From my perspective Instacart is stealing from its customers and workers by doing this. I'm a huge fan of instacart (my fiance and I use it regularly), but this is definitely going to push me away from the platform. At a minimum I'm going to be tipping in cash.
This is 100% wage theft.
It is standard (though not universal) practice for restaurant staff to pool and divide tips, which would appear to be the same thing from a defrauding-the-tipper perspective.
I'm more upset about this line from Instacart:
> We include tips in the calculation [of pay for deliveries] so that you can get a more accurate picture of what your earnings will be after completing a batch.
This is incredibly dishonest. They're arguing with a straight face that they're doing you a favor by smoothing your earnings from an unpredictable (for example) $8-$50 per hour down to a more reliable $8-$9 per hour.
This is actually the same argument the US government advances in favor of its sugar tariff. Sure, it raises the price of sugar by 200% on average, but it protects us from the awful unpredictability of the world sugar price.
First, restaurant staff always know ahead of time if they have to share tips.
And their hourly compensation, as ridiculously low as it may be, is never adjusted to compensate for higher than normal tips.
And, finally, in most restaurants the tip pool is also split up with bussers, bartenders, and hosts who don't always make tips of their own, but still contribute to the overall experience.
Yet somehow the system only ever seems to work in one direction. I once had to pay $20 after working an 8-hour shift before leaving home under threat of termination (right-to-work state) because of the two tables I had that night, one was a giant party that didn't tip me at all and the other ran out on his $20 meal while I was taking care of other duties in the back. Somehow my responsibility, of course.
Somehow my responsibility
After several more undoubtedly illegal maneuvers by a new manager to fire me and other waitstaff so that he could replace them with random girls he wanted to work for him so he could hit on them, being taken off payroll without clearing it with the senior manager, and afterwards being reduced to a single day a week on the slowest days, I quit.
I then had to leave the place I was living at two months later to a brand new city, contracted mononucleosis, and, not having any saved up money after quitting this job and unable to work due to being bedridden for 4-5 months, basically starved myself into extreme malnutrition other than the food I could steal and scavenge, surfing from couch to couch. So, essentially my worst fears about quitting my job over illegal practices were realized.
I could also tell you stories from other jobs about bosses pulling firearms on me, commanding me to do straight up illegal things like lie to the police, illegally withholding paychecks for entire staff for months at a time, illegal unpaid overtime, slashing wages between paychecks, working me into extreme injury from RSI and then subverting my ability to collect comp, firing me over "clerical errors" for trying to cancel a shift I didn't even mean to sign up for on a stupid new workforce app after my boss explicitly lying about my employment not being in jeopardy, etc, and all of the hardships I had to endure for leaving each of these jobs at my breaking point.
I am not sure why delivering 6 bags of groceries took over an hour in this case. It is entirely possible however that they made several other deliveries in between Wegmans and this location (making a $10 minimum for each). It is possible that this person actually made $50+ during this 69 minutes.
Source for more details of new policy: https://www.miamiherald.com/site-services/new-newsletters/bu...
So is not a typical scenario. I could put together an article just as misleading showing that Insticart pays a mint...
I don't like when people try to mislead me. Perhaps the fact that the tip is not going directly to the delivery person is offending some of your sensibilities. This is quite legal. Many states have done this for the past 80 years. I don't know how residents of states that practice this are surprised. All restaurants and other service industry locations you frequent do the same.
Being a food delivery person, a restaurant server or for that matter a McDonald's employee is not a skilled labor position and has never been a job someone should aspire to feed a family off of. We have people busting their butts, putting themselves through college, working their way up the ladder. We have 50k skilled labor jobs vacant in this country that pay a good wage and even offer training. People used to move across the country for these jobs. They used to leave their grandma's basement and go make something of themselves. Now we just have them making a bunch of noise over McDonald's not paying a Living Wage. Grow up. This world should not reward the lazy, it results in ever increasing mediocrity.
I worked these jobs while trying to support and educate myself so that I could get a better-paying job.
At the same time, if 6-8 hours a day of Instacart deliveries isn't enough to provide you with an apartment, tuition money and food & entertainment for a wife and two children, then it's a service that shouldn't exist and it is only propped up by investor cash.
Because that is what minimum wage was originally meant to provide for an individual in America, before nearly a century of propaganda and misdirection convinced people like you that someone on minimum wage is lazy and doesn't deserve enough money to eat healthily, rent a decent apartment and have enough cash for some entertainment, and generally live better than someone in a third-world country, much less afford something like an annual vacation or car payments.
