Monday, December 31, 2007

I Work For MONEY!

On my 2nd delivery tonight, the customer handed me $22 for his $21.69 order. It was a neighborhood where I was not surprised to get stiffed.

Then as I turned and was walking away, he called out, "Excuse me" and handed me 4 quarters, saying "Buy yourself a pop or a coffee or something."

I appreciate the tip (even the $1.31 tip) but I've got 7 kids and I'm not out here working so that I can buy myself an overpriced 20 oz bottle of Mountain Dew!

More appreciated was my 4th customer. She paid by credit card and handed me $2 as a tip. She then asked "Is that an ok tip?"

"Sure, two dollars is my average tip," I told her honestly.

"Well here," she said, adding another dollar. It was kind of far out, mileage wise.

I had 2 really good tips tonight ($8 and $6) in a row. But that was really about the extent of my good fortune as I took 12 deliveries in all, working 5 1/2 hours, and made $31 in tips. So my other 10 deliveries tipped just $17 in total.

I had no doubles all night, and I had 4 rather far deliveries, in a row, in the same direction, so my mileage was pretty high. I drove 63 miles, or an average of over 5 miles per run.

Tomorrow night is New Years' Eve. People think it's a great night for delivering pizza but it really only gets good late, and we're supposed to close at 11. Still I'm hoping for an above-average night, and it will definitely be better than my average Monday.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Window Delivery

As I got out of the car and headed for the sidewalk, a kid opened a huge window on the porch and waved me up. I hesitated at first because the note on the ticket said "back door" but they said it was for them and they had the money. To make this even more amusing, as I got almost to the door, the kid warned me "watch out for the dog poop" and sure enough, there were several "land mines" on the porch.

I had to take a rerun today to one of our farthest-out delivery locations. I'm not sure why, the pizzas were correct as printed on the ticket, but the one I had to rerun had anchovies. Talk about plenty of time to stink up my car!

Tonight was a pretty crappy night. Only the sheer volume made it half-decent. Out of 18 deliveries I was stiffed 5 times. Four others tipped just $1 and the coin change, while 7 more tipped $2 and the coin change. A barely-above-average $3 was my 2nd best tip of the night, and my best tip was $4.42 on my final delivery. The guy even thanked me for delivering so late. "Gets me out of washing dishes for a little while at least," I replied.

Totals for the night were 7.5 hours, 18 deliveries, $30 in tips, and 56 miles.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Quick Night

I was supposed to close tonight but I made $24 on 8 runs from 5:30 - 8:30 and got Ted to switch with me. I was able to go home early, tuck my kids in, and celebrate our 4th anniversary watching Knocked Up on DVD.

I drove 27 miles. It's always nice when your tips is close to the same as your miles!

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

. . . and all the mom's were too tired to cook from shopping all day. I took 18 deliveries in 6 hours tonight!

My first delivery was unique. The woman wanted to "inspect the pizza" before she paid. She opened the box and even picked up a piece of pizza to make sure the bottom wasn't burnt! I've never seen anything like that before. And then she didn't tip, other than the coin change.
My only stiff of the night was to room 7 at the local Howard Johnsons.

My 2nd trip was a 4-bagger that netted me $12 in tips! I also took a triple and 2 doubles, before ending my night with 6 consecutive singles.

I didn't expect us to be as busy or tips to be as good as they were, I expected everyone to be in a depressed mood since our Cleveland Browns lost today.

I drove 63 miles and made $46 in tips. I had 3 tips over $4 but none over $4.75.

Our shop closes early (7 PM) on Christmas eve and we're closed on Christmas. I'm now off until Friday, December 28th so Merry Christmas to all my readers.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Vices And Pizza Delivery

After 3 nights in a row, I didn't deliver to 316 S.M. tonight. Ted did.

I thought I had a delivery that would prolong my life today. A few weeks ago I came across this article that staring at women's breasts can prolong a man's life. Well tonight I had a delivery to the Brass Pole, a "Gentlemen's Club."

But alas, I was greeted at the entrance and told to wait there until someone brought me the money. The stage was probable 40-50 feet away so any staring was actually more like squinting. It was a large order (6 pizzas) and I did get a tip of almost $5!

The $5 tip was the name of the game tonight, as I got that on 3 of my first 6 deliveries, and again on my last 2. On those 5 deliveries I made $26! On my other 10 deliveries I made $15.

Other interesting things tonight were the guy who asked me to pick him up a pack of Newport Kings on my way. This happens every once in a while and we're really not allowed.

Then my final delivery was to a party where the alcohol appeared to be flowing freely. It was a credit card and there was already a $2 tip on the card, but the guy met me at the door with another $3 in singles! I asked if the 2 pizzas were going to be enough for all the people there (probably close to a dozen) and he said it didn't really matter as long as there was enough for him!

Also worthy of mention was the customer who answered the door wearing a t-shirt from "Don's Pizza in LaGrange", which I had never heard of. I asked him about it and he said that they closed a few years ago when they quit paying their bills.

Bad news of the night was one of our girl drivers had a really rough night. First she got the runaround, being sent to a very hard-to-find address in a trailer park that's not even in our delivery area. Then not much later, she stopped at a convenience store to ask for directions and ended up being harassed and even followed by some jerks that were hanging around there! She was pretty shook up!

Special thanks to GM Ady who made up a small box of fudge and candy for each of her employees as a Christmas gift! This was very thoughtful and the first Christmas gift or bonus I've gotten in 4 years of working here!

Totals for the night were 7 hours driving, 15 deliveries, $41 in tips, and 63 miles.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Making Change

We had a new driver tonight, Ted. He's in his late 30's and has a 2nd wife and 5 kids in all. We can understand each other's reason's for driving pizza! He seems like a good guy and a hard worker.

I drove for 7 1/2 hours, took 18 deliveries, drove 66 miles, and made $38 in tips. That's a pretty decent night, especially volume-wise.

When we check in we are given a "bank" of $15, a $5 and ten $1's. As the night goes on the driver may add another $5 or a few singles to his bank, but he "drops" cash to the manager throughout the night so as not to be a target for thieves.

I had a few interesting things happen tonight while "making change." First off, my first order was for $22.83. I realized that if the customer paid with 2 $20's, I couldn't make correct change, so I borrowed a $5 from the drawer, with manager approval.

Sure enough, the customer paid with 2 $20's and asked for $14 back, leaving me with a nice $3.17 tip. Then the customer asked, "That's not going to short you on one's, is it?" I told him I was fine, but it was odd as I've never had a customer ask that before.

Several deliveries later, I had a customer pay her $7.58 order with a $10 and a $1. Anytime the customer hands me a $1 along with the rest of their money, it's a pretty safe assumption that they don't expect change, as any change (other than coin change which I almost never carry) would include a $1 back to them.

Later I had a delivery for $28.32. The woman paid with 2 $20's and asked for a $5 and five $1's back, leaving me with $1.68 tip. She then handed me $2 more back. I'm not sure why she didn't just ask for $8 back in the first place?

Finally, for the 3rd night in a row I had the displeasure of delivering to 316 S. M., the serial stiffer that never tips. Their check was $9.71 so before I left, I changed in $1 and put 71 cents in one pocket and 29 cents in the other. After the guy handed me $10, I slowly dumped the 29 cents into his hand, before I gave him his food. He had a disgusted "I don't need your 29 cents" look on his face. Well now he knows how we drivers feel!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bad Night

I left after just 3 deliveries tonight. Out of respect for my General Manager Ady, I'm not going to go into detail here. I'll simply say that we were not providing our delivery customers with our best level of service. As I left on my 3rd delivery, I told Manager Kristie that I needed to go home after this.

When I got back, Kristie told me the next delivery had a $5 tip, but even that wasn't enough to convince me to stay.

I spoke with Ady on the phone after I got home and she said she would resolve the situation.

In 1 1/2 hours, I took just 3 deliveries, drove 17 miles, and made $5 in tips ($5.23 to be precise). My final delivery was to the "serial stiffer" I mentioned a couple nights ago.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Cookies As A Tip

It happens almost every year around this time. A motherly-type lady gives me a cash tip (usually $2-3) and a small plate of cookies! I then bring them back to the shop and share. Today's cookies were very tasty. Nick and I devoured them pretty quickly.

Tonight was the exact opposite of last night. I was working with a couple newer drivers (who are slower and take fewer runs at a time) so I took more than my share of runs. I had only 1 stiff tonight (out of 15 runs) and other than that, every tip was $2 or more. I had 2 tips of $5 or more.

Total for the night was 5 hours, 15 deliveries, 40 miles, and $42 in tips. The 40 miles for 15 deliveries part is really amazing! It's mainly a factor of lots of multi-runs and good routing. I took 2 triples and 4 doubles, and my only single was just about a mile from the shop.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snowy Sunday

We had snowy weather here in Ohio today. If anybody saw the Browns game on TV, I went to work immediately after that in similar conditions (for the first couple hours). Eventually the winds died down but the roads were still pretty nasty.

