'It's a nice house for a $5 tip': Viral DoorDash encounter sparks conversation on tipping culture

Doordash told ABC News it has removed the driver from the platform after the encounter.

ByKelly McCarthy ABCNews logo
Thursday, July 6, 2023
Consumers cry 'emotional blackmail' as self-checkouts solicit tips
If you see an iPad at checkout, you can bet you'll be asked if you'd like to leave a tip. But should you tip if you're standing at self-checkout?

A now-viral video of a routine pizza delivery has sparked a fresh conversation around tipping culture in the U.S.

The doorbell camera footage posted by Lacey Purciful on TikTok over the holiday weekend showed a male delivery driver drop off what she said was a $20 pizza to her home in Texas. As he's getting ready to leave, the delivery man commented on her home, relative to the tip amount.

"I just want to say, it's a nice house for a $5 tip," the driver was heard saying on camera. To which the woman replied, "You're welcome." And the driver further escalated the situation with an expletive directed at her.

DoorDash told ABC News that they have since removed the driver from their delivery service platform. The clip has racked up over 20 million views, 3 million likes and over 160,000 comments in just four days.

"Respectfully asking for a tip is acceptable but abusing or harassing someone is never acceptable," DoorDash said in a statement.

The video has been a catalyst for conversation, further amplifying the debate over tipping culture and many are saying expectations for tips have gone too far.

"I feel like there's a stigma where you have to tip for basically everything," Elizabeth Schorr told ABC News.

Shoppers report seeing more and more tip requests in growingly unusual places.

Jonathan Minnick echoed her sentiment, adding another scenario. "If I'm buying like a prepackaged sandwich and I bring it to the cash register and they swing around that thing asking for a tip, like, come on," he told ABC News.

For many, like Neville Braithwaite, it creates an agitation. He said, "I hate being put on the spot like that. I feel so pressured to give a tip."

Tipping has increased in recent years, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that left restaurants reeling for every penny following the government shutdowns, expensive safety protocols and changes, rising food costs, supply chain hurdles and other factors that have raised the overall cost of eating out.

Square, a financial services platform developed by Block, Inc., told ABC News that tipping skyrocketed across the board during the COVID-19 pandemic with tips up over 25% at restaurants and nearly 17% at quick service establishments in 2022.

With tipping options now standard at many checkout registers, some customers are reaching a tip fatigue tipping point.

Etiquette educator Diane Gottsman defined the term for ABC News and explained why some folks are feeling weary when adding even more gratuity.

"Tip fatigue means that we are weary of going everywhere and being exposed to an app," she said. "It gives you multiple choices starting very high when, in fact, you may not have even wanted to tip at all."

Workers have added their two cents on TikTok, explaining that it's awkward for them too.

"We understand that you can't always afford to tip so if you can't afford to tip, I personally would rather you still come and get your hair done and not tip that day," Telesa Brown said in a TikTok video.

The bottom line that experts stress is that tipping is still expected in typical situations like restaurant servers, bartenders and delivery drivers. But just because you're presented with a digital tip jar, doesn't mean you should feel guilt-tripped into it.

"When you are presented with an opportunity that clearly does not require a tip. But you're presented that option. Should you feel guilty about refusing a tip? You absolutely should not," Gottsman said.