Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Is A Tip?

I can tell you it's not 3 dimes and a nickel.

One of my deliveries tonight was for $13.58. The guy met me with a $20, $3 ones, and some change. He dumped 2 quarters, 4 dimes, and a nickel into my hand. I gave him back 3 of the dimes and the nickel.

A dollar is a pretty crummy tip, but at least it's a tip. A few coins isn't a tip, it's an insult.

Later the same customer called back. They had expected a pizza with pepperoni and banana peppers, but they just got banana peppers. Why? According to Brianne, who took the order, the customer asked how much for 2 toppings and then said no to just have the 1 topping (banana peppers).

Being a corporate francise, the customer is always right, so we made them another pizza and delivered it. We did make them turn in the original pizza (minus about 1 1/2 slices that they had already devoured.)

Twice tonight I ran out of change. I started with a bank of a $5 and 5 $1's. My first customer was a credit card order and tipped me $2.50 in quarters.

My next customer added a $5, paying $25 for his $21.87 order. My third customer added another 2 $1's, paying $22 for her $19.22 order. At this point I had 2 $5's and 12 $1's, plus the $2.50 in quarters.

My 4th customer then shorted me, asking for $18 in change for her $19.07 order. She did give me 7 cents to make my tip an even $3. But my bank was now down to $4 plus the quarters. I should have replenished it at this point by cashing in a $20 but I forgot.

The next customer had a $13.58 order, paid with a $20, and asked for a $5 back. I had to give her 4 $1's and 4 quarters. She did live in an apartment so she didn't mind getting the quarters, I was mildly embarassed though.

I got back and turned in a $20 for 2 $5's and 10 $1's. The next customer paid me with a $20 and $3 and 60 cents, and asked for $10 back. I gave him my 2 $5's, leaving me with $13 in ones.

My last delivery of the night was for $20.57. I should have turned in another $20 to be safe but I forgot again and sure enough, the customer paid with 2 $20's. I gave him back $13 and a pocketfull of change which I believe was $2.17, leaving me with $4.16 for a tip. They are a regular customer and decent tipper so they were ok with that.

Also of note tonight, we got a new map on the wall. Our old map was almost 10 years old. My street is 9 years old that I live on and it wasn't on our wall map, but it is now. When I first noticed it tonight, I had to stop and stare for about 5 minutes. It even has some landmarks marked, like the hotels we deliver to, various gas stations, even McDonalds & Friendly's!

Total for the night was 4 1/2 hours, 8 deliveries, 35 miles, and $17 in tips.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Which Is Better?

Working or getting called off?

Last week on Monday I got called off.

Tonight I worked 3 1/2 hours, took 6 deliveries, drove 26 miles, and made a whopping $6.68 in tips.

Who Pays For My Phone?

I made a ridiculous amount of delivery-related calls tonight.
  • Three different times I was sent out on a credit card delivery without being aware of it and had to phone back to the store to verify that it was a credit card payment.
  • Once I was sent to the wrong street and had to call the customer to get the correct address.
  • Twice I was dispatched to a duplex with A and B or Up and Down apartments. I had to phone the customer (I think it's rude to knock the wrong door, especially after 9 PM.

I had some other interesting events as I made my deliveries.

  • One customer signed the credit card without writing the tip or total. I handed it back with my usual remark. "You have to fill out the total even if you don't tip. If you leave it blank, you never know what someone might write in there." The woman then added a $3 tip!
  • Once another man walked up behind me as I was waiting for the customer to gather the money and bring it to the door. I asked if I was in his way and he said no he had to wait, he was delivering chinese food. I got a 3 cent tip. I told him I hoped he did better but I doubt it.
  • Once I took a 4-bagger (we were a driver short tonight) where 1 of the 4 deliveries had pre-submitted a $5 credit card tip. My total tips for those 4 runs were $5.44.
  • I had a delivery to a bar and was offered a shot by the bartender. Of course I'm not allowed to accept alcohol while I'm driving!

It was one of those nights where I made money by perserverance. My first 5 deliveries yielded just $6 in tips, while the next 5 brought in just another $9. But I drove for 6 hours, took 21 runs, drove 77 miles, and made $37 in tips.

I worked with Kristi as closing manager. I like working with her as she keeps people busy, making sure the prep and the dishes get done in a timely manner!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Second-Hand Stories

I drove tonight for 5 hours. I took 11 deliveries, drove 43 miles, and made an unremarkable $19 in tips. My night was not memorable but I do have 2 stories tonight from other drivers.