I actually had a minor accident in my van on the way home from church. I was unable to stop and bumped a big truck from behind at about 5 MPH. His truck was fine, my grill is pretty messed up, and it took us almost 1/2 hour to get our vehicles unattached.

But back to pizza driving, my Chevy Prism handled pretty well in the snow. I had 2 $5+ tips on my first 6 runs and was off to a great start, collecting $19. Then things turned sour.

For my next 10 runs, I had 2 $3 tips, 4 tips of $1 and the change (less than 50 cents), 1 coin change stiff (42 cents), and 3 exact change stiffs. I was fed up. The last one was a serial stiffer who has begun to order more frequently. If they had ordered a 2-liter I probably would have given it a thorough shaking!

My final run was another good tip ($4.67 on a $15.33 order) and I ended up with $35 on 17 deliveries over 6 hours. Total mileage was 75, even though I took 4 doubles and a triple!

Rumor was that driver Desiree went home with around $100 after her day shift today. Good for her, I just wish she'd left a little for me!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Gifts - Pizza Style

Since we are less than 2 weeks from Christmas, I wanted to post on Christmas gifts with a pizza theme. Of course you could always give a gift card to a favorite pizza place, but I wanted to mention some other items also.

Melissa and Doug Pizza Party - This is on sale at Amazon for $12. Ages 3 and up, it's a wooden pizza set. I've never actually seen one but it seems they get rave reviews.

For the younger toddler, check out Pizza Party Elmo. You can find him at WalMart for $20. Not only does Elmo sing, but the pizza (having a face and all) sings as well. My son George will find one of these under the tree this year.

If you're shopping for a reader, you may want to consider best-selling author John Grisham's latest novel, Playing For Pizza. This book is about a pro football player who loses the championship game for the Cleveland Browns and flees to seek refuge in Italy playing in the Italian NFL. It's available at Amazon for $12.

For the baker in your life, another option I found is this neat Pizza Gift Basket, available for $80 at Gourmet Gift Baskets. It contains various pizza ingredients, as well as a pizza cutter and a pizza stone.

Finally, for the gift that keeps on giving all year long, consider a membership in the Pizza Of The Month club. For $31.95 per month (plus $13 shipping) at Clubs Of America, your friend will get 3 different gourmet frozen pizzas in the mail each month.

NY Times Article

I found a NY Times article today that expresses pretty well some of the issues that food delivery workers deal with. Check it out if you get a minute.

Also, one thing I meant to post about Wednesday night. I had a delivery and I got to the house, it looked pretty dark and nobody came to the door. Not only that the ticket had an apartment number, and this was clearly a single family home.

I knocked, and nobody answerred. I retreated to my car and called the store, and spoke with Melissa, the order taker. She had some trouble remembering if this was a new address or if it was already in the system. Also, to make matters worse, there was a note on the ticket that said "AREA CODE" but there was no area code. So my fear was that it was not a 440 number.

Melissa was not much help, so I attempted to call the customer. They were indeed a 440 number, and they were nowhere near the street on the ticket. When I finally arrived at their apartment, they mentioned that the previous driver had also gone to the wrong spot and told her that he would fix it in the system.

"Alot of people say that, but I know how to fix it, and I will. It's my gas money I'm wasting going to the wrong spot," I told her, as she handed me a $2 tip.

I actually called in while on the road and had Melissa fix it. And I double-checked the system when I got back to confirm that it was corrected.

I do get paid for an extra run ($1.10 currently) when things like this happen.


My first and last deliveries were identical (and nice) tonight. Each was for 1 pizza for $15.58. Each customer paid with a $20. Each customer instructed me that no change was necessary! Very nice!

Nick also had an interesting thing happen tonight. I was washing dishes and he brought me the calculator. Our cash in the store should have been $543.21.

I took 8 deliveries (plus 1 rerun) in 5 hours, drove 44 miles, and made $24 in tips.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Pizza Guy Murdered

I just found this story about the arrest of a man for the murder of Dominos pizza delivery driver Cory Lind, 20, in Massachussetts.

Lind had left on a "routine delivery" on Monday morning. Co-workers called the police when he did not return and they could not locate him.

This is the 2nd murder of a pizza guy I've heard about in the past couple weeks, the other being in California. Scary stuff.

Be careful out there!

