I’ve been obsessing over mobile payments and why NFC is allowed to remain a hurdle to their adoption. But now I think I’m onto something – it’s a conspiracy fomented by an army of devalued tip jars.
No seriously, think about it. If you pay electronically, you receive no change, so you are less likely to make a deposit in that tip jar you so often see next to the register at places like Starbucks and Subway. Debit cards started the trend, but now mobile wallets threaten to make carrying cash even less likely.
Once cash is gone, tip jars everywhere will stand empty, collecting dust where hard currency once rained down like hail in a Kansas thunderstorm. But those tip jars know something – they are imbued with purpose. And they ask themselves – if we no longer hold tips, are we tip jars any longer? Are we even jars? This philosophical conundrum has spurred them to action. Their strategy? Promote NFC. When it fails, cash will rise and tip jars will again swell with loose change and the occasional guilt bill.
It’s an ideal conspiracy. NFC is expensive for merchants to adopt. It’s complex. It hasn’t yet won Apple over. The bigger a speed bump it presents on the road to mobile pay, the more tip jars will benefit. The “jarries,” as some have nicknamed them, won’t let mobile pay go the way of the debit card. They’ve lost too much to the plastic swiping bandits already. They’ll make their stand at NFC, like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, if it comes to that.
No one can blame the lowly tip jars for protecting their own interests. I would find it hard to fault the horse who deposited his leavings in the first horseless carriages’ open cabs. But just as automobiles replaced the horse in day to day society, something must also replace the tip jar (is there an app for that???). For in the end, when it comes to mobile pay’s (or any form of e-pay’s) elimination of the casual tip, it is the barristas who serve us coffee and the sandwich engineers who build our lunches who will suffer most.