Create Better Karma

Be Kind to Your DoorDasher

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

DoorDashing (as well as all the other app delivery services) is all the rage for the unemployed or underemployed these days. Worldwide pandemic or not, people still need food. And thank goodness for delivery drivers!

For dashers, It’s easy to get started. The app is brilliant, the money is usually “okay” and sometimes even good, and dashers can make their own schedule. Delivery drivers of all types (Postmates, Instacart, Grubhub, UberEats) vary widely in age, need and motivation.

Not to disparage the growing work ethic of today’s teenagers, but the majority of DoorDashers I’ve seen on my own doorstep as well as at food pickup sites when I’m on shift, look to be 30s-40s in age. Middle-aged homeowners or renters, hustling due to a sudden need to put food on our own tables.

Great customers are rare

As anyone who has ever worked food service or retail as a teenager knows, the public can sometimes be a harsh workplace. Service providers, cashiers, customer service representatives and yes, delivery drivers, can end up taking quite a bit of abuse.

The way people work, is unfortunately, to absorb the bad moments more deeply than the good. For every 20 average public interactions, it only takes 1 bad one to ruin a service person’s week. On the flip side, when a customer actually goes above and beyond the average, it can obliterate the “bad” interactions like a magical beam of light sent from the heavens.

After a week of deliveries requiring 20 minute drives to the customer’s house, half of which had no tip, and 3 of which were only $3 payouts (reducing my hourly to about $7)…I came across a wonderful lady in a beautiful house.

Per usual, I hurried, got her food to her door, and saw an envelope leaning against her screen. It had my first name on it, but it didn’t seem my business, and I ignored it. I texted her a “Food’s here — thank you!”, and went on my way. As I was turning around in her court, she came running out with the envelope, saying that the app wouldn’t let her tip as much as she wished.

In the envelope was $10 cash. And the delivery itself on the app, was a decent $8 payout.

I’ve spent the majority of my working life in the corporate world, with most of my jobs centered around customer service. As I rose through the ranks, reaching a time when money was abundant, I believed I’d never have to go back to counting hourly dollars. Yet here I am.

I don’t begrudge this life phase, nor do I feel I’m a victim. In fact, I’m beyond grateful for the flexibility of freelancing as well as these amazing app-related jobs, where we get to be our own bosses! I get to take charge of my own schedule, I can end a shift anytime I feel like it, and I’m fully in control of my success or failure (measured down to realistic expectations, of course).

But let me tell you what that extra tip meant to me.

I was bummed out that day. Emotions can swing widely for anyone and everyone these days, but especially for those of us beating the streets, and counting the single dollars. (Yes, and sometimes even the change.) I was discouraged after delivering a bossy dude’s quesadilla 25 minutes out to the boonies, and 25 min back to civilization…for $3.25. He did not tip.

Then came the running tip lady, out of her house. I’ll admit that I might have been crying for a few minutes as I drove away. The act itself, and her $10 tip, may not have been that big a deal to her as it was to me. But the fact that she was kind, thoughtful, and generous…and she cared enough to make sure I got her thank you…was impactful. Enormously so. I’m still thinking of her 4 days later, and I wish I could do something nice for her in return.

It can be easy to take others for granted. Anytime — not just in a Covid-type of worried and stressed world. But if you would like to light up the lives of the people who briefly touch yours, in ways certain to send massive waves of gratitude back at ya, here are some ideas.

  1. Please tip! Anyone who has taken on DoorDashing, knows all too well about the financial strains of our current economy. We are the product of it. Even if you can only spare a few dollars on top of your meal cost, it is enormously appreciated. In fact, that “enormously” is an understatement. Tips are a godsend. Truly.
  2. Tip more if you have ordered food more than 10 minutes away from your home. Sometimes the apps can offer food from restaurants a good distance away, and we don’t realize it until we’ve placed the order and look at the map. I once made a poor driver deliver a 25 min distance food order. I increased my tip. That half hour ate up his potential to make a decent hourly wage. I intentionally expressed my appreciation. Please do the same.
  3. If you live in an apartment, PLEASE, for the love of god, tell us how to GET IN and find your apartment!!! Every apartment complex is different, and navigating into and around them, can be incredibly time-consuming. Also, do not assume that your delivery driver is going to easily be able to get into your gated community. Please give instructions on how they need to get into the complex, or better yet, meet them at the office! I live in a gated complex myself, and I always leave a text note that I’ll meet them at the office. Without fail, each one has breathed a grateful “thank you” for my consideration of their time.
  4. If you live in a house or condo, go outside your home and stand in the street. Yes, right now. Look at your home. Can you see your house number? Is it big and bold? Is it easily visible, both day and night, for anyone and everyone who might deliver to your home? A delivery drivers’ least favorite game is “Let’s spend 10 minutes looking at the curb, the mailbox behind that bush, and scouring the entire doorway and siding, to find the number!”. Especially at night.
  5. Understand that all food delivery services these days are just apps. And DoorDash is a pushy one at that. In most ways, it has your back, as the consumer. It will yell at us if we’re stuck in traffic and not moving. And it will chastise us for taking too long to find an address or parking. It will also guilt us into accepting every single order, no matter how chintzy the consumer is…AND it will hit us with doubles every time it can. Please be patient and understanding, and know that we’re getting your food to you as fast as possible.
  6. Be aware that most restaurants now put seals over your meal bags. Given that there’s an accusatory article circulating now, that claims that food delivery drivers sometimes steal food, I think the seals are a beautiful thing. I wish all food providers would use them. However, please understand that this means the driver cannot check the food items off the list. It’s a risk for both of us, but in the end, the responsibility lies with the food provider, as it should. If anything is missing, please contact the restaurant.
  7. For all of you mockers who make fun of people wearing masks while they are alone in their car! Consider the question of whether you want your food delivery driver to wear a mask while they’re delivering your food or not. Yes, I get it. I know I look silly with my mask on while I’m alone in the car. But there’s a bunch of us out there. Chances are, that “ridiculous” person with the mask on, is just delivering someone’s dinner.
  8. Order your booze through DoorDash!! This plug is for the separate app, Drizly, which is for orders from your local alcoholic beverage providers. Not always, but often, these beverage stores will use both apps together — Drizly and a delivery app — utilizing drivers like DoorDashers, to bring you your wine, tequila, or case of beer. At least with our local stores, there is a beautiful reminder on their online ordering form, to please tip the drivers. And these have been the most lucrative runs I’ve done! Plus, who knew you could now get booze delivered to your door?!

Of all the things said about the year 2020…all the volatility, division, worry, anger, depression and frustration…there is one idea that could never be truer. It’s the perfect time to be nice. And then to be even nicer. This isn’t just about the tips. This is also about treating every single person in our little worlds, like fellow human beings. Recognizing that we’re all in this together, and expressing gratitude for each other.

Now go out and earn yourself some fantastic karma.

A lover of stories — an observer and an active participant, I seek to live fully in beautiful moments.

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