How much should you tip? How about nothing? Tipping culture is out of control.

Anyone with college kids knows about “grade inflation.”

This is when universities, often the most prestigious, reward mediocre work with straight A’s. No Yale prof wants to deal with an angry mom insisting precious little Schuyler won’t get into his dream law firm with a lousy 3.61 GPA.

I have two daughters at university where, let’s just say, grade inflation isn’t a pressing concern. But on my current visit to the youngest kid’s school in the Midwest, I’m dealing with another problem: tip inflation.

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I try to be careful with my funds; any kind of travel is hard enough on my bank account. But if tipflation keeps up, I’ll need to add a “gratuities” column to the monthly budget.

Who am I rewarding with my tip?

Ride to the airport, tip the rideshare lady. Pass a few bucks to the skycap as he takes my luggage.

Stand in a long line for a quick breakfast before catching my plane. As the crabby cashier tells me to pay, I see the dreaded screen.

“We appreciate your tips! Click 18%, 20% or 25%!”

Who am I rewarding here?

I’m the one who stood in line for 10 minutes. I got yelled at by the cashier for tapping the point-of-sale thingy instead of inserting the card. I waited 10 more minutes for a terrible bagel sandwich and burned coffee.

No tip. The cashier glared at me before yelling at the next customer.

How much tip should you give?

I entered early adulthood as a generous tipper. At the time, 15% was recommended so I gave 20%. (What can I say, I’m a mensch.) But today that’s considered a starting point.

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I thought it was just me, but research backs me up. Pew Research Center found that about 7 in 10 American adults say “tipping is expected in more places today than it was five years ago.”

Only a third of respondents say it’s easy to know whether to tip or how much to give for different types of services. Apparently, there are entire spreadsheets online telling you how much to give your masseuse, hotel concierge or valet.

Glad I’m not rich enough to deal with those ethical dilemmas.

According to a different survey, nearly 75% of food and beverage purchases now ask for a tip, whether online or in person.

New tipping etiquette for 2023: No tip if I do the service

I’ve never had an issue leaving a gratuity at a sit-down restaurant, at a bar or for the kid delivering my pepperoni pizza. But not when I’m doing all the work.

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Every time I stroll up to a counter for coffee or lunch, I’m asked for a tip. It’s not for the service since I’m handling that. It’s not for the food quality since I haven’t tried it yet.

Still, the payment screen shames me. Maybe if I don’t tip, the teenager behind the counter will spit in my burrito. He probably will anyway, but it’s best to mitigate poor outcomes.

Checking into my hotel, I’m advised to tip the housecleaning staff. Ordering DoorDash, I’m asked for a pre-delivery tip; on that one, they forgot the drink I ordered. At least they got their tip.

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As soon as I get home, I’m instituting some new rules. When I’m doing all the service, there will be no tip. When I’m asked for an extra 20% before I receive the service, no tip. I’ll still feel guilty about it, of course, but that will fade with time.

The final survey question made me feel a bit better about things. Pew found that less than a quarter of respondents tip 20% or more. It turns out, I really am a mensch.

how much should you tip? how about nothing? tipping culture is out of control.

Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and

Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and, where this column first published. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter: @exjon

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: How much should you tip? How about nothing? Tipping culture is out of control.

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