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Snippet: Apple’s Unionized Store Wants to Start Accepting Tips from Customers ☇

Shared on May 5, 2023

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg (via John Gruber):

Workers at Apple Inc.’s unionized store in Maryland are asking for higher pay and additional time off, along with changes that could affect the company’s tightly controlled retail experience, such as letting customers tip employees. […]

The workers’ negotiators also want Apple to adopt a tipping system, letting patrons offer gratuities in increments of 3%, 5% or a custom amount for in-store credit-card transactions.

“This will allow thankful patrons the ability to express gratitude for a job well done without any obligations,” the union wrote Apple. “All monies collected through this manner would be dispersed to members of the bargaining unit biweekly based on any hours worked.”

I’m all for higher pay and additional time off for workers and in many cases, a union is the only way to expand it. However, like Gruber, I have reservations about the tipping portion from a bigger picture standpoint. From what I’ve always understood, Apple Store employees cannot accept tips—there probably have been a few instances where someone provided one-on-one support or went above and beyond and some customers have wanted to throw some money their way. I think the better ask would have been to allow accepting tips/gifts if it’s currently not permissible (if someone offers, fine, but you can’t ask).

Instead, it hardly feels that patrons would be prompted “without any obligations” since many people feel guilty hitting the “no tip” button. The other problem is that most customers would see this as a directive from Apple, not the employees at the Apple Store at Towson Town Center—further contributing to our fatigue of every payment prompt having a tip option.

Finally, Gruber mentioned that tipping at a retail store is a “backdoor commission” and I see the slippery slope—let’s say people are inclined to tap a 3% or 5% button at checkout—why wouldn’t employees upsell someone on a MacBook Pro over a MacBook Air?

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.