food delivery

(Photo by Norma Mortenson from Pexels)

LONDON — Ordering takeout tonight? It might be a good idea to go pick it up yourself. A new survey finds eight in 10 food delivery workers admit to eating part of their customer’s order!

According to the poll of more than 500 delivery drivers, commissioned by Circuit Route Planner, stealing a customer’s fries or putting their sticky fingers on someone’s chicken may not even be the most disgusting thing happening on the way to the front door. One in four drivers confess that they’ve hooked up with someone in their vehicle. One in 10 have urinated on or near a customer’s home!

Another 10 percent say they’ve had to urinate in a bottle while making their deliveries. More than a quarter (27%) add they’ve had some “less-than-professional” conversations with the people they deliver goods to.

Other actions some drivers admit to that are sure to infuriate consumers include intentionally damaging packages (23%), stealing packages (17%), and opening and then resealing packages (17%).

delivery drivers

What’s behind all this bad behavior?

While delivery workers may not be saints, the survey finds plenty of them have good reason to be angry. Researchers found that many customers aren’t treating these workers with courtesy or respect.

In fact, nearly three in four delivery drivers (73%) say the biggest reason they don’t like their customers is because they give bad tips. Moreover, three in 10 accuse customers of “tip baiting” when they use services like Instacart. Tip baiting is a scheme where customers place an order online, type in how much they intend to tip — usually a generous amount — and then zero out the tip after the delivery.

Over half the poll (57%) say they can’t stand when customers let their dogs bark and harass them during the drop-off. Three in 10 say customers are simply unfriendly when they receive their goods.

One in four get annoyed when customers order something and then aren’t home or don’t answer the door. The same number get frustrated by consumers who provide incorrect or nonexistent addresses. Two in five (42%) even say customers place orders just to use the delivery workers in their TikTok videos or other social media trends.

Two in three (68%) add that customers often accuse them of stealing items — even though many admit that this does happen (especially with food).

delivery drivers

You want WHAT delivered?

If you think your delivery drivers aren’t taking a peek at what you’re ordering, think again! Nearly four in five (78%) drivers admit that they judge customers based on the items they want delivered to their home.

Among some the weirdest order drivers have dropped off, respondents say they’ve delivered a 12-foot Christmas tree — in March! Others have delivered 20 ordered of French fries, a single bottle of water, and a lone donut!

Some customers, perhaps trying to avoid embarrassment at the store, have ordered condoms and sex lubricant for delivery — no judgments, maybe.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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  1. D3F1ANT says:

    Seems like delivery people are petty, entitled, rude people.

    1. Charles Mansonstienfeldgoldmanberg says:

      This article is absolute BS. I have worked in the gig economy as a food delivery driver for about a year now, and have never once eaten any part or portion of a customer’s food. I’ve run into and talked to many other drivers out there while doing this, and have never witnessed this happening, or heard people admitting to doing it…ever.

      1. Benjamine Dover says:

        You have to remember that this is Study Finds. 8 out of 10 articles are complete BS.

  2. C Buck says:

    But they still want that tip!

  3. Mary Foster says:

    This reads like an entirely fabricated story or study.

  4. Jason hitter says:

    Slow new day?

  5. Publicus says:

    Delivery drivers make twice the minimum wage nationwide. Tips are on top of that. One service I worked with let’s you set your hourly rate, and assigns order deliver based on their company cost. They pay an average of over $20/hr.

  6. Chris Thomas says:

    To lazy to cook you deserve someone else’s fingers in your food…

    1. Stan the Man says:

      “Too lazy to cook…”
      Obviously you’re too lazy to learn proper English.

  7. Dale says:

    I really hope that these stats are not correct. I may never order any food delivered again…….

  8. Fat Tom says:

    Delivery drivers are usually gross AF

    1. Taciturner says:

      Nice language. Sounds like you are the one that is as you called it..

  9. andrew says:

    This is a joke of an article. I have delivered PT for DoorDash for over 2 years now. Many but not all bags from restaurants are sealed. I will admit though that I get very frustrated with many of the other drivers. They just cut in front of everyone and slam their phone in the cashiers/hostesses face, they dress horribly, and they are just plain rude. I always make it a point to be nice to the restaurant- they control how fast you get your order. Tips is an issue, but honestly I average 25+ an hour and write off just about everything for business so taxes are non-existent. Though due to Gas I’m about to end my time here, half my weekly earnings are starting to go to Gas so it is not worth it anymore.

  10. V. says:

    This article just cemented why I NEVER EVER have food delivered ! Pre-Pandemic we would get an occasional pizza delivered…by I no longer eat pizza unless I make it. Plus…delivered food has just got to be cold/soggy/plain grose ! YUCK.

  11. Vpnharry says:

    If you really knew what goes on you prepare ALL your own meals and when it was impossible you would just skip a meal.

  12. Taciturner says:

    I drove pizza for more than twelve years. Never ever even considered anything outside of delivering as promised. Never opened or ate their food; sheesh. but I have seen drivers that I wouldn’t be surprised. Additionally, This is why I do not think your dog is super grade A number one in the universe. Everyone thinks THEIR dog is okay to pounce all over the person who delivers food to people. Like we want to show up for the other deliveries covered in dog hair and crotch violated with dog saliva. Yup super awesome. If you have a dog keep it away from the food delivery person. After all you do know we are coming because you did call for a delivery.

  13. cliché guevara says:

    7 out of 5 cats prefer fried rice

  14. Hugh Jastles says:

    I put a couch on a pizza I delivered

    The customer never noticed and ate it

  15. Dangerous Dean says:

    Delivered pizza in college 30 years ago. Have a full time job now, but am trying to help my kids get through college, so I work as a pizza delivery guy on the weekends.

    Of the 1,000s of orders I have delivered in my lifetime, I have NEVER eaten or done anything inappropriate to any of them. Granted, some of our drivers are kind of…”off center” but I haven’t heard any of them say that they’ve eaten any of the customer’s orders, either. And the way that we talk about customers, I would have heard it.

    In response to the guy who said that drivers make double minimum wage…maybe in some places where the cost of living is high. I don’t know about that. I do know that when I did it in college, I made a lot LESS than the minimum wage per hour as a base pay and then I got to keep my tips. Now I make about minimum wage and get to keep my tips. Most grocery stores in the area are paying $15 per hour for new hires. I often make more than that, but then I have to put gas in my vehicle and take the risk that someone will rob me or wreck me. That risk doesn’t come cheap for most people.

    If you think we make too much, then join us. It is a good job when people are tipping. You won’t want the job for long if they don’t.

  16. Bob says:

    Every order I’ve received has been sealed up pretty good. Always a security tape.

    Survey population might be the issue here.

  17. Sharon says:

    Some of these scenarios are not even possible. As a food delivery driver there is no way I want or need a customer’s food! And as far as the revenge excuse goes we have no way of knowing if the customer is rude, their dogs will bark or they tip poorly or tip bait on the way to delivering their food!

  18. Jimmy says:

    This isn’t believable… all. Clickbait.