So did many of us. People are not supposed to have to support a family as a primary earner on minimum wage and they never were. According to the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics, full time minimum wage earners earn over the poverty line by more than $3,000 per year. Two minimum wage earners can support a family of four and live above the poverty line. Avoiding poverty is all about choices.
>"At the same time, if 6-8 hours a day of Instacart deliveries isn't enough to provide you with an apartment, tuition money and food & entertainment for a wife and two children, then it's a service that shouldn't exist and it is only propped up by investor cash."
>"Because that is what minimum wage was originally meant to provide for an individual in America, before nearly a century of propaganda and misdirection convinced people like you that someone on minimum wage is lazy and doesn't deserve enough money to eat healthily, rent a decent apartment and have enough cash for some entertainment, and generally live better than someone in a third-world country, much less afford something like an annual vacation or car payments."
You have your facts quite wrong about the minimum wage and what it was originally meant to provide. The minimum wage was first enacted in 1938 by FDR. It paid a meager 25 cents per hour (this is $4 today when adjusted for inflation). So it has become substantially more generous as time has gone on. This is the opposite of your claim.
People in third-world countries earn less than a dollar a day. I'm sure they would love to earn even the 25 cents per hour that the original minimum wage paid.
Everyone I know that has been stuck in minimum wage jobs have definitely been lazy or made very poor choices (like stealing from their employer ETC.) in fact, only 3% of people above age 25 in the US make only the minimum wage.
Get the actual facts before making biased and factually incorrect claims (and cite sources when doing so). It really hurts your credibility to just make things up and try to sound like an expert so maybe no one will call you on it and you will appear to make a valid point.
You place yourself in a weak position philosophically and argumentatively simply going for the old dumb bully method of personal attacks, character assassination, shouting someone down, insults ETC.
Is that really the best you can do? I pointed out inaccurate information and information gaps in this story. This claim reeks heavily and obviously of major bias. I wouldn't be surprised in an Instacart competitor actually is behind this. It's sad that others in this thread didn't already do the same. The group think and blind social justice here is really sad. There are many people here far smarter than I, yet they cannot see when such a weak and slanderous smear attempt is made?
If you want to change the labor laws to make tips and wage separate then go ahead. But just know that every restaurant and service company in states that allow this do it. If a certain business doesn't, they will have a hard time competing against the company across the street who does.
This 80 cents an hour case is so factually incorrect and lacking specifics that you and others should frankly be embarrassed to be making judgments based on it.
> If you were a minor, you would have been a ward of the state. They would have paid to take care of you. You wouldn't even have to work.
My experience with the State is that foster care where I grew up is the last place you want to be if you at all want a decent shot at a good future. We could talk about criminal indoctrination, institutionalization, lack of resources, lack of boundaries, lack of personal space and belongings, I mean really there are so many reasons why being a ward of the state fucking sucks.
> You could live, go to school, and get all your needs met for free.
In highschool, my mother didn't have a job. We were homeless at times. My sister tried very hard to stay in school but dropped out. My brother had the luxury of living with some extremely abusive relatives who fucked him up in the head and he dropped out as well. I took matters into my own hand and first worked hard to get accepted in a boarding school, and later when that didn't work out found a place to live, found a way to get to a job, and finished out high school. Getting an education was really important to me, and I did it despite an abusive, impovershed and malnourished childhood, despite my parents not being in my life or keeping jobs to help support me, despite a lot of things. And somehow you're finding a way to condemn me for it? How incredibly close-minded and judgemental of you.
> The life of a guy I grew up friends with reminds me of you and what you went through. He never listened to good advice and always ended up in bad situations.
Yes, GreenToad5, because we go way back as you know, and you know all about me. You know people that remind you of me, and you know that I never listen to good advice and always end up in bad situations. Just like your other friend, whom I'm not entirely inclined to believe you have made an accurate assessment of. Please, tell me all about my life and the mistakes you've seen me make. Pigeon-hole me some more with the handful of lazy shits you know.
> It is clear just by your demeanor and manipulation of facts that you have some challenges brought on by yourself.
This is literally delusional thinking. Nothing is clear based on what I wrote. I wrote two very vague and summarized posts about large portions of my life. You don't a single thing about any of the events I described except that they happened. It's insane to think you could derive anything else from that, even if you had a PhD in Psychology, which you obviously don't.
