Axios PM

An analog clock with only two symbols instead of twelve: the symbols read 'AM' and 'PM'.

January 24, 2023

Happy Tuesday! Today's PM — edited by Erica Pandey — is 605 words, a 2½-min. read. Thanks to Sheryl Miller for the copy edit.

1 big thing: Tipping fatigue

Illustration of a payment tablet with a tip button showing numbers changing from zero to 20 percent.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Tipping culture is getting out of control, customers say.

  • By the numbers: Tips at full-service restaurants are up about 25% compared with a year ago, and tips at casual places are up 17%, CNN reports, citing Square data.

The big picture: People started to tip more during the height of the pandemic to support local businesses and essential workers.

  • And with the rise of digital payments, more and more businesses are including an option to tip on screen — at places people say they wouldn't normally tip, AP reports.

“Suddenly, these screens are at every establishment we encounter. They’re popping up online as well for online orders. And I fear that there is no end,” etiquette expert Thomas Farley told AP.

  • Unlike tip jars, these on-screen requests can't be ignored. And everyone, including the customers behind you and the workers behind the counter, can see whether or not you tip — and how much.

Reality check: The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13. And service workers rely on tips to make a living.

  • Now, as tip requests have become more common, some businesses are advertising it in their job postings to lure in more workers even though the extra money isn’t always guaranteed, AP notes.

Go deeper.

2. 📝 Another classified doc discovery

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

A small number of documents with classified markings were found in former Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana home last week and were turned over to the FBI, according to two letters from Pence's attorney.

  • President Biden and former President Trump are already under investigation for their handling of classified documents.
  • Back in August, Pence told AP, "No, not to my knowledge" when asked if he'd retained any classified materials when leaving office.

Driving the news: "There’s a systemic problem with former occupants of the presidency and vice presidency having classified information at their homes when it shouldn't be there," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said.

  • "There needs to be a review of what happens when people leave that office, the presidency and vice presidency."

Go deeper.

3. Catch up quick

Data: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios
Data: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios
  1. The Doomsday Clock — a figurative tracker of the world's proximity to total human-caused destruction — has been set to 90 seconds to midnight, closer to doom than ever before. Go deeper.
  2. 🎫 Ticketmaster is in the hot seat on Capitol Hill following its Taylor Swift tour debacle. Go deeper.
  3. 🎒 It's the International Day of Education, and Special Olympics is asking countries to spend at least 3% of their education budgets on kids with intellectual disabilities. "These children are in every community, every culture, every country in the world," Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver told Axios. Go deeper.

4. 🫗 Seltzer shake-up

San Juan Seltzery in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

A local company prides itself on being the nation's first and only "seltzery" — so much so, that it has threatened to sue other businesses that try to use the term.

  • What's happening: San Juan Seltzer of South Seattle has sent cease-and-desist letters to at least three hard seltzer companies, telling them they can't call themselves a seltzery because San Juan has trademarked the word, Axios Seattle co-author Melissa Santos writes from Seattle.

The company also sent a cease-and-desist letter to a local news website in North Carolina in 2020, saying the website couldn't use seltzery to describe a business featured in an article.

Hunter Wood of Elevated Seltzer in Arvada, Colorado, who received one of San Juan's letters, said it's like "Budweiser trademarking the word brewery."