Saturday, June 30, 2007

Smallest Credit Card Tip

I got my lowest ever credit card tip today. The order was for $29.55, to a trailer park, and the customer actually wrote 0.45 in the tip line. I don't know what else to say about that.

I had not one but two incidents tonight where streets were numbered strangely and I couldn't find a house.

The first one, I found house 1 and 3 and my delivery was to house 5. Next one over right? Nope, two over. What comes between 3 and 5 when the evens are on the other side of the road? Beats me, it wasn't numbered! But I did spend several minutes knocking!

Later, I had a trailer park delivery to house 2. This section is a cul-de-sac at the end of the street. 4 and 6 are on the left and 9, 7, and 5 are on the right. Number 2 should be right beside 4 right? Nope, it's 2 over from 4. House # 236 is in between. Who would have guessed?

I did have a pretty good night. I worked 7 hours, took 18 deliveries, drove 76 miles, and made $53 in tips. My best tip was almost my worst. Again at a trailer park, the order was $17.07. I heard female voices coming from inside, saying they weren't sure if they had enough money and they needed to borrow from their aunt. Then a young man in his late teens / early 20's came to the door.

He held out a $100 and asked if I could break it. Usually I can't but at that time I could. I handed him 4 $20's and he said to keep the rest ($2.93) and handed me another $5. Very cool!

I felt like I was on the road with far deliveries all night long. My only close single was my last run, about 15 minutes before we left. I had one other close double, all the rest of my trips were far, far away.

I took 5 singles, 5 doubles, and 1 triple. Without all the multi-run trips, my miles would have been awfully high!

I checked the fuel economy for my Taurus again. I drove 153 miles on 5.5 gallons of gas, 27.8 MPG! Even better than last time I checked!

Desiree had to show me what she got new today. It was a "Offender" ID card issued by the jail since she is on probation. I've never seen or heard of one before, but Desiree told me all the times she has to carry it, plus she isn't allowed to be in a vehicle with another person who has an "Offender" card!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Direct Deposit

Our company went high-tech today. Our franchise owns almost 100 pizzerias in northern Ohio, all franchises of the same "Big 3" pizza chain.

We get paid every other 2 weeks on a Friday, in other words, today!

Well about 2 months ago management collected a voided check from all employees. Today I checked my online banking and sure enough, my paycheck is already in there!

Some people prefer a paper check but I much prefer direct deposit!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Third Biggest Tip Ever

I got lucky tonight and was up for delivery when the order came up for XXX Indiana.

I blogged about this a few months ago, when driver Desiree got an $11 tip there and told how this was the site of my biggest tip ever, $35.

Tonight they had a $71 order and added a tip of $18 on the credit card. That's officially my 2nd largest tip that I have ever collected.

I did have a really good night tonight, I worked 5 hours and took 13 deliveries. I drove just 33 miles and earned a total of $45 in tips. So that's $27 in tips for the other 12 orders, which is a decent night, but the big one really put me over the top!

When I gassed up at the end of the night, I checked the MPG on my Taurus. I got 23.4 miles per gallon. Not too bad for a bigger car.

I had 2 other deliveries worth commenting on, my first delivery of $7.58. First of all we aren't even supposed to accept delivery orders under $8. But it was just a few blocks away so I didn't make a big deal of it.

But when I got to the door, the teenager handed me a handful of dimes, along with 4 quarters. I wasn't sure about the amount so I told him we had to count them, also I asked for a baggie to put them in. There were 73 dimes, so he actually was giving me an extra 72 cents.

I don't consider anything under $1 to be a tip, but I guess on a $7 order it isn't that awful. But if you are paying with change, the best thing to do is roll it so it's clear how much it is!

Then later in the night, I had an order of $35.56. The guy answered the door with 3 preschool kids in tow. It was all he could do to keep the kids in the house and he actually dropped the pizzas! I helped to catch them against the door, but they did flip onto their side.

He paid with 2 $20's and I went to hand him back $4 change but he said "I guess you can keep it since it's not my money."

Mighty generous of him!

Finally, we had a huge storm tonight then a couple hours later our computers went down. Manager Nick was having to do the closing numbers by hand. Luckily I write down all my delivery amounts so I was basically able to calculate my own check-out. And Nick trusts me so he knew it was correct.

Also, thanks to driver Amber who left early tonight as she wasn't feeling well, then came back later when Mike and I were very busy with deliveries, and helped with dishes!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

$2000 Reward For Pizzeria Killer

Updating yesterday's post, there's now a $2000 reward for information leading to the capture of whoever shot David Kowalczyk, owner of Granny D's Pizza.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Making Change

One of the most challenging parts of pizza delivery is keeping the correct amount of money in your "bank." A driver's "bank" is his money that he carries to make change with. We start the night with a $15 bank provided by the store, one $5 and ten $1's.