> If you are a minor, the state will take care of you. If you are broke and not a minor, pass a GED, then get financial aid for a Junior College or Trade School.
Again, I decided to get a job and work through highschool while homeless and parentless. And I passed high school with nearly a 4.0GPA and got a scholarship to every college I bothered applying to, with several full rides and paid-for state tuition. On track to actually do what I want to do, not settle for some stupid bargain job through a trade school, spending the rest of my working life doing something I don't like. As life would have it, a vindictive teacher illegally modified my final grade and refused to apply mandatory points that would still have passed me despite her modifications, and I failed a core class and had to forfeit all of my scholarships. Believe me, I was at the schoolboard, I was in the principal and guidance counselor's offices, I did not let it go--- and I was promised it would be fixed. And it never was.
Somehow you'll tell yourself that I must be lying, the system is perfect, it could never fail someone so badly and that teacher would surely have lost her job. Well, that's what I thought too when I put so much time into doing well in school.
So I didn't get to go to college unless I got massively in debt with the State. Instead of taking out loans like my peers, I continued to educate and support myself until present day where I am now happily employed as a software engineer with an actual sane boss. While my peers are still wrestling with student debt and working low-salary jobs despite parental financial aid. I bet somehow that's the wrong decision, too.
I have done so well for myself in spite of adversity, and honestly I'm very proud of myself for even being alive today, much less happily employed in the field I wanted. But the worst part about all I've gone through is that I feel afraid to share my experiences with others because I know that even without the loudmouth jerks such as yourself, many people will simply silently disbelieve me. It really sucks having to defend the same stories over and over and over again until finally you give up ever offering any explanation for the way things are.
> Making laws based on emotions and feelings have got us nowhere in the last 80 years
Emotions have nothing to do with this. I was sharing some of my experiences with the hope that they would add value to the conversation.
> Look at all the government programs and affirmative action that have been made for African Americans over the last 80 years... Yet their poverty levels remain exactly the same. Why?
Oh. Wow. Ok, I get it now. You're one of those. One of those people who can't understand socioeconomic oppression when it's staring you right at the face. One person sees that the black community is still impoverished 60 years after the Civil Rights movement and places blame on the government for not doing enough to reverse hundreds of years of institutional racial oppression. You see the same thing and decide to blame the poor person for still being poor.
> We have created a culture of public assistance dependence and generations of "victims" with all the welfare.
Classic diversion argument. We spend over 50% of the federal budget on our war machine each year, more than the next 13 countries combined, we lose billions to tax havens and loopholes and lobbyist tactics, and you want to talk about the underfunded garbage that is our excuse for State welfare.
It's so incredible that on one hand you chastise me for working my way through school, telling me I should have freeloaded off the state and not worked at all, and then on the other hand you piss all over state welfare and its recipients. The level of mental gymnastics required for such cognitive dissonance is just incredible. You're a serious intellectual titan.
I don't want to change your mind. I'm not going to be able to. I know that. I'm not interested in speaking with extremely close-minded people, especially when they're just plain frustrating to talk to. Go ahead and make your long-winded judgemental reply, but don't expect one in return.
This varies by state. Google "server wage" and your blood will boil. It's illegal in WA, though — servers make standard minimum wage and employers can't take servers' tips.
Having seen the wrong people get rewarded bonuses, RSUs and raises all the time. You are just better off with a salary band/pay grade and give money uniformly across the band.
Ideally 'top performers' are supposed to be rewarded for 'top performance'. But in any subjective evaluation you are just dealing with cooked up documentation to prove a person did something, therefore deserves extra. Pretty much any and anyone's story can be twisted and narrated in a way that could sound positive or negative, to reward or punish respectively.
You are better off with a tip pool and paying it across the band.
You're describing "server wage" laws, in which employers are free to steal tips up to the difference between real minimum wage and server wage per hour. In effect, servers in these states make above minimum wage during peak times and at most minimum wage off-peak. But they have to work off-peak or they don't get scheduled for peak hours.
In WA, this form of wage theft is illegal. Your statement, "minimum wage for servers is lower than for untipped workers" is false in Washington state, which is where the wage theft in TFA took place.
I never claimed "server wage" laws apply to this situation.
Also, the term "wage theft" seems like it doesn't apply to "server wage", because "server wage" is a construct specifically created by the law, whereas wage theft is something that's illegal.
The difference is that one allows the customer to dynamically adjust the wages in response to service; while in the other the company is pocketing that variance themselves, rather than passing it on to workers.
