Twenty dollar bills.

Skip the Tip: Olo Strips the Stress from Paying Your Practitioner

August 27, 2015

If you’ve ever fretted over whether or not to tip your Olo Acupuncture practitioner, get ready to stress less. Effective August 27th, tips will no longer be accepted for any Olo services. Instead, massage and facial pricing will reflect a 20 percent cost increase to compensate. Acupuncture prices will remain the same, as tipping for this service has never been permitted under company policy.

To tip or not to tip has long been a confusing question of customers receiving services. While tipping seems to be an understood given with businesses such as restaurants and hair salons, there are other industries where it’s not quite so obvious. As a provider of holistic medicine and health services, Olo Acupuncture is a good example. After all, you wouldn’t tip your doctor, so why would you break out the extra cash when receiving care by a practitioner of Chinese medicine? However, on the flip side, our massages and facials are equated with spa services for which customers do tip, so we had previously followed suit.

The problem is that not everyone knows to tip or just chooses not to tip--or not enough. Like most service industry businesses, an employee’s compensation is based on this additional money from the customer, meaning he or she may not earn a sufficient wage all because of a lack of knowledge or effort on the customer’s part. At Olo, we want patients to have a clear understanding of what they will pay and practitioners to know what they are taking home.

The topic of fair wages has been big in the media lately, and we feel for good reason. For example, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the minimum wage for all tip workers will be increased, which is a great start. Many workers are still underpaid and certainly not paid a living wage by New York City standards. At Olo, we don't agree with the culture of tipping and believe people should be paid a fair wage and not be dependent on the whims of someone tipping, tipping poorly or just not tipping at all. Instead of working as a benefit to the employee, tipping has become a way to push the costs of employment to the customers and employees, not compensating the staff fairly or equally.

Like we do our customers, we strongly value our employees and want to make sure they are able to provide a stress-free environment so that you may receive the best care possible. If our practitioners are worried about their compensation and making ends meet, we strongly believe it can only have a negative effect on the calm community atmosphere we aim to create. Hand-in-hand, we hope this reduces the stress you might feel when your service is over. The end of a massage or facial should feel blissful; money questions is the last thing we want weighing on your mind.

To learn more about this important issue check out The Atlantic's video on the history of and the problems with tipping, as well as, Slate's article on why tipping does not work.

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