Yesterday, I went to Waffle House to pick up food for someone. I waited about 15 minutes for their food to be ready. When it was ready, I checked the food over to ensure the staff made everything correctly on the order. Then, I drove about 3-4 miles to her home, knocked on her door, called her when she didn’t come to the door after a couple minutes, and handed her the food. I was polite, even friendly. She was nice in return. I left and closed out the order. Everything I did to ensure she received what she order, hot, and in a timely fashion was worth 91 cents to her. She tipped me 91 cents. I wish I could say this was a rarity. My previous partial shift, I delivered to 4 homes and made $8 in about as many hours.
I guess here I will warn you – this is a rant. It’s an informational rant, but a rant none the less.
Hi. My name is R, and I’m a courier for an (ok several) on demand delivery company. I am not an employee, but an independent contractor. I pay all parking fees, gas, vehicle upkeep, and for the vehicle itself. I do this work every day, all day (and then some), with no day off. I also just came from paying $6 to park and tell the court I don’t have money, answering my pending eviction, and getting a court date for 7 days from now. This is what happens when you tip 91 cents.
I am also a college student. I am supposed to find a couple hours every day to study, so I can graduate with a degree, and get a good paying job to support myself. BUT..I need to support myself now, because I am an adult college student. I don’t have a financial support system like most college students, and hell, most other adults. (This is an entirely different story, which I will probably write about soon. Suffice it to say, I wanted to go to college after high school. That choice was taken from me.) My grades are suffering greatly, because I am working extra hours that were meant for studying so I can keep this roof over my head. BTW, it’s not a nice expensive roof. Just a general roof. But it’s a roof. I may flunk out of college because I have to work to keep this roof over my head because I don’t have a degree to get a better job, and will probably still lose the roof. This is all what happens when people tip 91 cents.
I found a “real” job. It’s consistent hours and pay with benefits, so I know I will at least have this much money every week. I will still need to supplement with courier, but at least it will pay my rent. I am supposed to start at the end of this week. I needed to buy equipment for this job. I ordered it from a place online that will allow me to make payments. I do not have the money to buy it outright, because again…people tip 91 cents.
Unfortunately, shipping has been delayed from this place, and the equipment will not arrive until after my start date. The company will not speed it up (I tried). I was told there were other training classes, and asked to be moved to one of them due to the shipping issues. They refused and said I had to have my equipment by the start date. So now, I have lost this job that is supposed to get me out of this cycle.. Because people tip 91 cents.
(Note: during the writing of this, I received an email that people will be asked, they will see what they can do, and they will let me know tomorrow if I can be moved to the later class.)
In reality, many people don’t tip 91 cents. Many people tip nothing or $2. An awesome few actually appreciate what we do for them, and to those who may be reading this I say a heartfelt thank you. For the rest of you, if the service we provide to you is worth so little, then just go provide it for yourself. You are taking up our valuable time and not properly compensating us. I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe..just maybe, you don’t realize we are not employees and thus not paid a salary or hourly wage. It’s not truly an excuse for not tipping in a tipping economy when you are provided with stellar service. I doubt this letter will influence you at all. Will you lose sleep at night, knowing your delivery person makes less than minimum wage, and may be getting evicted because you and sooo many others only tipped 91 cents?
For those of you who know me, I am not writing this to get anyone to feel sorry for me or anything like this. I appreciate more than you know the unrelated people who have been there for me lately. My rent will be paid. Hopefully the new job will work out and I can get caught up instead of going through this every month. I am just angry and frustrated and need to get it out. I need for people who think it’s ok to not tip their service people in a tipping economy to at least know what happens when they selfishly use someone else time and resources without proper compensation, even if they don’t care. If the service we provide is so worthless, then just go get it yourself, so that we can use our time for people who appreciate what we do for them.
If you’ve gotten this far, wait..there’s more.
Many of the on demand delivery companies have changed the way they compensate the couriers for the use of their vehicles, time, etc. I say we do not get a salary or hourly, but we are paid per job. Most of the time it is negligible now. It can be as little as $3 to run an order that took 45 minutes with waiting and is about 20 minutes away or more because of traffic. (If you don’t live in Atlanta, you truly don’t understand the traffic part of this. Imagine, 20 minutes or more to go 2 miles.) We heavily rely on tips now, because over the last year or so, the companies we do work for pay us less and less, while charging the customers more.
I and many others are trying to get away from this type of work and this tipping economy. Relying on the goodness of others is apparently not a good way to keep a roof over your head. On a personal note…I am in college. I found a job. But yet…the world has decided none of this is allowed for me..because people tip 91 cents.
Ramblings… lol I want to knock on peoples’ doors and ask why. Why was the service I provided for you only worth 91 cents? However, that would make me lose the contracts I have with the companies I work for. Not in a position to do that. Maybe some of you can tell me? Why??