2021, down from $50.
Still, more consumers said they plan to hand out holiday tips this year than in 2021, which could help offset the smaller gratuity, said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate. For example, about 56% of people said they would tip their housekeepers this year, up from 47% last year.
“People have less money to go around, but it’s a civic duty to make people feel it’s a shared burden: ‘I owe something, although I may not be able to give as much as I’d like or as much as last year. Tha’,” Rossman said.
Tipping may be the norm when it comes to leaving gratuities at restaurants, but holiday tipping is not widely practiced. For example, only half of Americans plan to tip their children’s teacher this year, while nearly one-third said they would tip their mail carrier, Bankrate found.
Rossman said one reason may be concerns about how much to give and whether such tactics are appropriate. “Tip is extremely confusing. You can remove the awkwardness by going with a group gift – it’s the bet option for teachers.”
The Americans, meanwhile, may be feeling cheated.”,” or when consumers are faced with more tip requests in unusual locations, such as drive-thru windows. This intensified in the pandemic with the proliferation of digital kiosks, which also offer pre-determined tip amounts.
“We found that 26% of people tip more when they are given a pre-set tip amount,” Rossman said. “Some people resent tip creep.”
Here’s how much Americans plan to tip for the holidays this year compared to 2021:
child care provider: