Dear Penny: My Parents Won’t Tip for Uber Eats. Are They Wrong?

Dear Penny,

My dad and mom are of their 80s. They like to dine out, however like a variety of older of us, they’ve been avoiding eating places as a result of pandemic.

I downloaded the UberEats app for them on their telephones so they may proceed to get pleasure from their favourite eating places whereas staying protected at house. But I used to be lately mortified once they talked about that they by no means tip the drivers. I’ve a number of mates who’re driving to make ends meet proper now, they usually depend on suggestions.

My dad and mom refuse as a result of they are saying the supply charges are already too excessive as it’s. My dad and mom have at all times been stingy on tipping. They suppose 15% for nice service once you dine in at a restaurant is loads. I understand how arduous it is going to be to get them to vary, however I really feel strongly about this. Should I drop it or hold pushing right here?


Dear N.,

I’m a proponent of the “if you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford the service” philosophy. That applies whether or not you’re eating in or having meals delivered. In the case of Uber Eats — or any meals supply app — if you happen to don’t just like the charges, that’s an argument in favor of choosing up the meals your self or cooking at house. It doesn’t justify not tipping your driver.

You don’t say the way you responded when your dad and mom instructed you they don’t tip or whether or not an argument ensued. But if you happen to went on to their historical past of being stingy tippers, I don’t suppose that’s a great method. People typically don’t reply nicely to being known as cheapskates.

I do suppose that it’s value letting your dad and mom know the way drivers for meals supply apps are paid, although. If they only began utilizing Uber Eats, they might be a little bit shell-shocked by all these exorbitant charges. (And I’m solely calling out Uber Eats as a result of that’s the service you point out by identify. Everything I’m going to say pertains to meals supply apps throughout the board.) Perhaps they mistakenly suppose that every one these fees are lining the motive force’s pocket.

Here’s what you’ll be able to inform your dad and mom: Drivers are mainly paid by the order, not by the hour. If they spend 20 minutes ready as a result of the kitchen is backed up, that’s 20 minutes that they primarily aren’t getting paid for. Because drivers don’t make an hourly minimal wage, they depend on suggestions.

Unfortunately, a variety of drivers will inform you that non-tippers are widespread. Ask any of your folks who’re delivering meals for an app, and I’m positive that they’ll verify this. Perhaps a few of these clients are merely confused about how drivers are paid or whether or not tipping is the norm. I additionally suspect that it’s simpler to stiff somebody when you could have zero interplay with them — and with contactless supply, zero interplay is turning into the norm.

But tipping has taken on a brand new degree of significance through the pandemic. Before coronavirus, we have been typically asking individuals to ship meals to us just because we have been too lazy to select it up ourselves. Now, we’re asking drivers to threat their well being so we are able to keep protected at house. Plus, so many individuals have misplaced their jobs and try to cobble collectively a dwelling from gig work. This is a time to be as beneficiant as you’ll be able to afford to be. There’s no hard-and-fast rule right here, however the common consensus appears to be that 15% for meals supply is honest.

All that stated, I feel this can be a dialog you could have along with your dad and mom one time, and one time solely. Beyond that, you’re not going to make a distinction. You’re about as more likely to change your dad and mom’ minds by arguing about it repeatedly as you’re to vary somebody’s thoughts by arguing politics at Thanksgiving.

I’ve a hunch that your emotions on this matter mirror a broader disagreement along with your dad and mom. Tipping has taken on a brand new degree of emotion in 2020 — even for those that have the luxurious of constructing this a philosophical debate as a result of their livelihoods don’t depend upon suggestions.

The pandemic has uncovered simply how frail the protection web is for so many employees, notably within the restaurant and hospitality trade. If you are feeling strongly that that should change, you’re hopefully tipping extra generously nowadays.

Unfortunately, there’s solely a lot you are able to do on this one. You’re not going to repair the broader structural problems with the economic system by making your dad and mom into higher tippers.

Hopefully, although, your dad and mom will shock you. You’re not asking them to drastically change their habits. You’re simply making the case for tacking on just a few additional bucks for the motive force. In the meantime, hold tipping generously figuring out that you simply’re serving to make up for all these non-tippers on the market.

Robin Hartill is a licensed monetary planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Send your difficult cash inquiries to [email protected]

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