Customers Have Been Using Tips As Bait For Faster Service, And This DoorDash Guy Revealed How Bad It Really Is Interview With Author
The act of tipping has changed significantly. In the bygone days, people tipped to acknowledge the quality of service they received. The waiter did an amazing job serving your whole family dinner? Well, here’s a $10 tip. Now, since technology-assisted apps, like Door Dash or Uber Eats, have taken over the world and changed the rules — people have started doubting the tipping culture altogether.
In his viral TikTok video that garnered over 4.8 million views, Portland-based Door Dash driver Owen Lindstrom explained and criticized a new phenomenon called ‘tip-baiting’: imagine being promised a generous tip for a quick delivery only for it to be taken away at the last minute. That doesn’t sound right.
Which is precisely why the video has been flooded with thousands of comments supporting Owen’s message — both from customers and delivery workers.
Every once in a while there comes an on-demand delivery person who will demonstrate just how broken the system is
To find out what inspired TikTok delivery driver to create this viral video, Bored Panda reached out to 22-year-old Owen, who was kind enough to answer all of our burning questions. He confirmed that he didn’t expect his video to go into the viral stratosphere. “I was running out of ideas at this point in my 100 days challenge and I just threw this idea out there only expecting it to get 10k – 15k views,” which is what Owen usually gets. His tip baiting story, on the other hand, garnered more views than his last 20 videos combined — including those with over 1 million views.
What Owen did expect, though, is that his video will get a two-way reaction. “I’ve been very active in my comments since I started and there have been people who are very supportive and appreciative of drivers. Just like there are plenty of people that have nothing good to say. So I expect that with every video,” he admitted. “What I didn’t expect was how extremely people felt about it. For the first time, I stopped reading my comments.”
And this Door Dash driver with over 90K followers did just that by revealing the scheming nature of ‘tip-baiting’
@owenlindstrom1 okay… I want your worst tip baiting stories. winner gets a crisp high five. #100daychallenge #fyp #deliverydriver #uberdriver #doordashdriver ♬ original sound – owenlindstrom
Talking about the problem that inspired him to pursue this idea for the TikTok, Owen admits that for the most part, customers are reasonable and generous enough not to exploit the system. “I’ve had tips lowered before but there have been reasons for those (restaurant going slow, bad traffic, missing items, etc.) and I don’t count that as tip baiting,” he told, agreeing with the notion that holding a tip over a driver’s head like a carrot on a stick does indeed inspire drivers to fully commit to their job.
“But people will take advantage of it, and that’s where the problems for the drivers begin,” Owen said. He hopes that his and other drivers’ stories will make the creators of multibillion-dollar apps finally take some action.
“All these food delivery apps are young and they are all spending billions to make it better for both the customer and the driver. As long as people are pushing for them to fix their problems (which people are doing), then over time, the balance of being fair both for the driver and the customer will slowly get better.”
The author then shares the breakdown of his salary to show just how important tips are
What a way to finish the 100 Day Challenge
@owenlindstrom1 100 days later… thank you to everyone for joining me on my 100 day journey #100daychallenge #fyp #deliverydriver #Doordash #ubereats ♬ original sound – owenlindstrom
Tipping has always been a tricky matter of business. There are guides that help service people increase their chances of getting an extra buck for their work. Same as there are tips that are lost in the confusing etiquette of tipping (20% of the pretax bill is the accepted norm, while dipping below 15% lets your waiter know that they did a so-so job).
To find out why some people would exploit the nature of tipping, Bored Panda reached out to Dr. Kevin Bennett, Ph.D. teaching professor of psychology at Penn State University and the author of ‘Jealousy’s Design: Maladaptive Trait or Psychological Solution?’.
Bennet thinks that the pandemic and limited face-to-face interaction between delivery drivers and customers might be a major reason why people tip bait. “We are more likely to tip more in situations involving meaningful face-to-face interactions, right? Without the social pressure that comes from real interactions, people feel more empowered to leave a lousy tip.” Or, perhaps, not to leave a tip at all (something that Owen rarely comes across, he admits).
People agreed that the main problem lies in the ways companies like Door Dash handle their business
After reading the reception Owen’s viral video received, it doesn’t come as a shock that around 60% of deliverers think tips (low or non-existent) are among the worst things about this profession, studies have shown.
Bennet explains this might also have to do with the underlying psychology of giving extra money to those who provide the goods and services. He says there’s compliance and acceptance: social psychologists describe the former as accepting something but not necessarily agreeing with it. Think of all times when you should have not drunk, but were persuaded by your convincing friends. Meanwhile, acceptance is when “you do something and you really buy into the purpose of your action,” Bennet explained. If you wash your hands because you truly believe in its effectiveness, not because someone convinced you it’s a good thing to do — that, dear Pandas, is acceptance.
Learning about Owen’s video and tip baiting, Bennet believes it’s not going away any time soon. “I think we are going to hear more about in the years to come. Tip baiting will result in better service in the long run — but only for those who’ll gain a reputation for dangling a big tip out there and then following through with that payment in the end.”
Hopefully, Uber Eats, Doordash and the rest of the major delivery services won’t make it a bigger problem than it currently is — at least for their hardworking drivers like Owen.