Delivery drivers struggle with on-campus tipping

Turns out braving the harsh winter weather might not be the worst aspect that Oswego deliverymen have to endure.

Oswego State students have earned a bad reputation among some city food joints of not appropriately tipping for on-campus food deliveries. According to a number of local deliverymen, the consensus remains that students tip less money and less frequently than those living in the city.

"None of the halls tip well or stand out from each other," Robert Hoffkins, a deliveryman for Domino’s said.

Oswego Sub Shop employee Adam Best has had a fair share of frugal experiences delivering to on-campus students. Best, who delivered on-campus for around six months, said the worst offenders were usually Plus Plan users.

"If they’re doing Plus Plan, they usually don’t tip," Best said.

However, Best said he understood why delivery tips on campus are few and far between.

"They’re college kids—they’re not working," Best said. "They’re there for school. They get paid an extra dollar—the guys who do campus—because they don’t usually make anything in tips."

Best also said that, beside dismal tipping, there are other pitfalls to the on-campus deliveryman. He said shortchanging on deliveries, even the occasional theft, is also a problem.

"One time I left my box in the lobby area and went outside," Best said. "When I came back, someone had stolen my subs. They were drunk"

One deliveryman from Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant said that some nights are especially bad for him. When asked how bad, he said, "One time I had ten orders in one night and not a single person tipped me, and then one guy tried to short-change me."

Hart Hall was identified several times as one of the worst residence halls for receiving a tip.

"I have been told that Hart Hall is one of the places that tip the least," said Hart Hall Director Nina Monte. "What people need to keep in mind is that this is an international building where people come from many different cultures, and not every culture tips. It’s not a custom for them to tip, so unless somebody tells them specifically that this is a custom, they won’t do that."

Mackin, the residence hall with the second highest population of foreign exchange students, has been identified as one of the best spots at Oswego State to get a tip. One potential reason might be that the exchange students living in Mackin have already been here for a full semester or year and have more experience with American tipping customs.

"A lot of students here do not have a full meal plan, so they allocate more money toward buying food, groceries and ordering out," Dan Eddy, Mackin Complex’s hall director, said. "They have more on their Plus Plans to spend. Also, they have had more years to generate income. They might have more loans, but they also have more cash on hand."

So why is it that many students have such a hard time tipping? Many of the deliverymen have acknowledged that students often just don’t have the money to give a decent tip. Hoffkins said that Domino’s Pizza gives their deliverymen a guaranteed $1.50 for each plus plan delivery, but that it’s meant to cover gas with whatever’s left becoming the tip. Many students have said that if the tip isn’t taken out of the Plus Plan, they simply don’t pay a tip for deliveries. Other students give what they can when they pay with cash.

"I scrounged up change to give him at least a dollar," said psychology major Ashley Salaris. "I’d feel bad not giving him anything, because they get paid very badly."

Still, it seems college students may not be the only poor tippers in the area. According to Enzo’s Pizza manager Beth Keech, the Oswego City residents are sometimes even worse.

"Usually the students tip better than the locals," Keech said.

Keech said that she hadn’t heard her drivers complain about tips on campus. She also added that Oswego State students give Enzo’s Pizza a lot of business.

As a rule of thumb, a good way to determine a tip is to give 15 percent of the total price of the order. Between one and five dollars is customary, but more or less should be given based on the size of the order and how far the delivery man had to drive. Timeliness and attitude also play a factor into the tip, though on-campus deliveries usually take longer than off-campus because of the number of orders being called in at once.

-Additional reporting done by staff