Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Put Yourself in the Pizza Guy’s Place!


Picture this: You take your wife and four kids to a nice restaurant. At the end of your meal, she presents you with a tab of oh say $60. She’s been nice, joked around with the kids, and given you good service. For serving 6, she deserves a tip of say conservatively 9 to 15 bucks… or more... right?

The next night, the wife doesn’t feel like cooking, there’s a game on TV, and the kids are chanting Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Do you realize that people will tip a waitress 10-20 bucks to bring your food 20-30 feet from a kitchen to your table, but only give a pizza driver a dollar for the same thing after he’s driven a few miles, through rain or snow, cussed at traffic jams, and has been dealing with surly customers all day, complaining about how long it took!

Having been one, for a few major chains on and off part and full time to make ends meet, I’ve seen the pizza business as a customer, and a driver for a few major chains.

There are a few things I’d like to point out.

1) That delivery charge.
Even if he did get all of it, (which he doesn’t) is $1.75 really a fair tip?

Let’s look at the facts.
Usually the driver only gets a dollar of it-if that, depending on the chain he works for. This covers:

A. Gas at nearly, or above FOUR bucks a gallon.
B. Insurance rates through the roof; the moment his provider finds out he’s delivering pizza.
C. Wear, tear, tires, oil changes and maintenance on a car he’s putting on average about 100-125 miles a day on (that’s on average about 500 to 750 a week)

2) He’s paid a lot less than you think he is.
Most places pay pizza drivers at, and sometimes below, minimum wage! Why? They consider them the same as waitresses, and can get away with it. Pizza drivers are expected to make up for the difference, with their tips, on which they have to report at checkout at the end of the day, and pay taxes on.

Drivers do have ways of getting revenge that have nothing to do with tampering with your food...
Think about it. You’ve just loaded 3 deliveries into your car, and have approximately 20 minutes to get all three of them there. This entails juggling around three or more 2-liters of pop, a couple salads, 2 or 3 subs, and three heavy fully-loaded pizza bags that immediately steam up your windows.

In order of the times they were phoned in:

Customer A - is 2 miles away, and because they live so close, they usually get their food within about 10 minutes, always complain, never leaves the porch light on, and never tips-using the delivery charge as an excuse not to. They usually claim they have a multi-dollar off coupon on the phone, but can’t ever seem to find it at the door. "Well, sorry you can't deduct it, we were going to use it as your tip!"

Customer B - is 9 miles away, has 5 kids and a dog that always greets you at the door cheering you like a superhero, and though they’re on a tight budget, they always tip about $3

Customer C is 11 miles away, lives alone in a eldercare facility, and you suspect he orders because he’s an older fellow who never gets any visitors, and usually tips $5 and the coin change for your driving all that way out there to make brief, but smiling conversation about the weather or the local sports team.

Tell me, what order would you take them in; despite what order they were phoned in. Personally I’d go B-C-A. Others would go C-B-A, but I’ll tell you something, none of them would take customer A first. Now in my years of experience at this, I’ve tried taking A first, and made a big deal about how fast it got there, and joked and smiled a lot, but if they’ve gotten away with not tipping for a while, they’ll never change.

After some recent business reversals, I took to delivering full time.

I’ve been disabled since November 2004, because I only had $51 on me during an armed robbery, and three guys didn’t believe that’s all I had, so they tried to beat me to death with the butt of a .45 automatic, (9 staples in my scalp), broke 2 ribs, and by stomping it while I was on the ground, to keep me from moving, broke my foot (an implant was needed to replace an unrepairable bone) crushed my ankle (couldn’t be repaired and is now fused into one inflexible piece) and fractured my left leg above and below my knee, and will require an artificial knee eventually. Total: nine surgeries and one to go, surviving on workman’s comp, and I’ve been declared permanently disabled by Social Security.

Pizza drivers face this danger every day, and in locations you’d think would be the safest place in the world, (in my case 200 yards from the front door of the shop)

And despite all this, you’re going to give that driver only a dollar or less?

Now don’t get me wrong, if the driver has a bad attitude, or gives you lousy service, yes by all means don’t tip. But at the bare minimum he deserves 15 percent.
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©-2010 by Jet Gardner/

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