Thursday, December 23

Kids in the Restaurant

Night before last a couple of kids came in that were freaking adorable (they remind me of my favorite webcomic character Rittz as a kid). Two chubby 10 year old boys that were obviously best friends (or brothers) came into our pizzeria and ordered a single pepperoni pizza. They were going to stay but after a few minutes of waiting they decided that they would take it to go.

We were busy in the kitchen. Even take-out waits were taking 30 minutes or more and I felt bad for the kids. As a predominately adult establishment (we don't really get a lot of teenagers) most people will grab a beer or a glass of wine while they wait; these kids weren't even offered breadsticks.

They waited and waited as long as their little hearts could wait, squirming and trying to be patient, trying so hard not to be annoying to the staff by asking every three seconds when their pizza would be out, but they asked a time too many and the front of the house staff was getting annoyed, so they gave them the next pepperoni pizza that came out. It messed up the queue in the kitchen because they didn't tell us, but I'm okay with that because I like to think that, the day before yesterday, those kids ate a non-chain-delivery pizza and loved it and will be working front counter at my pizzeria in 6 years as their first job as a continuation of their lifelong love of pizza inspired by us.

Monday, December 20

December Update

It's been over a month since I have updated and I wish that I had a lot to talk about. I've been working a couple of shifts a week, more since Hipster Girl got a second job, less this week because I had to to take time off for holiday engagements (my daughter's Kindergarten Christmas recital that I wouldn't miss for anything, for example).

I've been think more about owning my own pizzeria and the extraordinary hurdles I have to overcome before that will ever become a reality. It's not a sudden thing for me to think about, it's always on the backburner, but I've made the decision at my primary job not to pursue career advancement in the traditional sense; there won't be any ladder climbing for me. I have decided to stay in the position I am, getting better there, collecting any advantages that may come my way but not accepting additional responsibility. I have decided to take a different approach to my life which has been, up till now, about always trying to get into a bigger and better situation.

I suppose I need to start with the pizza and that's the only part I've really started on and yet I feel like it's so far away. I'm just not a chef and I never will be. I don't have a refined palate. I just want to make really awesome pizza alongside people that want to make awesome pizza with me. Both things are equally important to me.

On the pizza side:
Tonight I think I'll try Pizza Paradise again. There's something about the pizza there that makes me want to go back even though it's a little neighborhood takeout place that isn't even in my neighborhood. Maybe if I can ferret out the good places in town, I can figure out what it is about their pizza that I like and work it all together into my own style.

On the people side:
I'm still counting on luck for this one; that some day the right mix of people will come into my life that will make this dream a reality.

On the whole I've decided to be patient and that means that things are less exciting (and less blog-worthy).

I wish that whatever holiday you do or do not celebrate, that you are having fun and making fond memories.

Friday, November 12

Walking To Work

Last shift I decided to walk to work on a whim. I've been trying to walk and take public transportation more (mostly because I hate finding parking) and work is only about a mile and a half from where I live. The problem is that my mind is constantly thinking of terrible scenarios no matter how unlikely they are. For walking alone at night my two worst scenarios are running across a group of men who decide to hassle/beat/kill me or a van pulling up and abducting me.

Neither of those things happened. I passed a couple of homeless people without incident, tripped on a crack but didn't fall down, and had very achy legs at the end of the walk.

I want to do this more often though. I want to be in shape. I realize that choosing to not be in shape now will hurt me later.

We've had a new special pizza for a couple of weeks and it looks delicious and smells delicious (it has leeks sauteed in butter, cremini mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, and prosciutto) but when I tried it I didn't really like it. It just didn't taste like a pizza to me. I would probably be fine if it was leeks and mushrooms with Gruyere melted over it, as a side dish to a traditional meal.

I don't know quite how to feel when I don't like a menu item. I know that this is a completely silly concern as no one is expected to like everything, but I really really want to like everything. Luckily there are a lot of menu items for me to sincerely recommend to anyone who asks.

Monday, October 25

Communication & the Delivery Fee

Despite no longer being a pizza delivery driver I still find myself trying to get the message out about tipping. One of the most common reasons I hear for not tipping or for tipping poorly is that there is a delivery fee, so I thought that I'd take a moment to address this issue.

First, the delivery fee goes to the store, not the driver.

I can not speak for every store, but I know that at least for most major chains, this is the case. Willful ignorance is not an excuse; If you really want to know, ask the store manager where the delivery fee goes. Be careful how you word your question. For example, "Does the delivery fee go to the driver?" is likely to be answered with "We pay our drivers a per trip amount." What this means is that, for example, you paid a $2 delivery fee and separately the store pays the driver $1.20 per delivery. It can be argued that since one goes into the store's bank account and the other comes out of it, that it follows that the $1.20 comes out of the $2, which is simply not the case. Managers are happy to perpetuate this misunderstanding as it makes the Corporation look less evil and therefore (they think) makes you less likely to quit buying from them over ethical grounds.

The store is legally obligated to pay the per-trip amount regardless of the presence, absence, or amount of the delivery fee. Another way you know this is that the delivery fee is not included in their taxable wages, it is considered a reimbursement for using their own car. It is not included in calculating whether or not the driver made minimum wage. No matter how many deliveries a driver makes, if no one tipped, they made less than minimum wage. If you ask, "Is the delivery fee a tip to the driver?" or "Does the entire delivery go to the driver in addition to their normal wages?" the answer will be that it is not a tip and that it does not go to the driver.

Second, if your intention is to tell the store that you are not okay with the delivery fee or its distribution, reducing the driver's tip is not getting your message across.

The fundamental purpose of communication is to get a message from you to an audience in a way that can be understood.

Your message might be:
I do not like paying a delivery fee.
I feel that the delivery fee should go to the driver therefore reducing my tipping obligation.

Your audience:
Pizzeria wage and fee policy decision maker

Your hoped for response from the audience:
Eliminate the delivery fee.
Pay the delivery fee to the driver and reduce the amount of expected tip.

The problem with reducing the tip to get your message across is that the delivery driver has no way of knowing that you are giving a message nor a way to deliver that message. Nothing sets you apart from people who are not tipping for any of the following reasons: they don't feel like it, they're jerks, they have no empathy, they feel superior to delivery people and want to make sure that the delivery person knows it, they forgot, they're cheap, etc.

Every time you don't tip, the delivery driver assumes the message is:
I'm a cheap, lazy, asshole who wants you to know that I have more power in this relationship.

The driver assumes that the intended audience is themselves (and possibly the world). There's no reason for the message to go farther.

You assume that this communication might work something like this:
You reduce the tip -> Everyone else reduces their tip -> Unhappy with their wages the delivery driver pressures their manager for better wages -> management complies


You reduce the tip upon institution of a delivery fee -> The driver's aggregate wages are reduced -> The driver pressures management to take away the delivery fee -> management complies

What really happens:
You reduce the tip (assume here, despite an enormous stretch of the imagination since in 18 months of delivering I was never told this by a customer despite reassurance by many people on the internet that this is, in fact, the reason that they are not tipping, that you've told the delivery driver explicitly that you have done so because of the delivery fee) -> The delivery driver tells you that the delivery fee doesn't go to them -> You say that they should tell that to their manager -> The driver tells his manager -> The manager tells the driver that they have no control over wages, that's set by corporate


The driver tells his manager -> The manager says that he can't keep prices competitive without having a delivery fee because all of the other chains are able to lower their "prices" because they're collecting this miscellaneous $2 on all of their deliveries

Lets even assume (despite this being incredibly far fetched) that every driver tells his manager, prompting every manager to tell every district manager, prompting ever district manager to tell every regional manager, and every regional manager to tell the corporate policy maker. Do you think the corporate policy maker cares about the driver? As long as they're able to fill the position (and don't lie to yourself, with the job market the way it is, they're not going to have problems filling the position no matter how bad the wages), they don't care that the driver's getting the short end of the stick.

Now on to the important part, how you CAN get your message across.

Stop buying pizza from places that have tipping policies that you don't like...

Don't like paying a delivery fee on top of a tip? Pick it up yourself.
Don't like that the fee doesn't go to the driver? Order somewhere else.

...and let your intended audience know about it.

