By now many of you have seen the item that was started on reddit.com about a $1,453.93 pizza delivery, where the recipient tipped $10. You can see the Receipt Image here
There have been several of these kinds of stories of late (and reddit.com seems to be a nexus of them for some reason). Whether it is the preacher questioning why she had to give 18% to a waitress when she gives 10% to God, or the person who simply told the wait staff to “get a real job”, each of these stories sparks a heated debate.
As the father of a former server, when I eat in restaurants, I am generally more guilty of over-tipping than anything else. I have gotten horrific service, and still tipped 15% because I felt bad for the server. A great experience will have me tipping a tad over 20%. I know that the servers work very hard, and are poorly paid. They are exempt from minimum wage, so if they aren’t tipped, they are basically unpaid. I also know that poor service in a restaurant is not always the server’s fault. Reasons can range from a slow kitchen, to poor planning on management’s part, and anything in between. When I have an issue with food quality, or speed of delivery to my table, I take it up with the manager, and I do my best to make it clear that my issue is not with my server.
Bottom line, if I am in a restaurant, I tip, and I tip well.
In this particular case, though, I think there are a couple of points worth mentioning.
What else is on the bill? All we know is what is in the picture and what was said. The picture shows only a part of the bill – the total, with the gratuity added. It is basically just the credit card receipt. What we don’t see are the line items on the bill. For an order of that size, couldn’t there have been a gratuity already factored in? If so, then this $10 is over and above and shouldn’t be subject to the same scrutiny and ridicule.
Too often when people are posting things on sites like reddit, facebook, twitter and the like, they get reactions that may or may not be based in facts. Before I am willing to say that this person “stiffed” the delivery guy, I want to see the rest of the bill.
What is the customary tip for a delivery person? This particular case is an extreme example. Few of us will ever order up 85 pizzas with a bill of $1,453.98 (which – by the way – is $17.10 per pizza. That must have been some pretty darn good pizza). Because most of us won’t be in this situation, we probably won’t be doing this level of pizza delivery math. In my home I am typically ordering delivery of pizza, or other food, that is in the $20 to $40 range. If it is a simple, $15 pizza, I tend to tip $3.00 or $4.00. I wondered if that was enough. So, I did some research to find out what pizza delivery people make. What I found is that it varies widely. The general norm seems to be that their wage is in the $8.00 to $10.00 per hour range, with some kind of compensation for use of the vehicle. This is a far cry from the $2.50 per hour that wait staff makes.
Also, to be honest, the pizza guy doesn’t give me as much service as wait staff in a restaurant. He doesn’t fill my drinks, take my order, make sure that the order is complete properly, deliver it to my table, check back to see if I need anything else, etc. Basically, he picks up a box and drops it at my house. On the rare occasion that something was incorrect on my pizza, he was as surprised to see the contents as I, because he had no reason to look inside the box. As a result, he doesn’t get the same tip as if I were seated in a pizzeria.
This made me think about other types of delivery. I have had furniture and appliances delivered to my home. Some of those items had four-figure price tags. I can say that only once did I ever think about tipping the delivery person. When my refrigerator was delivered and installed, I gave the two guys $20 each. That was on a four-figure item.
What I am saying is that you can’t apply a standard 20% number for all tips. Some get more, some less. If I were to hit the Irish Sweepstakes, and bought a $2,000 television, I wouldn’t tip the dude who delivered it $400. That would be absurd.
The bottom line for me. From this whole thing I take away two main items:
- Don’t react to a situation until you have the facts
- Not all tips are created equal.