Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dreaming

I almost never remember my dreams. But last night I had one of the most vivid and memorable dreams I have ever had.

For some reason I was in southern Ohio (maybe Columbus area) and had to return home to the Cleveland area. But my pizzeria where I work was at this other place. Let's just call it Columbus, even though that's not really clear in my memory. Incidentally, our GM Rick, in real life, is moving to Virginia but almost moved to Columbus.

Anyhow I was supposed to work at this Columbus place but I needed to drive home. Somehow we worked out a deal where I would load up my car with pizzas to sell door-to-door on my way home.

Meanwhile my family wanted me to bring them home some Chinese food so my front seat was full of Chinese and my back seat had several 2-liters of pop. (Notice anything missing, I didn't in my dream).

So I started on my way and I remember (in my dream) throwing newspapers onto people's porches, from my moving vehicle. I kept hoping they would hear the newspaper land and come to the door wanting pizza.

Finally I found a customer and asked if he wanted any pizza. "Load me up with Dew and Pepsi," was his response.

"How about pizza?" I asked.

"Can you come back in about an hour?" he wanted to know.

After I explained that I could not, he started asking about specials and special orders. I was telling him that he had to choose from what I had in the car, when I realized that I didn't have any pizza in my car!

I ran out to my car to check and sure enough, all I had was the Chinese and the pop. I offered him the Chinese food but he thought it would probably be too cold.

I then started pondering how I could get some pizzas to sell on the rest of my way home, and when I awoke I was still trying to come up with a plan.

What a weird dream!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Stopping By

I was in court on Tuesday for a custody hearing for my kids. The trial was continued until July so nothing was decided.

I did stop in at my pizzeria later in the afternoon to speak with GM Rick about my schedule. He was on the phone for about an hour so I hung out, talked with driver Mark about his recent trip to Florida, took a few phone orders, cut a few pizzas, spoke with a prospective driver/cook who came in to fill out an application, and even folded a few boxes. All off the clock.

When I finally got to talk to Rick, he said it was no problem for me to have Friday off. So my next night to work is Saturday.

Rick did ask me about why we were so late in getting out on Monday, reminded me to always take the oldest order (which I do). I'm there to make money, but I'm always fair to other drivers.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Monday

My day-job was off today so I went in at 5 instead of my usual Monday start-time of 6 PM. The day-driver Desiree quickly left, leaving just Kristie and I as drivers, Nick as manager, and Jeannie as waitress and cook. Desiree had only taken 5 deliveries from 11-5 today.

My first 3 deliveries were unique as they were all single pizza orders, all on credit-card, and all added a $2 tip on the card. My 4th order broke the streak in a bad way, paying exact change for his $11.83 order, including 2 $5's, 10 dimes, 3 quarters, a nickel, and 3 pennies.

Also interesting tonight was a double of 2 $30+ orders, both paid by credit card, one tipped me a single $1 on the card and the other tipped $2 cash.

Hopefully these, and one other stiff later in the night, were the exception not the norm tonight. I had 7 tips of $3 or more including 2 tips of $5. All in all I took 18 deliveries in 6 hours, made $45 in tips, and drove 68 miles.

The excitement of the night was shortly after 9PM when I returned from a delivery to find a shouting match going on inside the store. Kristie, apparently used to hard-working Mona as cook, was chastising Jeannie for not helping with the dishes. In Jeannie's defense, she was working 2 jobs (server and cook) tonight. But on the other hand, Jeannie doesn't help much in the dishroom even when she is just the cook.

"Dishes are everybody's job," I was taught the night I started almost 3 years ago, "but most people seem to think dishes are the job of the drivers." And sure enough, 3 years later, drivers do even more dishes than when I started. Servers used to be responsible for washing the salad bar dishes, but that hasn't happened in over 2 years.

Anyways, back to tonight's fight. I brought up that even Steve takes care of his own make-table dishes when he is the cook. "I'm not Steve" was Jeannie's reply. Which led to a back-and-forth between Jeannie and Kristie about which one had a boyish body (Jeannie) and a boyish haircut (Kristie).

