Tipping Etiquette for Curbside Pickup

COVID-19 saw an increase in doorstep delivery and curb-side pickup of everything from groceries to restaurant orders. While many customers are aware of tipping etiquette for doorstep delivery, things can get confusing with contactless curbside pickup. This service entails you ordering online, visiting the store at a designated time, parking, and having your order loaded directly into your car. How much of a tip should you leave and how can you keep both you and the employee/delivery person safe? We break it down.

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How much? A good amount would be to leave a 15% tip for curbside or in-store pick-up. Remember that the person loading your car is risking their health by going to work so that you can avail of this service. Having said that, common sense dictates that there is a difference in how you tip doorstep delivery persons who come to your neighborhood. If you usually tip 15 or 20 percent for doorstep delivery, try to leave a 10 percent tip for curbside pickup. Always tip on the total and not the subtotal.  

Whom to tip: Grocery delivery workers aren’t usually allowed to accept tips and neither are drive-up window workers. However, given the circumstances, many stores, fast-food chains, and restaurants may have changed their policies. It’s a good idea to ask your delivery person what the store policy on tips is. If you feel like going above and beyond for exceptional service, ask the employee for his or her Venmo or personal Go Fund Me.

Think beyond the tip: Curbside pickup is one of many services that small businesses are offering to keep their businesses afloat. If you want to support a business, consider leaving good reviews online after a service.

Avoid tipping cash: This defeats the purpose of contactless service. Just add the tip when you provide your credit card details.

Don’t feel guilty: These are tough times for everyone. Don’t feel pressured to tip more than you can afford or the same amount you would tip before the pandemic.