Tipping in the drive-through…

Tipping in the drive-through lane… what’s up with that?

I’m usually a generous tipper. When we’re out to dinner, 20% is the standard for decent service to help cover the wage gap between service staff minimums and the work they actually do.

25% is never a problem for service that’s better than normal. And tipping at our local breakfast spot is always a flat $20.

You tip for the service. For the experience.

For the “just right” amount of having someone else fetch you the ketchup or refill your beverage.

But at the drive-through?

Many of the larger chains like Starbucks or Dunkin have apps that automatically let you deduct funds you’ve pre-loaded with the hopes of earning stars, free drinks, or that ever-elusive status of a frequent sucker in line for hot java…

Other smaller outfits are still sans app or have an app with no payment system and therefore resort to payment cards at the window.

And lately, they hang out the hopper with a PIN pad, asking you to “complete a few simple steps” in paying for your cup of caffeine.

And wouldn’t you know it?

The first screen asks for a tip with its big easy-press button interface!

And right behind that device, a pair of sad-sap college-student eyes hoping you’ll fund their next tattoo, or spring tuition, by feeling guilted into tipping for service that is handing me a cup of coffee.


This is where I draw the line.

Drive-through service is just that.

Order the food you want, drive around the corner, pay, and get your sack of burgers or tacos. And once you leave, that “service” experience is over.

Need more hot sauce? Too bad. You’ve already left, and you’re back on the main road…

And you know what else?

It’s not consistent, either.

Some days the PIN pad is there asking for a handout, and other days, like when it rained hard this past week, it was not… because the extra step of reaching out for human interaction and gratitude in the form of a few extra cents couldn’t be bothered to get wet!

So the next time you’re in line for that sweet treat at your local honey hut, beware the hand that asks for something that never took place

If they wanted to pay their team better, why not bake it into the price of the biscotti?

There’s no service worth tipping at the drive-through. And that’s the point… You’ve got places to go!