But one thing is clear as day. When I use DoorDash, the tip box says "100% of tip goes to Dasher".
Look, I know all of these places either charge me a service fee, or if I'm not being charged a service fee, they're marking up the food over list price AND getting a discount from the restaurant for the extra volume generated by the company. FINE.
But when you tell me 100% of my tip goes to the tippee and then you take money out of their pay because I tipped them, that is fraud. Money is a fungible good. It doesn't matter that "my" money went to the Dasher, and you took "your" money from them. In fact, that's not even true, because it's all in one CC transaction anyway. 100% of my tip did NOT go to the Dasher.
But I'm pissed. I've been a heavy DD customer for years and I'm an excellent tipper. Apparently I've been offsetting DD's costs for quite awhile now thinking "100% goes to Dasher." Bad enough that I have to tip in advance of the service--Uber Eats does this right--but they've been stealing those tips the whole time on top of their "service charge" and "delivery fee". I'd love to see them burn.
It doesn't take a class action--last I saw comparative stats they were only doing well in the Bay Area, San Jose specifically, and were rock bottom of the market share elsewhere. We probably just need one educated market to trash this strategy.
I did, however, hear from a Dasher who was more than happy to clue me in on the policy. From now on, I no longer tip inside the app and let the Dasher know I'll be tipping them in cash at the door. It's a pain for me, but I feel better knowing 100% of my tip actually went to them like it was supposed to.
So right now I'm making DD pay as much as possible for each delivery to me, which is the point where I at least retain a bit of self-respect. My hope is this gets "corrected" before I have to quit the service, but if that becomes the only real choice it's what I'll do.
As far as the tipping, I do need to get an envelope of small bills going to meet my own standards there, but at least I haven't hurt the Dashers worse. The moment the 20% tip would be enough to raise their payout (DD guarantees a minimum of $1 from their own pockets, so that's $4.51+) I've tipped it regardless of the offset. They're victims in this.
But regardless of any perceived hypocrisy you may have on my part, DD is a bad actor here. Gig economy has always had the strong potential to exploit the "contractors," but this actualizes that potential in a big way. Even the sub-min-wage base+tips model for service employees isn't this egregious.
(By the way, how long before we can tip people on WhatsApp?)
You can apply basically this argument to similar things which the government doesn't do and people typically don't support (like running casinos or selling drugs), though.
Immediately uninstalled, will never use them again. That is downright criminal what they're doing. Made sure to let all my friends know about that too.
That being said, technically it's not allowed as you authorized the charges and maybe didn't get 100% of what you were advertised, but I'm not sure you can get a refund for that.
You can definitely get a refund for that. Realistically, DD will just refund the charges and then ban your account. Cheaper than fighting over a $15 tip, especially when disputes cost them whether they win or lose.
While you can almost always get a refund for any small charge if you dispute it, it doesn't mean it's technically allowed by the terms, or as part of mandated laws. Laws around this generally only say the credit card company has to investigate your claims, but what they do, if anything, or how hard they "investigate" is not enforced. In practice instead of actually investigating a small $15 charge they'll just refund you.
Given a large enough charge, they will definitely not refund you unless it's like a 100% indisputable billing error case (like you send an invoice you received saying $100 but the statement charge shows something else).
Hopefully one day the US justice system will wake up to the fact that allowing companies to opt-out of the main mechanism preventing them from engaging in this sort of petty-crime-at-scale is not a good idea, but until then it's what we're stuck with.
I wonder if small claims court lawsuits could be used as precedent.
> (f) Opt Out. You may opt out of this Arbitration Agreement. If you do so, neither you nor the Company can force the other to arbitrate as a result of this Agreement. To opt out, you must notify the Company in writing no later than 30 days after first becoming subject to this Arbitration Agreement. Your notice must include your name and address, your DoorDash username (if any), the email address you used to set up your DoorDash account (if you have one), and a CLEAR statement that you want to opt out of this Arbitration Agreement. You must send your opt-out notice to: email@example.com. If you opt out of this Arbitration Agreement, all other parts of this Agreement will continue to apply to you.
What other company has been killed by a lawsuit lately, other than thorough frauds like for-profit colleges?
These scumbag startups are taking it 1 step further by taking the tips away.
If you can't afford to pay your staff a living wage, your business shouldn't exist.
