What You Should Know About Tipping For Whole Foods Orders

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Ordering groceries online is one of modern life's greatest conveniences, and Amazon has made it easier than ever to place a grocery order through Whole Foods. Customers can simply select their items on Amazon's website, with free same-day delivery available in many locations. The Amazon delivery driver will bring the order directly to the customer's door within a two-hour delivery window, and they will receive an email alerting them when their groceries have arrived.

As is the case in most places, tipping is optional, although Amazon does default to a five dollar recommended tip when customers order through the app. Per Amazon, 100 percent of all tips go directly to the drivers, and customers have up to 24 hours to add or adjust their tip.

However, there have been issues reported with Amazon's tipping payouts in the past. According to the Seattle Times, Amazon Flex drivers claimed that tips were simply disappearing from their paychecks. Some drivers have noticed that several hundred dollars worth of tips were suddenly and inexplicably no longer showing up in their earnings.

"Unless something changed, customers have to explicitly go in and remove/lower the tip, and there's no way that 6-7 of the customers on a ... route would do that," an anonymous Seattle-area driver told the Seattle Times this past fall. An Amazon spokesperson blamed the discrepancies on a technical issues, saying "some Flex drivers experienced a delay in receiving their tips. This issue has been fixed and payments are currently in process."

When in doubt, tip your drivers and shoppers in cash

These claims followed last year's accusations that the company was using customer's tips to cover driver's base pay. While Amazon guarantees a minimum wage of 18 dollars an hour to its drivers, the company adds "any supplemental earnings required to meet our commitment that delivery partners earn $18-$25 per hour," the Los Angeles Times reported.

This means that, while 100 percent of tips do go directly to the drivers, they are not necessarily an additional gratuity on top of the worker's hourly wage. "They just hide behind the fact that they guarantee $18. Sounds great, but that $18 [an hour] guarantee could be all from customer tips while Amazon chips in zero," one driver, Jeff Lee, told the Los Angeles Times.

While Amazon has promised to pay out missing money to its drivers, tippers might do well to keep these kinds of glitches in mind. When it comes to tips, the old axiom "cash is king" certainly applies here.

Additionally, customers should be aware that their tips only go to the drivers who deliver the order, not to the Whole Foods shoppers who select and pack the items. If Whole Foods customers would like to tip their shoppers, they have to pick up their order in-store and hand the cash tip directly to the employees. And while soliciting tips is strictly prohibited by Amazon, the shoppers are sure to appreciate the extra recognition for their hard work.