Would you tip $10 on a $1,500 pizza delivery?

Somebody did -- and got called out for it online. For dining-industry workers, it's just the latest in a string of penny-pinching indignities.

By Jason Notte Mar 7, 2013 9:51AM
Stack of pizza boxes (Jeff Sarpa/StockFood Creative/Getty Images)What do you tip a pizza delivery person on a $1,500 order? Hint: Not $10.


Customers of pizza joints and casual-dining establishments should probably keep in mind that not only do the underlings they shoo away between servings of low-cost food rely on tips to live and to balance out their tax burden, but they're not afraid to call you out for being stingy. Reddit has become a compendium of such service-industry horror stories, with the latest coming Tuesday from a user named jfastman who posted the receipt showing a $10 tip added to a $1,453.95 bill.


That's less than a 1% tip, big spender. Meanwhile, one person had to haul 85 pizzas from Point A to Point B. That 10 bucks is well below the $2-per-pizza that the Cornell Hotel School considers a baseline tip for a delivery, according to CNNMoney. That would come out $170 in this case, but if that seems a bit steep, a reasonable 10% tip would set a buyer back $145.


Seriously, 5% and an apology would have at least given the poor pizza schlepper $72.50 or so to play with. But $10 for a literal wall of pizza you had no problem dropping nearly $1,500 on? Mind you, those pizzas went for a not-so-cost-effective $17 a pop.


Maybe this delivery person should look at the forlorn face of Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill he got and consider himself or herself lucky. It could be a lot worse. He or she could be the server at Applebee's (DIN) who got stiffed by someone wondering why wait staff should get an 18% tip when "I only give God 10%."


Or he or she could work for Denny's (DENN) franchise owner John Metz, who owns 30 locations in Florida and put his servers in the crossfire of the Obamacare debate. He initially proposed tacking on a 5% Obamacare fee to pay for mandated employee health care and presented customers with two options: "They can either pay it and tip 15% or 20%, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server."


Denny's CEO John Miller then promptly spat in Metz's cereal by scolding him into an apology, but the leaders of other chains have already discussed cutting worker hours to avoid giving them mandatory health care.


Metz isn't entirely wrong, though. With the restaurant business becoming increasingly focused on value and decreasingly interested in paying for various extras, there are two options: Tip-averse customers can keep stiffing servers and get publicly ridiculed, or we can do away with the gratuity system altogether and boost the average wage.


Since plenty of Americans grouse about that second option as well, get ready for the hour-and-a-half delivery time that comes with living in the low-priority cheapskate house.


More on moneyNOW

1142Comments
Mar 7, 2013 11:52AM
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I used to tip better, but one of the pizza chains has decided to start charging a "courtesy charge" which is basically a tip being charged on top of charging for the dilivery.  If the chain is going to charge me a tip, I'm certainly not going to add one on top of it, escpecially when my order has been wrong the last 2 times.
Mar 7, 2013 11:53AM
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Personally I think tipping is getting out of control.  People should not be obligated to tip.  Tipping is a custom for excellent service and to show appreciation for a great job.  Most pizza places charge a lot for a pizza and tack on a delivery charge.
Mar 7, 2013 11:49AM
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The Pizza business should be the ones covering the expense for there workers. It should not be the end customer. There responsibity is to tip GREAT SERVICE not make up a wage difference.
Mar 7, 2013 11:54AM
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The tip is earned by  great service. If the job is to deliver the pizza, that is not great service but the job it self. When in a restaurant if the waiter gives great service, maybe even 25% tip. But then again the tip has to be earned, is not mandatory. Sorry but if the service is crap, thats the tip your getting....
Mar 7, 2013 11:58AM
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Paying money so the delivery person does not spit on it or drop it is extortion.  Restaurants should pay regular wages and not rely on customers tipping employees.

 

HOWEVER, a tip is usual in the US and should be paid based upon the level of service.  If you can't afford a tip, don't order or go spend your own gas money and pick it up yourself.

 

Me?  I appreciate the delivery when I am too busy or too lazy to go get it myself... so I tip accordingly.

Mar 7, 2013 12:02PM
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He should be happy the order wasn't a prank.  I'm not tipping the guy more than $20 for delivering pizza, what makes him think that he is getting more a 20% tip, he didn't take the order or refill my drink or double check to make sure the food was OK. 

The entitlement attitude this country has created is ridiculous.  Stop putting tip jars on every counter people should be happy if they have a job
Mar 7, 2013 12:19PM
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When did tipping become mandatory? I thought a tip was a reward for exceptional service and was at the tippers discretion. I generally tip 20%, but it is because I want to, not because I have to.
Mar 7, 2013 11:56AM
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I'd rather the USA be like Sweden/Germany where tax is included in the marked price and it's an insult to tip.
Mar 7, 2013 11:50AM
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Not that I agree at all with a $10.00 tip...but I do have a devil's advocate question...where I order from, they include a delivery fee was that the case in the above story?

 

Mar 7, 2013 12:20PM
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It is HIGH TIME for companies to pay a wage that thier employees can live off of.  Tipping should not be required.  These restaraunts are charging outlandish fees for thier foods and are well able to pay a decent wage.  If servers or drivers are Angered by small tips-get a job that pays a decent wage.  I'm sorry but tipping is getting out of control!