They deserve the backlash they get. One would hope they get fined as well.
I don't have any proof. But I have always assumed that this is the case. I hope I'm wrong. But I don't see why a charity or a government wouldn't do this.
The employee is supposed to report their tips, usually per pay period, and if it adds up to less than minimum wage, the employer is supposed to make up the difference.
Doesn't work out like that in practice, though. My wife waited tables for years when she was young and most of those places just paid enough to show $0.00 on the paycheck after payroll/SS taxes and the like. It also works out to be essentially what Instacart and DD are doing, but with a federal/state mandated "floor" on how low they can pull the hourly from the tips.
Fundamentally, people are outraged because essentially tipping is subsidizing the wages the employer should be paying, and that's the case even with a restaurant.
The issue is the tipping system. It's counterintuitive but your "generosity" with a tip, once it becomes standard cultural practice, ends up in one way or another getting nullified by the employer. And there's no real way to prevent this as the OP said, money is fungible, so if the employee gets paid more in some way it all just becomes their total earnings in the end, which saves the employer from having to make up that difference because the market price for the employee's time and labor is fixed.
The law doesn't magically make it happen without enforcement. People think that waiters get paid less than minimum wage because they've never met a restaurant where a boss actually follows the law and pays out minimum wage if the tips don't cover it
"From this article, The Department of Labor’s wage and hour division estimated that nearly 84 percent of full-service restaurants it investigated between 2010 and 2012 had violated labor standards, including but not limited to tip violations."
There isn't really anything like a clear-cut lawsuit when you don't have the money to retain a lawyer, and when the award youd get from winning isnt enough to entice a lawyer to take your case on contingency
Why did NO ONE in any meetings when designing this "feature" or process say anything?
"This is wrong/greedy/will have blowback."
No one voiced concerns? Or, more specifically, if they did, no one listened? They didn't think this would leak out, with all the hatred regarding wage stagnation, income inequality, corporate greed?
A marketing pro, PR specialist, or frankly anyone in touch with culture and human beings would have throw up a flare that this is a terrible idea.
What is going on with culture at these companies?
I have learned that my code of ethics are just not the same as a number of business persons'. This may explain, in part, why I have two failed businesses.
Look at the ridesharing companies, all of them started by defying local laws. Couple of people get assaulted here and there, doesn't matter as long as Silicon Valley gets it's money.
The problem is where regulations are enforced. At state level results may vary. At local level very few jurisdictions can out-battle a company with millions or billions in VC funding. Uber blocked local regulators in Portland from blocking rides: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-portland/portland-pr...
If they truly believed that taxi regulations were onerous they’d fight them wherever they exist. Uber and Lyft left Austin in protest because they felt a fingerprinting requirement was too onerous, and they didn’t come back until Texas overruled them; but they already comply with such a regulation in New York! And this is before we get into their other controversies, like Uber India obtaining a customer’s medical report after she got raped in one of their cars.
Which would never have worked if customers were satisfied with existing solutions.
If they truly believed that taxi regulations were onerous they’d fight them wherever they exist
It can take decades to correct the law if you insist on playing by its own rules, especially given the historical corruption associated with taxi regulation. As Americans, we have a cultural responsibility to resist unjust laws... and at least IMHO, taxi regulations fall squarely into that category.
Companies that facilitate business checking, have their own problems too. E.g. yelp, BBB, et al.
I've never known a company to make the ethical call when doing so materially hurts their earnings. To do so (and have it made public) would invite a shareholder lawsuit, so even if they did, they'd always couch it in language around long-term profitability or retaining employees. (Like Google did when they pulled out of China the first time, or when they repriced options for all their employees in 2009.) If you want companies to do the right thing, figure out how to become powerful enough that you can hold a metaphorical gun to their heads; their is no such thing as a "right thing" in business beyond that.
Who's to say someone didn't? All we know is they decided to steal tips, not that everyone thought it was a great idea.
For me, it was situations like this that gave me the motivation to get better at pitching (and shooting down) ideas. Using the tip fiasco as an example, you can argue it at the social justice level which will be ignored by the Chief Product Officer because they don't care about social justice, so for them you argue it at the product angle,
"This policy/product is going to stain our product and make us look like greedy chumps, look at how our competitors product idea to do <x> resulted in so much bad publicity they had to pay <y>, which totally negated any value to the company. Do you want to be the guy that costs this company that money? Are you ready to be out on the street looking for a job where your last idea turned out to be reviled by press? It will be you because the CEO certainly isn't going to take the blame for it, they are going to fire you and say 'See? We thought it was horrible too and we fired the person responsible.', and that is going to be you. Think about that before you move forward on this product idea, kthx bye."