Pizzeria Reopens

This article tells the story of the opening of D'Tutanelli's Pizza. D'Tutanelli's is in the same building and uses mostly the same recipes as Granny D's.

This is where the previous owner was shot and killed several months ago.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fees On Credit Card Tips

Last week I got into a discussion on a fantasy football message board. The original question was, why was food and alcohol split apart on a check for a company dinner, and whether the customer should tip the same on both the food and the alcohol.

One restaurant owner, while giving his point of view, mentioned that he deducts the fee his business pays to the credit card processing company from the tip, considering this cost to be directly related to the tip.

I think this is an underhanded way of transferring a portion of the cost of doing business to the employee, and not giving the employee the full amount of the tip that the customer intended.

I did some googling and found this article. Apparently a company in California was similarly deducting the fees from the servers' tips. A group of servers took the restaurant chain to court and lost. The California legislature then enacted a new law, AB 2509, prohibiting this practice.

This wouldn't affect me much either way as less than 20 % of my deliveries pay by credit card, and several of those that do either give a cash tip or don't tip at all, but the principle of it alone would probably be enough to encourage me to seek employment elsewhere.

Customer Interactions

Tonight started off decent, I had $10 in tips in my first 2 hours. Unfortunately I only made $4 in the next 3 hours. Totals for 5 hours were 9 deliveries, $14 in tips, 35 miles.

When I arrived at my next to last delivery, there was a woman maybe in here late 40's standing by the front door smoking a cigarette. We had the following conversation:

Woman (yelling back into the house): "There's a man here"

Woman (to me): "What do you have?"

Me: "Pizza."

Woman: "Are you going to give it to me?"

Me: "Are you going to give me the money?"

Woman: "No."

Me: "Then I can just go home"

Woman (to younger girl, early 20's): "He won't give me the pizza."

Me: "No money, no food."

Woman (as her daughter handed me the money): "Don't order from these guys anymore."

Woman (to me): "The other guys give me the pizza first."

Me: "Good for them."

Woman: "You're talking yourself out of a tip"

Me: (silence) . . . "Thanks" (as her daughter handed me a single $1 back as a tip.)

My next delivery was just about as bad. It was to a very nice apartment complex. I rang the buzzer and a man in his early 20's came down to the door and gave me $25.60 for his $25.58 order.

"Sorry about no tip tonight" he said as I counted the money.

"I guess I'm sorry too, huh" was my reply.

Monday, December 10, 2007

December 2007 Carnival Of Pizza

Welcome to the December 10, 2007 edition of Carnival of Pizza. We have an interesting mix of posts this month.


Fellow runner Katy presents a delicious-looking recipe called Pizza Margherita posted at sugarlaw.


Jamie presents A Slice of the Best posted at Explorer Pass Blog. Jamie's post gives out some information on a tour of Brooklyn through pizza! Sounds like a great way to see some of New York's best pizzerias.

blue skelton presents It’s Spiderman Pizza Delivery posted at Blue Skelton Publications. I'm not sure when this event actually happened, but apparently it was a promotion with Papa John's to go along with the Blu-ray DVD release of Spiderman 3. Police, fire, and rescue workers from southern California (who recently battled wildfires) received 6000 "Hometown Super Hero" pizzas! Very cool!

Sagar presents Top 50 Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in the World posted at Travelhacker. I expect at least many of the vegetarian places serve pizza. Four of the top 50 write-ups specifically mention pizza, including 2 of 10 in North America.

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.

Slow Start, Fast Finish

I took 18 deliveries tonight. I didn't get as much as a $3 tip for any of my first 16 deliveries. Then I got a total of $9 on my last 2. Totals for the night were 6 hours, 18 runs, $37 in tips, and 66 miles.

I expected that we would be busy, and we certainly were. Chilly, rainy weather, combined with a 4 PM Browns game, and people out all day Christmas shopping, led to many delivery orders.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Happy Birthday (2 nights)

I turned 40 on the 8th. This encompassed 2 shifts, the last hour of Friday night, as well as Saturday night. Both nights were pretty slow, business-wise.

Friday I worked 7 hours, took 13 deliveries, drove 48 miles, and made $29 in tips. Saturday I worked just 3 hours, took 5 deliveries, drove 22 miles, and made $13.

One of the highlights of Friday was recognizing a customer by voice. Mrs. Washington, who ironically lives in an apartment on Washington Avenue. She's an older lady who lives alone. She always pays with exact change and then adds a $2 tip.

Saturday I was scheduled to work longer but my kids soccer team (which I coach) had our game moved to 7:30 PM. Thanks to Felonious Dave for covering for me until I could get in (around 9:30 PM).

