Some Apple Store Staff Want To Ask For Tips & Customers Say It's 'Tipping Culture Gone Wild'

Tipping culture is coming for your iPhone.

An Apple Store Genius with customers.
Senior Editor

An Apple Store Genius with customers.

Picture this: You’ve just dropped $300 to get your iPhone repaired at the Apple Store, and once that phone is finally back in your hand, the Genius behind the counter shows you a tipping screen.

How would you feel about giving this person a percentage of your $300 bill? Do you want to spend even more at the Apple Store, just because someone smiled at you while inserting a SIM card?

This might soon be your future, as the first unionized Apple Store employees in the United States are pushing for permission to ask customers for tips, as first reported by Bloomberg.

The request is coming out of Towson, Maryland, where staff at that city's Apple Store have teamed up with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to form a union called The Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or CORE.

Get it?

If the name alone makes you want to leave a tip, you might be able to do so very soon. The union is currently negotiating a contract with Apple, and the list of demands includes being able to ask for a tip.

"Apple employees everywhere can tell you that they are already being offered tips by customers regularly," the union claims in a Twitter thread about tips. It adds that staff can be fired for accepting even a $1 tip at this point, and that "our customers want to thank us, but currently, they have no means to do so."

The union wants staff to be able to receive low-percentage tips, which will likely still be worth a decent amount if you're dropping over $1,300 on an iPhone or iPad.

So how much are they asking for? CORE wants the options to be 3%, 5% or a custom amount. All tips would then be pooled and divided up among staff.

A fully-loaded iPad Pro with lots of storage space will set you back $1,799. That means that if you chose to tip 3%, you'd be adding another $54 to your bill.

Needless to say, internet users are not taking the proposal well.

"I hope the store shuts down," wrote one critic on Twitter. "You'd never get a tip out of me."

"Even the corner store cashier wants a tip for not doing a damn thing but existing and doing what they are supposed to do," wrote another Twitter user. She added that the tipping proposal fits into "America's tipping culture gone wild."

Others urged the union to focus on a pay raise instead of bringing in tips, which have proven controversial in many other parts of society.

"As soon as the door is wedged open, tipping will become mandatory," one person tweeted at the union.

"I'm sorry, but no, I'm not interested in tipping a retail store employee," wrote someone else in response to a story about the idea. "I am all for them bargaining for better wages, but personally I'm not interested in tipping Apple store employees."

Others said they'd be okay with tipping in certain cases where there's a difficult problem to solve, but not when buying something pricey off the rack.

Although the tip creep clearly has people alarmed, it's worth pointing out that this could go either way. CORE is negotiating with Apple, and sometimes you throw out wild ideas so that you can let them go later as part of the deal-making process. However, the proposal could also inspire workers at other stores or in other retail jobs to ask for the same thing.

CORE's other demands include a 10% raise and more vacation time, Bloomberg reports.

Apple has not commented on the negotiations, but CORE told Bloomberg that these are just "initial proposals."

"Our goal is and always has been to bring back an acceptable contract for the membership to ratify."

The Towson store became the first unionized Apple retail location last June, although another store in Oklahoma City has also done so in the months since.

The Towson negotiations are ongoing, so there's no telling if or when tipping will become a thing at this Apple store -- or if it will spread to other locations in the future.

Would you ever tip the staff at the Apple store?

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Josh Elliott
Senior Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Food & Drink and Lifestyle teams with a focus on entertainment interviews. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.