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Starbucks rolls out new touchscreen tipping feature

Yahoo Finance Live anchor Dave Briggs explains why Starbucks customers are complaining about the coffee chain's new touchscreen tipping system.

Video Transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: 'Tis the season for Starbucks peppermint mochas, provided you did not invest in an S&P index fund to start the year, because they will set you back north of $7 with tax. Of course, your caffeine intake is not the only thing going up from there. You see, Starbucks has rolled out a new tipping feature, and for those who pay only with credit cards. And baristas are well steamed, if you will.

And customers are angry, venti, venting frustration on TikTok are these baristas with the new hashtag, #baristaproblems. You see, videos are racking up millions of views and employees even hiding from their customers when this awkward transaction ensues. They hold out the credit machine. Option one, $1 tip. Option two, $2 tip. Or there's the option to do none, or other. Here in New York, your average Starbucks barista makes 16.75 an hour-- not bad.

Here's a tip, then, for Howard Schultz. Make those options a quarter, $0.50. And call me a cheapskate, 0 should be on the main screen for pouring my cold brew in a cup. And Seana, my tipping point came last night, Madison Square Garden. Paid-- this guy here paid 17.24 for a hard iced tea, 17.24, and then came the option for the tips-- $1, $2 $3. You know I chose other and opted for a quarter. Am I a cheapskate? Or have we all just reached our collective tipping point? It is absurd.

SEANA SMITH: It is a little absurd. I also like that your choice was Twisted Tea out of everything that was available at MSG.

DAVE BRIGGS: I knew you would point that out, Budlight with lemon girl.

SEANA SMITH: We'll talk about that another time, but no, a quarter, I do agree with that because I think a lot of people are a little bit overwhelmed. And I think people feel bad about if they don't tip, and they want to give something, but they don't necessarily want to give $1, $2, especially in this current economic environment, when people are paying more and more for almost every single product in their life. So I think this-- it was interesting what you said about the baristas, some of them hiding and it being uncomfortable for them.

DAVE BRIGGS: They're embarrassed by this policy.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, so I wouldn't be, then, surprised if maybe Starbucks shifts its whole view on this maybe, and maybe does-- maybe they should take your advice-- offer a quarter or $0.50. But more broadly speaking, tipping this holiday season, the trends that we are seeing, more people are tipping. But to your point, they're tipping less. So if you are maybe giving more of an option, the quarter or $0.50, something that doesn't jump out so much to the people that are buying these products on the screen, will make everyone feel a little bit better. And people will take home more at the end of the day, hopefully.

DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah, look, and I think you're actually hurting these baristas with this policy. Not just the embarrassment factor, but the fact that I'm staring at a $1 option after a $7 cup of coffee means I'm ultimately more likely to push 0 because there ain't no way we can afford an $8 cup of coffee. So I think the smart policy would be to bring it-- when we used to have some change in our pocket, that's what we'd put in the tip jar. Do you or do you not? I admit-- sorry, baristas-- I do not tip at Starbucks.

SEANA SMITH: But you tipped--


SEANA SMITH: I've seen you tip. You've tipped our barista here.

DAVE BRIGGS: Our guy, yes. I do tip our guy at the coffee bar.

SEANA SMITH: So you do. You don't have the [INAUDIBLE]. I don't always tip. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. It really depends on the mood. But I would tip a lot more if there was a quarter or $0.50 option. I do agree with you.