It’s simply fraud to pretend one situation is the other — there’s a distinct and meaningful difference in who pockets tip variance.
The third point is also correct, but in that case I think it supports the idea that the tipper is being defrauded when it happens.
I don't see how any shorter treatment would be a sufficient explanation.
I mean, imagine the scenario where the server just buys a line cook a drink to say thank you. Fraud!
That would be a case of the server getting the money and deciding to buy something for the cook.
Whereas in an actual tip-sharing restaurant, the server gets his share of the tip pool after the cook's share has already been taken out. He doesn't get a choice in the matter.
This is generally not what the people giving the tips have in mind.
Can you substantiate that in any way with any kind of evidence or is it a baseless claim?
If I tip someone well, it's because they've been incredibly attentive, kind, accommodating, etc. As much as possible, I want the tip to brighten their day. The effect is greatly diminished if that money is immediately divvied up amongst the other servers, making the difference to what they bring home negligible.
I've never worked as a server (though I did work at Chik-fil-A in highschool; employees are not allowed to accept tips there), and I did not realize that many restaurants are involved in the handling of tip money, rather than the tips going directly to the respective server.
So, no, that's not what I had in mind.
Why should anyone expect that sort of handling of tips? Not everyone has worked a job involving tips. I didn't. Should I have spontaneously asked one of my server friends "hey, btw, how are tips handled at your job? Like, I suspect that when I tip someone, you know, that money goes to them, because after all, I gave it to that person and not the restaurant and not anyone else, but just in case I'm mistaken, could you tell me what happens with the tip money after I leave it on the table? It's a question that's been gnawing at the back of my mind, and I just had to ask!"
My point being: unless you're a server at one of those restaurants, how would you know that your server doesn't get the tip you left for them? Could you substantiate such a claim?
In that case at least the staff get your tip. In this case Instacart is taking it for themselves.
Absolutely. Thought its definitely more pernicious to find out the restaurant owner was keeping the tips.
The notion that you should overpay your own taxes to solve this is just bewildering.
It's immoral as fuck to steal tips. I don't care if it's legal. If I'm a customer tipping the person a certain amount I want to make sure it's actually helping that person and not just lining the pockets of their employer, that's absurd.
Instacart is going to get fucked very quickly by the Washington AG. This is as bad as Walmart not paying employees for overtime.
They should have to pay back "the winnings" by 3x and fire the people involved.
in any case, this is really awful for the poor drivers. I had no idea.
So you have incentive to report 0.0 tips. But then our manager at PizzaHut let go everyone who reported 0.0 tips (when asked why, he said they called customers to confirm we did receive tips).
And that's not only PizzaHut, that's everyone doing that, at least in NJ.
The tipped minimum is usually something like $2 vs the $7 minimum wage (these numbers are probably off now that so many places have raised the minimum wage to $10 or $12).
Since in this instacart case they ended up paying out $.80 an hour it’s below even tipped minimum wage standards, although I assume there’s some dodge about claiming the employees are contractors to get around paying wages.
That would make some sense even. If a server doesn't get tips, that could be a sign that they are a bad server.
(Not agreeing with wage / tip theft, of course, but, as an employer, you need to be able to believe your employees.)
I'd be surprised if calling something a "tip" makes it legally obligated to go to a contractor. I'm sure their lawyers are very aware of the law on this. As someone else said, there is almost certainly a binding arbitration clause. This removes the possibility of individual or class-action lawsuits.
edit: The abuse of the term "independent contractor" is just one of many examples of how labor law enforcement has become lax in the last several decades. How many people on this site aren't in management and work unpaid overtime?
That is textbook fraud.
But it does not remove the ability of the court to overrule the clause itself. So someone could still sue Instacart knowing that it will be thrown out if the court decides to enforce the clause.
In my life experience, these things are almost always up in the air until a judge says otherwise.
Getting to the contractor thing, the most workers can really do is file IRS Form SS-8 and see if the IRS will release them of some of their tax obligations. Other than that, there's really not that much enforcement.
Source: I was a misclassified contractor in 2017 while working in WA state. IRS forgave some of my tax burden, but Labor/Industries and Employment Security are absolutely useless if you don't have a literal Form W2 to use.
Which they will. There's been a few recent cases that have made mandatory arbitration clauses more-or-less bulletproof.