Tell corporate management.
Tell your state legislature who makes policies on wages.
Tell your friends/family/the internet about the shitty policies and how you don't like them and are standing up to them.

Those people may not listen until enough people do it to hurt their bottom line. Hurting the driver's bottom line is not the same as hurting Corporate's.

...and if you can't/won't do any of that... stop making excuses and pay the delivery fee AND the tip.

Thursday, October 14

Pizza Adventuring

If you haven't already found it, I've been doing something else wonderful and pizza related lately. My good friend Ian and I have been pizza adventuring all around Austin. It started in March when we were matched on a dating site (we ultimately didn't end up dating, but it did spark a wonderful friendship). We decided to meet at House Pizzeria and that's where I tried my first traditional margherita pizza as well as my first pizza out of a wood fired oven. I explained to him that I had a dream to one day try every single pizzeria in Austin, but that I had not yet found a fellow-adventurer. He volunteered and we decided to blog everything as Austin Pizza Adventuring.

So far the experience has been wonderful. We've eaten good pizza, bad pizza, perplexing pizza, and everything in between. I invite you to check it out and drool over the pizza porn (we try to get pictures of every pizza we eat).

Wednesday, October 6

Mini Pizzas, A Cartoon, and Amorous Advances Via Salad

In the kitchen:

Things are going well at work even though I'm only working two or three nights a week (and mostly at the salad station). I haven't injured myself in the kitchen in a while. Last night we made mini-pizzas for dinner:

The top left pizza is spinach, feta cheese, and kalamata olives. I usually don't like the olives because they're too strong, but I like this combination.

The top right pizza is pear slices, blue cheese, and toasted walnuts. I was not a big fan of this pizza. Hipster Girl loves this pizza (it was her concoction). I suppose that after trying it I can see the appeal to certain palates, but I still can't get past the musty flavor of the cheese.

The bottom right pizza is pear slices, caramelized onions, and white cheddar cheese. I actually loved this one as a desert or snack pizza. The caramelized onions made the pear slices taste almost like apple slices and the saltiness of the cheddar was a great compliment.

The bottom left pizza is our current special, Oktoberfest. It is caraway seeds, roasted onions, bratwurst, and white cheddar. I agree with the other kitchen guys, this would be amazing with mustard..

On Twitter:

My twitter friend Andeh (not sure if that's really how he spells his name or just an affectation) drew his interpretation of a pizza girl and I colored it.

On the employee corkboard:

Some, obviously paranoid, lady, posted on her blog about an errant heart drawn next to the name of her husband on their take-out order. Obviously that amorous pizza girl was trying to homewreck! This is most notable because Hipster Girl does the exact same thing, so this was posted on our employee board humorously (no idea if the paranoid wife was a customer of our pizzeria in particular, and if she is and somehow ends up reading this I hope she has a sense of humor about us having a sense of humor) and echoed on the dry erase board (where we typically post things that we're out of so that the front of the house doesn't sell them) with a note to 86 homewrecking. This led, in the way that kitchen talk typically leads off in tangential and amusing directions, to the idea that we could tape condoms to the inside lids of our take-out salad containers instead. Personally when I see hearts drawn next to things I assume that a 13 year old did it because they're compelled to draw hearts on everything. Hipster Girl defended that she's just trying to put a little love into the world.

Tuesday, September 14

More Pizza-related Pictures

Spotted at my local movie theater. Despite not being enthused about the movie (haven't seen it but it looks rather boring), I love this advertising.

The boys decided that they wanted Frito pie. Being at a pizza place, the natural thing was to try to put it on a pizza dough. They picked up a few things at the convenience store next door (Wolf brand chili, Fritos, and pickled jalapenos) and added a few things we keep on hand (white cheddar, red onions, and cherry peppers). It was actually pretty good. If we cranked up the quality of the chili about two notches it would have been delicious.

There is a giant whisk in our breakroom. I assume it's for mixing dough though I've never been around during dough-making time, so I don't know for sure. I can just imagine making brownies with this thing and getting to lick the utensils.

At night, to clean the oven floor, we scrape all of the coals over the floor. It is one of the most beautiful things I've seen (and this picture doesn't even begin to do the sight justice). In real life, the coals don't look this bright but instead create an awesome fiery glow throughout.

Our caramelized onions look and feel like worm guts.

Thursday, September 9

Beautiful Pizza

An update on my skills: I was shown the other day how to use the long-peel (I wish I knew if there was a proper name for this tool; it's essentially a small metal paddle with a long handle that's used to manipulate the pizza within the oven) without burning myself. Previously, when manipulating the pizzas (especially if they are in the back of the oven) I was burning my left hand and outer wrist. Even using the new technique (using the mantle as a pivot point instead of my left arm) I'll need to get faster at working the pizzas when there's more than one in the oven, but this should help when there's only one or two pizzas in.

I'm also getting better at perfectly cooking the pizzas. If you look at the picture above you'll notice the bottom is spotted, there aren't any wide swaths of burned part nor does it flop when lifted (ok, the above pizza did flop a little but that's because I loaded it with sauce and cheese which is something our crust isn't designed for).

Here's some other pizza porn for your enjoyment (I didn't personally make either of these):

Potato Goat Cheese add sausage (actually pretty good though I think next time I'm going to try it with mushrooms instead)

Pizza Florentine - reduced spinach, mozzarella, garlic, egg over easy - one of the experimental Sunday morning pies

Tuesday, August 31

Guest Blog: AjaTheFairy gets stalked

I'd like to welcome back a good Twitter friend of mine, AjaTheFairy, for a guest blog. Y'all might recall my own history with going inside people's homes: I very very rarely did it (and for damned good reason). In fact I can count the number of times on my fingers: little old lady who called me mamushka, huge parties where I was carrying more pizzas than I could reasonably handle and still take payment at the same time, schools, churches, etc. I personally would never do most of the things she is willing to do. Other delivery people, would you? [-PizzaGirl]

In my job as a pizza delivery driver I often have to give special attention to some customers. There once was an elderly woman who ordered $40 worth of food at 10 p.m. and asked if I would stop and buy her some milk. She didn’t need the food, just the milk (and also someone to show her how the TV works). Another elderly woman orders food regularly and has me put it on a plate, grab a coke out of her refrigerator and literally serve her dinner (and she has never tipped me one time).

Eight months ago, I started delivering to a man with cerebral palsy. I don’t know his name, but we’ll call him Bob. He has one big arm and one little arm and cannot take the food from me at the door. I have to bring the order inside his house and set it down. The first couple of deliveries, I was asked to set the food down on a little table right inside the door. He tipped me $3 each time. Soon Bob started asking me to come in and set his order on a table in the dining room or the kitchen, for which I received a $5 tip. He obviously can’t cook and orders a few days worth of food at a time. I got used to seeing him twice a week.

On my birthday, I wore a money bouquet with birthday wishes from everyone. It was a good way to let my customers know it was my birthday and it really worked in raising my average tip. When I arrived at Bob’s house on my birthday he noticed my birthday badge and felt it was the perfect excuse to grab me with his good arm and hold me close to him while he kissed me on the cheek. For this crossing of personal boundaries I received $10. Things went back to usual after that except my regular tip was now $7.

In July, I let Bob know that I gave my manager two weeks notice because I was moving across the street to a different pizza chain. He asked me if I would change my mind and reconsider staying. Bob said he didn’t like the food from my new company and he would miss me. I won’t say that he cried, but he did get all choked up. Again, he used this as an excuse to hug me and kiss me on the cheek.

Since I started my new job about a month ago, Bob has ordered from my store three times. I was never assigned the delivery and each driver who took the order came back with reports of Bob asking about me.

Last Saturday, I took my dad’s van to work because my car has a bald tire. I was assigned a delivery located in a dingy apartment complex on the other side of town. The apartment was on the second floor of a building that isn’t near a parking lot, but faces an alley that serves as a fire lane. The alley is at the very back of the complex and it is illegal to park there, so there are never any cars back there. Of course I parked there because it was right in front of the apartment I needed to get to, and pizza delivery drivers love to park in fire lanes. We do it every chance we get.

