By Jennifer 8. Lee | August 9, 2007
Clem Richardson of The New York Daily News was scolded for being a poor tipper to the deliverymen at his local Chinese restaurant. He thought that $2 or $3 was pretty good considering they didn’t cook the food or have to keep visiting his table, figuring they make 15 to 20 deliveries an hour (this is clearly an overestimate as that would be only three to four minutes per delivery!). Then he found out deliverymen (like cab drivers) have to pay for their own gas. Since I was never downstairs when the guys arrived, I assumed they were riding bicycles.
Anyway, his service declined. Deliverymen stopped coming to his door. If they did, they left the bags on the floor instead of handing it to him. Then one day the Chinese restaurant owner called and told him, “Listen, my guys ask me to call you. They say they bring you food but you don’t tip them good.”
“They upset with you,” he explained. “They say they give you good service, get the food to you fast while it’s still hot, but you give small tip.”
“You know, this how they make their money, support their families,” he said patiently. “See if you can do a little better, okay?”
Angry. Mr. Richardson decided to boycott the restaurant, but after several months he went back when he couldn’t find food that was as good.Â And he gave $2 more in tips and that made everyone happy.
A good number of the deliverymen and restaurant workers in this country are Fujianese, from around the city of Fuzhou. And like it or not, many of them have probably made upwards of $30-$70,000 in smuggling fees for the privilege of delivering your General Tso’s chicken.
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