In fact, I would hesitate to say that the lawyers for most startups have any clue what they're doing, as most seem to be in it to play startup lawyer rather than provide necessary legal advice to their client/employer.
I don't think "oh the tip went to the contractor we just lowered their wages by the same amount" sounds convincing in a court room.
I think the question though is _why_ is that?
If I steal $950 from someone then it's criminal, but if I refuse to pay them what I agreed then it's civil. It's an odd discrepancy IMO.
Taking stuff away from people, though, is not necessarily theft, and also not necessarily criminal. If you accidentally take someone else's property because you confused it with your own, for example, that's not criminal, but the other party still has a civil claim against you (namely, to be given back their property).
On the other hand, if you intentionally mislead someone into providing you with some service or product, promising to pay them for it, even though you never intended to pay, that constitutes fraud and is very much criminal.
Generally, it's criminal if it's in the interest of the public and civil if it is primarily in the interest of some party. Not paying some debt because you actually have doubts that you have to pay, or due to an honest mistake is not really something that affects anyone else. Someone intentionally causing situatons where others can't rely on them fulfilling their legal oblications can erode trust in a society, therefore it is in the public interest to prevent that. The boundaries can be fuzzy, but wage theft can very much be criminal.
In this case they're doing something (questionably) legal but terrible.
There are plenty of cases out there of outright wage theft. I wouldn't have a problem with the people in charge of those decisions getting arrested.
Why do you keep saying things to this affect?
A company stiffing a supplier is going to rapidly find themselves without suppliers, or the supplier can afford to / accounts for being stiffed on some orders.
An independent contractor who works for one, or maybe two very similar types of, company is very much like an employee in every way that matters to that individual “independent” contractor, and literally nothing like a B2B supplier.
Additionally, you seem preoccupied with existing legislation as though it has some higher virtue, whereas in reality the law can be, and frequently is, unjust and absurd.
Any dispute will go to a monkey court instead.
No, they aren't; binding arbitration is a venue for resolving disputes about the application of laws, it doesn't supersede the laws, and manifest disregard for the law is one of the few reasons for courts setting aside a binding arbitration decision.
Thought experiment: could Instacart assault, kidnap, or murder a delivery driver and claim that arbitration is the only venue for redress?
It depends on the agreement between Instacart and delivery staff.
I don't know how the contractor status of Instacart drivers affects this. They're not technically employees. But the verbiage of "Tip" in the UI is a strong signal to the customer that the money is directly credited to the driver. It should bear no relation to their fee from Instacart.
This is wage theft. A horrible agreement doesn't make it right, even if it is legal.
This is a very common setup in other pay structures as well, such as commissioned sales where you are paid a "draw" (such as minimum wage) and you don't paid get any commission until your commissions exceed minimum wage.
What's more, the tip money did go directly to the driver; Instacart just decided to pay less.
It's a pretty inhumane thing to do but on the face of it I don't see how it's wage theft. Welcome to the gig economy.
Here's some more information about how it works legally: https://corporate.findlaw.com/human-resources/legal-consider...
Does the independent contractor bring more than their personal labor?
Do they hire crew of their own or are they bringing other employees?
Or, are they bringing heavy or costly specialized equipment?
Are they an established business, working without your direction or control?
Are they free from your supervision, direction or control?
Is the individual’s business different and separate from your own?
Is the individual’s service “outside the usual course of business,” or in other words, does the
contractor do something different from what you do?
Is the individual’s service being performed “outside of all of the places of business,” or in other
words, does the contractor perform the service away from where you perform your services?
Is the individual contractually obligated to pay costs affiliated with the location from where the work
is controlled (usually its headquarters)?
Does the individual have an established independent business that existed before you brought
them on – OR – does the individual have a principal place of business that qualifies for an
IRS business deduction?
Do you have evidence to demonstrate that the individual has an established business?
Does the individual have a principal place of business that qualifies for an IRS business deduction?
Do you have evidence to demonstrate it?
Is the individual responsible for filing a schedule of expenses with the IRS, such as would be part of a
business tax return?
Does the individual have all required registrations and licenses for their business?
Does the individual maintain his/her own set of books and records that reflect all income and expenses of
This question is for construction contractors only: Is the individual a properly registered contractor?
Note that this is not an "Answer 'yes' to any question to be considered a Contractor", it's a "totality" thing. (https://www.lni.wa.gov/IPUB/101-063-000.pdf)
"I subcontracted some work to a guy who has a contractor’s registration with L&I. Doesn’t that mean he’s not my employee?"