Luckily for all involved, the argument didn't escalate any further than that.

My problem for this week is that I forgot to request my days off and GM Rick did the schedule a day early, and now I'm scheduled to work the night of soccer tryouts and both nights that I have my kids this week. Nick called him at home about it but I'm going to have to stop in sometime this week to get my schedule straightened out.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pitchfork Of The Devil?

We have a sale on hand-tossed pizzas. Sometimes while in the oven, these pizzas develop bubbles in the crust. When the bubbles rise, they push the toppings off, leaving a bare spot on the pizzas.

We now have a 6-foot stick with 2 metal prongs on the end, for reaching into the oven and popping the bubbles.

Manager Ady told us tonight that that cook Mona called it the "pitchfork of the devil." Our GM Rick had the fork in his hand and asked Mona "Does that mean I'm the devil?"

"Well, you're holding it," was Mona's witty reply.

Two funny things happened on my deliveries tonight. First I had a delivery of a meat-lover pizza. The customer's young daughter, probably 2-3 years old, accompanied her dad to the door. "Do you like pizza?" I asked her.

"I like mushrooms" she said. I laughed and said "Well you must not have called in the order then," because of course our meat-lover pizza does not include mushrooms. Her dad laughed also.

The other funny thing was a delivery to a house. When the customer came to the door, I heard a strange "yap yap yap yaaaaap" coming from inside the house. I looked in, expecting to see a bird. Instead, in the kitchen, behind a baby-gate, I saw a medium sized dog. The dog made the noise again and the woman laughed.

Everyone says the way to increase tips is to compliment the customer's kids, house, lawn, cars, and pets. But I couldn't help what came out of my mouth next.

"How did you teach him to talk like a chicken?"

The customer cracked up and gave me $15 for her $12.58 order.

All in all I took 18 deliveries in 6 hours, and made $38 in tips. I drove 66 miles on the night. Thanks to driver Melissa and manager Nick for letting me leave in time to get home to watch the last minute of the Cavs playoff win over the Pistons with my son.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Coupon Scam

This article describes 2 Dominos employees who ran the famous "coupon scam."

Basically the phone person takes the order. The driver delivers the order. The customer pays full price. But the driver discounts the order with a coupon, and the driver pockets the difference. In this case it seems the phone person and the driver were in on the scam together.

Our POS system tracks "surprise coupons", or any discount added to the order after the order is initially entered, so it would be pretty difficult to try this at our store.

Plus, as I always say, the money is too good as is for me to try something like this. Not to mention it's illegal!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

That's Alot Of Lettuce

Tonight I drove 5 hours, delivered 12 orders, drove 46 miles (for deliveries, more on that later), and made $27 in tips. My average order was much larger than last time, almost $20 per order!

The most interesting order was a guy who met me on the balcony of his 2nd floor apartment, handed the money down, and had me pass the food up.

The only person who did not tip was the last order of the night.

Around 10 pm we got a pre-order for tomorrow from the local hospital for about 20-some pizzas, 10 orders of breadsticks, and 70-some carry-out salads. The salad is the most challenging item and Manager Nick sent me to a neighboring store to borrow a case of lettuce. We're still not sure we have enough.

The store I went to was 12 miles away, so for the 24 mile round trip, I asked for 6 extra runs (since my average run is 4 miles). Right now we get $1.05 per run, gas is skyrocketing but our per-run money has not been adjusted in weeks.

I figure I use my car for deliveries when I have a chance to get tipped, but I really don't want to have to use my car and my gas to be the errand-boy. Especially when we're still busy, as being out on an errand means I'm getting skipped over for any deliveries we may have.

Then I had to stay about an hour late while Nick made the extra dough for the large order tomorrow.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

"I have a line"

We had a pretty slow night tonight. I worked about 5 hours, drove 39 miles, delivered 8 orders, and made $13 in tips. Only 1 of my orders was over $18. Four of them were $13.58 ($11.99 plus the $1.59 delivery charge). Low orders lead to low tips.

One of my customers opened the box and said "It looks like there's a piece missing." I promised her that her pizza must have just slid around in the box, as I certainly didn't eat it. All the slices were there, it was a medium pizza and we always cut them in 8.