Drivers are encouraged to "drop" money regularly so as to not become a target for theft. I make drops whenever I accumulate a large amount, and whenever I am heading to a dangerous neighborhood, especially after dark.

Tonight my first delivery was a credit card order with a credit card tip. Thus I didn't even touch my bank. (We get out tips at the end of the night).

Next was a $14.08 order. The customer paid with $20.08 and got $3 back for a $3 tip. Now my bank had one $20, one $5, and seven $1's.

Next order was $19.58. The customer paid with $22 for a $2.42 tip. Now my bank had two $20's, one $5, and nine $1's.

Next order was a triple. The middle order of the triple was a credit card, but if I would have thought about it, I should have changed one of my $20's. But I didn't.

The first customer paid with a $50 (and 8 cents) for an order of $17.08. I owed him back $33 so that took one $20, one $5, and eight $1's. He gave me back $4 as a tip. Now my bank was one $50, one $20, and five $1's.

The final order of the triple was $23.55. Sure enough, the customer paid with two $20's. I owed him $16 as change but all I had was big bills and five $1's. I had to drive up to the end of the block to a drive-through beverage store and ask for change.

They were nice enough to make change, but I hate having to do that. It looks bad to the customer and it's a waste of my time.

Totals for the night, 5 hours driving, 11 deliveries, 40 miles, $27 in tips. Pretty good night for a Monday.

Pizza Shop Owner Shot and Killed

I don't know anything about this other than the article in today's newspaper.

I was working (out on a delivery) when my store was robbed at gunpoint about 1 1/2 years ago and it is a pretty scary thing.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Insider Screw-Ups - They Cost Me $

I had 2 serious screw-ups today. I'm not sure by who, but they both cost me time, gas, and money.

First off was my 8th delivery of the night. I arrived at the house, knocked, and the man who answered the door said "She already paid for it." I double-checked the ticket, and it was indeed a cash transaction (not credit-card).

The woman then came to the door, recognized my uniform, and said "Oh no, I canceled that order 2 seconds after I placed it. She said it was ok 'cause it wasn't even in the oven yet." Apparently she had then ordered from another pizza place and paid by debit card over the phone.

Well the pizza got made, boxed, and sent out for delivery. Whoever took the call for the cancellation (assuming the customer was telling the truth) should have made sure the ticket got voided right away.

Manager Nick did give me a $3 credit, but that's $1.10 for the run and $1.90 to replace the tip. As you'll see later on, my average tip for the night was over $2.

The second screw-up happened about the same time, but I didn't find out until about an hour later. This time an order was packed and placed on top of the oven to be delivered, but there wasn't a matching ticket on the dispatch screen. I checked the system and the order had been changed to a pick-up. So I moved it to the pick-up area.

Then about an hour later, I arrived back from a run and Manager Nick said "This order has to go out right away." It was the order that had been a pick-up, now changed back to delivery. It was already 85 minutes old!

The order was paid by credit card. When I arrived, the customer signed the slip, but, of course, neglected to add a tip. I don't blame them, but it wasn't my fault. I have no idea what happened that it got changed to a pick-up, but it cost me my tip.

On my 16 other orders, I drove 64 miles (18 orders total), and made $41 in tips. My average tip for the 16 non-screw-up orders was $2.56. This was for 6 hours driving.

I did have some positive experiences tonight:

A double to a notoriously bad-tipping neighborhood that earned me $7 in tips. (For the 2nd week in a row! Last week it was a triple for $9.50.)

A guy who added to his tip. He originally handed me $22 for his $19.57 order, then he said "Oh I thought it was $17 something" and added $2 more.

A guy in a trailer park who gave me $20 for a $15.33 order and thanked me for coming out so late (it was around 10 pm). I was glad that I had packed up 5 extra bread-sticks for this order, the guy gave me the $4.67 tip before he even knew I brought him some extra food.

2 other customers (4 in all) that tipped $4 or more.

It was a decent night, moneywise, but the screw-ups that cost me money really frustrate me.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Where There's Smoke . . .

I was driving to my day-job on Friday morning, when my 1992 Hyundai Excel developed a smoky smell and smoke or steam began to come out from under the hood on the right side. I was less than 1/2 mile from my exit so I got to the ramp but then the car died. I was able to quickly push it to the side of the road.

I opened the hood and the smoke quickly died down. I let things cool off and tried to start it again. The engine turned over but the car did not start. A closer look under the hood showed me that the coolant was low.