Not necessarily. L&I auditors look at “direction or control” and other factors described on the previous pages. Because he is a construction contractor, all seven parts of RCW 51.08.181 must be met.
And so on...
Do the right thing. Take a stand for human decency and make a compromise by closing your instacart account now. Absorb the inconvenience and do your own shopping. And make sure to tell instacart to (insert profanity of choice) if you can while closing your account. That behaviour is low down and dirty. Shady craigs list used car dealer level stuff.
I just walked three blocks in the rain to the local grocery store to pick up stuff to make dinner and food for tomorrow. Not like I was jumping for joy and made a dash for the door. I didn't want to, but I did. That's life.
I haven't used Instacart since then.
It's also possible that instacart will lose money on the sales where they can't scam tips; that means you can use the service and pay the worker well and punish instacart and increase the incentive for them to change their policy.
Or we can just make it very clear that companies that engage in outright wage theft should be put out of business, so no other business ever tries it in the future.
I'm all for bringing a legal hammer down on them! I'm just saying that as far as personal action goes, getting them to lose money while their worker gets a healthy wage is better than a boycott.
Using Instacart is a luxury in the first place, but having everyone close their account only hurts the very people you seem to be for. In case you missed it in the article, there is a workaround so that your tips are correctly considered, or you can always pay cash: http://www.workingwa.org/22cents
Same arguments were used to suppose slavery. If we make slavery illegal, where will slaves work apart from cotton farms?
There are other jobs to do, it doesn't mean we have to allow blatant injustice to go on, in exchange for profits. All the while using a moral arguments to justify it.
Frankly I don't care about this company but equating this to slavery just comes across as more of the same virtue signaling.
This is redundant. You are making a general argument here against making decisions based on your own morality.
They are extremely likely to make another, more subtle bad call.
People who think this is OK can be very difficult to motivate.
I've tipped a lot on Doordash. I feel ripped off.
My company regularly used Doordash for years and made a point of tipping on orders. Crazy.
I tried to find a way to close the account but there does not seem to be one.
I wish I had thought to ask for a refund of tips too, but I already sent my support request.
I think this a danger of contracting for VC-backed "gig economy" services like Instacart and Uber. They often subsidize the cost of the service using funding (billions, in the case of Instacart and Uber) in order to quickly attract customers and workers, then reduce the subsidies once they are established.
It's not right, but at this point gig economy workers should expect it and plan accordingly.
Now it seems they skip items, replace it without asking and the earliest delivery is tomorrow. And the produce has a lot to be desired. It'll last two days and already looks crappy on delivery. I think they are in such a rush they just grab whatever.
The best thing for any app service, keep 20 in singles and just tip cash. I honestly don't know how the app tipping works but I have a feeling the full amount isn't going to the person.
If that doesn't work then of course I'm going to drop their service. I just believe that supporting worker led actions is the best way to push change at this very moment.
I use Uber from time to time. Knowing full well that they have some practices I admonish.
I use Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Safeway, etc. I try to be a better consumer with products but it doesn't always work.
I think we can approach this without the pitchforks and realize we all do this to some extent. The OP recognizes the problem and suggests they'll change their behavior. That's a win.
Parent - good luck moving off of the service. It's hard to swap something you've come to rely on out, and good on you for recognizing that as a consumer you need to make a change.
Thanks for clarifying. Good on you for taking an active approach to this and being thoughtful.
Also - I think this is where the power of the unionization comes into effect. While Unions can be a tremendous blocker of progress I feel that the pendulum has swung too far the against them.
Seems like a not-bad approach.
Frankly tax fraud from people working for tips in the service sector should be among the very least of our worries as a society.
Above? Not so much.
A lot of wait staff seem content to push mis-information: "If you tip poorly, the IRS makes us pay tax on it anyway, i.e. we're having to pay to serve you!"
No, the IRS makes an estimate on how much tipped workers are paid. If you document and it's less, then you pay tax on that. But using the IRS as the big bad wolf to get more tips that you know damn sure you're not going to report, doesn't make me the most sympathetic.
I've seen wait staff say that they believe 20% should be a baseline, for bad service, 25 for "decent" and 30% for good service...
Not quite the same, but perhaps it's a quid pro quo, of sorts. "Ups and downs in the economy, we won't come after you for earnings above the flat rate, but you will pay when lower". Which does negate my point, but such an agreement is consensual.
