At the beginning of this year, I made a decision to join the gig economy and deliver for one of the popular food delivery services. I can assure you that the decision was not made so I could take in the big bucks. Quite the contrary! Because I pastor a church and have kids who live out of state I pick up every other weekend, I need flexibility. The financial piece has been a huge struggle, but I have cherished more intentional time focusing on the church and my family. Being a delivery driver has taught me a lot, so I figured I would share a few of those things with you.
Never judge a book by its cover! We have heard this one a million times. People assume that those who live in nicer houses will tip better than those who don’t. That is definitely an assumption! I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled up to a home that looks like it is about to cave in, only to discover that the residents of that home tipped well. I have pulled up to lakefront homes where the tip was minimal. Some people don’t tip at all, assuming that the delivery fee and tip are the same. The bottom line is that generosity is a condition of the heart, and the tip is dependent upon if the customer has a genuine appreciation for what you do.
Never give people too much credit! I’m goofy enough to assume sometimes that people will put their full information into the app so you deliver to the right place. They don’t. Because I deliver in a college town, some people only put the name of the university. This is a large school that covers miles of this little town. Some people live in apartments and don’t include the apartment number. A few days ago, someone put in an address that doesn’t exist. I had to call and ask for the address, only to find out it was 4 miles away from the address they included in the app.
Never assume people who do these gigs as the scum of the earth. You would be amazed at the real lives these people live. Some would assume they are uneducated people who have no skills to do anything else. I have heard all kinds of derogatory remarks about those who deliver food for these services or those who transport people using one of the driving services. Many are people like me who have college degrees or who need some flexibility because of life circumstances. You would be surprised that some people who do these jobs actually earn really good money. If I lived in a more metropolitan area, I could probably be reeling in some good cash right now. I think this principle also applies to the first point of not judging the book/driver by the cover. As someone who wore suits for several years, I might look like a bum with my t-shirt and jeans, but don’t let that fool you.
As a “gig economist” (I guess that’s what you call me), I’m not knocking this line of work. I think it is a great opportunity for people to still be able to work and tend to family obligations like a sick spouse, child, or parent, etc. I’m thankful for all the people out there who are giving it their all, sometimes chasing pennies in order to put food on the table. Next time you find yourself using one of these services, be a blessing to that person. You might be the bright spot in their day.