DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a small grocery shop that also serves microbrew beers on tap, I brought some fresh vegetables to the counter to purchase. I paid by credit card, and when I was presented with the screen to add a tip (a choice of 15%, 20%, etc. or no tip), I added a tip as I would have done at a restaurant.
A similar thing occurred at a different shop that sells both groceries and prepared food. I was offered the tip screen, although my purchase was groceries only. I paid a tip there, too. I thought it felt rude not to tip when clearly being asked to do so, and I want to tip when it is correct. The employee is personally right there, showing the tip screen to the customer.
GENTLE READER: Which is a wonderfully effective practice. It worked on you.
But as manipulative as this was, one does not, Miss Manners assures you, have to fear being rude to a machine.
She is further of the opinion that tipping should be abolished altogether in favor of better wages. But as the practice still exists, it is necessary to supplement underpaid workers, and reasonable to expect that it generally be utilized for service and delivery only.
To further complicate things, however, she makes an exception for precarious times like this, when workers are risking their health and well-being for ours.
In that case, Miss Manners is inclined to be generous. But she still does not like being bullied into that generosity by a machine.