First Ted was telling about a delivery where a nice-looking young girl met him in a skimpy outfit. Then during the exchange she dropped several coins and bent over to pick them up, while Ted enjoyed the view. She didn't tip, apologizing and explaining where she spent too much money already, but Ted told me he didn't really mind.

Disclaimer: Ted said that, in his mind, this cute girl was definitely over 18.

Nick also had an amusing story tonight. He had a delivery to the local Holiday Inn. He parked at the entrance he thought would be closest but he ended up having to walk all the way down several halls before he got to the correct room.

The customer paid and Nick went to get the pizza from the hotbag but he found . . . an empty bag! He had been on a double and he brought the empty bag from his first delivery, leaving the hotel customer's pizza in his car.

He had to walk all the way back through the hotel to his car, and then back down the halls again. He found the customer still standing with the door propped open, talking to someone. The customer then said to Nick, "No, we weren't talking about you, we were talking about the dog."

I hope I got the stories right. They each told them with more flair than I probably did here, but my own night was so boring I decided to borrow their stories.

I'm off until Sunday night.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Called Off

Last night was a first for me, I got called off before I even got to work.

I was driving home from my day job and Kristi, another driver / manager, called. She said I didn't need to bother coming in. Business was dead and there had only been 3 deliveries since 4 PM. (It was around 6.)

So I went home and relaxed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Freezing Cold

The temperature tonight was down into the single digits. It was very cold outside! Standing on someone's porch waiting for them to answer the door can be brutally cold to the pizza driver, but luckily most of my time is spent in a warm car or in the warm store.

We were pretty slow early on tonight, and we had 5 drivers working. Prep was done and dishes were caught up so Steve, our other veteran driver, got the other 3 guys sent home before 7 PM. Then we got a little busy and stayed busy until after 9 PM. I took 20 deliveries in 6 1/2 hours! I drove 70 miles and made $44 in tips. The 20 deliveries includes 2 no-shows ... one where I was sent to a bad address and one where the customer changed their mind and came in to pick up the food.

Add in 4 stiffs and I actually got $44 in tips from just 14 deliveries. I had 11 tips between $2 and $3.83. It was a very profitable night!

An interesting event that repeated itself tonight was customers adding to their tip.

My 3rd delivery was impressed with how fast I brought her the food. She had $1 tip ready but said something to her husband and he came back with $2.

My 6th delivery brought $15 to the door for his $14.57 order, then had me wait while he went back in for a tip. He brought me another $3.40.

Finally, my 16th delivery apologized for how long they made me wait at the door to their apartment building (only a couple minutes really), saying "my bad" and gave me an extra $1 in quarters, a $2.84 tip on a $23.16 order.

My biggest tip of the night was to co-worker Hoover, a tip of almost $7 for a $31 order. It was appreciated, especially since it was about a 12 mile round trip. Luckily for me there was another delivery at the same time to the same neighborhood and I made another $4 there, giving me a total of $11 on that one run.

I got back to the store a little after 11 from what I thought was my final delivery, but it turned out it was not. Steve was up and there was 1 more delivery, but he did not want to take it. It was to Bugsy's, a local strip-club. Steve's other job is at Rent-A-Center and he rents to several of the dancers, and I guess he didn't want to take a chance on seeing them in a compromising position. The ticket said the delivery was for "Butterfly" but a guy came to the door and paid for the pizza.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Politics Of Pizza

Since it's primary season, I thought I would add a post on the presidential primaries. I haven't done alot of research yet since Ohio doesn't vote until March.

But I did see that local democratic also-ran, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, was in the news as his supporters were upset over a pizza commercial that made fun of him. Check out the story (and the commercial).

The story was mentioned by several other blogs, including the American Princess, the National Review, and even the Wonkette!

Also, my wife and I were discussing candidates and I looked up Ron Paul's website. I found an interesting stance there that should appeal to pizza drivers everywhere. No tax on tips!

It is an outrage that waiters, waitresses, and other service-sector employees have to pay taxes on the tips they earn. - quotes the website.

Congressman Paul has introduced H.R. 3664. The Tax Free Tips Act of 2007 will exempt tips from federal income and payroll taxes. Sounds like a great idea to me!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Date Night

This post really has nothing to do with pizza delivery but I think it's an interesting story so I'm posting it here anyways.

My wife Victoria and I went out to dinner tonight and then afterwards went to a local bar to shoot pool for about an hour. We drank Smirnoff Ice, Victoria had the Green Apple while I tried Triple Black and also Watermelon.

Anyways, as we were shooting pool, the place was mostly empty. It was only 9 PM. A guy wandered past our table a couple times and then approached us asking to use a phone to call for a ride home. He had been drinking and didn't want to stumble out on his own. I let him make a call and he called his mom to come get him.

