You Suck for Not Tipping Delivery Guys More During a Storm
Yeah, there's nothing better than riding out a rainstorm with Netflix, booze, and food from your favorite restaurant by your side. But while we're swaddled in cocoons of plush fabric/delivery menus, the streets outside are awash with bedraggled delivery men who somehow have to pedal a bike, hold multiple bags, and avoid getting hit by clueless drivers -- a difficult enough job even when it's not pouring rain.
Do any of us actually spare a second thought for these guys once they've forked over our food? And if/when we tip them, are we giving the full amount earned by their time and effort? After talking with some restaurant owners -- as well as the delivery guys themselves -- the answer to both questions seems to be an emphatic "no way."
The Dangers of Delivery
According to a delivery guy for Bobwhite Counter in Manhattan, once somebody hits "confirm" on a Seamless order, rain can make it impossible to see what's ahead of you, which isn't great when you're avoiding drivers whose only interest is getting home before the traffic gets worse. And even with a raincoat, you come to grips with the fact that you'll pretty much always be completely drenched by the time you reach your destination. Meanwhile, the general manager of Lombardi's Pizza -- who got his start delivering food -- said that while rain can be bad, it's actually the wind that makes things go from tricky to dangerous.
Now, that's not to say restaurants will send these guys out recklessly when there's a hurricane brewing, but since they live off tips, they're more inclined to feed off the higher order volume a rainy day affords. The owner of Bobwhite told us he sees anywhere from 20-50% more deliveries when the weather's bad, although once it's bad enough, people are less likely to order -- less through altruism than from fear of delays/wet food.
The Question of Tipping
Given all the obstacles they have to dodge to deliver orders, delivery guys get paid back handsomely for their trouble, right? Yeah, not so much. Here's a fun bit of seasonal data to put things into perspective: on January 26th, 2015, at the height of the blizzard that effectively "shut down" NYC, Seamless saw the city's tipping average increase from 13.1% to 14.04%. So, during a god-damn blizzard, New Yorkers increased their tips by less than a full percentage point. If we're not giving these guys more when they have to ride a bike through a fucking snowdrift, it's a safe bet we're not doing it when it's raining. Stay classy, NYC.
It's not all doom and gloom, though: Bobwhite's delivery guy told us that while 60% of customers give around $2, the remaining 40% tend to tip at least $3-4 on a $20 order. Moreover, a delivery guy for the Brindle Room told us that customers who order via Seamless sometimes give an additional cash tip on top of the amount they tipped on their credit card. These people seem to be more of the exception than the rule, though.
The Right Thing to Do
How should we change our ways? For starters, instead of giving those cursory tips of $2 with no regard for how huge your order was, take a look at the dripping dude on your doorstep and dig a little deeper -- as in, no less than 20% of the total bill. As one of the restaurateurs we spoke to explained, delivery guys tend to receive around a 10-15% tip for their trouble, as compared to the 20% servers usually get. If there's a torrential downpour outside, the least you can do is give the guy who brought food to your home the same amount you'd give to the guy who brought food to your table.
Beyond the added cash, though, maybe just try a little empathy. Both of the delivery guys we spoke to said the biggest thing they'd ask customers for is patience and understanding, with one of them saying "When the weather's bad, sometimes we can't take the delivery in 10 minutes like usual. Sometimes, we can be a little late, and they get mad." Yep, we get mad, because their food's not there in 10 minutes during a downpour. Meanwhile, the GM at Lombardi's had these parting words: "When you tip, take into consideration what it takes to get the delivery to you. "
Patience, in other words, can be just as valuable as your tip. But you should probably tip more anyway.
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