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17 Things Food Delivery Workers Really Want You To Stop Doing In The Coronavirus Pandemic

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As we finish yet ANOTHER week of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, we need to talk about some absolute heroes saving our butts right now: food delivery workers.

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While many of us have the luxury of staying home and self-isolating, food delivery workers are busier than ever, making sure the rest of us have the essentials we need to survive.

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Earlier this week, I spoke with a grocery store employee who shared some ways that we, as customers, can make their jobs a little bit easier right now. I wanted to see if we could do the same for delivery workers, so I reached out to some folks delivering for apps like Postmates, Instacart, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. Turns out, they had a lot to say.

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So, if you're getting takeout or groceries delivered to your door in this pandemic, here are some things you should know:

1. Please don't skimp on the tip.


Your delivery person is putting their own health at risk, going to restaurants and grocery stores so that you don't have to. So tip, and tip well. It's a significant portion of their pay.

2. Don't ignore texts and calls from your delivery person.


Keep your phone on you at all times while your order is being processed. Something you requested might be out of stock, or, if it's a contact-free delivery, they might need to make sure they have the right doorstep to leave your food on. If you don't answer your phone, you may never receive your order.

3. Don't try to hoard hard-to-find items.

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The same items that are hard for YOU to get in a store will also be hard for your Instacart shopper to get in the store, unfortunately. So if you know that your store has been completely out of beans, attempting to order a bunch of cans of beans via the app is a waste of everyone's time. Think of what you can realistically expect to get right now, and then order those items in reasonable amounts.

4. On a similar note, don't try to order more than the store's customer limits.

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Many stores are limiting how much toilet paper and sanitizing products a customer can buy at once. Shoppers for apps like Instacart and Shipt have to follow these same rules too! So if you order six packages of toilet paper but the store has a two-per-customer limit, you're getting two.

5. Don't punish delivery workers for long wait times.


Most delivery services are completely swamped right now, which means it's probably gonna take a little longer for you to get your food. Your delivery person cannot control this. Be patient, and don't let the wait affect your rating or tip.

6. And don't punish them for items being out of stock, either.

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These workers are getting your items from the same stores as everyone else — they don't have access to some magical warehouse full of toilet paper and canned goods. So if an item is out of stock, be gracious about it. And again, please don't take your frustration out on their rating or tip.

7. When given a choice, always go for a "no contact" delivery option.


Most apps now offer contact-free delivery, where your driver simply leaves your items outside your front door, with no interaction required. Always choose this method when you can — it's safer for you, and safer for the worker.

8. And respect that "no contact" actually means no contact.


Don't ask your delivery person to bring the items into your house. Don't offer to help them unload the groceries from their car. Don't even open the door to get your stuff until they're gone. It may seem strange, but it's the safest possible thing for both you and the worker.

9. Don't "tip-bait."


I spoke with multiple delivery workers who told me about this, and it's horrifying. "Tip-baiting" is when you add a tip to a delivery order during checkout, to incentivize your driver to do a good job, and then you take the tip away after the order's been delivered. Don't do this. It's disgusting and wrong.

10. Make sure you've listed your correct address in the app.

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With most deliveries being left on doorsteps, it's REALLY important that you make sure you've listed the correct address inside the app. If you give the wrong address, you're probably buying dinner for a stranger tonight.

11. Don't complain when they check your ID for alcohol purchases.


Contact-free delivery is preferable, yes. But if you're ordering alcohol, that's not really an option — they have to check your ID! It's the law. If you're uncomfortable having that interaction with a delivery worker, simply don't order the booze.

12. Don't tip percentages — tip a flat amount that reflects the size of your initial order.

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This is especially true for large grocery orders, where multiple items you request might be out of stock. The worker still had to search the store looking for those items, and check in with you about possible replacements. They deserve to be compensated for that labor, but that won't happen if you only tip a percentage of your final amount. Tip a good flat rate based on the initial amount.

13. As best you can, try to avoid buying a ton of heavy items.

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Workers are running around fulfilling huge orders all day, and that kind of labor can take a real physical toll on a person's body. Obviously, order whatever you need to get by. But maybe now's not the time to order like 10 cases of your favorite soda just because you won't have to lug them up the stairs. (And if you are placing a big, heavy order, tip extra.)

14. Don't tip cash.


You certainly mean well, and in normal times, cash tips might be great! But in pandemic times, people are understandably nervous about touching someone else's money. Tip in the app.

15. Don't lie about your order to get a free thing.

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Moments of crisis bring out the worst in some people, and this pandemic is no exception. Some drivers have had customers lie about their order — claiming that something was incorrect or missing — in order to get a discount. Don't do this. You could cost someone their job.

16. Try not to add things to your order after it's been placed.


Your delivery person's pay is often determined based on the initial order. If you have to add additional items later, make sure you adjust their tip accordingly.

17. And finally, just don't be a jerk!


Here's a friendly reminder that delivery people are working harder than ever so that the rest of us can stay safe at home. They're putting their own health at risk to do this work, and we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Be extra kind. Be extra patient. And tip extra money.

TL;DR: Be a good human, respect all "no contact" rules, and for the love of everything that is holy, TIP.

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