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Posted: 2:23 p.m. Friday, March 14, 2014

Tipping in America

How Often Do You Tip Your Starbucks Barista?

Baristas will begin accepting digital tips via app

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Do you put tips in the tip jar for counter-service at take-out restaurants, coffee shops, etc?

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Yes, I tip as much as I would at a sit-down restaurant

Yes, I usually throw a dollar or two into the jar

Sometimes, but only if I'm given extra special service

No, I don't tip there -- avoiding tips is usually why I'm doing take-out in the first place!

By Mike Timmermann, Contributor

Starting March 19th, customers will be able to leave tips directly through the Starbucks app on their iPhone.

Think of it as a digital tip jar. Customers will be given the option to leave a tip of $.50, $1, or $2, according to the Starbucks Newsroom.

But is tipping your barista even necessary?

"A digital tip, just like the tip jar, should be optional," says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman.

Gottsman admits tipping a dollar or two for a cup of coffee is steep. However, she says it may be worth it for loyal customers who have developed a relationship with the employees at Starbucks.

"If the employee smiles and calls you by name, knows your favorite coffee drink and has directed the barista to get it started by the time you get to the front of the line, a tip would be a considerate way to show appreciation," says Gottsman.

With more people taking advantage of the mobile payment option, Starbucks says customers suggested digital tipping on

Gottsman says while some customers will not embrace the new feature, it will solve a problem for others.

"Most people really do want to show gratitude for exceptional service, but even the most successful execs often don’t carry enough cash to pay for a meter or the valet – much less tip the barista," says Gottsman.

For now, digital tipping will only work on the Starbucks app for iPhone. It'll be available for Android later this year.

Freelance journalist Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.

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