That makes is personal to someone in a position to actually stop it from going out the door. If you can show them the risk in a way they will understand, then, and only then, do you get any traction in stopping it.
In an ideal world, we could get people to act ethically because it's the right thing to do: if we can't do that, at least we can appeal to their self interest and point out how horribly this could backfire if people found out.
One would hope laissez-faire proponents are siding with the angry workers and disgusted customers in this case.
Is this a function of schooling? MBA programs? Corporatism?
Most people aren't willing to risk their jobs over screwing over gig workers, especially when you feel powerless to actually stop it from happening. I mean it's so socially acceptable we've even coined the term "gig economy"
Chances are the people that really feel strongly about these things just refuse to work for those companies in the first place.
Ironic that they may have ended doing long term damage to their careers as a result.
is it hard for them to act like they were either ignorant or against the decision?
No, but fooling me if I want to know is a different matter.
It's hard to truly expect companies to make the correct ethical decision in this scenario when the survival of founders is dependent on raising more and more money. The "grow now, profit later" model truly puts pressure on execs to take whatever they can. And in this case, they clearly thought either nobody would notice or care.
Great question. They benefit tremendously by minimizing their own risk and maximizing the leverage they have over founders they invest in.
Now the problem is, what if people still use something and give their money to even if that service/company is unethical?
Is it unethical to make very bad employment deals with people who have no better opportunities on the job market?
Well, now that's where again people come in. Some people say, no, because if they don't like the job, they can start their own company (ehm, ehm, maybe that's why we are here, too many people trying to start stupid companies built on almost stealing from each other). Some people say, fuck no, that's just a race to the bottom Somalia.
Some people pitch NIT (negative income tax, a form of universal basic income). Some full blown direct action style socialism/anarchism. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Basically imagine you are an investor who spent $70 million on this company. That money could represent anything. Money can be used for anything so people can imagine it will all be used for altruistic purposes if they want. Sometimes a portion of it is. It can represent 50 or 500 or 5000 people who are counting on that money to grow.
The point being, it is very easy for a person in charge of a large sum of money to come up with a moral justification for maintaining or increasing that sum of money. The least of which is keeping their job or social standing -- but that one alone is usually enough for people to justify many things.
In this case, they will probably just say something like "well, its not our responsibility to make sure that people earn a good wage". In the end, the only thing they are really being held accountable for is how much money they make.
I don't have access to the financials, but at no point has 'on demand food delivery' seemed to be anything other than a highly risky business servicing an extremely price-sensitive market.
Was that person an MBA graduate or not?
The point is someone signed off on that. And in a business, it's usually someone with an MBA.
I can't imagine a business of that popularity having someone making business decisions without an MBA under their belt.
Backlash from customers and workers is virtually guaranteed to hurt long-term profits.
Generally speaking, how are MBA's taught to avoid making this very mistake?
The mechanism for enforcement is ABET accreditation. When I was at Cal Poly SLO, our CS program was up for re-accreditation, and yes, we were required to take an ethics course, mostly due to remarks from prior accreditation reviews.
> I am not able to find more than a handful of CS degree programs with ethics prerequisites
ABET accreditation allows for ethics to be covered as part of other courses in the curriculum. IIRC, it requires at least 4 units worth coursework to focus on ethics. Schools are allowed to cover this as part of a software engineering capstone series, for example.
The general point is that it started with a altogether too common dig at MBAs. I think those are usually unwarranted without any further examination. But I also found some studies that indicate leadership in a corporation is neutral to positive on corporate social responsibility (didn't share it earlier, but here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25782028).
The ABET model curricula is admirable, but the ethics requirement is not overly stringent. And there are very prominent CS/CE programs that are not accredited (http://main.abet.org/aps/Accreditedprogramsearch.aspx, I won't name names, but they are top 10 schools, easily).
It would be great if every damn high school student had to take semester of secular ethics, let alone MBAs or Engineers. I could easily see any degree having a 1 or 2 credit hour course in profession specific ethics.
