Saturday, May 07, 2011


Here's something I haven't put a lot of thought into.  Tipping the delivery guy.  Now, I don't get delivery very often.  Here in the 'hood, most places won't deliver.  Only Pizza Hut.  And I love pizza, but it's pretty pricey since we're at the point where if we split a single large pizza amongst the whole family we have to have something else too, whether it be a smaller pizza for the girls or a double-order of breadsticks or what-have-you.  Since it's not something I have a lot of experience with, it's something I haven't put a lot of thought into.  Quite honestly, my pizza delivery tip--much like my bartender tip--comes from a message board thread on the internet.  More on that in a few.

First, take a look at this: 


(Sweet. The link came along when I copy/pasted.)

This is the Tumblr blog of a delivery dude in NYC.  The description?  "A bunch of shitty tips."  Seems the dude in question gets pissed when his tip is 15% or less of the cost of your order.

I first came across it in this Consumerist article.  The comments section, of course, is where the fun is.  Usually when the subject is tipping, the general consensus is that anyone who doesn't tip well is an asshole.  That doesn't seem to be the case this time around.

The driver is demanding a tip equal to that commonly given waitstaff.  (Sidenote: when I was younger, 10%-15% was the scale.  Now it's 15% to 20%, and I have seen a handful of claims that the standard is really 20% to 25%, but that doesn't seem to be catching on.)  This strikes quite a few folks--me included--as a wee bit ridiculous.  Servers put a lot more work into their tips, and delivery people don't get paid less than minimum wage.

Personally, I tip a flat rate for pizzas and drinks at the bar both.  It's $1/drink at the bar, and $5 or so to the pizza guy (I've been known to tip more than that to make his counting change easier.)  Percentage-wise for food, this works out to about 20% for my usual order.  For drinks, it's kind of ridiculous.  If I go to the gay bar, at most I'm paying $2.50 for my drink (the one I used to go to on a regular basis, it was cheaper earlier in the day, so when I wandered in around 5 or 6, it was $1.50).

So I'd be in this guy's good graces with what I tip, but I still think he's full of it.  And the blog--which has really exploded since I first saw it late last week--now has enough reader input that it's a carnival of entitlement and vanity.  Actual quote from a former "barista"--"If you're rude to me, it's going to be good, but it's not going to be artisan."

Yeah, 'cause making coffee is an art rather than a skill.

Look, tipping waitstaff well is an obvious thing, since in most places they get paid well below minimum wage, and the law is written so that they're expected to make it up in tips.  That pay structure is idiotic, but it's there.  Everyone else, though?  You're on your own.  I find the claim that delivery drivers should be tipped enough to make up for the gas they use to drive to you especially obnoxious.  Everyone has had that increase.  No one else has the cost of driving to work subsidized by tips (nor driving for work--when was the last time you thought to tip your plumber?), so why these guys?

Here's the other thing about tips.  There seems to be a growing expectation that tips should make up for the difference between the actual wage and what the employee thinks they ought to be getting paid.  Thus tip jars everywhere and this bizarre insistence on tipping the Starbucks guy.  (Hey, the bartender smiles at my shitty jokes and chats me up.  The coffee shop people?  Not so much.)

Tell you what.  Soon's I see people slipping Erik a sawbuck for his work, I'll start tipping everyone else who makes retail wages, mmkay?


Dave said...

Every time the tip issue comes up, I think of that conversation in the movie Reservoir Dogs where Mr. Pink refuses to put in a buck for the tip. He makes valid points about not tipping at McDonald's becasue society doesn't seem it tip worthy.

I use the same formula you do for bartenders whenever I might make a rare visit to a bar. Regardless of the drink/beer purchased, a dollar goes in the jar. I think $5.00 for delivery is a good tip, regardless of the price of the pizza, but honestly, I never have pizza delivered and prefer to just pick it up on my way home.

I'm sorry, but I do not tip at the drive through window of Starbucks or anywhere else. A drive through? Seriously?

My issue with tipping at small taco places is other people. For some reason, people in SA and surrounding towns think that no matter the total cost of breakfast and the number of coffee refills involved, the waitress only gets a crisp dollar bill for a tip. Whenever we are at a sit-down restaurant, I always tip at least 20 percent and more often than not if I'm dining with others, I secretly add more to cover the tips of the cheapskates at the table.

Having said that, and I'm sorry to be so long winded on this, I hate the entire tip structure. Owners should just charge more per plate and pay the wait staff a fair wage instead of putting the waitress in a Lottery-like situation where they may get a good tip or a shitty tip with a roll of the dice, regardless of their service.

Charlene said...

Having worked a decade at low paying jobs I tip 20% at sit down restaurants and $1 at drive throughs and $5 for the pizza guy. I don't try to stiff any wait staff. If I can't afford to pay for it, I stay at home and fix ane serve my own food.

Oh, if I go somewhere where they add the tip to my service, I don't tip extra because their not trusting their service gets them less.

English Geek Girl said...

I agree about the increasing emphasis on tipping in order to balance the :shitty pay scale" deemed acceptable in today's society. I do tip based on performance as I get performance reviews every semester as a professor of English. No one assumes I am still doing a great job and just gives me a raise (which is equivalent to a tip in today's economy). So I agree, sit-down meal, gets tip. Bar, tip. Delivery driver, if arriving with correct, hot steamy pizza, reasonable tip. Seems to me, just the idea of tipping for service should be across the board then. I offer a service to students with every conference, office hour, phone call, skype call, email and text. Those are all services outside the scope of what I am expected to do. Yet I feel it is part of my job. So maybe we should all get tipped when we give a service then. Teachers are not paid some outlandish salary, and minimum wage is increasing, AND wait people are not required to claim ALL of their tips as taxable income either. Maybe we should be able to hide some of our money as well. That would make me fee better, and everything might be somewhat equitable then.

Murphy's Law said...

Call me old, but I only tip at sit-down restaurants and bars, and then it's service-based. If the service is good, I tip good as a reward/incentive. If the service is lackluster, or if it just plain sucks, I tip less or not at all. If everyone did this, servers would work at being prompt and friendly or else they would have to find other jobs.
Tip jars on coffee counters? Never.

And in the interest of full disclosure...if she's hot and flaunts it a bit, I do tip better. Shame on me, but I am a red-blooded American male and I'm not going to pretend otherwise.

greg said...

Hmmm...I'm not sure I've ever tipped a delivery guy $5. Usually, I will round up to the next $5 increment, resulting in 2-3 dollars for the delivery guy.

At the fancy coffee places that abound here in Washington(sorry we started that, rest of the world) I usually write off a 5 spot...however much goes to the tip depends on how big/fancy of a cup of Java I got that day.

Sit down places, I am bad. Bad as in good...I usually start at 20% and go from there, because I know being a waiter/waitress is a job I couldn't do...don't have the temperament for that any more than I do to be a police officer.

The only thing that upsets my wife(and then in a funny way, because I am TOTALLY aware that I am doing it) is that I have been known to let the aesthetic appeal of the wait staff effect my tipping percentage.

English Geek Girl said...

Nothing wrong with tipping a hottie_ ;)

dsmith said...

As a rule I just double the tax for the tip.