Dear Gothamist:

Help me settle an argument. My boyfriend only tips delivery boys 5%, which is a lot less than he gives waiters in a restaurant. I told him I thought he should give more, but he said that since the guy didn’t do anything except deliver the food, he didn’t deserve as much as a waiter. What do you think?

Karen S., Greenwich Village


It’s the rare delivery guy who comes back to your apartment ten minutes after he’s dropped off your food offering to refill your water. But if you consider the hazards of delivering food in New York City, tipping more than your boyfriend suggests is probably warranted. Riding your bike the wrong way down a busy city street and entering strange apartment buildings is not one of the safest of vocations. Factor in wet roads, cold temperatures, snowy sidewalks, and five floor walk-ups – in other words, things that keep New Yorkers from getting their own food – then sympathy for a delivery boy might coax a few extra dollars out of your boyfriend’s wallet.

Considering that Gothamist orders from a few regular places and sees the same delivery guys over and over again, we tip well in the interest of future speedy deliveries and spit-free food. So, Karen, Gothamist has to side with you on this one. You might not tip delivery guys as much as a waiter at Nobu but you should definitely be giving more than five percent.

For more information, pick up a copy of The Itty Bitty Guide to Tipping or check out for advice on tipping everyone from coat checkers to exotic dancers.