There was a Speedway right at the end of the ramp so I walked over, bought some coolant, came back, and poured some in the reservoir and some directly into the radiator. Still the car wouldn't start. I waited a while longer and still no luck.

I decided to walk down the street and try to find a garage. Luckily the first business past the Speedway was a Lube Stop. I described my situation and the manager on duty, Nate, said he would walk over and have a look.

We tried to start it again. We poured the rest of the coolant into the radiator. Again, the car was unable to start. Nate recommended a garage within walking distance.

I walked down there and the mechanic was on vacation in Hawaii. They did recommend another garage, much closer to my home, so I called AAA and had the car towed there.

Now I was stuck at the garage, still without a ride home. My wife was at Vacation Bible School with the kids. I called my retired brother-in-law who lived just a short distance away. He was away from home (spending the day with his grandson as I later found out).

Dean, the manager of the garage, then suggested that someone from AutoZone was about to drive over to my hometown to pick up a part for him, and possibly I could ride with him. This worked out great.

Back to the car, the initial guess is that when it overheated it blew a head gasket. Dean suggested that he may be able to fix it for around $700.

So for now I'll be delivering in my wife's 1999 Ford Taurus.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Free Online Games - Conquer Club & Everwars

This post really has nothing to do with pizza driving, but some of you may be interested.

I've been playing 2 different online games recently that I have found very enjoyable.

First, ConquerClub. This is a Risk-type game where you have armies and try to take over the world. You can play at your own pace, logging in once / day to take your turn, or you can find some partners to play a real-time game.

There are team games, various maps, including the Great Lakes. One of my favorite maps is called USApocalypse, it's the United States after a nuclear bomb. Many of the states are renamed. Michigan is called "Cars", Iowa is called "Corn", and Nevada is called "".

If you sign up through the link above, I might win a "premium" membership, allowing me to enter more than 4 games at a time.

Next, EverWars. This is a character-based fantasy battle game. You create your character (human, elf, dwarf, etc.) and then you go into battle. You basically choose someone of a similar level to fight and the computer simulates the battle in a text-based format.

If you win the battle, you get either an item (weapon, armor, spell, potion) or a skill point. Skill points are used to train yourself to use your particular items better.

If you sign up through the link above, my son gets a free magic item for his character.

If neither of these games catch your interest, you may want to check out this list of top 10 free games, which I found through the Carnival of Video Game Bloggers.

Again, these games have nothing to do with pizza delivery, but if you're bored this summer and have a computer (which you obviously do if you're reading this), you may want to give these games a try. The price (free) is definitely right!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hot Tub Party!

Well, I have alot to write about today. So much that this is going to be one of those long posts that describe my night in detail, delivery by delivery.

Actually tonight's story starts on last night. A week ago, the exhaust system fell loose from our 1987 GMC Van. Last night while getting gas at Speedway, I asked the manager there, an ex-pizza driver, about a muffler place he had recommended in the past. He gave me the phone number for Action Muffler.

I called and drove the van out there today. The owner took a look and quoted me a price of $140 to replace the converter and remount the exhaust system. I thought that sounded great so I agreed to it. My wife and I then went to Subway for lunch, and when we went back, the van was fixed. Excellent service at a great price!

At Subway, we ran into another ex-employee. Former cook Nate now works at Subway. Nate was a good kid, he still stops in for food occasionally, but I didn't know he had found work at Subway. Ironically, this Subway is owned by the mother of one of the girls on the soccer team coach.

Add in that I saw former driver Tyler driving last night for Hungry Howies, as well as former driver Amy driving for Marco's, and I actually saw 4 ex-employees, each separately, in a 16-hour period.

Now finally we get to today's delivery stories.

A couple months ago, we rolled out a new internet-ordering system. Basically the customer orders over the internet, the order gets sent to and printed at a special web-enabled computer in our store, and then someone must enter that order into the system. We probably get 10-12 internet orders per week.

My first order tonight was to the guy who uses internet ordering far more often than anyone else in our delivery area, Bryon H. Bryon's order, paid by credit card, was $17.58 and he added on a $4 tip!

My next delivery was un-remarkable, a $21.57 order with a $3.43 tip.

My 3rd delivery was to the far reaches of our delivery area. The total was $19.07 and the customer gave me $24. I don't mind driving a long ways for a $5 tip!

About this time I said good bye and good luck to our GM Rick and driver Melissa, as they are moving to Virginia where Melissa got a job as a schoolteacher.

After that I had a triple, 2 deliveries that were literally less than 10 houses apart, and a 3rd that was just 3 blocks away. This was to a notoriously low-tipping area so I didn't expect much.

