Skip to main content

Apparently This Matters: The Dipjar

Dipjar is designed to help credit card users tip. Even cheapskates like Jarrett.
Dipjar is designed to help credit card users tip. Even cheapskates like Jarrett.
  • "Apparently This Matters" is CNN Tech's weekly, off-kilter look at the social Web
  • This week, Jarrett ponders the Dipjar
  • The "genius" product lets credit card users tip their servers -- or whoever
  • Be kind to your frozen yogurt vendor. Seriously.

Editor's note: Each week in "Apparently This Matters," CNN's Jarrett Bellini applies his warped sensibilities to trending topics in social media and random items of interest on the interwebs.

(CNN) -- Look, I'm not saying I'm a cheap bastard. I'm also not saying I'm a soulless ginger. Mind you, both are true. I'm just not saying it.

But to the first point, it's necessary to clarify that, despite the fact I've been known to show signs of lupus over the occasional restaurant bill, I'm actually an excellent tipper.

As for everything else in life, I'm mediocre at best.

So, this week we're going to talk about gratuity. And it all stems from a recent trending discovery on the interwebs about something called the Dipjar.

Now, I don't throw the word "genius" around too liberally. Generally, I save it for really important stuff like when a friend suggests we light something on fire. But I'm going to go ahead and drop a G-bomb on this amazing new invention. Because, for better or worse, when it comes to tipping, the Dipjar is an absolute game changer.

Or not. I've been known to get things wrong. "Gangnam Style" is still around.

Basically, the Dipjar is an electronic tip jar for store countertops in which a customer can -- as the name suggests -- dip his or her credit card to leave a fixed-amount tip for the clerk. And these days it's sort of a necessity

Increasingly, we are becoming a cash-free society, preferring the convenience of credit cards to carrying actual paper money. While this can be great for the consumer, it sort of screws over the hipster barista behind the counter who no longer gets to keep your change.

But, hey, he still has giant-gauged ear holes. So that's something.

Not only is cash becoming less popular, but it also seems that more and more credit card companies don't even require a signature for small transactions, thus eliminating the opportunity to write in a tip or, perhaps, leave that really cute server an adorable pickup line.

"I'm so alone. Hold me."

I almost never carry cash. Though, for me, it has less to do with convenience, and everything to do with racking up airline miles

"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

I'm sort of obsessed. So much so, that when I actually go to book a flight I don't even use the miles I have. It's unquestionably because I'm a complete idiot, and figure why drop 40,000 miles to fly for free when I could spend $500 and get ... more miles?

Delta pretty much has me by the gonads. But it's cool. I get to board in Zone 1. And these are the things that matter to soulless gingers.

Anyway, Dipjar finally makes it easy for credit card users to tip without signing, and the company makes their money by taking a small percentage of each transaction. However, they insist that they'll always deliver at least 80 cents of every dollar to the store's employees.

Some people might say this is unfairly taking money from the people who actually earned it, but the counter-argument (pun absolutely intended because I'm awesome) is that this is money they probably wouldn't have seen in the first place.

I suppose there's no right answer here, but we should probably all get unnecessarily worked up and leave hateful, anonymous comments for each other. I'll start:

"This writer sucks!"

The future, of course, is cell phones where you either tap-to-pay or maybe just command Siri to do something useful for a change.

"Siri, pay the man."

"Where are your pants?"

"Shut up, Siri."

But, for now, until our cell phones officially take over the world, the Dipjar seems to be a decent intermediary. That said, we still have to ask: Who actually deserves a Dipjar in the first place?

These days, it seems like everyone is soliciting tips. And I legitimately don't know who should get them. Naturally, we have the old standards. Servers get 15% to 20%. Bartenders get a dollar a drink. And the guy who hooks me up with illegal HBO gets 20 bucks and a Miller Lite.

But as I spoke to people this week about tipping, and as I researched the topic online, there seemed to be a huge overall backlash against leaving money for anyone with an actual tip jar. Read: People who might use the Dipjar.

The general consensus was that, in food service, if you physically come to the table with my meal you get a tip. The frozen yogurt girl, on the other hand, can go die in a ditch.

Of course, tipping isn't unique to America. But it certainly seems to be a bigger part of our culture than in other countries. For example, in the United States we even take care of the taxi driver in the same way we tip a restaurant server. And it's kind of insane.