It doesn't seem to me that the IRS could just make "deals" with individual restaurants since congress has to actually legislate the internal revenue code. But I don't see anything when I search for what you describe.
where does this insanity stop? 50%? 100%? No matter how much you tip, people will grow to expect it as baseline, and then some more
Why don't you do something productive with your outrage, like changing your own lifestyle and keeping it to yourself? Or better yet, raise awareness without bullying someone else's attempt to process their frustration in an even-tempered way.
I have zero illusions that enough people understand the free market to be patient and allow for this to happen. We need to teach more economics in grade school.
Customer awareness is the free market solution to this, if that's the hammer you want to use to fix everything.
Maybe grade school should focus on reading comprehension.
You can learn a lot from how companies feel about their practices by looking at how they train the customer support personnel with talking points to avoid admitting certain of them.
You had a strong comment without the implied insult. Don't compromise your point to be mean to someone.
I'm going to leave you with a quote from Adam Smith who most would say founded the field of Economics.
> The interest of the dealers ... in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public... [They] have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public ... We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate ... It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms.
Also, it's not clear to me, are the drivers told their comp for the job before accepting? Did this person know they would earn $0.80/hr?
why should it be?
ahh whaaat? mashes downvote button
since you are still reading, what is the exact thought process here, can you articulate this? So the service works and still provides a convenience for you, but is this action being masqueraded as the most effective way to get the company to change a policy amongst all other possible actions? Is it just to not "support" a company that does a single thing you disagree with? Is it something else?
I think there are more effective ways of bringing Instacart into compliance with your ideals. Isn't that a possibility?
edit: and no responses by time of writing while on the way to getting downvote censored. Be interesting to see if it flips when a different crowd gets off of work.
The perspective of “rewarding thieves” is a perspective I asked for
Yet you wouldnt have even commented except for the meta downvoting mention. I dont even think you realize that the “first” downvoting complaint was part of the original post and wasnt a complaint, it was because people are predictable and maybe they would continue reading and contribute to the thread
or to put it another way, I would say that an individual cancelling to telepathically convey their disagreement with a company is just as effective as an individual writing a sternly worded email
or even protesting on the street
I don't think that supporting tax evasion should be a primary reason for tipping in cash.
But there are other reasons why tipping in cash is a good idea, such as making sure that the money actually goes to the worker, and knowing that they'll have immediate access to it, rather than having to wait until their next paycheck.
If you are working a laborious job and you get cash tips, they go into your pocket. Full stop. To assert otherwise is to be simply unaware of the realities. No one scraping by with cash tips is summing them for their 1040. No one.
My understanding is that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not allow for employers to whithold tips.
Gratuity/tip is a legally recognized concept. You can't just throw the word in your app and do what you want with the money it generates. There are legal expectations around how the money goes from the customer to the worker.
 Added "not"
That having been said, the concept of defining contractor wages in relation to customer tips is new to me. I could see a legal argument being made in the employer's favor if the worker gave due consent to the transaction.
The idea here would be: Instacart states somewhere on the order prior to pickup 'if you choose to accept this order, you will receive $10, of which $.80 will come from us.' Since the delivery worker isn't running a 'shift' as an 'employee,' but just coincidentally happens to be running Instacart orders for 10 hours straight, this counts as one of many transactions that they've accepted and hence waived the legal right to complain about.
If this legal fiction sounds absurd to you, you're not alone.
Edit: welp, even that says it 100% goes to the person doing the shopping. Gross.
Welcome to the world of 'tipped wages'. In my state, every paycheck, the first $520 worth of tips effectively goes straight to your employer for the purposes of paying your minimum wage and then you can have whatever is left over.
Only Instacart believes this.
But boy I’d love to dis-enshrine it.
That's simple fraud. It's like going door to door collecting money for a charity and then just pocketing the money. Potentially Instacart will need to refund those 'tips'
The strange thing about this is that it may actually be fraud against the people buying from instacart. The ones giving the tip. I'm curious then what kind of damages a customer could sue for beyond the amount of the tip. And I'm also curious if instacarts TOS for customers forces arbitration and prevents class action lawsuits.
This should be interesting to watch unfold.
I think this sentence says the opposite of what you intended it to.
But I have never worked in a restaurant so I could be completely wrong.
The problem is that they use the tip as an excuse to pay basically nothing. It's not acting like a real tip.
There is, because the pay can't go negative.
> The legal system is not staffed by robots, either. I don't see how they can defend a class action regardless of what words they've written on a TOS.
