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  • Online ordering seems so easy—and in recent years, so essential: you tap a few buttons, type in a few words, and food or a new gadget arrives at your door. But the story behind that journey is a bit rougher than you might imagine.
  • Circuit Route Planner (an app for delivery drivers) surveyed more than 500 delivery drivers about their job, and found that most of them judge us on what we buy, most have been accused of stealing packages, and 80 percent say they’ve eaten some of the food they’re delivering.
  • Results regarding peeing in bottles (or around a customer’s house) and casual hookups were all higher than most people likely expect.

    Surveys regarding the delivery industry are usually focused on asking consumers if they’re happy with their free shipping options. But the other side of the industry gets less attention: the drivers and couriers who actually do the work of bringing online shoppers their goods.

    Maybe you’ve thought about what your cardboard-box bringers experience during their days, but unlikely as detailed as what Circuit Route Planner found. The delivery-driver-focused app recently asked over 500 delivery drivers what they like and don’t like about their jobs. Most (69 percent) of the respondents were food delivery drivers, while the rest (31 percent) were other kinds of couriers. While Circuit Route Planner admits that there are serious limitations to using this kind of survey data—among them, “telescoping, exaggeration, and selective memory”—the results still offer up a few important lessons. Like, for example, the fact that you shouldn’t tip-bait.

    If you don’t know what tip baiting is, good on ya. This is the bait-and-switch practice of changing, or even eliminating, tips after the food or product is delivered. In 2020, a group of U.S. senators asked the FTC to investigate the practice at Instacart and other shopping delivery services. The senators wrote that the people doing the work “choose which orders to take based on the expected compensation, which is largely driven by the estimated tip. By permitting customers to ‘bait’ shoppers with high tips that are then revoked, online delivery services facilitate the deception.”

    delivery person working during coronavirus pandemic

    Circuit Route Planner

    It’s not clear how widespread the problem is. While absolutely frustrating for delivery drivers, there are good reasons for shoppers to be able to change their tip after delivery, and more often than not, the adjustments are positive. Instacart told Today that “virtually all” of the grocery delivery tips that get changed after delivery actually increase the amount. Instacart also said it deletes accounts that frequently tip-bait.

    38% Have Crashed, 80% Have Eaten Some of Your Food

    While tip baiting was one of the main problems delivery drivers have with their customers, it wasn’t the only one that makes a lot of sense. Like the fact that 78 percent of delivery drivers say they judge people based on what kinds of packages they order, or the 69 percent who said they’ve been accused of stealing packages. Thirty-eight percent said they’ve been in some sort of car accident while delivering goods. That’s a lot, but not as crazy as the 36 percent who said they’d been robbed while working.

    Some responses sure make being a delivery driver sound like you’re actually in a certain kind of movie. A full 25 percent of drivers admitted to hooking up with someone while on the job. And then there’s the off-putting reality that 10 percent of respondents said they urinated in bottles during the work day, and 9 percent said they’ve urinated on or around recipients’ homes. Perhaps the grossest is the nearly 80 percent of food delivery drivers who revealed that they’ve eaten some of the food they’re delivering.

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