Unsplash | Sam Dan Truong

'Tip Baiting' Has Started An Intense Debate Online

Ten years ago, if you laid down a 15% tip on top of your bill, that was considered the status quo. Nowadays, a 15% tip is the social equivalent of spitting in your server's face.

The increased emphasis on tipping culture has left many patrons scratching their heads. It's now causing many people to participate in what's known as "tip-baiting" — thus adding even more fuel to the fire.

Owen Lindstrom is a TikToker, as well as a food delivery driver.

Back in 2021, Owen began doing deliveries for DoorDash and Uber Eats. Wanting to see just how lucrative being a delivery driver could be, Owen set a goal to make $20,000 in only 100 days.

On December 16th, 2021, Owen shocked himself and his followers by doing just that.

Doing some quick math, $20,000 over 100 days equals out to a little more than $200 a day. If you average that out over an 8-hour workday, Owen is pulling in roughly $25 dollars an hour.

While reflecting on his journey, Owen says his experience was mostly positive.

There's no denying that bringing in an extra $20,000 on top of your annual earnings is nothing to sneeze at. However, Owen says that there are certain drawbacks that have an immediate impact on a driver's bottom line.

The worst of which is something that Owen refers to as "tip-baiting."

Unsplash | Dan Smedley

Anyone who has ever used a service like DoorDash or Uber Eats understands the tipping features on these apps. However, Owen says that there are certain users who will try and manipulate the system.

Tip-baiters will put their order through and attach a very large tip at the beginning of the order.

Unsplash | Griffin Wooldridge

As I previously explained in "DoorDasher Shares Video Showing What Happens To McDonald's Orders With No Tips," certain food delivery apps allow drivers to pick and choose which orders they want to fulfill. If you don't tip, you'll be waiting a long time for your food.

In order to circumnavigate this obstacle, users will attach a handsome tip to the order from the get-go.

Then, once the order has been picked up/delivered, the user will log back into their account, and then either drastically reduce the tip or remove it entirely.

This bait-and-switch tactic can have a drastic impact on a driver's overall income.

Unsplash | Paul Hanaoka

“While it’s good to protect the customer from having bad service by holding the tip over your head, it leaves a big opportunity to screw over the driver with tip baiting,” Owen explained.

Unfortunately for drivers, there's little to nothing that they can do to prevent this from happening.

This is because, at the end of the day, the customer/user is the one who holds all the power. Owen says that his best advice is to try and find a location where tip-baiting is at a minimum.

Not usurpingly, Owen's video has created a huge divide among his viewers.

Unsplash | Peggy Anke

The debate centers around whether or not tip-baiting is really that big of a deal, to begin with. Some users argued that tipping is an essential aspect of using these services, while others claimed that it was not.

"You should always tip," one user remarked, "but these apps that add a $8 delivery fee encourage people to not tip it’s ridiculous."

One TikTok user suggested that "They should add a feature so drivers can comment on the buyer for other drivers."

Since drivers can already rate passengers in Uber's rideshare app, why not carry this feature over to food delivery?

The overwhelming majority of people, however, argued that companies should do a better job of paying employees a living wage.

Why does a food delivery person receive a tip, but the 17-year-old kid loading groceries into the back of your car at Loblaws does not? I fail to see the distinction. Perhaps there's merit to the idea that employers shouldn't be putting the onus of subsidizing wages on the shoulders of their customers.