It depends on what the lawsuit is for. Normally we have things like "minimum wage" but those don't apply if you manage to convince everyone it's a contractor situation. If they can be classified as employees then there's all sorts of lovely anti-tip-taking law. But that's a big if. And I don't think contractors have tip laws? It's not generally illegal to say one thing about how your company allocates money coming in and then do another.
I feel like for someone somewhere in the attorney general's office, prosecuting these should be someone's full time tax paid job.
Suppose that we decide to call dogs cats. In that case, what is a domesticated canine? Answer: it’s a dog, whatever you choose to call it.
(Pretty sure I butchered that, but hopefully the point still came through.)
It doesn't only take away responsibility of paying, but adds emotional and mental load cost to the customer. It's hilarious that people accept that in exchange for an illusory level of control (you being the mini manager/boss of your service task) over quality of service.
I feel sorry about this, but from my experience, the only other business that comes to mind, that is so build on 1-on-1 flattering "good choice sir" and selling attention to me is prostitution. I mostly don't need that much attention, when I just wand to have a beer or lunch.
There's no tipping in Japan, and people get offended if you try to tip. If the taxi is 1963 yen, you pay 1963 yen (or get back the change to make it so). It's lovely. And the service is great.
> On the rare occasion that you actually need to give a tip in Japan, do so by putting the money inside of a tasteful, decorative envelope and seal it. The tip should be presented as more of a gift than simply additional cash or payment for services. Hand it to the recipient using both hands and with a slight bow.
> Don't insist that someone accept your tip; it may be forbidden and a condition of employment.
This raises more questions than it answers
The only real way this changes is if we first make sure service workers are fairly compensated, but for most people this isn't a big enough issue to prioritize it - we only discuss it in forums like this when an article this appalling gets posted - but it is a big issue for the millions of restaurants in the US who would have to increase wages so they will all lobby against it.
We love traveling and I have yet to see local tipping culture anywhere besides North America (besides cheeky let's-get-more-money-from-the-foreign-tourist type).
As a customer I prefer "fake" service over being ignored, but as an employee I would prefer the European system.
Waiters in Europe also seem to be less interested in coming to your table.
In places where the tax and all other costs are already factored into the price, tipping is reserved for truly exceptional service.
Or, alternatively, maybe you don't live in a country with a tipping culture. And if so, then tipping doesn't really affect you.
People like to tip. I like to tip. Waiters and waitresses like to be tipped. My wife used to work as a waitress and would clear over $300 a night in tips alone. It's only a small minority of people who are against it.
Sorry, waiting tables is not a really complicated skill. Tipping is not related to quality of service.
Most people don't think about tipping. They do it because it's expected and maybe the waitress is hot. If pressed, they would likely prefer not to do it.
Servers are also some of the most disingenuous people I've seen when arguing about tipping. Because that top tier knows they can make a lot of money in a low-skill job. They like to complain about how much money they make and how screwed over they are by tips, but when restaurants pay a fair wage and eliminate tips, the staff abandons them for places that do tip. Why? Money.
Waiters and waitresses HATE to NOT be tipped in a world where it's their livelihood. And studies have shown that this leads to racist, classist, and sexism within the service industry.
- Studies show that non-caucasians receive worse service because they are perceived as likely to tip less.
- Studies show that a high class restaurant server gets more in tips than a medium class restaurant, even when the food and service is of lower quality.
- Studies show that men often get tipped less than women for similar service.
Like any erratic and arbitrary system there will be some winners who make out well, but it's not a great way of compensating people for work.
I would happily do that if I knew the server would earn a living wage even without my tip.
No one is talking about making tipping illegal. Killing tipping culture means not making food workers dependent on customers' largess and generosity to make a living wage.
Even in most countries without a tipping culture, you're free to hand over additional money to your server or cook if you feel like it. No one is stopping you.
Don't confuse the fact that nobody has confronted you for the idea that waiters don't expect you to tip them.
It's entirely possible that restaurants in SF have shifted to non-tipping and jacked their prices up to pay higher base wages just because it's so expensive to live anywhere in that area, but in most of the country people in traditionally-tipped positions are often paid significantly below minimum wage (as low as $2.13/hour as the federal minimum, many states are higher). In California the tipped minimum wage at $11/hour is only $1/hour lower than the regular minimum wage, so not tipping may have less impact.
Numbers taken from https://www.minimum-wage.org/
That's not a bro thing, just a shift in culture.