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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — With the explosion in recent years in on-demand delivery services like Instacart and UberEats, many people are unsure if they are supposed to tip and if they are, they don’t know how much is appropriate.

As CBS4 News discovered, how you answer those questions can define the type of person you are.

“It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of work, you got to put in a lot of hours to make it worth your time,” said InstaCart shopper Alphonso McConnico.

McConnico has been an InstaCart shopper for the last four months.

“You don’t realize the back end of having to shop and find the groceries, things not being there and of course we get blamed if Publix doesn’t have the item,” McConnico said.

That blame can translate into no tip.

“It’s a crap shoot,” McConnico explained. “Sometimes you might get $20, sometimes you might get nothing.”

In just a few years, a new economy has emerged centering on that most millennial of traits – the desire to get what we want when we want it.

It is the Golden Age of convenience and immediate gratification.

Take InstaCart, founded in 2012 in San Francisco, which now has more than 10,000 employees, covers nearly 80 percent of the country and is worth $4.4 billion.

But like any new enterprise, we are still learning the dos and don’ts.

Like tipping what is appropriate.

“So the standard is anywhere from 15 to 20 percent, but tipping has really changed with the on demand services,” said personal finance expert Shani St. Vil. “Me, I’m staying within 10 percent, I’m staying in the ten percent realm.”

St. Vil says many folks tend not to tip, in part, because they are already paying a higher than normal price for on-demand services like InstaCart, UberEats, and PostMates. But she said you should add the tip because it is convenient.

“A lot of times my tip is going to be on the basis of what the convenience has offered to me,” she said.

There is another phenomenon – the fact that the tip is chosen in secret, often after the delivery person has left.

“In social psychological terms, anonymity and individuation, it’s what it is called when you can’t be singled out, we are less likely to behave in a way that is conscientious,” said local psychologist Dr. Margaret Mustelier.

In other words, people can be cheap when no one is watching.

“While some people may rationalize that they need that money, I’m sure there are people out there who could afford to tip but still chose not to. So, yeah, it is a very thoughtless and selfish gesture especially when someone’s income depends on it,” Dr. Mustelier added.

One mistake people often make is thinking the service fee or the delivery fee automatically goes to the driver.

A portion may go to the driver, but they really do rely on tips, too.


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