I noticed a car pull into the alley as I was getting out of the van but I didn’t pay it any special attention. It wasn’t until I had delivered the pizza and was walking back down the stairs that I noticed the car had stopped and parked right behind me. As I got closer, there was a honk and a wave from a little arm and I knew it was Bob. I was shocked! We were far away from his ritzy part of town and how could he possibly know I was in that van?! He’s never seen me in a van and I was sure he wouldn’t have any friends at this flea bag apartment complex.

“Hey! You need to give me your number!” he yelled as I approached.

I replied, “Why do you need my number? I am engaged, you know.”

“So I can call you and make sure you are working before I order,” he said.

I know most of you are hoping that I didn’t give him my number because that would be stupid. Yes, I did. I did it to keep getting the tip. I gave him my number and told him he could request me as his driver. Yes, I am a pizza whore. I didn’t let him pull me in for that kiss on the cheek though. He tried to pull me in but I turned it into a funny handshake and told him I had to get back to the store.

It is obvious to me that Bob, who lives close to my store, watched me get in the van and followed me 8.3 miles to my delivery waiting for the chance to talk to me. He hasn’t used my number yet, but I am a little disappointed in myself that I gave it to him. I should have told him to just call the store and ask for me when he was ready to order. Although I am creeped out, I don’t believe I have any reason to be frightened by this man. Bob doesn’t seem violent or sinister, just extremely lonely.

Monday, August 30

I once ended a date for a marinara violation.

Customer: Hey, can I get a side of marinara sauce?
Front of House turns around to the owner and asks if we can do that, Owner says we can and asks if he wants it heated.
Customer: ...because, you know, that's such an essential part of the meal...
Owner: Would you like your sauce heated up?
Customer: ...It's really expected that I have some marinara sauce to dip my crusts in. I don't know why you don't offer that on the menu or as a part of the meal...
Owner: Would you like us to heat it up for you?
Customer: Uh... sure.

Sometimes I'm reminded how nice it is not to work with customers.
There is a special place in hell reserved for people who come in and order food 6 minutes before closing time.
I cut myself on the bread knife again (I figure if I do this enough I'll learn to keep my fingers out of the way). I had to wear a rubber glove on that hand for the rest of the night which meant that I couldn't work the pizza oven because it was my left hand (the hand closest to the fire when putting pizzas in the oven) and the layer of sweat between the glove and my skin became excruciatingly hot every time I even got near the mouth of the oven.

Wednesday, August 25

New Job Update

I've been at the new job for a few weeks now. I'm still liking it though I think the honeymoon is probably over. Here are a few things I've done:
  • Learned how to get pizzas in the oven intact and in a mostly round shape fairly consistently.
  • Had to go back to using the scales for salads because I was making them too big.
  • Two more lessons in knife safety while I sliced potatoes and chopped rosemary.
  • Cut my finger doing the much easier task of cutting bread with the serrated knife.
  • Found that I'm just not a fan of fresh greens on a pizza. We made (while the local farmers had it) several pizzas with fresh arugula on them. Yuck.
  • Singed some hair off of the back of my left hand and arm. 700 degree heat will do that.
Things I still need to do:
  • Perfect cooking the pizzas and especially cooking more than one pizza in the oven at a time.
  • Learn to tend the fire.
  • Stop crushing on the Sunday morning day pizza guy and his pretty eyes.

Tuesday, August 17

I Should Tell You I'm Disaster

I've started writing this post a hundred times. I don't think I can adequately express how much that little second job changed me, but I'll try.

I used to be pretty timid. I didn't do much. I was a wife and mother and a worker bee. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those things, but I had committed to them so early, I had committed to the "right" path before I learned that the American dream in and of itself is stifling.

And then...
Money got tight. We (my ex-husband and I) had just bought a house and just had a second baby. We didn't really understand credit and the thought hadn't crossed my mind that one day my student loans would start hassling me to pay them. All we knew was that we needed more "stuff" and while our heads were above water we couldn't touch the bottom of the pool anymore. So I decided that, since he was better with the kids, I would get a second job. I was in luck; our little podunk town only had one of the Big 3 chains represented and a second had just opened. I applied. My interview was two questions: Do you have a car? and Have you killed anyone with your car?

I liked delivering. I started this blog. I thought it would be fun to document all the wacky people that I delivered to and I thought it made an interesting statistics experiment. That was October 2008.

Then, things started falling apart and I took on more and more shifts. Partly because I didn't want to be at home, partly because the extra money gave me a taste of freedom and I couldn't get enough of it. New Years Eve 2008, I made a stupid life choice. I slept with one of my managers. I won't go into details because they're not important and I was extremely foolish. It's funny how grown up I felt at 18 living my adult life and how much I know now that I really had no idea how to handle myself or relationships. I hope I've grown up since then.

I moved in with Other Chick Driver and started living the life of drama. Work was drama. Coworkers, family, friends, roommates, roommates friends, lovers. Drama. I tried to focus the blog on the funny things, the ironic, the things that kept me sane, that reminded me that in general life is absurd.

But the driving is what kept me going. There's a lot of time to think, there's a lot of time to play out conversations that should have happened and time to let out conversations that shouldn't be played out in the real world. I spent a lot of time talking to myself in the car. I spent a lot of time singing really really loudly to songs on repeat. I took a lot of detours over my favorite low water crossings.

Some days I hated customers and consequently humanity. It seemed perfectly logical that customers that didn't tip lacked empathy and courtesy and therefore lacked the building blocks that qualified them as people. Their arrogance in seeing themselves as being above the obligation to pay for my service gave me a reason to hate them.

And some days I loved customers. When they were tipping well, I loved them. I smiled and thanked them and brought them extra sauce cups when I could.

Now, I see it all as evening out pretty well. I look back fondly on my Saturday mornings spent sleeping off a hangover under the driver station.

I moved out from OCD's at some point and changed stores to be closer to my new place and my primary job. The drama dropped to almost zero as far as work was concerned (despite my talent for making mountains out of mole-hills). I don't have a bad thing to say about working at the new store (except the sulfur water, yuck!) . People came and went, I was outside of the drama for the most part, and pizzas got delivered.

Somewhere in there, maybe a little bit back at podunk store, my absolute love of pizza was sparked. It saw me through separating from the Ex, being heart-wrenchingly apart from my children, losing several friendships that I had put a lot of energy into, learning that crushing on guys is completely different after highschool, learning that dating after highschool is brutal, and that I will always be a work in progress, there is no ending point. The pizza was there through it all. All I had to do was fold boxes, cut the pizza, put pepperonis on one slice at a time, check out the delivery, drive, smile at the door, accept my pittance, drive, and repeat until I was anesthetized.

Somewhere in there I made new friends. Most of them were internet friends but they were more real to me than most of the people I knew in real life. I met some of those friends in real life. One of those new friends got me back into scifi. I can't say it was single-handedly, the disposition was already there, but he inspired me and took me on a trans-dimensional emotional roller-coaster.

Back to the love of pizza...
I'm making pizza now. In the middle of learning that dating sucks, I actually made a friend out of one of the boys and we started going on Pizza Adventures. Our first one was to a little local pizzeria where I had my first Margherita pizza and my first pizza out of a wood-fired oven. Later, I got a job there. I'm now making pizzas instead of delivering them. I love it so much. I look forward to every shift. Just last shift I finally figured out getting pizzas into the oven in fairly round shape. I'm now making them round(ish) about 75% of the time and getting them in intact about 90% of the time. My dream is to one day run my own pizzeria.

I am a new person, still battling, still learning, and it all started with the decision to get a second job, random internet surfing, the Twitter "Follow" button, and pizza.

Sunday, August 8

Vacation Post: Pizza Porn

As you are probably aware, I started a new job at an independent Pizzeria not too long ago. Before I got the job though, I was a customer. Here are pictures of the wonderful pizzas that I have eaten there and am now proud to be making for other customers.

The margherita pizza is about as simple as a pizza can get. It is crust, crushed tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella (we also serve one with just regular fresh mozzarella) and fresh basil.

Here's the upskirt. We cook everything in a wood fired brick oven, which means that there are definitely char spots and tons of bubbles, which just make the pizza more delicious.

This is the sausage and mushroom pizza. The little red flecks are roasted red peppers.

My favorite pizza so far is the potato and goat cheese pizza. I think the secret (not so much of a secret since you can taste it through the whole thing) is the rosemary on the potatoes.