Was I ever wrong. The first customer's total was $17.08 and she tipped me $2.17. The next house had a for-sale sign but there seemed to be a party going on. Adults on the porch, kids inside playing video games, and more adults at the kitchen table. They had a $37.06 order including pizza, pasta, and wings. The guy joked about needing a discount because it was late (it wasn't) but then they gave me a $5.04 tip! Not only that but they offered me a shot of Gray Goose (which I declined).

The third house also tipped well, $2.43 on a $25.57 (2 pizza) order, so that was over $9.50 for a 3-bagger to a bad part of town.

My next run was a double, I got a $3 tip from a regular customer on a $17.57 order, and then got stiffed (0.42). After that I had a close delivery, got $1.92 on a $17.08 order from a guy who came to the door in his boxer-shorts and a t-shirt.

After that was my most frustrating order of the night. A credit card order for $15.46, just a couple blocks from the store. The girl who signed wrote $15.46 on the tip line and then a big slash through the total line. Obviously her intent was to not tip, but I was so mad I was tempted to enter the $15.46 as the tip, as that WAS what she wrote. Of course I thought better of it, deciding it wasn't worth the trouble.

The delivery after that, about 9:30 at night, was to a nice neighborhood where I was greeted in the driveway by about 6-8 kids, who looked to be late elementary age. They introduced themselves, asked my name, and told me it was one of their birthdays. The kids were alot friendlier than the mom of the house, who tipped me $1.42 for a $13.58 order.

Next up was an order to a house where cook Steve's dad was. It was for 4 XL specialty pizzas and Steve had given them his employee discount of 20% (for deliveries), maximum $10. This came to $53.55 The problem was, these pizzas are on sale and the regular sale price would have been $45.55, but it was a credit card order so we couldn't change it. Whoever answered the door did tip me $3.

After that was an un-remarkable order, $23.56 with a $3.44 tip.

My next order had a note on it "out back in the hot tub." I checked with manager Nick and he said it was indeed a new note (some notes stay on the order in the computer system from a previous delivery).

Sure enough it was a guy, his brother, and his girlfriend, in their hot-tub in the back yard. They asked if I brought beer too. Tip on this delivery was $2.42 on a $12.58 order.

My final delivery was $22.20, they tipped $3.39. The customer was a former Papa Johns driver who had worked for our GM before our local PJ closed and Rick came to work at our store. We messed up their order (was supposed to be pepperoni with banana peppers on the side) but Nick then remade the pizza the right way, and we ended up sending out the mistake pizza too, so they got a little extra.

Speaking of Nick (the manager), he was very sunburnt, having spent the day at Cedar Point with driver Amber. Amber stopped by to see him tonight and it's obvious she's very smitten with him. She had the day off, yet she came up and waited in her car for a couple hours, so that she would be there when we finally closed and Nick got off work.

Nick is a great kid, I hope it works out for both of them.

Total for the night, I took 16 deliveries, drove 57 miles, made $43 in tips, in 8 hours of work.

I ended the night back at Speedway, putting tonight's gas money on my gas card. Since last night's fill-up, I drove 75 miles on 2.15 gallons of gas. That's 34.9 miles per gallon, which is excellent for all the stop-and-go driving I do while delivering pizzas all over town!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Friday Night Slow-Down

Tonight was a perfect example of business slowing down. I drove from 6 PM until close (1 AM). At 10 PM, I had taken 13 deliveries and collected $27 in tips. For the next 3 hours, I took just 2 more deliveries and made another $5.

Times like this are very frustrating. The dishes get done, the floor gets swept and mopped, but if I wanted a minimum wage job, I could get one anywhere. I'm a pizza delivery driver so that I can work for tips. But when there are no deliveries, there are no tips.

In other news, manager Nick has a new girlfriend, driver Amber. I'm sure there will be more news about this cute young couple coming in the future.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cavs Owner Gilbert Delivers 78 Pies

This story about Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert describes how he delivered a record 78 pizzas in 1 night.

"Keep in mind, all forces had to converge at the same time for a number such as this to be achieved," Gilbert wrote Saturday in an e-mail response to a follow-up question. "Perfect low humidity, crystal clear night. Light traffic. Good luck on the green (and yellow) light timing. Lots of deliveries came in 'clusters' of close by houses at roughly the same time. And for some reason almost everybody had their money ready, which is rare. (It's very frustrating for a Pizza Guy to wait at your door for several precious minutes when he knows he has other deliveries in his car and that food is getting cold while you go and look for your money when you had a good 45-60 minutes to do that before he rang your doorbell!)"

