American tipping culture has spiraled out of control, with more consumers opposed to higher service charges and suggested tipping amounts, according to a new Pew Research study published last week.

In an August survey of 11,945 U.S. adults, 72% of respondents said they opposed automatic service charges that appear on their bills. One-half of respondents strongly opposed this practice.

Consumers are also irritated by the tipping recommendations they receive at the checkout screen; according to Pew, 40% oppose this practice.

The problem isn’t tipping per se—it’s the pressure of leaving a gratuity when the service doesn’t warrant it. This so-called “tipflation” is irritating and confusing.

“By a long way, what matters most to Americans when they're making tipping decisions is the quality of the service they receive,” Pew associate director John Gramlich told Axios.

Four out of five Americans told Pew they “always” leave a tip when dining at a restaurant with servers. But only 12% said they “always” tipped at a coffee shop.

That’s because there’s a sizable effort gap between serving tables and filling a cup of coffee.

But tipping is now expected in far more places. 72% percent of respondents in Pew’s survey said tipping expectations are more common today than they were five years ago.

Excessive tipping is a hangover from the pandemic

Service charges and suggested tipping amounts were meant to help businesses survive the pandemic when public health measures prevented people from dining out.

Cornell professor Michael Lynn told the Associated Press that consumers were willing to leave generous tips early in the pandemic to support their favorite businesses.

But the practice has overstayed its welcome.

“People don’t like unsolicited advice [and] don’t like to be asked for things, especially at the wrong time,” according to Ismail Karabas, a marketing professor at Murray State University.

Digital payment screens have made it much easier for businesses to continue extracting tips from their customers. According to some experts, payment screens at checkout are mostly to blame for the so-called “tip fatigue.”

“It’s not the service providers; it’s the shift in technology and culture post-pandemic,” said Angeline Scheinbaum, a marketing professor at Clemson University. “That’s one of the reasons consumers are experiencing tip fatigue.”

Those dreaded screens are a major source of angst for consumers who feel pressured to leave a tip.

“You feel like you have to do it because they’re asking you to do it,” Pennsylvania native Clarissa Moore told the Associated Press. “But then you have to think about the position that puts people in. They’re paying for something that they really don’t want to pay for.”

St. Louis native Mike Goldberg told Fox 11 Los Angeles he feels “a little guilted into having to give it,” adding that he’s now the type of person to tip every time he’s prompted.

Service charges mask a bigger problem

There’s a good reason businesses continue to nudge their customers with excessive tipping requests: wage inflation.

The service industry is struggling with labor shortages as more workers “reshuffle” into higher-paying jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association revealed that 62% of operators don’t have enough employees.

Coffee shops, restaurants, and other service establishments have ramped up wages to attract and retain workers. But they’re weary of raising menu prices to accommodate those higher wages.

“The wage workers are receiving isn't sufficient,” Boston University professor Sean Jung told NPR. “So now everybody is using this very weird way to increase wages while maintaining the same menu price.”