Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tipping and “The Apps”

I’m reaching fatigue levels with all the delivery apps out there. From ride-sharing, to food delivery, the veil between me and the laborer’s “tip” is getting old. While “The Apps” play with their margins by tweaking “services charges,” “convenience fees,” and “gratuities/tips,” the connection I thought I had between myself the consumer, and the delivery/driver person doing the actual work is now completely muddled and confused.

From service to service, I have zero clue who’s abusing their position as labor aggregator and who is not, and I’ve done enough reading of first-hand accounts from laborers that suggest these “fees” and “tips” are being blurred into minimum wage augmentation for the firm’s benefit, to know that abuse is clear.

Adding to the confusion is zero differentiation between food delivery services. All the delivery folks deliver for all the services, so the fact that there are a half-dozen food delivery apps installed on my phone (not one of which could I tell you delivers for the specific restaurant I’m interested in in a given moment), that are all the same to me, means there is never a human to connect to one service or another.

And no, just tipping in cash doesn’t solve the problem for me. Sure it helps the one random delivery person that happens to land me as a customer, but the problem is systemic. Unless all of us decided to move to cash tipping simultaneously, the issue still pervades the labor layer in this cake. That issue is creating an abused, underpaid, fatigued, disloyal, disinterested, large labor pool to fuel what is generally a crappy experience (out of the last four food deliveries you’ve received, how many were actually correct?) for the consumer anyway.

Something’s got to give.