How To Tip Online Food Delivery Guys

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Leaving the house? Yuck! The reason we have tablets and consoles and OLED TVs is so we can stay indoors. You'll still need to eat, though. And tipping the internet food delivery guy correctly could make the difference between sustenance and disaster.

Paper or Plastic?

Once you've decided what you're going to eat you have to make another, almost equally important decision: how to tip. We'll get to how much later, but there's more to the method than you think.

There are two options. You can place your tip on a credit or debit card with the rest of your order, or tip zero online, and give the guy a tip in cash. Same amount, two different channels.


Go with the former. Here's why: On de facto gold food standards like Seamless, your tip counts toward your order minimum. Let's say the minimum is $10 but you've only ordered $8 worth of chow—no problem! Your two dollar tip will bump you into the green zone. A tidy little loophole. Other perks include not having to deal with cash, which means fewer outside excursions and human interactions at the bank. You're all set in your burrito bunker. Until you have to open the door.

And should you be worried about the human connected to that outstretched hand, presenting you with your steaming bucket of MSG? Are you screwing them over by avoiding paper currency? There's no reason to think so. An informal polling of the dude who brought me a Mexican egg wrap this morning concluded that his tip amount would be the same had I given him cash or used my card. I used my card. A rep from Seamless confirmed this, more or less, saying that "When you order from Seamless, the tip amount goes to the restaurant, and the restaurant distributes to employees." Past that point, "It depends on the restaurant's policy for how tips are distributed to employees." But that's the same deal with cash or credit. If the delivery crew gets shafted, it's the manager fault—not yours.


There's also a serious risk to paying in cash—when the restaurant is beamed your online order, it'll see that you tipped zero on the card. Now, in your head, you know that's OK because you're going to fork over a cash tip at the door. But nobody else knows that. Will they give you the benefit of the doubt? Will your burrito be rolled around the floor a little before it leaves the kitchen? Will your delivery pal punch you in the stomach for presumably stiffing him? All possible. All avoidable. Plastic.

Photo by Jeffrey Turner

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