I thought he looked familiar and I asked if his name was Mark. It was. I recognized him from a couple years ago when Nick, Josue, and I went out on Wardo's birthday. We went a few different places before we found someplace that would let Nick in. Along the way somehow this drunk guy started tagging along with us.

It was the same guy!

When I reminded him, he remembered me. He even introduced me to his mom who came to pick him up! (Mark is 33).

Crazy Night!

Tonight was simply a crazy night from start to finish. Even our cook Mona agreed.

It started off with me arriving late. I just missed my train home from my other job and then the next train was late and slow so I got home about 25 minutes later than I should have. Then my uniform was in the basement (luckily they were at least washed) so after I started getting undressed I had to get dressed again and go down and find my clothes. So I didn't get to work until about 6:30.

My first delivery didn't leave the store until over 30 minutes after it was placed. The pizza was made but somehow didn't get sent back as the deliveries should, and a manager had to go look for it. I made the long trek to the house (grid C5) where I was looking for 146 XXX street. Well I saw 180 and then the next house was 142. I phoned the customer to ask where 146 was. They looked out the window and saw me and told me to go towards Lake Ave. I did, and the next house after 142 was 160, then 156 ... the 142 house was just totally misnumbered. I got $2.02 on a $13.08 order.

My second delivery customer said that he had ordered online and paid by credit card, but it was marked as cash on my ticket. I phoned the store but the (newer) manager I got didn't know how to do online orders so I just had the guy sign the back of the ticket and gave him his food, I figured I could fix it myself when I got back. He wrote in a $1 tip on a $14.58 order.

My 3rd delivery was a rerun to a pickup customer about 6 miles away. They had picked up their food but there was a pizza missing. We don't usually deliver replacements to pick-up customers. They did tip me $3 but for the distance and time, it was still hardly worth it.

My 4th customer ordered 3 pizzas and a order of wings, well done. I could tell that the wings weren't well done so I put them back in the oven myself and waited while they got cooked a 2nd time. The guy tipped me $3.71 on a $28.29 order, my best tip of the night.

My 5th and 6th deliveries were a double. The guy at the 5th delivery is usually a $5 tipper, but told me he had just lost his job. He tipped $2.43 on his $25.57 order. His story turned out to be a foreshadowing of another customer sob story yet to come!

The 2nd delivery of the double was my only uneventful delivery of the night, tipping $3.41 on their $26.59 5-pizza order.

After that I took my 7th delivery. It was a house with multiple units and multiple entrances, so I called them from the porch. When the girl got to the door she told me that I'd been there before and I should have remembered to go around back. I told her it wasn't marked on the ticket and I go to about 100 houses a week sometimes. She then reminded me that her uncle had tried to pay by check, and I did indeed remember being there before and going around back. She gave me $21.10 on her $21.07 order. I don't consider 3 cents a tip, but more of an insult.

My 8th & 9th deliveries were another double. The guy at house #8 was standing on his porch smoking, and proceeded to tell me that his wife was in the hospital, she had had a total hip replacement, she may have to go to a nursing home, he used to deliver pizzas, he had a dog that was a good guard dog, he still had to lock his garage, he had some nice tools in it ... and on and on and on! But he gave me $17 for his $16.09 order so I was in no mood to stay to listen to him. Plus I had to get to . . .

Delivery number 9. This woman had called back to ask the driver to phone when they were about to arrive, as she couldn't hear the knocking way in the back. So I phoned as I was pulling onto their street. However, there was a man already waiting outside. He asked if I had his wings, he asked what "she" got on the pizza, then he said he didn't really care as long as he got his wings. He tipped $2.43 on his $18.57 order.

My final delivery was a new address. I had just had a conversation with the manager in training about the night we were robbed and how we were supposed to phone back all new addresses after dark. Well she took the order, it was a new address, the grid was wrong, I knew it was an apartment building and there was no apartment number on the ticket. I asked her about it and she said "oh yeah I forgot." I proceeded to call the customer and everything checked out ok. He tipped me $2.42 on his $13.58 order.

To top the night off, the manager came back as I was finishing up the dishes and asked "is this running?" about the loud, obviously running dishwasher, as she opened the side and dirty dishwater shot right into my eyes.

Totals for the night were 4 1/2 hours driving, 10 deliveries, 49 miles, and $21 in tips.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Intentional Or Unintentional?

I worked 3 hours tonight and took 3 trips (2 doubles and a single). My 4th run was a credit card. The guy signed the slip and handed me a small wad of $1's. When I got to the car, I saw that he had put $5 on the credit card tip line and added it to the total. I thought I also had $5 in singles.

