Is it acceptable to order delivery during a storm? Americans are split

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
September 16, 2021, 8:30 PM UTC

As Hurricane Ida brought dangerous storms to the East Coast in September, photos circulated on social media of food delivery workers biking through flood waters, still required to transport meals to people who continue placing orders.  

A YouGov poll of 3,421 adults shows that Americans are divided on whether or not it is acceptable to order delivery food during a severe storm (45%) as not (48%). Men are more likely to say this decision is acceptable (51%) than not (41%), while most women oppose it (40% in favor, 54% opposed). 

The behavior is divisive in different communities across the country. In cities, for instance, the decision to order food during a storm is viewed as acceptable by 43% and not acceptable by 49%. Suburbanites slightly approve of the behavior (50% say it is acceptable, 49% do not). Those who live in rural areas are split (45% vs 46%), while people living in towns express the strongest disapproval (40% vs 51%). 

How much should you tip for delivery in a storm? 

People who order food to be delivered during a severe storm are expected by Americans to add a markup to the usual tip. 

Two-thirds of Americans (67%) say the standard tip for a delivery order should be less than 20% of the bill, and another 6% say there should be no tip at all. But that changes when the delivery person is going out in severe weather to transport food to a home.  

Only about one-third (36%) suggest tipping below 20% on a delivery made during a severe storm. Half (52%) say it’s necessary to tip at least 20% in these circumstances, including 15% of adults who suggest a tip of 30% or more. In ordinary circumstances, 19% say a tip of 20% or more is warranted, and just 1% call for a tip of 30% or more. 

Those who say it’s acceptable to continue ordering delivery food in a severe storm tend to think a less significant tip is needed: 46% of this group says the tip should be below 20% of the bill. Among those who find the behavior unacceptable, just one-third (34%) think the tip should be that low.  

A majority of Americans who reject this behavior (59%) suggest a tip of 20% or more, with one in five (20%) recommending at least a 30% tip. About half of those who think it’s acceptable to order food in a storm (46%) would tip 20% or more, with 10% saying the tip should be 30% or more.  

At the low end of the tip spectrum, 16% of people who would find ordering food in a severe storm acceptable think the tip should be below 10% — twice the proportion of people opposed to food delivery orders in severe storms. 

See the toplines from this YouGov Direct Poll 

Methodology: YouGov polled 3,421 members September 4 - 7, 2021. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted according to age, gender, education level, and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately ±2.6% for the overall sample.    

Image: Getty