We had an extra pepperoni pizza for some reason. I took it over to my friends at Speedway who sometimes will trade me some Krispy Kreme donuts for pizza. Unfortunately the donuts were out but I gave them the pizza anyways.

One of them was on the phone with their significant other and said "Hey baby, I've got to go, I have a line." The other gas clerk said "We do?" I was the only customer in the store. He was just making an excuse to get off the phone and chat with the pizza guy.

I went back about an hour later and there was a line about 5 deep at each register.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dynamic Soundstage Organizer

I thought about posting "just the facts" tonight but I know my readers expect more.

So I do have a few anecdotes to relay. But first, the facts. I worked 5 hours, took 9 deliveries, made $17 in tips, and drove 30 miles.

One delivery was to an apartment building across the street. I knocked on the door and the woman answered, saying "Oh I canceled that." Well she didn't, she told our manager she would have to go to the bank for money and would see us when she got back.

She's ordered at least 27 times so I'm sure we will keep delivering to her :(

I was trying to listen to the Cavs game on my radio but it was coming in horrible. I started playing with some buttons. I hit a button labeled "DSO" and it came in much clearer after that. A quick review of the manual shows that DSO stands for Dynamic Soundstage Organizer and it has to do with where the speakers are located, or something like that. I'll read more about it tomorrow.

Nick was excited because he got to spray bug spray on an ant colony tonight.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Going Once, Going Twice


Sold!

Frank and Jenny picked up my 1998 Escort today. They paid $430 cash for this car with 210k miles, a bad clutch, bad brakes, and numerous other minor problems.

My hunch is they work for a dealership and can get it fixed up pretty cheap.

Either way I'm happy to have it out of my driveway and even happier to have the extra cash in my pocket, though with a family our size, it won't last long.

In case you're curious, it costs $90 to sell a car on ebay. It costs $40 just to list it, and then another $50 when you get a bid (above the reserve price, if you set one).

There were 20 bids from 9 different bidders, and 941 different people viewed the auction! Pretty cool if you ask me!

I took alot of pictures and described in detail as many of the problems as I could. I think my honesty helped to sell the car. Since I admitted it had numerous problems, I think the buyer could be pretty confident in what they were actually bidding on.

They did leave me positive feedback within just a few hours of picking up the car, so they must have been satisfied with the transaction!

Church Of The Open Wallet - Part 2 and 3

This is an update to last week's post about our church program encouraging big tips, accompanied by a business card with some information about our church.

I got a call at home Saturday night from a co-worker who had seen my blog and also heard me discussing this. He wanted to tell me that one of the waitresses had just gotten a $30 tip on a $20 order, along with a card from our church. Very cool!

We finally got a chance to go out and use our card today. My daughter's birthday was today, she turned 9 and chose Ponderosa for her special meal. Our check was around $67 and we left a $30 tip. I'm sure it was appreciated!

East Is East, and West Is West ...

... and never the twain shall meet.

That's a line from Rudyard Kipling's poem, The Ballad Of East And West. Tonight it applied to street names as well.

I had a delivery, let's say it was to 1180 East Creek Road. But when I got there, I saw 1170 and 1190 but no houses in between. I called the number and confirmed the address. It was 1180 West Creek Road North. That was about 4 miles away from where I was. To make matters worse, I had a double and had to go another mile away from my final destination, before I could turn around and head for the actual address.

We started off very slow but business picked up around dark. I got a couple decent tips and ended up with a very nice $33 in tips on 10 deliveries over 6 hours of work. I drove 47 miles in all.

One other interesting incident, I had to re-run a pizza to a customer that had tipped $3 the first time. The pizza was a pan-crust veggie-lover and the customer complained that it was "too doughy." Pizzas with alot of toppings don't cook as well, especially alot of vegetable toppings. So we re-made the pizza and pushed it back into the oven for an extra minute or so the 2nd time.