I thought about it for a couple seconds, then decided to phone him to make sure this was what he intended. $5 is a pretty generous tip in itself, and I didn't want to take advantage of him if this was a mistake. Much to my surprise, he confirmed that he intended to give me the $11 tip (I actually had $6 ones.

Totals for the night were 3 hours, 5 deliveries, 18 miles, and $22 in tips.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Speedway Gasoline

There is a Speedway gas station right across from the pizzeria where I work. It is very convenient and the prices are good. As a pizza driver (who also has a 20 mile commute each day for my day job and a 40 mile commute to pick up my kids when they are at their mom's) I use quite a bit of gas!

I use the Speedy Rewards cards to earn points. Also, since I buy most of my gas with cash, I always use a gift card. Each month Speedway has a different promotion, right now you get 1000 bonus points when you make a $50 recharge on your Speedway Cash Card. Since 17500 points gets me a free $25 gift card, that is like getting $1.42 free with each $50 recharge. That may not seem like alot but when I recharge 6-8 times each month, it adds up!

Tonight the girl working the register remarked that she was always meaning to get herself a gift card so she could take advantage of the points. Then she told how she almost ran out of gas 3 times since she started working there.

"Hello! I work at a gas station!" she exclaimed.

I worked 6 hours tonight and took just 10 deliveries. I didn't write down my mileage but I think it was around 35 miles. And I made $24 in tips.

Monday, January 7, 2008

BCS Monday

Well tonight really was BCS College Football Championship Monday. Since my Buckeyes were playing, I tried to get out early. We were busy from 6-8 but then we pretty much died down once the game got going. I actually sent Desiree on a double, skipping myself, so I could stay in the shop and get the dishes done so I could go home. And I was able to go home around 9:30, after just 3 1/2 hours.

Totals for the night were 8 deliveries, $17 in tips, and 21 miles driven.

Super Bowl Sunday?

Fellow driver Steve asked tonight if it was Super Bowl Sunday. This was because when I arrived for work at 5:30 we had 5 drivers working, John, Ted, and Cliff, besides Steve and myself. John was anxious to leave anyways as he goes to college a couple hours away and just works on the weekends.

So Steve, John, and I got the "pre-close" or frozen dough preparation done in record time and by 7 PM all the other drivers were gone except for Steve and I.

I didn't have any remarkable deliveries tonight but I did have a total of 16 runs in 5 1/2 hours of driving. I drove 54 miles and made $34 in tips, helped greatly by a $6.94 tip (on a $25.06 order).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Crime Scene?

I had a delivery tonight to one of my favorite customers, one of Big Steve's friends. As I was approaching their house, I saw 2 police cars and an ambulance parked out front. I quickly phoned to make sure they were ok.

"Yeah, my hillbilly neighbor got pissed at her boyfriend. I know how this scene plays out, I've seen it before." He came out and paid for the pizza, and as he was standing on his back porch, the policeman across the yard asked to speak with him. I told him to tell the officer I didn't know anything!

That was a double, and at the previous delivery there was a big dog standing on the porch, barking. I didn't get too close. A girl met me at the door and told me that the dog didn't bite, he didn't even have teeth! Then she told me she didn't have the money, that it was on it's way. I was about to leave when a truck pulled up and the man indeed had the money and paid for the food.

I only worked 4 hours tonight. I didn't get there until 6:30 since my kids had a soccer game this afternoon. And I was only scheduled until 10, a rare (and welcome) non-closing night. I got to come home and watch the end of the Steelers - Jaguars playoff game with my wife.

I took 9 deliveries, drove 29 miles, and made $22 in tips.

Good Night Gone Bad

I walked in the door tonight and was immediately dispatched on a triple. We were so busy we didn't have enough bags. I had to squeeze 2 deliveries into one hot bag. An hour later I almost had to take a pizza wrapped in my coat!

On my first trip (three deliveries) I made $10 in tips. In my first hour I took 5 deliveries and made $12.

In my next 4 1/2 hours I took 5 deliveries and made another $11. Business just died almost instantly. So bad that I asked to go home an hour before we closed. Dishes were done, frozen dough prep was done, and the phone was ringing about once an hour.

Totals for the night were 5 1/2 hours driving, 10 deliveries, 34 miles, and $23 in tips.

