What’s an acceptable tip for a driver who delivers a $20 pizza?
A TikTok video purporting to show a DoorDash delivery driver in Texas swearing at a customer over the $5 tip she gave him has gone viral, sparking fresh online debate over tipping culture in the U.S.
“I just want to say it’s a nice house for a $5 tip,” the driver can be heard saying as he walks away from a home in the door camera video posted to TikTok earlier this week by a user under the name Lacey Purciful.
“You’re welcome!” the resident says, appearing surprised by the remark. “F*** you,” the driver responds before walking away.
“So how much should I be tipping for a $20 pie?” Purciful, who, in a separate post said she herself has worked in the service industry for over 10 years and tips “very well,” wrote in a caption.
Purciful, who did not immediately respond to an overnight request for comment from NBC News, said the driver was fired by DoorDash following the incident.
A DoorDash spokesperson confirmed that the worker had been removed from their platform. They said the company had also reached out to the customer regarding the incident.
“Respectfully asking for a tip is acceptable but abusing or harassing someone is never acceptable,” the spokesperson said.
“Our rules exist to help ensure everyone who uses our platform — Dashers, customers, merchants — have a safe and enjoyable experience,” they said. “We expect everyone to treat others with respect and we will enforce our rules fairly and consistently.”
The video added fuel to a growing debate in the U.S. over tipping culture, with some complaining current trends may have reached a tipping point.
“Tipping is out of control,” one social media user said, commenting on the video. They said they felt $5 for a $20 pizza was “more than” enough.
“I doordash and most (not all) pizza delivery orders don’t tip. That was a Rockstar tip,” another user said.
Not everyone agreed, however, with some branding Purciful a “Karen” for contacting DoorDash over the incident.
One poster said they felt the driver should not have lost their job over the exchange, writing: “What he said was not right, but he didn’t have to lose job over it. Everyone is trying to make a living.”
Another commenter noted that the driver may have been concerned about mileage, writing: “Maybe $5 wasn’t enough.”
The Covid-19 pandemic brought consumer willingness to give tips, particularly during times of hardship, into fresh focus, with many ponying up to pay higher gratuities during the crisis, according to research.
Figures provided earlier this year to NBC News by payment processor Square showed the frequency of gratuities at full-service restaurants grew 17% in the fourth quarter last year from the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, tip frequency at quick-service restaurants, such as coffee shops and fast-food chains, rose 16%, according to the company’s data.
The apparent rise in tipping came despite a period of record inflation, which has eaten away at many consumers’ discretionary income.
While the pandemic appeared to spur widespread changes in tipping culture, the growing use of point-of-service, or POS systems, to process payments also appear to have made it easier than ever for customers to provide — and for businesses to ask for — tips.
In a survey of restaurant executives by industry group Hospitality Technology, 71% of respondents said using data to “understand guest preferences and behavior” was their primary reason for facilitating POS system upgrades, while for 57% enabling new payment options was the priority.
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