To Tip or not to Tip on a deivery charge
October 10, 2004 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Tipping etiquette: Should I add a tip on top of a delivery charge?
posted by gd779 to Society & Culture (16 answers total)
Delivery of what?

I'd tend to tip a restaurant delivery even if there was a delivery charge. Maybe that's just me.
posted by gimonca at 9:37 AM on October 10, 2004

Aside from what it is obviously making a huge difference, it depends on whether you think the delivery charge is going toward the deliverer or the company.
posted by bingo at 9:40 AM on October 10, 2004

for food, yes. Although those delivery services that operate as independent services and manage delivery and ordering for a whole bunch of restaurants, I'm not sure of. Given that the person delivering the food is likely to be underpaid, I'd lean to tipping.
posted by mwhybark at 10:04 AM on October 10, 2004

Response by poster: Delivery of what?

Sandwiches or pizza, I would think. Why does it make a difference? I must know even less about this than I thought.
posted by gd779 at 10:05 AM on October 10, 2004

Tip the delivery driver well and often if you like your food hot. ;-)
posted by shepd at 10:27 AM on October 10, 2004

Yup. And always tip delivery people in cash.

For food delivery: about 5-10% of the order total, but never less than $1+ the change, and kick in a little extra if its raining. They have a horribly shitty job, and need this extra--especially in the suburbs, where they almost certainly pay for their own car.

Groceries or small packages: $1-2 per box.

Furniture or appliance: $20 is probably alright.

You don't have to tip UPS/FedEx/DHL because they get good pay, have insurance, etc. It would be nice, though, if they struggle up four flights for you with your new plasma TV or weight-lifting bench or whatever.
posted by armchairsocialist at 10:43 AM on October 10, 2004

Yes, yes, and yes - 15 to 20%. I did food delivery in high school for one of the multiple restaurant delivery services. I had to pay for my own gas. The $4 delivery charge went toward my boss's overhead, and they also negotiated a small discount off the restaurant price which they pocketed (the customer pays full menu price). My salary was $4/hour, which with the gas and wear on the car would basically net to zero if not for tips.

What really sucked were the corporate accounts, which included an automatic 10% gratuity. Since the receiptionist usually signed the receipt, they would never put on any additional tip. This got me really pissed, since I knew that nobody would notice or care if they changed the policy from 10% to 20%. And parking always sucked during the lunch hour.

Drivers are treated like shit by the customers and by the restaurant staff. I used to have to hang out in the kitchen while the order was prepared, and I was always getting in people's way. Also, if the customer's food is late, it's never the driver's fault. There are too many variables, from the delay in calling in the order to the restaurant to the restaurant's wait time to traffic to bad staffing and management.

So yeah, if you're too lazy to pick up your pizza at the store, give the driver some good hazard pay.

Also, it's axiomatic that the people in the big houses tipped the worst, while the blue-collar places were the most generous. I think it's the sense of entitlement.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:23 AM on October 10, 2004

I do tip for food deliveries, but I've often wondered why I bother (no offense to to people with delivery/restaurant experience, etc.) Isn't the point of tipping to reward exemplary service, or going above and beyond? When you order out, ask someone to deliver the food to you, and the delivery person shows up at your door, didn't you get exactly the service you asked for and not something more? (I mean, assuming the order is correct, it's still hot, etc.) I'd like to be able to tip people for great service, but when I give the pizza guy $3 or $4 extra, it seems what I'm really doing is saying, "Sorry you don't have a better job."

There's a local grocery store chain here whose clerks not only bags your groceries for you (which isn't unusual these days, I think) but loads the bags into another cart and has someone take them to your car for you. When my family first moved here from New York in 1982, my parents' instincts were to tip these people, but they always refused it (and the store has signs asking customers not to do it) because they weren't going above and beyond—they were doing exactly what they were supposed to do.
posted by emelenjr at 12:12 PM on October 10, 2004

Well, I think the difference is that you don't always know whether the driver had to go above and beyond. If you get your food in half an hour, maybe the driver was just doing his job. Or maybe the restaurant took 25 minutes to get their act together, and the driver raced to get you your food on time. It's not like he's going to brag about it when he gets to your door.

When you don't see the service, you don't know what the service is. Waiting tables is more transparent because there's more contact. Delivery guys only see you at the end, and you have no idea what went on behind the scenes.

If you disagree with the way compensation works in the service industry, don't participate in the industry. Pick up your pizza yourself instead of sending someone over. But don't screw over the delivery guy on principle.
posted by PrinceValium at 12:30 PM on October 10, 2004

I tip for food delivery. It's not so much "sorry you don't have a better job," as "I appreciate the work you're saving me, and this tip is for you personally, not your employers."

I certainly would never want a food delivery person upset with me - I'm going to eat that food! They could poison it!
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:47 PM on October 10, 2004

Yes, always.

And there is no such thing as "overtipping." Remove the word from your vocabulary.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:15 PM on October 10, 2004

Good point, PrinceValium, when I don't see the service, I can't fully appreciate it. As I said, I do tip and I generally tip more than 15%. Screwing over the delivery guy on principle is something I wouldn't do.
posted by emelenjr at 4:30 PM on October 10, 2004

I used to deliver pizza, and my wages were below minimum, not including tips. It was all about tips.

To riff on what PrinceValium said, if the food got there on time and your order wasn't messed up, and the driver was polite, then sorry, but by industry standards he already *has* gone above and beyond. That may not be how the world ought to be, but it's the truth. That guy isn't doesn't have much of a reason to care about whether you got your food at all (it's not like he's doing his dream job), and if you don't tip him, you have just eliminated any motivation he had for paying attention to what goes into the box before he comes over the next time.
posted by bingo at 8:00 PM on October 10, 2004

Delivery charges go to the house. Slip something to the driver. Dude is getting minimum wage.
posted by majick at 11:16 PM on October 10, 2004

I'm divided. On principle, I recognize that my tip is the very reason that the dude is getting only minimum wage. Face it, if tipping were to disappear or become a reward for only truly over-the-top performance, employers couldn't get delivery dudes unless they paid more. I'll say that again: your tip perpetuates the dude's low salary. On the other hand, if it's raining, and a delivery dude has just handed me a piping hot meal that I'm grateful for, and I have a few extra bucks in my hand, he's going to get them. So, on principle, no; in reality, more often than not.
posted by squirrel at 9:04 AM on October 11, 2004

Oh, and before anyone comes back with, "but if the employer had to pay his delivery dude more, the pizza would cost more," I'll respond: fine by me. Give workers a real wage and give consumers the real price up front. People think they're being the friend of the workin' man when they perpetuate tipping; in fact it's the owners they're helping out. But, again, in the moment... I usually tip. Hypocrite.
posted by squirrel at 9:10 AM on October 11, 2004

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