This, while being a gorgeous pizza was my least favorite (which isn't saying much since it was still delicious). It's the "Noble" which contains pork belly, dates, goat cheese, and arugula. I just found it to be lacking the moisture that I need in order to feel satisfied with a pizza.

Friday, August 6

Vacation Post: Pictures

Mmmm, food that is not food. Spotted at the local Walgreens.

I hope that after viewing the above picture, you understand why I have nothing but disdain for most of the folks that do dishes around Big Chain. This is what the sink looked like after they got done doing dishes and drained the water. That means that all this crap was floating around with the dishes that were supposed to be getting clean.

My new work shoes. Because, damn it, if they have to be ugly non-skid shoes, they're going to have chartreuse laces.

Spotted on the street between apartments.

Found this little guy in the hallway of an apartment complex. I felt a little bad for picking him up. What if his child is missing him?

Wednesday, August 4

Vacation Post: The Engines that Search

The best part of having a blog is reading all the search engine terms that led someone to my page. Here are a few:

  • paying pizza delivery guy with underwear
  • how do pizza deliveries work in rain
  • pants epidermis
  • hot girl in towel
  • he tipped me over the edge
  • squished girl
  • what do grasshoppers hate

To answer their questions

  • feel free to try it
  • wet
  • in general
  • I don't deliver in a towel
  • as long as he tipped ;)
  • well yes, sometimes, when I get stuck between Insectosaurus and the oven
  • probably not me as they seem to be everywhere I am

Thursday, July 29

7/26 7/28 Pretty Sure That Guy Was An Alien

It's my last week and I just can't bring myself to blog about it. It's not that interesting things haven't happened, they have, it's more that I can feel the end getting near and I almost don't believe it.

Monday I worked and it rained, not hard, but hard enough that we were extra busy. The store was running out of everything. We were out of ranch cups, medium dough, black olives, and were on on our last leg for onions and bell peppers. I didn't have a great night. The only thing keeping it even a good night was the fact that a good portion of my deliveries tipped well.

On my first run of the night I was sent out on a triple. The houses weren't near each other, but there was a straight shot from one to the next, starting just west of the store and stretching to the farthest northern neighborhood to which we deliver. The problem was that as soon as I turned westbound on the freeway access road I discovered that the storm had caused a railroad signal to malfunction, blocking traffic completely. I was penned in. I first called the store to warn the other drivers. Then I called non-emergency police dispatch to ensure that the rail company knew of the issue and that they were going to solve it as soon as possible. Then I called my customers to let them know the situation. My first customer still tipped me $1. Not only that, but my pen ran out of ink on that delivery and I had to go to my car to dig around for a pen, but when I got back to the door we says, "Oh! I guess I could have just stepped inside the study and gotten a pen." I hate that guy on principle for wasting my time in every way. The next two deliveries on my run were not only gracious about receiving late pizza, but tipped very well (the first was an $8 pre-tip, the second tipped $5). It took me more than an hour and a half from the time I left the store until the time I got back to the store. That's twice the amount of time this triple should have taken me and probably cost me at least one complete run.

I made $48 off of 10 deliveries, but I think I had 3 or 4 dollars in my pocket at the start of my shift, so that number isn't entirely accurate.

Wednesday night it rained as well, though only intermittently. I took four waste-of-time deliveries (tips were $1, $3, $1, $2). I was extremely drowsy. The only one i can remember was the last guy whose alien origin was made obvious by his imperfect imitation of human features and expressions and compounded by ordering nothing but three large pineapple & ham pizzas. I would have hoped aliens would tip better, but maybe on his planet they have different social customs, so I forgive him.

I made $12 off of 4 deliveries.

Monday, July 26

7/24 (Not) My Last Night

Saturday night was supposed to be my last night delivering pizza. It will not be. The Boss at Pizzeria hasn't decided what he wants me to work this week, which means it's been impossible to make any plans for the week, and Little Yellow accidentally put me on next week's schedule, so I decided to agree to work any shifts at Big Chain that didn't directly conflict with my shifts at Pizzeria. I could use the money for my upcoming trip to Vegas. Honestly, as much as I like working at Pizzeria, I sortof hope that, at least for this week, I get to work the Friday/Saturday night shifts at Big Chain.

The most memorable thing that happened was that my first delivery was to a fake address. The order was to house number 8315. The street went straight from 8313 to 8401. They ordered online, so it wasn't our fault for mistyping. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a complaint because they specified side B of a duplex and the street is nothing but duplexes. It would be oddly specific to order to a fake duplex address. I called the guy and he didn't pick up, so I called the store and had them call and leave a voicemail. About 10 minutes after I got back to the store, the guy calls back my cell. I didn't pick it up because I knew the Bopper had left instructions for the guy to call back the store when he got the message to resolve the issue. Twenty minutes later he called back again. I still didn't pick up. Honestly, I could imagine the conversation going a few directions; he could argue with me that the address exists, ask me to redeliver, or want to speak to my manager. I couldn't really do anything about the delivery at that point anyway. I was already back at the store, clocked back in. The best possible resolution would have come had he called back to the store (something he never did), gave the correct address, we remade the pizzas, and redelivered them. To top it off, after about an hour of it sitting there on the heat-rack without the guy calling back to the store, the pizza became community pizza and I ate a slice.

The second most memorable thing that happened was when a guy slipped me two dollars "smooth style". "Smooth style" is what you see in movies when a guy goes up to a host at a restaurant and says something like, "Are you sure there aren't any available tables?" and shakes the guys hand, covertly slipping him a $20 bill. First, there is absolutely no reason to try to be smooth about tipping me. It's not a secret and I'm not going to do you any special favors. Second, if I was going to do any special favors, it wouldn't be for $2. $2 won't even buy you a smile from me. Ok, it might buy you a smile from me, in fact, as readers of my blog, you get smiles for the low low price of a hug (or nothing, but a hug would be a nice bonus), but not if I was delivering you pizza as well.

Oh! And I jumped over a waist high chain-link fence to avoid crickets.

I made $76 off 16 deliveries.

Shave Ginger With a Spoon

Saturday morning was my second shift at the Pizzeria. I got there at 9 to observe opening duties. I was surprised at how hot the brick oven stays over night. I had to rake the ash out of it and, even after sitting all night, I couldn't stick my hand all the way into the oven.

Then I got to help with prep. The boss's mom, hereafter referred to as Mom, does most of the prep. I really like Mom. She's a good example of why I like this job more (so far) than any other job I've ever had. She made me feel like family, like a kid she was passing on knowledge to. Not just part of a team, a team works together to reach a common goal. This is more than that, this is a group of people that are all getting to that goal and want to make sure that every other member gets there as well. When I need help, it's there and when I can help, I do. The desire to learn is valued highly and people do things because they want to. Everyone wants everything that goes out to the table to be the most delicious that it can be (which is pretty damned delicious!) and with that as the goal it's easy to get along. Here are a few of my revelations (mostly taught by Mom) from the morning:
  • Curl my fingers under when using the big knife to slice things. I know this is one that anyone who has ever done any cooking already knows, but as someone who can barely manage to make a grilled cheese sandwich, it's nice to get some technique.
  • The wax on the outside of hard cheese tastes disgusting. I will be able to tell the difference between that and what the actual cheese tastes like regardless of what kind of cheese it is.
  • How to plastic wrap things so that they survive the walk-in cooler's circulating air. I was secretly fascinated by the way that things were wrapped in there and couldn't fathom how they were getting that way before Mom showed me.
  • It is my happy duty to try a rosemary potato off of each baking sheet as they come out of the oven to make sure that my seasoning was correct.
  • Use two paper-towels to blot hot crispy salami.
  • I'm glad that I knew that mozzarella is delicious before seeing the balls of fresh mozzarella floating in the brine (because that brine is pretty gross looking).
  • Shave ginger with a spoon.
  • The ends that they cut off the warm foccacia bread made delicious addicting snacks.
  • The reward for opening shift and prep work is warm breakfast cooked in the pizza oven. The other girl who does prep (who will have to forgive me for forgetting her name) made us mushroom, garlic, and goat cheese as well as tomato sauce, fontina, and arugula on half breakfast rolls. We all sat down for a family style breakfast which was not only delicious but a nice bonding experience.
I only made three pizzas during the four hour shift, but the last one the Pizza Guy let me put into the oven (after I nearly dropped it on the floor shaking it to make sure it wasn't stuck to the peel) and turn. I can't wait to get to the point where I'm good at working the oven.