"Here's an extra five bucks for talking on your blue tooth for the last 30 minutes. You're the best!"

For comparison, in England, riders tip, but only a small amount. In fact, while on assignment in London before the Royal Wedding, I actually spoke to a taxi driver about proper etiquette, and he told me it's polite to just round up the fare -- that the normal tip is about 50 pence (or roughly 80 cents).

He said, "You don't look towards a tip, but it's nice when you do get one."

The moral of the story is never leave your house. Life's too confusing.

But for those who do wander and buy stuff, the Dipjar is definitely a clever idea. Still, I seriously don't know who should get a tip these days. So help me sort this out. Who's worthy?

And, more importantly, has anyone seen the frozen yogurt girl?

Part of complete coverage on
Apparently This Matters...
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 2120 GMT (0520 HKT)
The art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting animal skins is called taxidermy, and it can range from classy to creepy depending on whether your subject is a moose, or, say, a homeless drifter.
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 0416 GMT (1216 HKT)
The July 21, 1969, headline of the New York Times read, "MEN WALK ON MOON."
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
I once uploaded an Instagram of me at Old Navy trying to get all kissy-face with a mannequin. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but she was rather unresponsive.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 2213 GMT (0613 HKT)
I use a Keurig coffee machine at home because I'm lazy. And, quite frankly, don't feel like I've really done my duty to God and country until I've added a little something to the landfill.
February 28, 2014 -- Updated 1838 GMT (0238 HKT)
I wouldn't necessarily call myself a true germaphobe, but if entering a domestic partnership with a bottle of Purell were legal I'd certainly consider it.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 2331 GMT (0731 HKT)
Fact: The most underrated cute animal on the face of the planet is the walrus.
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 2108 GMT (0508 HKT)
A wise man once said, "I'm not wearing pants today."
February 7, 2014 -- Updated 2147 GMT (0547 HKT)
Let me tell you about the time I spent $388.58 replacing a single light bulb.
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Attention minions of Colonel Meow:
January 27, 2014 -- Updated 1810 GMT (0210 HKT)
It's the stuff of movies. Bad movies. But movies.
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
crying baby
I rarely get to experience fine dining. Mostly because, generally speaking, it also requires fine currency. And pants.
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 2040 GMT (0440 HKT)
There's a classic rap song from the early 1990s called "It Was a Good Day" where Ice Cube chronicles 24 hours of peace and happiness on the otherwise rough and dangerous streets of South Central Los Angeles.
December 22, 2013 -- Updated 2111 GMT (0511 HKT)
Growing up in Arizona, the common joke was that one day a giant earthquake would tear California out into the Pacific and then we'd all have oceanfront property.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 0415 GMT (1215 HKT)
I'm really not sure how I feel about the color purple. It's elegant and regal, but part of me also wants it to die in a ditch.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
A dog's life is fairly easy. It usually involves waking up late, eating some food and then passing out for eight hours in the backyard.
November 22, 2013 -- Updated 2022 GMT (0422 HKT)
The other day I was engaged in a rather thoughtful conversation with one of my CNN co-workers, an Ivy League-educated, award-winning journalist who's admired for her compassion and charm. She asked me to fart.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1848 GMT (0248 HKT)
Just did some power lunges. Quads getting huge. Can only speak in fragments. Because my quads are so huge.
November 11, 2013 -- Updated 2049 GMT (0449 HKT)
I'm typing this in bed, lying next to my dog, Mikey. We're best buds, and it's sort of a thing we do. There's also the occasional tongue kiss.
November 4, 2013 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
At best I'm a 5.
October 25, 2013 -- Updated 2257 GMT (0657 HKT)
Here's the short, tragic story of a little car in China that nobody wanted.
October 18, 2013 -- Updated 1647 GMT (0047 HKT)
Nobody wants to underwhelm when it comes to their final words on this planet.
October 11, 2013 -- Updated 2116 GMT (0516 HKT)
My dad still uses an old flip phone. It's gray. It's clunky. And its two ringtone choices are an early recording of Greensleeves or a dramatic poetry slam by Grover Cleveland.
October 5, 2013 -- Updated 1830 GMT (0230 HKT)
