The culture of tipping could be of significant help to workers, especially those who are earning a meager income. However, the culture is now exploited by capitalists and has become predatory more specifically in service-based industries. This predatory practice now extends to delivery apps, where companies are using tips to kick off a certain amount from the worker’s base salary.
To give you a short fact check, this kind of practice has been present since time immemorial. However, new reports reveal that delivery app, DoorDash, is also doing this and essentially stealing the tips their customers are giving their workers, thinking that it would maximize their profits.
DoorDash is a delivery app that connects users to different food establishments as a substitute for the native delivery service. They are “a technology company that connects people with the best in their cities,” the company claims.
“We do this by empowering local businesses and in turn, generate new ways for people to earn, work, and live. We started by facilitating door-to-door delivery, but we see this as just the beginning of connecting people with possibility — easier evenings, happier days, bigger savings accounts, wider nets, and stronger communities.”
However, it seems like DoorDash has been tricking users and exploiting their workers. Recent reports revealed that the company is using their delivery person’s tips as a basic wage, instead of topping it off their salary.
In a report penned by Andy Newman, DoorDash is said to offer a minimum pay for each delivery. However, it appears that even if a tip is given to the rider, the rider will still receive the same amount as the minimum pay for each delivery.
“For my first order, the guarantee was $6.85 and the customer, a woman in Boerum Hill who answered the door in a colorful bathrobe, tipped $3 via the app. But I still received only $6.85. Here’s how it works: If the woman in the bathrobe had tipped zero, DoorDash would have paid me the whole $6.85. Because she tipped $3, DoorDash kicked in only $3.85. She was saving DoorDash $3, not tipping me,” Newman wrote.
But as mentioned earlier, this is not a new practice at all. What DoorDash is doing is the app version of “tipped wages,” where employers are paying their workers below minimum wage and relying on tips to cover up the rest of what they owe from their laborers.
What DoorDash is doing is practically extending a bad labor practice that steals workers off of their hard-earned money to the tech space.
And DoorDash isn’t the only one doing it as well.
Reports from different news outlets have earlier revealed that Instacart and Amazon Flex do the same practice — they also use tips for their workers as part of the base salary. Consumer and labor advocates have since called out companies for this “completely deceptive” policies, resulting in Instacart scrapping its tipped wages policy down the drain and promised to compensate their workers retroactively.
But AmazonFlex and DoorDash are still doing it, regardless. And what’s worse is that these platforms aren’t even transparent to their workers on whether the salary they receive is compensated by their supposed tips, making it hard for them to understand what exactly is going on.
Thankfully, other companies said that they are not doing the same predatory practice. Postmates, Grubhub, Seamless, and Uber Eats all confirmed that they are not using their workers’ tips to pay for their salary. But, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
As long as there are companies who follow this “disgusting” salary and labor practices, workers will still be in the dark on their earnings. Not to mention that the tech space is also enabling companies to take advantage of their users and their workers.
The problem with labor is not necessarily all about tips. It is the environment that is nurtured by corrupt labor practices that need to be changed. Many advocates have called for regulations against tipped wages and have since echoed their concerns in protecting labor rights.
However, as technology progresses, these legislations and regulations also have to translate to the progress businesses are making, especially in the tech world. Without an updated ordinance that encompasses the tech space, workers, employees, and laborers will continue to become the prey of this massive exploit.