 

Mar 7, 2013 11:56AM
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If a customer does not want to tip pick up the pizzas yourself. Don't be a dick and give a lousy tip. Don't get me wrong I don't tip unless I am provided a service but $10 on a $1453 order is inexcusable.
Mar 7, 2013 12:05PM
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Tips are NOT guaranteed. They are voluntary gratuities given by customers. Wages are paid by the restaurants although many do under pay and expect customers to make up the difference. I am sick and tired of people expecting a tip and complaining when they do not receive it...sorry, up to me whether I tip and how much I tip. If I hd accepted a tip where I last worked, I would have been fired. No sympathy here - and I have worked food service as a wait person...I never expected a tip from a customer - and was always grateful when I got one...just a little something extra...
Mar 7, 2013 12:30PM
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I delivered pizza to put myself through college.  I think $10 is a perfectly respectable tip for a large order.  You are putting the same wear and tear on your car and using the same amount of gas and time, whether you deliver one pizza or 85 (assuming they will all fit in your car and you make one trip).  People forget that pizza delivery drivers aren't making $2.13 an hour like many waitstaff.  They are making at least minimum wage (so, at least $7.25 an hour), and they aren't running their butts off providing full service to multiple tables at once.  When I worked for Domino's Pizza, I was paid minimum wage to deliver, plus 50 cents per PIZZA, for gas.  That means I would have made $42.50 just for gas on this one delivery.  That makes scoffing over a $10 tip seem ridiculous in comparison. 

Basing a pizza delivery tip on a percentage of the total order is ludicrous.  I'm not saying not to tip more for a large order.  But certainly don't feel obligated.  We used to love taking large orders because we knew we would likely get tipped more than the standard buck (or two, if we were lucky) that was the norm in the college town where we delivered.  But because we were making minimum wage and nobody was there to see the "tip" we also knew that the only tips we would be forced to claim would be those that came in written check or credit card form.  I'll leave it up to your imagination how many "tips" this once struggling college student claimed...
Mar 7, 2013 12:03PM
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The problem is the employer doesn't pay an adequate wage.  At 20% it is like having to pay a 27% tax on a meal. If you had to pay a 27% tax on anything else you would blow your top.
Mar 7, 2013 11:57AM
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If someone is gonna blow $1500 on pizza then money is not a concern for them. They SHOULD have at least tipped reasonably. Most of the time the delivery guys/gals don't get paid enough for the wear and tear on their car OR gas money, much less for the hard work they put in dealing with these kind of arseh0les!
Mar 7, 2013 12:17PM
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Since when does delivering a pizza earn you a $145 tip? I would not have paid a tip that big either after spending $17 each on 85 pizzas. I got a tip for the driver and the pizza place, next time you sell 85 pizzas try cutting the customer a break on the price and maybe you will get a better tip. I get tired of going out to eat somewhere and the server expects that they are going to get a tip for being a server. I tip those who have earned it and don't tip the ones who don't earn it, they are not entitled to a tip. Most places if you have more than some many people or spend so much will automatically charge you a tip anyway whether the server sucked or not you are charged on your bill. On a side note if you want to watch what the servers do behind close doors when the patrons are not looking then watch the movie "Waiting", it will change your mind about how you treat them until after you are done eating...
Mar 7, 2013 11:54AM
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I put myself through College at Cal State Northrigde in Northridge CA graduating in 1986.  I worked at Dominoes full time at Chatsworth and WhiteOak for 3 years.  During that time - I delivered 20 pizza's to the production of Karate Kid II filing at CSUN late on a Friday nite.  The bill? - around $200.  The tip?  ZERO.
Mar 7, 2013 12:17PM
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When I went to Europe last year I was not familiar with the tipping practices in Germany. I spent 20 euros and preceeded to tip 5 euros. I was followed by the waiter/bartender who walked up and politely asked me where I was from. I said "Um, Nebraska, in the United States." She told me she figured I was a US guy because I was tipping far too much. I actually thought she did a good job and that 5 was well earned. Well, my point to this story is after I did my research I found that the tipping is not near as big of a deal there. It is much appreciated but not necassary to do so much due to how much more they make per hour at most (keyword most, don't go nuts folks there are bad jobs everywhere) places. They leave it to the employer to take care of their employee's. I am a good tipper don't get me wrong but isn't it time we give the responsibility of the well being of the employee to the employer? I make maybe 30k a year, so going out to eat is a treat for me. I know that if I go out to eat 99.999999999 percent of the time the owner of that restaurant is far better off monetarily then myself. I do not think we should stop tipping but I know that even when I get terrible service at Applebees I still feel obligated to tip a lot because I know that poor girl/boy is only making $2.63 per/hour. I personally feel that they should all make minimum wage (at least) and then be tipped based on how good they did and not how bad I felt. It makes the dinning experience awkward when I feel obligated to do something. Then, I don't return because I wasn't satisfied. Sorry for the long story but I personally feel very close to these kind of subjects as I am just out of college and spent many years working for tips.
Mar 7, 2013 11:54AM
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To begin with, there is a delivery charge .  Who gets this $2.50?   Then I usually give $10.00 on my usual $18.72 order, which means this delivery person gets a great tip.

 

Mar 7, 2013 11:58AM
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85 pizzas and only a $10 tip? That's crap. I would be ticked. My baseline tip is usually $2 for a large pizza delivered. If a driver is slick enough to bring me cheez & peppers, it gets bumped to $5. When I used to deliver for Domino's, I always kept cheez & peppers packets with me during my shift.
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