Surprisingly, the customer tipped me $2 for the 2nd trip, saying that they realized it wasn't my fault! Tips on re-runs are rare but appreciated!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pizza For The Homeless - Thanks To Executed Man

Yesterday I linked to a CNN Story about a guy on death row who, for his last meal, asked to have pizza delivered to a homeless person in Tennessee. Well, the prison didn't grant his wish but the publicity led to many pizzas being delivered to homeless shelters in the Nashville area.

Read more about it in this CNN story.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Knock Knock

Tonight was my first night working in over a week. I worked for 5 hours, drove 32 miles, took 7 deliveries and made $13 in tips.

My wife called me at work to stop at the new Wal-Mart on my way home for milk, cheese slices, fruit juice, and apples. After buying $7 of gas with my reimbursement ($1.05 per delivery), and getting the groceries, I came home with less than a buck.

The only interesting delivery tonight was the very last one. The girl who came to the door told me, "You knock like the po-lice."

"Yeah and I have a big spotlight in my car too," I replied.

Death Row Inmate Requests Pizza For The Homeless

According to this CNN Story, Philip Workman requested to have a pizza delivered to a homeless woman in Nashville, in lieu of his last meal. His request, however, was denied.

"We can get some special things for the inmate but the taxpayers don't really give us permission to donate to charity," Riverbend Maximum Security Institution spokeswoman Dorinda Carter said.

This is surely a noble request. It would have been a nice gesture, but you can also see that the prison is not in the wish-granting business.

Free $50

I got a message here about a contest to win a free $50 if I make a post about a site that provides information about CD Rates. Now, this is a pizza delivery blog, not a finance blog. What kind of sell-out does he think I am?

Well, on second thought, I do drive my beater car all around town, bringing people food for a $2 tip (or sometimes even less). I must need the cash, what the heck! Here goes:

Check out ThePiggyBanker.com, to find the best CD rates around.

There, that's all I had to do and now I've got a chance to win $50!

Seriously, I did check out the site and it has some good information. If you have some extra cash and you want to find a place to put it where you can earn a decent interest rate, this little Piggy is your friend.

Monday, May 7, 2007

May Carnival Of Pizza

Welcome to the May 7, 2007 edition of Carnival of Pizza. This Carnival is a few days late. I'm blaming it on my wife taking a bike trip to NYC and leaving me with all 7 kids from Friday to Monday!

Recipes


Amanda, a self proclaimed "foodie" presents Pizza Redux, a great-looking recipe for Chicago-style pizza, posted at Eat... and Be Merry.

Reviews


Arman presents Organ Stop Pizza posted at Chow Down Phoenix!. Sounds like a great place to eat!

Unfortunately, that concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of pizza using our carnival submission form. More information can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Church Of The Open Wallet?

Recently our church had an event called "the whole church goes out to eat."

No we didn't all go to the same restaurant, there are several thousand of us.

Everyone was given a business card, instructed to go out to eat and to leave a generous (30-40%) tip. We were given a business card with the text:

"Here's a little something
extra. We hope this
brightens your day - no strings
attached. We just want you to
know that God loves you and
cares about you."

Please let us know if there is
anything we can do for you.

On the back was the church name, address, phone number, web site, and a schedule of services.

Well today one of the pastors told that several of the youth had been doing some cleaning work at the church and ordered pizza delivered. The check was around $70 and they pitched in $10 each for a tip of around $130!

It wasn't my store because we don't deliver to that side of town, but I was certainly a little jealous!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Retired Pizza Car For Sale On Ebay

My 1998 Ford Escort is for sale on ebay. It needs some work but if you can fix the clutch and brakes, it is a great car! Check it out!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Radio Photo

Last week's post about the radio now has a picture, check it out!

Thanks Nick!

April Totals

I'm done with all my shifts for the month so here are my April totals. This is an accurate view of how much a pizza delivery driver actually earns:

Shifts: 14
Hours: 86
Deliveries: 175
Tips: $403
Miles: 691

Average miles per delivery: 3.9
Average deliveries per hour: 2.0
Average tips per delivery: $2.30
Average tips per hour: $4.69
Average cash per hour: $6.72
(tips plus mileage)
Total earnings per hour: $13.57
(includes wage of $6.85)