7/23 Food For a Week

Friday I realized that I'm a bad parent to my car. I finally took him in for an oil change and not only was my inspection sticker 6 months out of date (whoops! good thing I haven't gotten pulled over in that time) but I realized that I've never ever changed the air filter. I took care of all three of those things and declined all of the rest of the extra services offered (seriously, super-polite JiffyLube dude, do I look like I'm made of money?!)(Also, the local JiffyLube has about sixteen cute guys working there which made me wish that I didn't look so scruffy Friday afternoon).

The bad thing about having to get my oil changed was that I didn't have any time for dinner before work, which naturally meant that there were no messed up pizzas (that were edible at least, I still maintain that pineapple is an abomination of a pizza topping) and that I was thinking about food all night long. So to continue that theme and to remind myself of how lucky I am to have the means to make this money, here's how I'm going to think of the $50 I made on those 11 deliveries:

$50 is 200 sodas at my primary job (.25 a piece). That will last me 5 months at two per day. Right now I'm off caffeine and sugared sodas, so until I resume my caffeine addicted ways, this calculation is just hypothetical. However, when I get a dollar tip I try hard to think that it will buy my four sodas. This week, I'll probably use .75 on sodas.

$50 is 20 "super" breakfast tacos at my primary job (2.50 a piece). I usually eat 2 a week, so that's $5.

I can eat lunch at primary job for $5 for two weeks (a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and homemade jelly from my grandma).

I will probably end up eating out at Taco Bell 3 times this week (I know, terrible) which will cost me $2.14 a meal which is $6.42.

Add in 2 more combo meals from a fast food place at $6 a pop and the rest of my meals coming from scrounging food at work (leftover pizza and my shift-meal at the new place), that makes $29.17.

So as my grandma would say "count your blessings" (she's a churchgoer), which Friday night included food for a week and most of a tank of gas on top of that.

Thursday, July 22

7/21 Turtle Racing (Because my night was otherwise boring)

You would think that for my last week delivering pizza, the universe would crank it up a bit and give me something interesting to talk about. Instead, I had a fairly average shift last night; 9 deliveries, 3 tips were atrocious, 1 was bad, 3 were acceptable, and 2 were good. I called my manager by the wrong name. In my defense, both of their names start with the letter A, they're both skinny, attractive, dark haired, white guys. One is a bit taller than the other and the other wears a necklace.

That was it. Really. So to take up a bit of space I'm going to tell you about turtle racing. Yes, the racing of turtles! After work, the local sports bar (the one that I occasionally have to deliver to) was holding turtle races every hour through the evening. I have an irrational fascination with turtles. To set the mood, you can imagine that I was drinking Michelob Ultra (don't judge, it was half off night and it only cost me $2) and I had just bought tamales off an old mexican guy who was walking around the bar (I have had this gentleman ask me if I wanted tamales before and I had always declined, but being drunk on cheap swill and having heard from a friend that this guy makes his round to all the bars and that the tamales are good, I decided to purchase a dozen hot pork ones).

Now that we have established the setting, turtle racing goes like this:
  • Four turtles in a bucket without a bottom
  • The bucket is lifted
  • The turtles crawl as fast as their legs will carry them (or as fast as they feel like it, which is sometimes not at all) to the edge of a circle marked on some fenced-in astroturf
  • The first turtle to the edge wins and the first turtle to win twice is the winner of the entire race
The turtles all had names and bios. I picked Eastside Eddie (#4). Eddie wasn't the racing type last night (but nothing like #1 who never moved during any of the two complete races we saw). His plan consisted of watching #2 and #3 race for the edge, waiting until they were inches away, then sprinting. I'm sure, to him, it was a good plan. He was definitely faster than the other turtles, but no amount of yelling could make him heed the starting countdown. Eddie, I still love you though.

Oh yeah, and I made $35 off of those 9 deliveries, $24 of which was spent on beer and tamales.

Tuesday, July 20

7/19 McD**'s Hole

9 Deliveries, in reverse.

9. Boring - $3
8. Boring - $4
7. pretended I didn't know my pen wasn't working and scored a new pen - $4
6. pen stopped working - $4
5. pretipped $1 - I made sure they got my last delivery, but it was a middle school kid who looked to be at home alone (parents probably ordered the pizza for him), so I'm not sure they got the message that they're cheapskates who deserve poor service
4. Boring - $2
3. A street named McD**'s Hole Lane. I know you know I took the dirtiest meaning of that which also means I wondered, what exactly is it about McD**'s Hole that deserves a street named after it? - $2.50
2. "Keep the change" - Gee thanks! - $1
1. Don't BLINK! - $4

I made $36 off of my 9 deliveries, an average tip of $2.71.

Monday, July 19

7/17 You Can't Always Get What You Want

I don't know what was with people Saturday night, but they all seemed to want something more than pizza from me. Twice I was asked for cheese and peppers, once I was asked for extra garlic sauce cups, and twice I was asked for paper plates and napkins.

You may remember me ranting about drivers not carrying cheese packets. It used to be one of my pet peeves. In Podunk it was standard policy to not only carry them but to offer them with every delivery. I felt a strange sense of redemption when I was able to not offer them to stiffers, like I was somehow able to withhold from them something that might be vital to their pizza experience. However, at the new store, we charge extra for cheese and pepper packets. It's not a lot, 5 cents per cheese packet, a penny per pepper packet, but the fact that they're charged for means that I don't bring them with me. Bringing them along is further complicated by a different style of delivery bag which does not have a convenient pocket on the front for such extras. What I'm getting at is that I don't carry them and when asked I have to tell people that they must order them ahead of time.

The same thing goes with extra sauce cups. Besides those being ridiculously priced, I wouldn't carry extras even if I could. They would be disgusting after sitting in my car for even the few hours of a shift and they probably didn't tip me enough to deserve the trouble it would take me.

Regarding paper plates and napkins: I will bring them if requested. Unfortunately that request getting through to me is dependent on the Bopper who is taking the order finding and utilizing the "delivery instruction" area. The first guy who asked for plates and napkins probably really needed them. I was delivering 3 pizzas to an apartment complex pool. The guy asks me for plates and napkins. I obviously don't have them on me since I've already disgorged the contents of my bag and aren't exactly going to produce them from my cleavage. I tell him that he has to request them over the phone. He tells me that he did. I apologize that the phone bopper didn't pass on the note. He stands there and stares at me like there's something I'm going to be able to do about it, like I'm going to offer to go back to the store and get him complimentary plates and napkins or that I'm going to tell him his pizza's free for the inconvenience. Sorry dude, I don't care that the apartment complex is (literally) right next door to the store, you're $3 tip on a $36 order doesn't inspire me to go above and beyond. I walk away.

I made $39 off of 9 deliveries.

The Perfect Job

At this point it's not a secret that I've accepted a position as assistant pizza chef at a local pizzeria. I gave my notice to Chain Store on Saturday and I'll be working out my last week there this week with next Saturday night being my last night. This isn't my farewell post. This is to tell you all about my first shift at my new job.

I got there early. I could have sworn during my interview Boss said be there at 4:30, but when I walked in he was expecting me at 5, so I sat outside and read for 30 minutes.

Once I got inside, I started by observing. I got the official tour (they compost and recycle almost everything) and was told to watch as they made pizzas. I watched, I learned the menu and then I started topping pizzas. I learned a few things:
  • goat cheese and blue cheese get all over my hands and there's no wiping them on my apron to relieve that
  • caramelized onions look and feel like worm guts
  • prosciutto is the most frustrating ingredient because it never wants to come off the paper without tearing
  • fresh basil, torn off the plant, is heavenly and not related to the shredded cardboard crinkles that other restaurants try to pass off as basil
  • when Boss yells "Hot Olives!" freeze in place, wherever you are, don't move unless you like the idea of face-melting hot grease (fortunately didn't learn this one the hard way)
After a while of making pizzas and despite being intimidated, they let me start to make crusts. I'm not very good at it yet. I tend to overstretch them making the middle even thinner than it should be. But, I'm sure I'll get better at it with time. I only messed up one dough beyond use through overstretching.

And here's why it's the perfect job. I actually had fun while working. Everyone is friends and friendly, there's joking and helping and teaching going on at all times. The pizza is amazing, I'm proud to be making it. I get a free meal per shift, which could be a pizza of my choice or a salad OR if I don't do one of those, I can have a beer.

Let me tell you why that last option is beautiful.

Friday night, my first night in a long long time that I've had to be on my feet for hours on end, my back was killing me. I wasn't sure that I was going to make it to close... until that beer, which took all the tension out of my back and made me bright eyed and bushy tailed again to clean the store.

I know that every night won't be perfect (I have yet to learn to work the wood-fired oven which I'm sure will come with a share of frustration), but I'm glad that my first night was.

Friday, July 16

7/15 "I love you" and not quite the end

I don't know where to begin. This might be the beginning of the end (entirely dependent on how tonight goes), so all night last night, of course, was not miserable at all and instead I couldn't see anything but the things that I like about working at that store:

  • Mama Bear was being awesome.
  • Hopped on the make-line with ButtSweat Bopper, who really is very nice
  • We have a new driver who is incredibly androgynous looking, but has a masculine voice, so I'm going to go with the assumption that he's male. Regardless, he's pretty, genuinely pretty. He should be in one of those magazine ads where they dress up androgynous pretty people in preppy clothes and have them gallivant in a field of wheat.
  • Name Bopper (now a driver) yelled "I love you" as I walked out the door at the end of my shift, gonna miss that kid
One thing I won't miss:

Stupid ladies who don't tip me. I even apologized that the pizza had gotten there at the outside of our time estimate (just under an hour). Hate that lady and all of the people like her.

I made $42 off of 10 deliveries.

Monday, July 12

7/11 Back from Vacation

First, I know I've been a bad blogger. I skipped blogging a couple of shifts back there. Then I went on vacation. Now I'm back and just going to pick up like skipping shifts didn't happen.

When I got back into town yesterday I called to check my schedule and Little Yellow had not put me on it. However, he also didn't schedule any extra drivers for the World Cup finals, so Mama Bear and her two drivers were more than swamped. Delivery times were running in the two hour range. So Mama Bear asked me to come in right away and I did.

The customers weren't that interesting and I only caught the tail end of the craziness. In fact, I only delivered one pizza that was later than an hour. I left the store with two deliveries, one at 1:21 (hour twenty one), on at 38 minutes. The former pretipped $2; the latter pretipped $8. I took the higher pretip first even though it was half the age of the other.

Only got stiffed once. Highschool kid. Jerk.

I made $45 off of 10 deliveries.

Wednesday, June 30

6/29 Regarding coupons

I'm not doing as many shifts as I used to. For some reason I haven't been getting scheduled Saturday nights (can't decide if this is for punishment or not, don't know what I'd be being pushed for) and after I get done with both of my vacations I may holler about it or just start showing up unscheduled daring them to send me home on a Saturday night. Right now, I'm enjoying having a night when other people are available to do things and I'm not having to go through explaining that yes, I can go out, no, I don't know when I will get off, it's usually not late but sometimes things happen and I'll text when I'm cashing out.

Anyway, I worked last night. It rained... a little. Luckily the usual morons on the road who completely lose their ability to function when it rains stayed home. Unluckily, they stayed home and ordered pizza. I say unluckily, because we still weren't that busy, but the tips were terrible. Here's a helpful bulletpointed piece of information if you didn't already know:
  • If you have a coupon for a free pizza, tip based on your original total. For example, if you have a coupon for a free two topping pizza and you order a large onion and mushroom pizza (which by the way, our mushrooms looked disgusting yesterday) and an order of cheesesticks, your total at the door will be $9.19 (yes, our cheesesticks are that expensive). However, your total before a discount was in the neighborhood of $24. In other words, that coupon was worth $15. Giving me a $10 bill is not acceptable. You should tip the minimum amount of $3. Heck, you just saved $15! Perhaps, $5 would be in order. Paying a total of $15 including delivery fee, tax, and tip for a large pizza and cheesesticks, is pretty damn good. $0.81 for delivering to you in the rain is not. And damn straight I'm taking your coupon away, you don't deserve free pizza.
I greatly appreciated the one $5 tip I did get, especially since it followed up a complete stiff (the kind where I give change and they don't give any of it back).

I made $24 off of 7 deliveries. That's $2.13 average tip per delivery. Lame.

Wednesday, June 23

6/22 If You Want Blood (You Got It)

To start the story at the beginning I have to go back to Saturday when I went to see Toy Story 3 (in 2D... and it was spectacularly awesome by the way) with my kids. On the way out of the movie theater I tripped and fell down the stairs (because I'm getting fairly proficient at injuring myself by falling down lately) and skinned the hell out of my knee. It oozed all day Saturday and all day Monday but seemed to have a pretty good scab going by Tuesday, so I thought it would be safe to go to work. After my first delivery I noticed the friction of going up stairs to a third floor apartment had caused it to start oozing a bit. Skip to second run, en route to 2nd delivery (4th total for the day), having to drive with my right leg has forced my knee in constant contact with my pants and I try to detach the two but cant so I decide to let it be stuck and I can soak them apart once I get home. I stand up, pants shift and forcefully remove the scab from my wound. I have to make the delivery anyway and I can feel the blood running down my shin as I make him sign the $2 pretip receipt.

I only ended up making those 4 deliveries (we were dead anyway) and I made $19.

Monday, June 21

6/18 What would you do for $5?

I only took four deliveries Friday night. It's a shame really, because I ended up doing a fat lot of nothing (two beers and Flux with my roommates while we listed to reggae music). I flirted with an old man for a $5 tip. It makes me think of all the things I would do for $5 and things other people do for $5.

For $5 each I would:
  • Bring you pizza.
  • Take your dog for a walk.
  • Watch your cat for a whole day (and play with him/her).
  • Do two loads of your laundry.
  • Flash you my bra (not in public).
For $5 other people would:
  • Give a "table-dance" (I hear all the time advertised on the radio for $5 table-dance Tuesdays or whatnot from the local strip clubs.)
  • Yeah, that one pretty much tops the list of anything anyone else could do for $5.
I made $19 off of those 4 deliveries.

Friday, June 18

6/17 Repeat Customers and A Question for the Bartenders

Sometimes it becomes clear that no amount of negative reinforcement is going to induce a regular shitty tipper to change their ways. I don't know if it's just that they don't notice they're getting shitty service or if they just like cold pizza, but there is one guy who orders weekly (or more) and always pretips a dollar. I've gotten stuck with him two weeks in a row. Last week, I forgot his soda. I'd taken his order first because unfortunately the guy lives in a location that's rather convenient to the store. I had two more deliveries in the car. He ordered two 2 Litres of soda to go with his one pizza and order of wings. I mistakenly took only one soda. It was going to be more than an hour before I could get back (time to take both other delivers + time to get back to the store + time to catch more deliveries because I'm not leaving the store with just his soda). I ended up not taking him his second soda.

This week I get assigned his order and was pretty apprehensive about how the delivery would go down. I didn't know if he would call me out on it or just let it go. I went out of my way to take his delivery second. I'll be damned if he ever gets first delivery from me regardless of how convenient his apartment is. My planned excuse was, "Oh! I'm so sorry, I must have misunderstood. I thought you told me you didn't need me to go get the second one since it was going to be an hour before I could get back." It turns out the planning was unnecessary. Here's how the delivery went down (approximately):

Shitty Tipper: Hi!
Me: *glare, hand him receipt* I'll just need you to sign the top one, the bottom one's yours.
Shitty Tipper: Ah! I see you remembered both sodas this time.
Me: Yup *hand him pizza*
Shitty Tipper: Have a good evening.
Me: *mumble, mumble, walk away*

Ok, other things. I'm tired of thinking about that asshole. I'm sure he'll be back next week.

  • Delivered to a YMCA.
  • Delivered to the Mary Kay training ladies again who always order their pizza cut party style which is still a ridiculous way to cut pizza and they still only tipped $1.50.
  • Delivered to an inebriated guy with a really thick Indian accent. He was at the local sports bar. It took forever for the bar to be quiet enough for the bartender to call the name over the loudspeaker (it's a rather large bar with two indoor seating areas, a patio, and a bar section). I don't know how other drivers deal with delivering to the bar, but I don't walk around looking for the person who ordered. I think it annoys the bartenders that I make them call the name over the overhead. I know they're busy, but I see it as a professional courtesy for me and a customer service thing for their customer (they do list our number on their menu just for the purpose of drunkards being able to order pizza to the bar). For me (and the customer) it's a million times more convenient for me to stay in one place rather than risk missing each other by virtue of moving in different directions or someone else claiming their pizza. Drunk people are manipulative and while I do my best to make sure it gets to the right person, if I'm walking by someone and they flag me down and say the pizza's for them, I'm not going to ask for ID to prove it. Alternately, if I'm asking everyone if they're John (or Mike, Steve, Jennifer, Betsy, etc) it's bound to take me forever to find the right one and a good risk that someone's going to claim the pizza without it being theirs. Calling the name over the loudspeaker helps with that. I did end up tipping a dollar to the bartender because she broke a $20 for me (though I didn't appreciate her rolling her eyes when I got her attention to do so. I'm trying to do a job here as well!)
Bartender/former bartender readers. Am I looking at this wrong? Should I be doing something different to achieve my goal of getting the customer the pizza with a minimum amount of inconvenience/confusion?

I made $57 off of 12 deliveries.

Wednesday, June 16

6/15 "I think perhaps you better both come inside."

Last night was boring too. Except that I delivered to a guy who looked like this guy:

...who is Pierre Le Pieu from Ever After.

What I didn't know is that he also plays Riff Raff:

The guy I delivered to wasn't sexy like Riff Raff, but he tipped $4, which I couldn't guarantee Riff Raff would do, though I'd totally have elbow sex with him instead of a tip (Riff Raff, not the actual guy I delivered to).

Tangential story: When I was a freshman in college our local production of Rocky Horror Picture Show had an amazingly hot guy playing Riff Raff. I went almost every week just for that. Ok, not just for that. Also for Eddie. And for my long-standing dream to one day play Columbia.

I made $44 off of 11 deliveries last night.

"Oh, slowly, slowly! It's too nice a job to rush." -Columbia

Monday, June 14

6/12 6/13 Not Much Happening

There really isn't too much to talk about on Friday and Saturday. Really. They were pretty boring. I "forgot" to take a guy his soda that I forgot at the tail end of Saturday night. He pretipped a $1 and had already ordered one 2 Litre of Pepsi, like he really needed the second one. I suppose I cost him ~$2.75 in product, I'll just justify that by pretending he gave me a $3.75 tip and we'll call it even.

Oh yeah, I also bizarrely hung out with Stoner Manager Saturday night.

$40 off 9 on Friday
$57 off 15 on Saturday

Wednesday, June 9

6/9 The Irnonies of a Pen

Last night was super-slow. I only took 5 deliveries. The most amusing one was to someone who works for my primary job. It's amusing because when I got hired on at my primary job they gave me a fancy company logo pen. I am now using that pen to have people sign credit card receipts.

I managed to not eat any mess-up pizza. I've been trying hard to get on some sort of reasonable diet. Not the kind of diet that requires restrictive eating, but the kind where I'm not eating Taco Bell on the way to work and then eating pizza at work. I did well. I think if I can keep turning it down I can just get in the habit of not eating it at all.

FannyPack driver paid Day Job Driver $50 to close for him. I should have undercut him at $40.

I made $22 off of 5.

Tuesday, June 8

6/7 Stripes

I delivered to "Rainbow" again. They sell vacuums but I still like to think that I'm delivering to a leprechaun, though I'd imagine that they'd be more witty than to put Rainbow in the name line. There were also no skittles. Then again, I did not attempt to taste the rainbow. They tipped $5 though, so while not exactly a pot of gold, it wasn't too bad. (This is a picture of a rainbow I took while on duty a few weeks ago.)

Also, Stripes looks like Mikey (the tall blonde one) from Recess. Exactly like him. It's uncanny and amusing.

Stripes dropped a pizza on the ground. That was less amusing because it was my delivery and I had to wait for a remake.

I made $30 off of 7 deliveries, an average tip of $3.

Monday, June 7

6/4 6/5 Things that piss me off, the june bug edition

I took 30 deliveries between Friday and Saturday nights. Some amusing things:
  • A couple of rather large orders that tipped nicely.
  • A cute guy asking for a jumpstart (though not being able to figure it out was definitely not amusing)
  • Reminding a tip line skipper about it and he pulls this bullshit about "I don't really have the money but, I totally understand about tipping, I'm a Sonic carhop and we get paid, like, you know, $2 an hour." Like he wasn't completely fucking ready to skip the tip and total lines. It was not amusing that he was going to stiff me but I like calling people on their bullshit sometimes. He tipped $5.50.
  • Buttsweat Bopper. I'm gonna let that one sink in a little while.
Some not amusing things:
  • My topper was not lit up. I acknowledge that and that it should have been lit up and it was my own fault for not lighting it up. With that said, Little Yellow threatened to take away my "run money" if he caught me without my topper lit up again. First (and I would need to dig up my business school books for a citation on this one), the "run money" is my gas and car maintenance reimbursement. I'm pretty sure that the company is legally obligated to reimburse me for expenses I incur on behalf of the company. I don't think he can take it away. Second, when I brought that up he tried to say that I was a contractor, which I absolutely know to be untrue. I hate it so much when managers say things without thinking. I don't know if this shit works on other employees but I have a fucking degree in management (for real, though it's pretty damn useless it at least means that I've had two Business Law courses). He can't just say things like that carelessly. I am aware that there are serious consequences that he could bring down legally (writing me up, termination, etc), why pick to threaten me with the one consequence that he can't take? That just pisses me off on principle.
  • An order of 5 extra large pizzas that got there in 32 minutes and for which the bitch (see I'm riled up just talking about Little Yellow's bullshit) wrote in a one dollar tip on her receipt.
  • All the June bugs hatched. All of the history of the world. One touched me. I jumped. I hate them so much. Thud. That was one flying into this blog post.
I made $86 off 19 on Saturday and $54 off of 11 on Friday.

Friday, June 4

6/3 The Logic Behind Routing Runs

I was hoping that last night would be one of those spectacular shining nights where I average $4 tips and I have to sweep (or less) and everyone works hard and pizzas get out the door. It wasn't. But it wasn't so terrible either especially given my recent perspective on terrible nights. I got there and it was fairly slow even though it looked rainy out. I forgot to wash my uniform.

My first triple was pretty shitty but illustrates a good point, that, while sometimes I don't have a choice about what order in which I take deliveries because the routing only makes sense one way or because order times are striated and I am obligated to take them in a particular order so that the actual delivery times are relatively stable, sometimes I do have a choice. All three deliveries were at a time of between 17 and 20 minutes (the amount of time elapsed from their order to when I checked it out for delivery). My slip had a $2 pretip (of the variety that is almost justifiable because it was only a $13 bill) that was just north of the store on the northbound side of the street, a $1.19 pretip (on a $40 order) that is a little farther north than the first one but on the southbound side of the street, and an unknown credit card order (turned out to be $2) that was much farther north than the other two but still close enough to the main road to be a pretty straight shot. Obviously I wasn't thrilled about my two pretips so right off I wanted to figure out how to get that unknown there faster just in case it is an order that tips higher for faster delivery (I'm working on a statistical project with Jared Lander to disprove that delivery time is correlated to tips in cases where there is no pre-tip). I decided to take the $2 pretip first because it was conveniently on the way to the unknown. I thought about it; I could have easily changed my route. That's the difference that a couple of dollars would have made. Had the middle order pretipped $4 (still barely over 10% of their order) I probably would have taken them second (the $2 pretip still being too conveniently on the way to move in order) and the unknown third. For a dollar more than that they would definitely have been second, I wouldn't have even debated it. For another dollar above that (a $6 tip that is exactly 15% of their bill) I would have taken the minor inconvenience of delivering them first and the $2 pretip second. It makes no sense to me that they can afford $40 in pizza but not another $4 for a tip (I realize that it probably wasn't a money issue, it's probably them either being ignorant of how tipping works or just being jackasses). And why would they show their hand? Why let me know you're only going to tip a dollar? That doesn't make sense either. I would think that a smart asshole would not pretip so that I provide better service and still only make a dollar (had they not pretipped they probably would have gone second because of their higher order amount I would be hoping for a bigger tip). The only thing I can think about is that they enjoy the thought that I was disappointed right from the start and that I had to be disappointed and still deliver them pizza, that I couldn't decline it. They must enjoy making me powerless. The sadism of making me unhappy must overrule the joy of hot pizza (because did they honestly expect me to bust my ass getting their pizza to them hot for a freakin dollar?!). I like to be able to get big orders to people fast. I would have felt a sense of satisfaction at sitting with a $5 pre-tip in my pocket planning to get it to them as fast as I could.

