During the COVID-19 pandemic, while many of us are homebound to some degree, there are many others who are providing services to make our stay at home more convenient and comfortable.
They deliver food from our favorite restaurants, groceries, and prescription medications. And many of us agree that these delivery people are putting themselves in potential harm’s way.
For this reason, we are noticing a shift in the tip amounts given. As many other rules and practices are in suspension during this health crisis, there seems to be a consensus that tipping rules are being amended.
The standard tip for a delivery person has typically been in the 10% to 20% range, depending on the service. However, several people I have informally surveyed testify giving delivery people 25% during the pandemic.
Even if a tip has been included with the bill, some people prefer to leave a cash tip of a few dollars, which has been placed in an envelope or sealed baggie to give the delivery person a safer way to be thanked. This helps to ensure the delivery person receives the entire tip, which is not always a guarantee depending on the delivery service you use. It is also important to remember that the service fee or delivery fee itemized on your bill is not the tip.
Curbside pick-up is also a popular trend for restaurants. But even with social distancing guidelines in place, pick-ups still bring people in closer proximity to one another. This brings tipping back into conscious consideration. Many of the people in my informal survey report leaving a 15% to 25% on their bill or in the still-present cash tip jar when they pick up food rather than the standard 10%.
Some people I interviewed have mentioned that the delivery person’s service and attitude is still a consideration when determining a tip amount. Pleasant communication and tone, a warm greeting, and good eye contact have a positive impact on the person purchasing. Yes, attitude matters, even when the buyer is hoping he is “paying it forward.”
Phone apps have provided numerous delivery methods for food and other items. Almost all of them encourage “touchless” delivery, providing instruction options such as “leave at front door” or “leave on porch.” These options ensure that you make no personal contact with your delivery person.
Some who use these technologies report they don’t necessarily feel as connected to the helping hand idea mentioned above, and that they are mostly interested in the getting the food or items they ordered as cleanly and quickly as possible.
However, even though separated by technology and “touchless” delivery, remember that another human is providing a service that allows you to stay in the safety of your home.
Many of us are showing our loyalty to favorite restaurants and local establishments. When this pandemic is over, we want them to still be there and able to return to business as usual. There is a sense that we play a part in serving the common good when we order from them.
Only time will tell as we fall out of these economically and socially challenged times. But for sure, once we get more into “life as it was” mode, restaurants will have much catching up to do. I am surmising that standard tips will rise from 18% to 20%.
Ultimately, the amount of your tip is entirely up to you. With appreciation, kindness, and respect as your anchors, putting yourself into the shoes of someone else will help in choosing to be the best version of yourself, regardless of the situation.
And, a generous tip may just be what it takes to make someone else’s day a little better. After all, much is being accomplished in making your life easier and safer these days.