Pizzeria folk are a completely different breed of restaurant workers. They are colorful, irritable, hilarious, and hard-working. Long nights of slaving behind a five hundred degree oven will make anyone want to reach over and strangle the person next to them. After closing time, everything settles down and everyone begins laughing and joking about moron customers and kitchen accidents. Managers hang out in back for a much-needed smoke break while the drivers talk about what addresses are good tippers and which ones stiffed them.
Pizza delivery drivers are a breed of their own. They have their own clique in the restaurant, and don’t usually associate with the kitchen help. They are loud and obnoxious, but always step up to the plate when they are needed. Many of them took the job for extra money in the evenings to give a better life to their children. Others make a fulltime career out delivering pizza. Some of them are just high school dropouts and college students looking for beer and gas money until they find a better job. Whatever their situation is, they all congregate to these pizza delivery jobs to be insulted, degraded, and stiffed by ignorant customers that don’t know anything.
Imagine yourself sitting in heavy traffic forty hours per week getting cut off, people running you off the road, and being forced to drive ten miles per hour under the speed limit because the jackass in front of you won’t get off their cell phone. Meanwhile, your old shitbox Chevy sedan is burning up a gallon of gas for each delivery run at $4.27 a gallon. You just drove through carmageddon on your own dime in the middle of a blizzard in early January just to bring someone their sausage pizza and fried mushrooms. You don’t get any kind of hourly pay or anything, just a $2.00 delivery charge plus tip. That money has to keep your gas tank full, pay for the constant repairs your vehicle will be in need of, and still have enough leftover to feed your children for the week.
On your next run, you have three deliveries to make. The first one on the route is a known stiffer. No driver has ever gotten a tip from those cheap assholes, and they order every couple weeks. The second on the route is your usual twice a week customer that always leaves a generous $5 tip. Maybe I will deliver to the good tipper first, and hit the stiffer on the way back. That leaves the middle person… a customer you have never seen before. I hope they tip me good!
The car is loaded up, and you arrive at the good tipper’s house. They hand you the usual $5 tip, you complement them on their yard or make brief small-talk about last night’s Sox game then head back to your vehicle. Now it’s time for the new, mystery customer. They have a large pepperoni pizza, with a total of about $13. You ring the doorbell and wait for an answer… waiting… waiting… still waiting. Where the hell are they? As you reach in your pocket to give them a call, you finally hear the sound of footsteps. They open the door yacking on their phone obnoxiously after making you wait three minutes at the door. Of course they take forever gathering up the cash because they are too pre-occupied with other stuff. They hand you a twenty, the total is $13.73, and they tell you to just give them a five back. What the fuck? A percentage tipper, and only ten percent to make it worse? A lousy dollar and twenty-seven cents is an even bigger insult than no tip at all. That driver just burned through as much time and gas delivering your one pizza as it would have to deliver ten, and he just lost money out of his own pocket on your cheap ass.
As you fumble away from the house and murmur foul comments softly to yourself, you get back into your car and hit the stiffer on the way back. The stiffer can sometimes be really friendly or completely anti-social. You never know what mood they will be in today, but frankly, you don’t care because you don’t get any money either way which is why you decided to deliver to them last. But if they make one negative comment towards me, I’m going to blow my top. Maybe even “accidentally” trample on their flowers. As expected, you get the usual cold shoulder with no tip and head back to the restaurant.
It’s finally midnight and time to close up shop. The manager tells you to bring in your bank to count it out. At the end of the night, you come out with $90, but $40 of that has to go right back into your gas tank to replace what was consumed from deliveries. If you want good delivery service, tip on quality, not quantity or percentage. Bare minimum tip should be $3, but if you want ongoing good service, tip at least $5. Pizza delivery drivers are just trying to make a living by using their own gas and vehicles. If you can’t afford to tip decent, then get your lazy ass off the couch and pick it up yourself. Also keep in mind that unless the food is cold, any long delay in delivery service or wrong order is most likely the kitchens fault, not the driver’s, so don’t take it out on the driver.