The Tipping Backlash Has Begun - Kanebridge News
Share Button

The Tipping Backlash Has Begun

As of November, service-sector workers in non restaurant jobs made 7% less in tips than a year ago

By RACHEL WOLFE
Mon, Dec 18, 2023 11:06amGrey Clock 3 min

US: People are cutting back on tipping, frustrated by ubiquitous requests for gratuities.

As of November, service-sector workers in non restaurant leisure and hospitality jobs made $1.28 an hour in tips, on average, down 7% from the $1.38 an hour they made a year prior. The data is according to an analysis of 300,000 small and medium-size businesses by payroll provider Gusto.

The tipping slowdown is a gloomy development for all types of workers who rely on holiday tips as a chunk of their annual income. It reflects a broad frustration with the proliferation of tip requests at dry cleaners and bridal boutiques and even self-checkout machines that have sprung up since the pandemic.

Mary Medley, a Denver retiree who described herself to The Wall Street Journal in July as a unilaterally prolific tipper, is one of those who has become more discerning in recent months.

“It feels not as good to tip now that it’s popping up everywhere,” says Medley, 70 years old. “What started out to be a way to acknowledge excellent personal service feels like it’s become a way to help supplement worker compensation.”

There is a cost to the tipping slowdown, however, say economists and business owners. When people tip less, workers suffer, says Jonathan Morduch, a professor of public policy and economics at New York University.

“We’re in a situation where workers still want and expect and need tips to some degree,” Morduch says.

Up next

Some businesses are raising worker pay in part as a response to lower gratuities.

Dan Moreno, founder of Miami-based Flamingo Appliance Service, says he has noticed a slowdown in customers leaving tips for their repair people since the Journal spoke with him in July. The average base wages for his techs have gone up about 10% since then, though he hasn’t eliminated the prompt from point-of-sale machines.

“I don’t know if that’s because customers are just over it. I’ll tell you, personally, I’m a little bit over it,” Moreno says of how his own tipping habits have changed over the past year.

Meanwhile, governments have started to get involved.

In October, Chicago became the second-largest U.S. city to vote to require tipped workers to make the full minimum wage. The full federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, while the federal tipped minimum wage many bar and restaurant workers earn is $2.13 an hour. Legislation to get rid of tipped minimums is moving in eight states and measures are on the ballot in an additional four, according to worker-advocacy organisation One Fair Wage.

“There’s an ongoing rejection of the whole system by both workers and consumers who have been increasingly pissed about it,” says Saru Jayaraman, director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley and president of One Fair Wage, an advocate for higher wages for restaurant workers.

Restaurant workers earned an average of $3.83 an hour in tips and overtime in November, according to technology company Square, up 8% from the previous year. Between November 2020 and November 2022, that amount rose 50% from $2.36 to $3.54 an hour.

While governments, workers and owners wrestle with what to do about tipping, consumers have embraced the humor in tipping’s massive expansion into so many parts of life. Jokes mocking tipping’s proliferation have spread on social-media sites. In one image, a police officer holds out a tablet with different tip options after giving someone a speeding ticket. In another, someone pretends to ask for a tip for letting a stranger pet her dog.

Garrett Bemiller, a 26-year-old who works in communications, started to question his standard practice of always leaving 20% after being asked for a tip at a self-serve checkout station at an OTG gift shop in New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport in April.

“We all know how absurd it is that it almost relieves some of that guilt in saying no,” he says.

He now always hits “No Tip” when he’s buying a black coffee—even when friends are watching.

Holiday tips

One area people might not cut back is tipping for the holidays.

Of the 2,413 U.S. adults surveyed by financial services company Bankrate, 15% said they planned to leave more-generous tips for workers including housekeepers, child-care workers, landscapers and mail carriers this year. About 13% said they planned to leave less.

Median amounts are so far up from last year across the six types of service providers Bankrate asked about.

“It seems that people view holiday tipping differently, perhaps because of the holiday spirit and also because of the regular interaction with many of these service providers,” Bankrate analyst Ted Rossman says.

Bemiller plans to give the super in his New York City building $100—not because he feels like he has to, but because he wants to.

“She helps me so much throughout the year and that tip seems genuinely justified,” he says.



MOST POPULAR

What a quarter-million dollars gets you in the western capital.

Alexandre de Betak and his wife are focusing on their most personal project yet.

Related Stories
Money
To Find Winning Stocks, Investors Often Focus on the Laggards. They Shouldn’t.
By KEN SHREVE 12/06/2024
Money
Louis Vuitton Unveils Its Most Extravagant High-Jewellery Collection Ahead of Olympics
By LAURIE KAHLE 09/06/2024
Money
Sylvester Stallone Sells His Knockout Watch Collection, Including the Most Valuable Modern Timepiece Sold in Sotheby’s History
By ERIC GROSSMAN 08/06/2024

These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

By KEN SHREVE
Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .