Addressing the issue of tips when almost all of the people who make a living from them are in forced unemployment may seem untimely.
It doesn’t seem like it at first glance, but the subject remains relevant despite this period of confinement. The local rotisserie reminded me of this by an email where it says in the subject line: “Au Coq is there for you during curfew! ”
The pandemic has generalized contactless payment, take-out food orders and delivery.
When to tip, and how much in these particular cases? I emphasize that despite all the guides published about it, the tip remains subjective and irritating for customers as well as for those who pocket it.
I have always gladly paid the delivery men, without asking myself too many questions. Until last Saturday. We ordered sushi. After having finished confirming our choices on the phone, my interlocutor asked me what tip I wanted to leave for the delivery.
The question disconcerted me, and even more the intervention of this intermediary in a private transaction between two people, the delivery man and me. I was not sure what to answer, especially since I did not know how much the bill was and I had not received the service for which the tip is intended. I threw an amount as if I had taken a number from an abacus. Doubt invaded me.
Have I given enough? Too much ?
Do I have to take into account the distance traveled by the delivery person? Either way, it was too late.
I searched the internet. From what I’ve found, I’m not one of the tight-fisted, but yearning for it, at least for a sushi order for three. Because for a quarter of a chicken, on the other hand, I would have passed for a good prince. The standard: 10% of the invoice to the delivery person, and a minimum of $ 5.
Where do these figures come from? Search me! We talk about “conventions” and “customs”. I realized during my research that a restaurant delivery man, like a waiter, is part of what we call “tip employees”, therefore paid less on the faith that the customers will supplement his remuneration. (DoorDash and Uber Eats deliverers have self-employed status and are paid on order).
Why give 10% to a delivery person when a waiter claims 15%? We are not talking about the same “expertise”, but all the same, to satisfy our craving for chicken and brown sauce, a delivery man has to come to our place by car, hurry to our door, sometimes climb a staircase, in summer as in winter.
The custom of tipping is nonsense, especially when it is institutionalized.
The little machine everywhere
The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of contactless payment. The trend is embodied in the proliferation of these terminals that you tap on with your credit card or phone.
These machines are used at the counter of restaurants, cafes and bakeries where, previously, a pot vaguely invited us to leave our small change there.
Now, for the smallest baguette, we are explicitly encouraged to reward the staff. The payment device, held out by a clerk planted right in front of us, does not allow us to pay without first having selected the amount of the tip.
We can decline, but the way it is requested, we tend to grant the favor. You don’t have to comply when you are served at the counter or when picking up take-out meals. There is no logic here. We will have the opportunity to come back to it.
Don’t deprive yourself if your heart tells you, but don’t feel bad for passing your turn.