Thursday, December 6, 2007


A couple interesting patterns tonight. My first 4 tips got bigger and bigger.
  • 69 cents on a $31.31 order
  • $1.92 on a $11.08 order
  • $2.42 on a $12.58 order
  • $4.00 on a $21.57 order
Then my final 4 deliveries were all to low income or government assisted housing. And you could pretty much tell by the tips.
  • $0.41 on a $19.59 order
  • $1.92 on a $11.08 order
  • $0.17 on a $16.83 order
  • $2.43 on a $19.57 order (this couple had bought a home and was moving out.
Tonight was my first night to drive my newer Chevy Prism in snowy conditions. We got a couple inches today and some of the sidestreets have been packed down (not salted or plowed). It did ok, but I do have to be a little more careful and give myself time to stop.

Several new workers tonight, including 2 new managers in training. Former IHOP worker Brianne and our own driver Kristie both wore the gray shirts that signified "manager".

In 5 hours, I took 11 deliveries, drove 44 miles, and made $22 in tips. It was a pretty average night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Welcome Back Felonious Dave

One of our former assistant managers, known as Felonious Dave, returned tonight. He's currently managing a Taco Bell but he's going to be working for us 1-2 nights each week to earn some extra cash. Dave's a good guy and I'm glad to see him again.

My first 3 deliveries tonight were to 3 different streets with the word Ridge in their name.

I took 9 deliveries in 5 hours, making $19 in tips while driving 32 miles. Second to last driver Todd went home around 10 but I only had 1 run after that.

I didn't get to leave until around 12:30 as Nick was trying to re-hang some vent covers in the kitchen and the screws and nuts weren't the same matching size. Felonious Dave is considering buying a pizza franchise. Nick and I had a nice discussion on how much profit potential there might be in a pizzeria and what sort of business we might open if we did have 1/2 million in cash.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Busy Sunday, Talking Pizza

From 5 until 8 tonight seemed like about as busy as we have been on a Sunday in recent memory. The weather was crummy (it was cold and rainy) and the Browns were on TV, playing at Arizona in the 4PM game.

In fact, driver Jon was there the whole time I was, but I never saw him until he was getting ready to go home around 8. We had 5 drivers for most of the rush and still my first 5 trips were 4 doubles and a triple.

The funniest thing to happen tonight was on my final delivery. A little girl about 2 told came to the door while her mom was getting the money. I smiled and said hi. The girl bashfully went back into the apartment and told her mom "The pizza said hi to me." Her mom told her it must have been the pizza guy because pizzas can't talk. (She must not have seen the new Elmo toy.)

My worst tip of the night was $1.17 on a $18.83 order that was at least a mile out of our delivery area in the first place. If it hadn't been the 3rd run of my triple I probably would have been upset. My best tip was $7.00 on a $35.05 credit card order a little after 10 PM.

Totals for the night were 6 hours driving, 18 deliveries, 54 miles, and $49 in tips. This was the most profitable Sunday I've had in quite some time.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Maps vs. GPS

Prospective pizza driver David from Michigan wrote, How do you learn the areas and is a GPS unit a practical tool?

Our store had a huge wall-map with a grid. The computer assigns the grid to the delivery ticket when the order is placed over the phone, so we know where to start looking. In about 2-3 months you will have a pretty good idea where 95 % of the streets are in your area.

A GPS may be handy at the beginning, but I would not rely on it. Learning the streets yourself will help you to know what goes together as a double. Also, the time it takes to key in the address will slow you down.

What would be really cool is to have the address barcoded on the delivery ticket, so that you could just swipe the ticket with a portable barcode reader in your car, and have the address entered into the GPS automatically.


I had a pretty decent night tonight. I took 16 deliveries and only 2 stiff. Some teenage boys thought it was funny to count out 35 pennies but then they had the total wrong and owed me $25.59 (not $25.35 that they thought). Still, they (intentionally or not) tried to short me $1 but I counted their cash before I gave them their food.

The other stiff was also some high school boys who paid $20 for their $19.57 order.

On the other hand, I did have 4 tips of $4 or more, including a run of $5 - $4 - $2 - $5. I made $16 in those 4 deliveries. It's stretches like that that can really make or break your night.

I would have made more money but our business totally died shortly after 11 PM. I seriously don't think the phone rang once after 11:30.

For the night, I worked 7.5 hours, drove 58 miles on 16 deliveries, and made $39 in tips.