Only interesting delivery was a guy who tipped me $1.29 and then asked me to break a $20 for him so he could pay his girl for bringing him cigarettes.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

December 2007 Monthly Totals

Shifts: 19
Hours: 103.5
Deliveries: 248
Tips: $571
Miles: 930

Average miles per delivery: 3.8
Average deliveries per hour: 2.4
Average tips per delivery: $2.30
Average tips per hour: $5.52
Average cash per hour: $8.15 (tips plus mileage)
Total earnings per hour: $15.00 (includes wage of $6.85)

Texting For Smokes

I forgot one of the funniest things that happened last night, as reported by Ted. He had phoned a customer as there was some mix-up with the order or the address. Well, he got a text message a few minutes later saying "do you have any newports? I sure could use one."

Apparently the customer had mixed him up with someone else on her phone and texted him by mistake.

Late Start

I was held up at my day job for about an hour today, trying to get a database view working properly, so I didn't start driving until around 7 PM. Still, the cold snowy weather and a new tv promotion we are running kept us pretty busy. And we were 2 drivers short, as Desiree was having car trouble and Todd was a no-show.

So it was Ted, daytime driver Mark (staying late), and manager Nick until I got there.

I drove 4 hours, took 10 deliveries, made $24, and drove 35 miles. Pretty decent 4 hours. Of course our volume of business and shortage of drivers (on buffet night) meant there were another 1 1/2 hours of dishes to do, plus most of the frozen dough prep for Thursday night. I didn't get out of there until after 12:30 AM.

Then I was frustrated getting gas. I always get whatever gas-card deal is the best at Speedway. For the past month the deal has been "Save $1 on a $25 Gas Card." In other words I get a $25 gas card for $24. Tonight I asked for my $25 gas card recharge and it cost the full $25. But the sign was still up and nobody knew when it ended or what the new deal was.

I didn't have any interesting deliveries tonight except for 2 personal pizzas to Pudge's Place, a downtown bar. They were for a patron and (apparently) the barmaid, as I had to later take a rerun as we messed up the toppings. The patron was nice enough to give me $1 for my 2nd trip, even after giving me only $1.18 the first time.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Day - With Snow

I went in early today, around 4:30, hoping for some late afternoon football fan orders. It worked out pretty good as we were busy enough.

It started snowing around 5:00. The roads were horrible for a couple hours until the city got some salt applied to the main roads. I actually slid off the road, at a very slow speed, into a utility pole. Luckily there was no damage.

I took 16 deliveries in 6 1/2 hours. I had 4 stiffs and 4 more sub-par tips ($1 and coin change). This would be bad enough on a normal night, but during bad weather, you would think people would be more appreciative.

Some were, as I earned tips of $6 (to the maternity nurses at the hospital), $5 (on my first delivery before it started snowing), $4 (on my final delivery).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Eve 2007

Happy New Year indeed! I had one of my best New Year's Eve nights driving tonight. I drove for 7 1/2 hours (4:30 - Midnight), took 23 deliveries, made $58 in tips, and drove 80 miles.

Special thanks to managers Nick & Brianne and cook Steve for staying late to keep the business going. We usually close at 11 PM on Mondays but we stayed open an extra hour tonight due to the holiday. I actually didn't get out until 1:30 as there was a huge stack of dishes to wash after the last delivery was taken.

Surprisingly, I didn't have a large order to a party or group all night long. In fact my largest order was under $30.

As is typical, we were overstaffed early and understaffed late. I was actually the only driver scheduled past 9 PM. New drivers Ted & Cliff both stayed a little over and then Nick even got on the road for a couple runs.

It took me 10 trips to take my first 10 deliveries. My next 11 were done in just 3 trips (2 triples and a quintuple)!

Poor Nick had a delivery to an apartment building and the woman wouldn't tell him what apartment they were in, she said she wasn't in the apartment building but the office across from the apartments. After much searching and multiple phone calls, she finally realized that the office was nothing more than an apartment with a desk!

Tips were mostly generous tonight, with 11 of my 23 deliveries tipping over $3 (but nothing over my first run of $4.92). And I was only stiffed 3 times.

One stiffer was bold enough to give me $13 for his $12.57 order and suggest that I "keep the change." I actually said "forty-three cents?" and laughed out loud. He responded with an awkward chuckle.

One recurring theme throughout the night was customers asking for specific (odd) change denominations. My 2nd delivery was hoping to pay with a $20 and 8 $1's for his $16.47 order and get a $10 back. But, as it was just my 2nd delivery, my bank was pretty sparse and all I had were a $5 and 10 $1's.

A few deliveries later a guy paid with a $20 for his $17.71 order and asked for $1 back. But he asked if I had 4 quarters, "so I can do some laundry." Lucky for him one of my previous customers had given me quarters!