Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Smell Of Money

As I posted yesterday, I was unable to make it in to my day job on Valentine's Day. So I went to my pizza job a little early, around 5:00 instead of my usual 6. Manager Ady seemed surprised to see me so early. Manager Ward tried to explain my presence to her in this way: "Kevin smelled money so he came in early."

Now for as long as I have worked here, we have always been extra-busy on Valentine's Day. Some couples will order pizza and stay in, as an alternative to going out to eat. Others will go out, but will get a pizza for the kids to eat with the babysitter.

I ended up with 20 deliveries in a 6 hour shift, driving 54 miles and earning $57 in tips. I had so many eventful deliveries, I will just explain my whole night, trip by trip.

Trip 1 - a triple to a not so good neighborhood. First street is not plowed and has a pile of snow at the intersection. I consider shoveling myself a path, but first call the customer. Customer suggests I park in a doctors office on the next street over and approach the house from the back. This works fine and I see the house. No path shoveled to the front or back but I do see some footsteps out the back, so I go through 2 feet of snow to go that way. Customer hands me $11.85 for a $11.83 order.

Second delivery is to an even numbered house on a section of a street that only has odd numbers. I call the phone number on the ticket and it is not in service. Next!

Third delivery gets me $4 and change on a $13.58 order. Now that's more like it. (3 runs, $4.44 tips)

Trip 2 - a single credit card delivery, pasta and a 2-liter. (1 run, $2.00 tip)

Trip 3 - a four-bagger, ending up pretty far away. Deliveries are getting backed up, I start calling each customer when I am on my way to let them know when to expect their food. I think this is appreciated. The money finally started rolling in, including $7 on a $24.57 credit card order to the 4th house on the run. (4 runs, $17.83 tips)

Trip 4 - a double to the same far-off neighborhood, and another $7+ tip. (2 runs, $11.34 tips)

Trip 5 - another four-bagger, not nearly as nice as the first one. First house has the driveway not shoveled but a path out half-way to the road. I climb through the deep snow to give them their food and am rewarded with $2.12 on a $17.88 order.

Next house the mom tries to pay by check, which we have never accepted in the 3 years I've worked here. I suggest a credit card / debit card over the phone. She agrees and then goes into the basement to get a card. I call the store to get ready and her kids tell me it looks like I have their mom's phone, which I assure them I do not. Meanwhile I hear a voice bellow up the stairs, "No way am I giving out our credit card over the phone. He can eat it himself." Then after a pause, "You tell him, if I have to come up there I'm going to be upset." What a jerk, I feel sorry for that guy's family. But, no payment, no pizza. I move on.

Next house the guy comments on how awful it is out, and hands me a $20 and $4 in coins for a $22.58 order, saying "You deserve a tip on a night like this." Well thanks, buddy, and I'm glad most of the other customers realize what a tip really is.

Fourth delivery is to the local Super 8 Motel, room 106. Credit card delivery to a young couple with a 10-month old. They sign the credit card and move the total down, leaving the tip line sadly blank.

(With Manager Ady's permission of course) I give the food from the 2nd order (that wanted to pay by check) to the desk clerk, wishing him a Happy Valentine's day and asking him to keep recommending us. Making someone happy like that is cool. The rest of this trip was not. (4 runs, $3.54 tips)

Trip 6 - Yet another 4-bagger, winding through town. First delivery was to a large older man on oxygen. Storm door was closed but the front door was open and he hollered for me to come in. I said my shoes were snowy but he said that was ok, it was just him and the dog. He was plopped on his couch and didn't look to be getting up soon. He had me set the food & drink on some tray-tables, and had laid out $33 for his $28.64 order.

Next house is pre-paid cash at the store with a $5 tip. As expected, several kids follow the babysitter (talking on the phone, what a surprise) to the door. This trip is starting well. Oops, spoke too soon.

Next house the guy hands me $22 for his $21.70 order. I have a pocket full of change so I dig in and said "Hang on, let me get you the 30 cents."

"I don't need it" he replied.

"I don't either." Man that felt good to say!

Fourth house pays a $20 for their $14.59 order. I hand her back $5 in singles, and she keeps them all so I dig in and find her another 41 cents. She actually turned a lamp on so that I could find a penny among my nickels and quarters. The nerve of some people! (4 runs, $9.64 tips)

Finally I get a break and Driver Desiree and I bust out most of the pre-close, oiling pans and prepping dough for Thursday. Meanwhile cooks Steve and Mona have been keeping up with the dishes. Thanks guys!

Trip 7 - Probably my last run, a single order pretty close to the restaurant. I've turned in all my coins for cash so I'm a little disappointed when the guy pulls out a wad of cash that looks like it came from Fort Knox and hands me $22 for his $21.32 order. I wish him a good night and turn to leave. He says something that I don't hear, then follows me out the door and calls out again, I turn around and he hands me a wadded up $5. "Thank you sir, I appreciate it" (1 run, $5.68 tip)

Driver Mike leaves with a double, and the clock turns to 11 PM. I get all cashed out up front and am still standing there when the phone rings. It is Mike and he is stuck in between his 2 deliveries. Cook Nick (yes him AGAIN!) rides along and helps push Mike out of the snow while I grab his 2nd delivery. I call the customer to explain that the original driver got stuck but their food is now on it's way. It's been over an hour. (1 run, $2.95 tip).

Finishing the dishes, sweeping, and mopping, we are there until well after midnight, but it ended up an extremely profitable night, almost $10 per hour above and beyond my hourly rate.

I didn't get to have dinner with my wife but now I can take her out another night and pay for it with the tips from tonight!

Happy Valentine's Day, Victoria!


Peter said...

I just found this blog. You're my hero, Kevin! I will forever remember you whenever I have a pizza delivered.

KevinL said...

Thanks Peter! Just be sure to remember the driver that actually brings you your food also!