When Ordering Food Online

In case you’re interested in another discussion about tipping (and clearly, we are all interested in discussions about tipping), Marginal Revolution has a discussion about how people tip when they order food online using websites like Seamless. The tipping question here is: Do you pre-tip online with your credit card? Or do you wait for the delivery to come and tip in cash? (Cash seems like to be the more common answer.)

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8 Comments / Post A Comment

cmoney (#2,344)

I was thinking about this earlier today when I was ordering on Seamless. I pre-tip online because I assume that the tip is built in and there is no option to express that you will tip in cash when the delivery guy gets there. I don’t want them to think I’m not tipping them or something. I do factor in that I am tipping on credit card and throw in a little more.

Also, I am often ordering for just myself and have discovered that tip is often a good way to get around order minimums, since Seamless allows you to submit an order once the total amount (including tax and tip) has crossed the minimum threshold. Especially when I am within a dollar, I’d rather overtip than buy food I don’t need or an overpriced can of soda.

Megano! (#124)

I never have cash so pretip (though I also never order food anymore, cuz I am in a food delivery deadzone).

emmabee (#2,008)

I pay cash when I have it, because I read this New York Times story one time about how restaurant management steals tips from delivery people. But I usually don’t have cash, so I tip on my credit card. (I have guilt about this, but apparently not enough guilt to get me to go to an ATM once in awhile.)

mishaps (#65)

I only ever use Seamless when I’m at the office, so I tip on Seamless so I can add the tip to the expense report I’m going to file.

Ordering at home, I tend to just call directly – which is a better deal for the restaurant, since they don’t have to pay Seamless a fee, and thus at least near me the minimums tend to be lower (e.g., my favorite Indian place has a $10 minimum if you call, and a $15 minimum through Seamless).

ThatJenn (#916)

I pretip for my pizza, which I order online, because then, despite the high staff turnover there, the person delivering definitely knows I am a good tipper and generally delivers the food faster (in my anecdotal experience, anyway).

wearitcounts (#772)

@ThatJenn yeah i always feel like i get better service when i pre-tip, since i am also always an overtipper.

julebsorry (#1,572)

I’m usually using Seamless b/c I don’t have cash on me…that’s why I’m using an online, credit card-based ordering service. If I have to go to the ATM, and then break $20 into smaller bills, and then run back home, then the fun of being lazy and getting delivery evaporates.

That said, I did have one delivery guy from a local Indian place literally scream at me when I signed the receipt and handed it back to him. “NO TIP?!?” I politely pointed to the line on the printout indicating that I’d left a pretty generous tip. The guy got really gruff and spat out “We don’t get those! You tip cash!” I actually called Seamless to report this, b/c I was pretty pissed to think my tips were being stolen by some greedy manager and my generosity wasted. Seamless apologized, said they’d contact the restaurant, and offered me a discount code for 20% off my next order. Kind of a weird solution, but appreciated that they at least made noises about addressing it and compensated me for the hassle.

selenana (#673)

I’m just as guilty of this as anyone, but the idea of pre-tipping is kind of weird. You’re paying a set gratuity no matter what kind of service you get. Takes out the reward for exceptional service and the measly tip for bad service.

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