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Work On Your Game Content/business and money/“Gratuity” is EXTRA - Not An Obligation 🤬💸
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“Gratuity” is EXTRA - Not An Obligation 🤬💸

I went to a restaurant in Miami two weekends ago with my 18-month-old son.

I ordered a burger and fries and let my son share it with me. He had his first experiences with french fries and bacon (he liked both).

The server brought the bill. It was what I expected, save for one thing: A 20% gratuity was pre-added to my bill.

No — not a “suggested gratuity” for me to write in. The tip was already factored into the amount I was expected to pay.

I paid it – I probably would've given 20% anyway – but don’t like this at all.

Gratuity: A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service.

Businesses are forcing “favors” from customers. This is extortion.

Technically, I could’ve made an issue of this. Call for the manager and demand a lesser amount or even none at all.

[I did this at a bar in South Beach once, after ordering a super-sized Bavarian pretzel at the bar. The bartender added a 20% tip and I refused to pay it. Then the manager came out and debated with me for five minutes over it. I got my way.]

Even takeout restaurants and service businesses are now asking for tips.

There’s a place in my neighborhood that sells pre-packaged foods in plastic containers. Stuff that you can take home, heat up for 6 minutes and eat.

I go in there, grab a meal or two, and bring it to the register. The clerk says hello, scans my food, and bags them up. Their payment system always asks me if I’d like to leave a tip.

What the f*** for???

The clerk doesn't even move to do anything. What am I tipping you for?

[In fairness, I don’t mind this method of asking for it. I just decline and keep it moving. Nothing to lose for either side.]

There’s an app called GoPuff that’s growing in popularity in bigger cities. On GoPuff, you can order potato chips, candy, soda, paper towels, dish detergent and such. Think of a local convenience store, but in an app. I order candy from GoPuff 1-2 times per month.

When placing my orders, the app auto-chooses a tip for the driver – often in the 35-40% range – that I have to manually adjust. Thanks to the $3.95+ delivery fee, I often give the drivers less tip than I would.

There's a restaurant called SweetGreen that I like a lot. If I ever order delivery (rare, as when I’m hungry I don’t like waiting on other people to bring my food), SweetGreen auto-adds a non-negotiable delivery fee that “covers the convenience costs of preparing your order.”


Even Chipotle is in on the racket.

Last week, I was walking my son and was two blocks away from a Chipotle that I planned to pick up a rice bowl from. I created my order in the Chipotle app, but payment wasn’t working. By that point I was one block away and decided I’d just order in-store.

I noticed something interesting at the checkout.

The price for me as a walk-in Chipotle customer was ~$1.50 LESS than my aborted order in their app.


The register clerk confirmed the difference, but couldn’t tell me why.

I hate this.

I was at a business maybe a month ago — I don’t remember which one — and there was a note on the menu: “Our staff works hard to serve you. Please add a gratuity to show thanks to them.”

Why the F**K is your “hard-working staff” MY responsibility? You’re the employer. Raise your prices and pay them more!

Businesses understand all of this. But they won’t raise their prices because —

1) That may turn price-conscious customers off from buying or even looking.

2) They can “hide” the increased costs in these hidden fees that are quietly forced upon customers.

3) Staff is incentivized to participate in the scam, as the gratuity money is split amongst them.

It’s a pretty clever, albeit sloppy and dishonest, hustle.

I don’t see it going away.

Most people are generally not disagreeable enough to speak up against the practice. And, especially in places like Miami / NYC / Las Vegas, it’s almost a social faux pas to push back against or complain about that extra $17 on an $88 tab.

The process uses your ego against you. That’s why it’s clever.

The only way it changes is if a mass of customers start making noise about it. And as I’ve explained, I doubt that occurs.

Speaking of making noise… When you’re in the thought leadership space, you must be willing and able to make noise with your point of view and opinions — and be willing to talk about them.

This ability — NOT your information or expertise — is what separates you from the crowd. You can take my word for it or learn the hard way.

If you’re taking my word for it, here’s what you do next: Join Work On Your Game University and have me as your coach so you can learn how to leverage your opinions for attracting your ideal clients and building a business that cannot be copied by others who have similar topics and knowledge.

Schedule a call here:

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