Monday, June 11, 2007

3 Years Of Pizza

Tonight was my 3-year anniversary. That's right, I've been a pizza driver for 3 years. Time flies when you're having fun!

Time didn't fly tonight, it was a pretty slow night. In 5 hours I took just 7 deliveries. Tips were decent and I did make $16, driving 28 miles.

Lots of change going on, we have a new driver (Amber), a new waitress (Brittany), and a new manager-in-training (Olga). Meanwhile Manager Ady is taking vacation next week and GM Rick's last week is next week before he moves to North Carolina so his wife (driver Melissa) can get a teaching job.

Just The Facts

I delivered Friday night but I didn't close. I was coaching my kids' soccer team in the county playoffs on Saturday so I needed to get some sleep as Saturday was an early and long day.

Tips were pretty crummy and I had 2 re-runs that were the fault of the insiders (one marked Pepsi when the customer wanted Diet Pepsi, and one entered the wrong street name!)

All together I worked 6 hours, took 17 runs, drove 54 miles, and made $30 in tips. On 10 of my deliveries, the tip was less than $2, and only 2 of them were $3 or more. It was a pretty frustrating night, but $30 is better than nothing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

May Totals

My May totals are a little late, but here they are. I only worked 7 shifts this month. This is an accurate view of how much a pizza delivery driver actually earns:

Shifts: 7
Hours: 38
Deliveries: 82
Tips: $186
Miles: 328

Average miles per delivery: 4.0
Average deliveries per hour: 2.2
Average tips per delivery: $2.27
Average tips per hour: $4.89
Average cash per hour: $7.05
(tips plus mileage)
Total earnings per hour: $13.90
(includes wage of $6.85)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Substitute Sunday

I went in at 4 today because I was working Desiree's shift. There were only 2 other drivers, Mike and Melissa, and Mike left at 6. We were not busy at all, I was in the store an hour before I took my 1st delivery. Around 8 PM we started to get busy and we stayed fairly busy until the end of the night.

This is typical of summer weekend days. People work in the yard, play with their kids, or do whatever they do until later than usual. They don't have the 5PM end-of-the-work-day to tell them when to eat. And when they do get hungry, they are tired, and more often will treat themselves to a pizza. Add in the fact that when it's hot, they don't want to turn their oven on and cook anything themselves, and you'll see why I like working the later shifts on summer weekends.

I did get 3 stiffs tonight out of 16 runs, but I also had 9 tips of above $3.

My last run was to server Stacy, who was actually supposed to be working but called off because she partied too hard the night before and didn't wake up until after 4PM today! Some people were a little upset that she didn't come in, and then had the courage to call in for her discount, but she tipped well so I forgive her :)

I worked 7.5 hours, took 16 deliveries, drove 58 miles, and made $50 in tips!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

She's A Baker

One of the funniest things we when it is slow at work is read job applications. Not that it was slow tonight but there was a hilarious app on top of the clipboard today. The girl's last name was "Baker." Under previous job history, she has worked at Panera Bread. Guess what she did there? She was a baker. Before that she worked at the grocery store, Giant Eagle. Her job title once again? Baker.

Tonight was Steve's last night. Steve is a great guy and a hard worker. This was a 2nd job for him so he only worked a couple nights a week, but he will surely be missed.

I had a pretty good night tonight. It would have been even better if business hadn't slowed down so much in the final 4 hours.

I worked 7.5 hours, took 15 deliveries, drove 49 miles, and made $39 in tips.

Best of all the Cavs beat the Pistons and are going to the NBA Finals!

Friday, June 1, 2007

June Carnival Of Pizza

Welcome to the June 1, 2007 edition of carnival of pizza. This is one of my favorite carnivals yet, with some fantastic recipes, a pizza review, and a very funny story.


Carolyn presents Recipe for Pizza posted at Juggling Frogs, a recipe that uses dough from a bread machine.

Amanda Rose presents A Healthy Pizza? posted at Rebuild from Depression Blog. This is a "pizza makeover" using ingredients that are high in depression-fighting nutrients. It's a "depression buster pizza."

Now I always thought any pizza cheers people up, but this one must be something special!

cookingfor5 presents Breakfast Pizza posted at Simply Cooking. Another interesting recipe. This has to compete with "cold pizza" as a breakfast favorite.


Jeremy Hobbs presents Jeremy's Consumer's Corner: Red Baron Pizzeria Style Frozen Pizzas posted at Jeremy's Consumer's Corner. Jeremy helps you choose your frozen pizza.


cookingfor5 presents Is Our Pizza Ready? posted at Simply Cooking, a hilarious story about picking up pizza.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of pizza using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.