But to the original point, I just don't like people getting high and mighty over people with MBA degrees for no good reason (I don't have an MBA).
ps - and to bring it all the way back around, there were many, many people involved in this. UX design, backend development, PM, project management, testing... it's just lazy scapegoating to pin this on a hypothetical MBA pulling all the strings.
However, I do disagree slightly with your point regarding the many people involved in this. While it's true that it takes several types of skills to build a product like Instacart, most companies don't give their engineers/designers the ability to push back against features that they're not comfortable building. You're paid to execute on a vision that's dictated higher up the food chain. That doesn't mean it's coming from an MBA per se, but just because an engineer wrote the code doesn't mean that they're culpable here, especially given our aversion to pushing back and whistle-blowing in corporate culture.
Speaking out against corrupt/unethical leadership can very easily cost you not just your job, but your career as well. This is one area I would love to see improvement in.
MBA's should have a stronger ethics focus, they are in places of influence in power that many don't attain.
Speaking for myself, though, that wasn't a course I felt I needed to take. But every professor certainly expects you to approach problems from an ethical perspective, just like in any other degree...
My guess is that this isn't really an ethical issue with Instacart, which I view as a very well run company.
More likely, the model is a fairly cleverly designed tip jar that accepts tips and then brings up the average wage so that workers have a higher guaranteed minimum, in exchange for some tips not going directly toward their own pay.
This is a clever system, which likely derived from the optional "service fee" which Instacart used to incorporate, which was used to fund additional employee benefits.
The problem is that when you call it a "tip" then people expect it to work a specific way and so the underlying clever idea is lost and the company appears to have done something shady.
Look at the history of Instacart's explorations of a service fee and you'll see that what's going on. I think Instacart deserves credit for trying to find a better solution to this problem than what had existed before, though I think a smarter way to do it would be to let customers optionally contribute to the "bonus till" that is paid out companywide to customer-facing staff who have the best star ratings.
If Instacart chooses to adopt a system that isn't universally understood and transparent to both shoppers and customers, the onus is on them to make sure that users of the app understand what's going on. If they fail to do so, they should be held responsible for it.
Seeing as how thousands of shoppers have organized and signed petitions about this "feature", a clear misunderstanding on the part of shoppers and customers exists here, which demands an explanation as to why Instacart would implement such a confusing, opaque tipping system in the first place.
How does that sound like a well-run company to you?
I can't agree with that. A well run company doesn't steal $4 from a $5 tip originally given to some poor person making minimum wage.
That doesn't make any sense. If the minimum wage is $1000. There are 10 workers and this month there is $1000 in the tip pool. Then the company won't pay out $1100. The company still takes the $1000.
If what you said was true then they wouldn't deduct from the wage. They would deduct from the tip and say that it's added to a tip pool.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Might as well take the path of least embarrassment and hope no one calls out the tricks.
Surely that should be "Business goes under if you don't, executives go to jail for mass fraud if you do."
This is a really silly assumption. As a UI/UX designer, I have brought up many times at previous companies when they were trying to do sketchy/dark-patterns/etc. to users. At the end of the day, a lot of times, you get classified as someone who is not being a "team player", or are just being "negative." It sucks, but I can bet you that people there probably did speak up about this, but it got now where and they didn't want to risk their career over it. If you were in their shoes, would you quit your job over this if you spoke up and they still didn't listen? It's easy to answer that from the outside, but not everyone has the ability to do that. It's much more complicated.
> You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid... You refuse to do it because you want to live longer... You're afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you're afraid someone will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand.
> Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you're just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the one really shitty job I had for a short while, I simply didn't do the things I considered crooked. I didn't lie about that either, nor did I get fired for it. I was still better than most brownnosers there, and they were leaking people anyway. Once I told a coach that if the food he eats was prepared as careless as he just told me to do my job to make more money, he would be dead in a month. Hahaha. I did end up quitting after getting sick of the politics and exploitation there, but I didn't have to quit to not take part in crooked stuff, I simply did that by not taking part in it. I simply said "make me", and they didn't bother to try. "The barman reeled for a moment, hit by a shocking, incomprehensible sense of distance."
People who think everybody in the world is fake, broken and gave in, are proving only that they themselves are. If they weren't, they wouldn't assume everybody just "has" to accept all sorts of things. We have to die eventually, that's all anyone of us has to do. The rest are at best choices, at worst excuses.