I go to the gym. It's an excellent place to watch SportsCenter while occupying a bench press that somebody else might otherwise use for actual exercise.
September 27, 2013 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
It's been quite a while since I last soiled my pants. Easily a week or two. Maybe three.
September 20, 2013 -- Updated 2022 GMT (0422 HKT)
Crammed three-deep at the bar on Friday night used to be my idea of good time. But years have passed, and now I prefer the quiet solitude of rearranging my sock drawer, pretending that TV commentators speaking proper British are doing the play-by-play.
September 13, 2013 -- Updated 1928 GMT (0328 HKT)
When the apocalypse comes, I'm pretty sure I can get by for a while on Diet Coke and Klondike Bars.
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 1834 GMT (0234 HKT)
Certain products are definitely OK to rent. Like a car. Or a tuxedo. Or the cheapest room at a Motel 6 when you find yourself strolling down I-85 at midnight with no pants.
August 30, 2013 -- Updated 2349 GMT (0749 HKT)
There are a lot of things in my freezer. Animal sperm isn't one of them.
August 23, 2013 -- Updated 2003 GMT (0403 HKT)
I've often said I'd like to smother my entire body in soy sauce. But enough about my eHarmony profile.
August 20, 2013 -- Updated 0005 GMT (0805 HKT)
To call myself a true ginger is rather an insult to all the legitimate redheads of the world. You know, the super shiny ones you carefully hide from your children.
August 10, 2013 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
When I was a kid I used to write fan letters to the Chicago Cubs. I was young and didn't know any better.
August 2, 2013 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
When I was growing up, to open my parents' refrigerator was to take a magical journey deep into a strange land of Tupperware that ultimately ended in sadness, confusion and some sort of round, congealed blob of food that may or may not have dated to the Carter administration.
July 26, 2013 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
It's been a rough month for chickens.
July 20, 2013 -- Updated 0321 GMT (1121 HKT)
At home I drink from the tap. Not so much because I particularly love the taste, but because the automatic water dispenser on my fridge doesn't work.
July 13, 2013 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
We all have bad habits. Nobody's perfect. Especially the booger eaters.
July 5, 2013 -- Updated 2103 GMT (0503 HKT)
Children of the '80s and '90s fondly remember a time when MTV actually played music videos.
June 28, 2013 -- Updated 2209 GMT (0609 HKT)
I've always found amusement parks very unamusing, for it's hard to justify standing in a hot, 40-minute roller-coaster line so I can promptly lose my car keys and barf up a churro.
June 21, 2013 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
One day, a rather inconsiderate caveman turned to his cavewoman and said, "You know, Diane, you should really think about shaving your legs."
June 15, 2013 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
George Carlin once said, "I don't automatically wash my hands every time I go to the bathroom. You know when I wash my hands? When I s**t on them."
June 8, 2013 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
A lot of people don't know this, but for every 30 minutes of legitimate work, all employees must be allowed one full hour of Internet cat videos.
May 30, 2013 -- Updated 1446 GMT (2246 HKT)
Sing it with me, kids!
May 24, 2013 -- Updated 1703 GMT (0103 HKT)
I've been camping countless times in the forest -- as one does -- and without fail, there's always plenty of wood just lying around.
May 17, 2013 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
We just can't leave well-enough alone.
May 10, 2013 -- Updated 2039 GMT (0439 HKT)
There's a great song by Todd Snider called "The Ballad of The Kingsmen." In it, he sings, "Marilyn Manson gets a lot of chicks. They're weird chicks. But they're chicks."
May 3, 2013 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
In my bedroom there's an amazing wall-mounted hideaway ironing board. It even has an affixed light and timed electrical outlet for safety. The thing is absolutely brilliant.
April 27, 2013 -- Updated 1944 GMT (0344 HKT)
"Wow! I totally just watched the awesome cell phone video you shot at that concert!"
April 21, 2013 -- Updated 1011 GMT (1811 HKT)
We're all thirsty and we don't even know it.
April 15, 2013 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Abraham Lincoln once said, "In life, what counts is the size of a man's heart, not the size of his disproportionate willie."
February 2, 2013 -- Updated 1518 GMT (2318 HKT)
Sometimes pet tortoises vanish for 30 years and end up in a box of records. Still alive. Or they live with San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks.