Not tipping is unjustifiable

By Ian Hagerty

selbstfotografiert/Wikimedia Commons
selbstfotografiert/Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago I was in an elevator in a Sylvan dorm. I looked down and saw the receipt to an order to Wings, only to notice that the customer had only left a $1 tip for the delivery driver.

Delivering food is actually a subject that I am very well acquainted with. Throughout high school and for some time after, I worked at two different pizza restaurants as a delivery driver. I hadn’t thought much about this subject recently, but the receipt I saw on the elevator just infuriated me.

Mostly everyone in this world probably likes to consider themselves to be a good person and a decent number of them probably actually are, but if you can justify affording to order food delivered to your home, then you can most likely afford the extra several dollars it takes to tip. As far as I am concerned, it should be very much obvious to these people that tipping, and tipping decently, is a general standard of polite society. How do you think these drivers actually get paid?

I am going to put this situation into perspective for you by telling you a few indiscriminate details involving the inner workings of a restaurant specifically centered around its delivery system.

First of all, most restaurants, rather, most businesses, find it daunting and challenging to hire and pay employees while still being profitable. Once you have the kitchen workers and the front of the house staff, there is very little money left available to pay the drivers well. After all, they are bound to get the short end of the stick because their job doesn’t require much training. So, in most circumstances, drivers end up earning minimum wage from the business they work for.

Also, many delivery drivers, especially in smaller businesses, have to drive their own car and pay for their own gas. Take all of the expenses surrounding the car and its gas, and you basically take away most of the meager wage that the driver earns. As a result, most all of the money that a delivery driver actually ends up earning is made up exclusively from the tips that they receive. Because of this, some nights end up being pretty bad when delivering food. This isn’t to say that there aren’t good nights, but sometimes the driver really just gets the raw end of the deal.

And for what, because some kid privileged enough to go to college couldn’t find the decency to throw down $4 extra? Delivery drivers work incredibly hard for very little pay and they deserve much better.

There is some incentive to change for some of these un-budge-able budgeters and it comes from the will of the delivery drivers themselves. It would be unwise to assume that people who serve you wouldn’t remember your face or where you live. You may think that they see so many people every day and that you won’t make an impression. Unfortunately for non-tippers, the strongest impression you can make on a driver is to give them a low tip or no tip at all.

I can tell you from personal experience and from working with other delivery drivers, that the homes and people whom we know to tip the least, or act the rudest, get the worst possible service that we can give without angering our employers. Sometimes we take two to three deliveries with us at once, and regardless of the proper order of operation or distances we have to drive, we will first drive to the highest payer. So you may only live two miles from the restaurant, but you are going to get your pizza last, I can guarantee it.

Also, you know when the cheese on a pizza is all sloshed over to one side? If I know that I am taking a single delivery to someone that doesn’t tip well, I am going to drive as fast as possible to get there, and I won’t slow down much on the corners. Every time you are away from work where opportunities for more deliveries are getting taken by other drivers, especially when you know you are essentially on a worthless journey wasting another gallon of gas, you as a driver are going to have very little regard for the food you’re driving. I can personally attest that many other delivery drivers I have known have said essentially the same thing.

You bad tippers and rude customers out there, you know who you are, don’t try and change the subject within your own conscience. How can you possibly not know that badly tipping people who serve you is a social faux pas? Let the change you give away be the change in your life, it’s a simple step.

Ian Hagerty is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]