And this isn't about some sort of explicit negative incentive against this sort of thing, it's just that the individual incentives to make more money are so much more tantalizing and rewarding. It's not about creating a non-zero incentive out of thin air around moral actions, it's about looking at the overall incentive structure and moving "user empathy" to a higher rung in the overall hierarchy, among things like reducing costs & increasing revenue. You could then argue with me over the appropriate place for "user empathy" in that overall hierarchy, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect mis-aligned incentive structures to produce many cases (always can be outliers...) of someone in a leadership position "doing the right thing" from a moral standpoint outside the numbers of the business.
As a body, we're going through painstaking effort to build a firm footing for how and why systems designers should build an ethics decision process into their workflow.
However I keep struggling to see why any software developer would care to follow our standards. They don't seem to generally follow any other standards, or even generally know they exist.
I can't think of anything more formalized that would help either, because the monetary incentives of ignoring or never learning about standards just aren't there. If you're just out there winging it, trying to make as much money as possible, what short term incentive do you have to adopt ethics? I'm trying to help find or create real incentives that aren't easy to ignore, so if anyone has any good ideas I'm open.
The problem is not that developers don't care about standards. And its not that developers are just trying to make as much money as possible.
Most developers have financial obligations that require them to keep their jobs.
The people making unethical decisions are their bosses.
The developers cannot contradict their bosses in this way and keep their jobs.
However, if you make the standards an organization-level thing and tie management and legal into it, it may be come to be that it is some developer's job to report on standards infringement. In which case they could say "no, this is illegal" and if there were legal precedent showing criminal charges or penalties had been applied, the management might consider following the standard. Although at first even if those standards existed, I assume sometimes management would just fire the messenger and hire another one who would claim the standards were upheld.
"Just following orders" isn't an acceptable excuse.
You either quit or you're complicit. It's pretty straightforward actually.
What we're trying to get to is a place where there is some incentive for organizations to do the process you described. At a certain point we're just going to legislate it, so we can wait for that blunt hammer to happen, or we can get our collective act together.
Corporate legislation and profit motives are the only real incentives in business, I don't care how much you try to isolate individuals taking part and shame them for complicity. It's not about people capable of making the right choice instead choosing the wrong choice. It's an inevitability of the incentive structures of capitalism and commerce. If someone chooses to take an action that sacrifices profit for ethics, they will be driven out of the market by people who take the "more profit" option. It is not the same players making good choices and bad choices. The only way to actually change the paradigm is if you can figure out a way to align incentives so that the person making the moral choice also makes the most money. This is the only way that the structures we've put in place will play out in the way you want. This has nothing to do with individual choice or free will, it is simply the output of a function.
I think the current state was inevitable, assuming there wasn't some coercive legislation preventing it. Even then, would people just go do business somewhere else and continue what they are doing because the new system is just viewed as a cost?
No simple answers.
>"Just following orders" isn't an acceptable excuse.
>You either quit or you're complicit. It's pretty straightforward actually.
I meant that I don't really agree with this part of your rhetoric where you are trying to shame people into behaving ethically in business or quit their job. What happens if everyone capable of thinking about morals quits? Do the companies just disappear in a poof of smoke? How does this fix anything, regardless? You have to understand that the situation is not this black and white for 99% of people.
Practically I understand full well that it's not black or white, however if we argue how many shades of grey exist, rather than take bold action, history seems to indicate that little progress will happen.
It's naive to believe that 'if the good one stay it is better than if they leave' as if they could change the company from within.
A company is not a democracy. They won't change shit.
Not all people have that option.
Developers execute. They can't deny a boss his request based on opinions. These things are okay for the one and not okay for someone else.
The boss is paid to be responsible
There are costs involved in taking a stand. If any group has the capacity to take a financial hit in service to an ethical framework it's software engineers.
I did eventually leave that company and at least one of the specific individuals involved in pushing that decision were ultimately caught embezzling money and fired, but they were not otherwise punished and they had a new job within a week.
Hell our CEO from when we were involved in a 880 million dollar accounting scandal got off effectively Scott free despite anyone who ever worked with him knowing he personally directed the accounting fraud that lead to the scandal. Only the CMO got any jail time.
My point is that if the rot is from the top down, no amount of speaking up is going to do anything except limit your career path. There is limited recourse for holding the decision makers accountable.
This is similar to asking why a McDonald's worker doesn't think more about American health. A single fast food employee may contribute more to the end product than most engineers.
A tech strike is also far less effective. Only people in the region can effectively make your burger. People in Australia can coordinate with people in China to build your software.
That person probably did speak up, which was probably followed by that person getting pushed out and/or quitting. When some greedy jackass with questionable ideas on how a business should be run gets into a position of power, capable people who dont agree with Captain Jackass aren't going on Captain's team very long.
I quit. I'm still furious about it. Those who didn't walk when they knew it was wrong are good people- just cowards. That's what really makes me angry.
If I publicly discuss it or name names, I'll probably be sued for violating my NDA. They made that very clear. So I'm a coward too. At least I'm not a part of it anymore.
The lesson is never tip with an app- use cash. I guess that most of these companies are playing these games now.
I think other commenters have covered the futility of speaking up internally (basically the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedman_doctrine in action), but the question I have is:
Why did no one blow the whistle? Instacart's tip stealing code had likely been in place a long time before any external activists noticed it. An ethical developer could have passed word of it and its implications to activists or journalists right as it went into production. That would not have exposed the dev to retaliation (as it'd be publicly observable in PROD), but would have likely torpedoed the feature before it could do much harm to workers.
Meetings are rarely open-ended forums for arbitrary ideas or feedback and more often venues for agreeing with and carrying out decisions that were already made.
Anyway, I think it's far from settled that the amount of "blowback" from decisions like these actually hurt a company in the typical case.
I brought a feature to remind these users to designate their non-profit, but the company had no interest in doing so since it would reduce their revenue. And this came from the top, it wasn't a product manager decision.
The company is no longer around, but I didn't stick around long after that, it seemed unethical.
None of them communicate, none of them tell you what is going on, none of them are controlling the conversation their employees are talking about on Facebook.
It is PR 101 to control the conversation... but every one of them fail at this when it comes to contractors.
I'm not using DoorDash anymore, not that I used them much before, but I feel ripped off. If I choose to use a delivery service, I'd at least like to know it's one that hasn't been lying to me. I realize that probably means Uber is right out :)
I've read in other HN threads that Uber Eats tip policy is what we as customers expect, but don't take my word for it.
When deciding to tip before or after the service is rendered, these are the considerations likely to be weighed:
Pros for asking for tips before delivery:
1. Tips are more likely (eliminates scenario where user ignores the app after the delivery and never sees request to tip).
2. Tips are larger (user may perceive that the tip will influence the quality of service).
1. Tip option increases perceived cost of order (or guilt if not tipping), so this additional step reduces number of completed orders.
With the DoorDash policy this article is referencing, where the company probably only makes a profit if you tip, it makes sense to ask for tips upfront. For the Uber/Lyft policy where tips are more for the benefit of the driver, it makes sense to tip after the ride.
Based on experience I would say that the engineers had concerns but they knew that upper management was not interested. It's all about that short-term profit!
You mean we have to pay them just to shop all day? /s
Not for being in touch with "humans".
I was at the meeting at payday lender when we discussed some ways how to extract maximum money from people who are delinquent. People do speak up, they get shot down.
I'd wager to bet it was a very high level, executive decision that got green lighted and quickly shuffled down to a low-level developer for implementation.
I am assuming you are saying PM, designers, backend engineers or others who actually had a hand in building the product should protest this. So you are basically saying engineers and designers should stand up and say no.
I think the focus is on wrong people.
The question should be, why is MBA schools still teaching their students to reduce cost at all cost and increase revenue at all cost. No matter what.
Fine, the engineers build what they build. But someone hires/fires people, and signs checks for certain projects. Someone tells the engineers to build something. And who are these people?
Let's focus the public anger at the right people. It's not the engineers.
It's the graduates of the expensive MBA schools.
It makes much more sense for InstaCart to simply collect star ratings and offer bonuses for the employees who are going above and beyond.
Considering how often the shopper has to call me about replacements, parking outside my building, etc., Instacart should be focusing on fixing the inventory issues and logistical issues, not trying to shame me into paying its employee an extra $5 at every turn.
Instacart charges for delivery and often marks up the prices of the items. I don't like being shaken down via a default tip when trying to check out. It's extremely irritating!
Doordash and the like are more like the latter than the former. You say what you want, a single person in that profession does the work for you, and then you pay their fee and something on top.
Of course I'd rather tips were not necessary but it is practices like this one that make them necessary. And I wouldn't trust them with some rating/bonus system. If these companies were paying a good wage and had good benefits instead of relying on the 1099 economy and skimming payments even after that, we could eliminate tips altogether. I look forward to that day, but until we get there...
I also find "bring me food" hardly more "personalized" than "scan my items and take my money."
The times you tip are when it's socially acceptable to tip, there's no "rules" you can apply that make any sense.
You can give them small non-cash-like gifts such as a bottle of wine though.
If you're out there, upstart disruptors, know that pulling stuff like this will cost you at least one customer for life. I'm sure that there are more people like me.
Note: I recognize the same people driving for different services pretty regularly.
Edit: It looks like Instacart is making some kind of amends and changing policy.
I'm not saying we should support shitty companies. But these boycotts ostensibly happen because we have empathy for workers. We shouldn't lose track of that empathy when workers talk about how the boycotts affect them.
If the point is to not support businesses that lie to their customers, then not supporting them anymore is the right move.
The solution here is not to boycott these places, it's to use your power to lobby for better laws to protect the workers, which will apply evenly to all companies, including future companies that might try to take advantage of people.
This is why I avoid Walmart and Amazon, even if it hurts my bottom line.
Hopefully your business will stimulate growth in companies that treat their employees fairly, and they will hire those who are still stuck working for bad employers.
 I'm not a big food delivery user FWIW.
 just from memory -- I don't know the exact terminology
Drivers would definitely prefer, for a given dollar, that it be given in a way that does not create a taxable paper trail unless they elect to declare it.
It's all about pushing risk on to the employees, some of whom really don't know the risk and what their net pay even is.
What I always, always do, is put $0 as a tip in the system and then tip the delivery person, in cash or using some app/paypal/etc., when they bring my order.
It’s very clear they only reversed this tipping policy because they are facing pressure. They would never do it otherwise. This is a consistent pattern with them — keep doing unethical behavior until the pressure requires you to change.
Vote with youir wallet, and stop giving money to companies that don't deserve to exist.
This is not how I experience it working, in my area, with sites like GrubHub and the others.
They ask for a tip UPFRONT, before delivery.
I usually like to tip cash (for obvious reasons). There is an option for this, and the problem starts when I select this option.
My food takes an extra 1+ hour to arrive. It's cold. Soggy. My family has been waiting for around 2 hours total.
This NEVER happens when I tip upfront through the app.
Complaining to their support line never fixes the issue, so I started asking the delivery drivers about this.
What did they say?
Apparently, the app flashes the delivery drivers how much tip you've entered BEFORE they decide to take on your delivery.
So my order, when I pay a cash tip, simply doesn't get picked up by any delivery driver and it's at the restaurant getting cold and soggy.
When I tip upfront, it gets delivered in a normal timeframe.
I tested giving a BIG tip upfront, guess what?
My order came faster than it ever has in the past. I asked the driver and he flat out told me he saw the big tip and rushed to grab this delivery.
That's what I said ;)
Drivers can see the tip (or lack thereof) and NOT take the order. So the end result for a customer who likes to pay a cash tip AFTER service is rendered, always gets horrible service.
I'm not complaining about the drivers, it's the company.
That being said they're probably aware of the average expected value of a cash tip, and it maybe lower than whatever you guarantee via prepayment.
It's like asking if you want $10 or what's in the mystery box. You should never pick the mystery box as there is no incentive to actually put anything good in the mystery box.
In general, higher pay for better quality goods and services is part of a negotiated sticker price. Tipping is the anamoly here. In the DoorDash context, if the user were given the option to tip after delivery, they’d most likely just forget about the app once they got their food and never tip. So there’d be little incentive for the drivers to work hard for a good tip.
Anyways, aside from this point, whatever these startups are doing, are real shady. Them carefully choosing their words in the binding documents makes it even worse since they know the potential repercussions of these actions.
On the other hand, what does the driver do if they go above and beyond to give you great service, but then you don’t tip?
I care that I want hot food, delivered in a reasonable time, and that I can pay a tip AFTER service is rendered (based upon the actual service I get).