Other than that, I had dishes (and was able to get everything rinsed before people decided to be "helpful" and start doing dishes for me), took 8 deliveries (but didn't get completely stiffed for any of them), and got sent home at a reasonable time.

I made $32 off of 8 deliveries.

Tuesday, June 1

5/29 The Fallen Part 2

Saturday started off as badly as Friday. First run and I completely misjudged my route. I got stiffed on the first delivery. On the second delivery I got to the door, thought I had the wrong order, went to the car to switch them out, turned out I had the right one to start with, so I had to go back to the car again to reswitch. Then got lost on the third delivery driving around for 20 minutes looking for an apartment complex that turned out to be right next to our store (google maps definitely did not show it as being right next to our store). Oh yeah, and while lost, I ended up at the right apartment number in the wrong complex and on my way out I ran into the apartment gate (very minor, didn't damage either of us, but it was still just another thing on top of the massive shitpile I was making of the run). I felt terrible for those people because their pizza was so late. I was lucky to get the $2 they gave me.

I'm going to blame the mental fogginess on caffeine withdrawal. I was feeling irritable and had a massive headache. It took all of the confusion to make me realize I hadn't had any caffeine in way more than 24 hours. One Mountain Dew, two doses of sinus headache medicine (three hours apart), a couple of Aleve liquid gels, and a sugar free redbull later and I was ready to close.

Other things that happened:
  • The local highschool was having its "Project Graduation". If you're not familiar with it, Project Graduation is a "lock-in" where seniors that have just graduated that day can go to "have fun" in a safe environment. It's made to cut down on the amount of drinking, driving, and premarital sex that goes down at post-graduation parties. So the PTA members contacted every business in the area to get donations and my store donated 10 pizzas and no one bothered to tip me. For the record, I skipped my own Project Graduation.
  • The air smelled swampy all night, fetid, moist, pestilent.
  • Had a second bout of knocking at the right house number on the wrong street.
  • Mama Bear reheated a pizza from a canceled order and had me deliver it to a very drunk dude at the local bar. The pizza didn't look good but it didn't look bad. I felt bad delivering it anyway.
I made $65 off of 17 deliveries.

Saturday, May 29

5/28 The Worst Night or The Fallen

I had possibly the worst delivery night ever last night.

First, I got kicked off the makeline by Little Yellow for being slow. I didn't think I was being that slow, but I guess I was. That hurt my feelings a bit because I really try to be helpful around the store instead of standing around folding boxes while everyone else busts their asses to get pizzas made.

Then, I fell down the concrete steps in front of our store. The pizzas were fine. I have a bruised left calf, a banged up right knee, a roughed up palm, a sore shoulder, and a hurt ego.

To make falling worse, I lost my bank when I fell and by, the time I realized it, I was out on a delivery and when I called the store to have someone go see if it was still out there, it was gone. So I started my first delivery at -$20.

My first delivery was 9 pizzas, with a total of $99.60. It was due to be delivered at 6:15. My second order was 2 pizzas with a pretip of $2 due to be delivered at 6:00. I left the store at 5:50. I made the wrong decision and took the big order first. I played the odds that a bigger order meant a bigger tip. I even brought the pizza into the kitchen for them. They tipped me $3. As I was turning onto the street for the second order (nearing 6:30), Little Yellow calls and tells me that he's had to make my second a free order because it was so late. So I'm already crying because my knee is starting to stiffen up, my palm still stings, I've lost my bank, my big order that was my best hope of getting a jump start on making up the lost bank money tipped me 3%, and now my prospects of getting a tip are approximately zero since the pretip was voided and her pizzas were late. When I got there the woman gave me $3 cash. I wanted to hug her, but was afraid I'd start crying again.

So I'm at -$14.

I go back to the store, ask for a new bank. Fold boxes for a while. Little Yellow calls me into the office to show me the schedule since I'd asked about it. He notices that I'm favoring my left knee, I tell him about the fall. He offers to send me home forcing me to confess that I'm in the negative money-wise and have to keep taking deliveries.

I take two more deliveries. The first one stiffs me in the worst way, the forgetting the tip and total line way. Though if she had done it the other way I might have burst into tears right there. The second delivery was to a third floor apartment. Climbing to the third floor was miserable, so when I got back to the store, at -$11, I asked Little Yellow if I could make up the rest from my tips on Saturday. He agrees and with my gas reimbursement I come out with -$6.

Right now I owe Little Yellow $6. I would have been better not working at all last night.

Friday, May 28

5/27 Gizmo

There's a trick to big bosses (and for these purposes big bosses are anyone above the general manager) being in the store. The trick is to always be aware of where they are and what they are doing. For example, if I'm working the cut table, I'm in the center of the store and regardless of where the big boss is she can potentially see what I'm doing. If I know that she's in the back with her back to the rest of the store I may breathe easier, but I know the second that I stop paying attention she'll be behind me criticizing how I'm not flattening the pepperonis enough or how I didn't smoosh down a crust bubble post-oven and taking my slicer to perform the needed task (which then proceeds to make the pizza look exactly like you'd think it would, like someone had taken a slicer and messed with the toppings and pushed them around on the pizza). If I'm answering phones she's going to wonder why I said "would you like to add cheesesticks or a soda to your order?" instead of "would you like to add cheesesticks or an icy cold beverage to your order?" If I'm folding boxes, they aren't topped. If I'm making pizza my saucing or topping distribution isn't quite right. If I'm getting orders ready I'm not checking the pizzas or I'm putting too many boxes in one bag.

Regarding my deliveries yesterday:
  • I got tipped on a free order, which is always surprising. ($7!)
  • I met a little dog with a big bark. His name was Gizmo because, per his owner, when his ears stand up he looks like Gizmo from the Gremlins.
  • 2/3 of my orders were unacceptable tippers though there was only one stiff.
I made $35 off of 9 deliveries, an average tip of $2.60.

Monday, May 24

5/22 Walk the Plank

There is some great satisfaction in a perfect run. Taking four deliveries at once, seeing that one of them was at 21 minutes and the other three were at 13/14 minutes, prioritizing and choosing the most efficient path, getting all four there before 45 minutes had passed, no wrong turns, smiles all around, it's a wonderful feeling. I had a few great runs Saturday night.

I'll admit that one of them wasn't mine. I accidentally took Russian Driver's slip and his deliveries which I know threw a wrench in things back at the store. What happened was Little Yellow yelled out that I was routed but then yelled that he re-routed me. The way that slips print out, when I was routed the first time it printed out the receipts and then when I was re-routed it printed them all again. So I took the second set of receipts on the printer without realizing that someone had already taken the first set of my receipts off the printer. I didn't figure it out until I was on my way to the third of three deliveries and Little Yellow calls to sort things out. I felt terrible, especially for Russian Driver. Little Yellow and Trainee Manager kept teasing me all night about how everything that went wrong was due to "some delivery driver who messed everything up by grabbing the wrong deliveries."

Other things:
  • I got shorted change twice. The first time where I had to give change and the change was $4.86 and I gave him $5 back expecting to get some of that back and he just looked at me and asked if he should go get the 14 cents. I politely declined and went on my way. The second was to a hotel and while the mother wrestled one of the kids into pajamas another kid went and dug in her purse for money, I got shorted 36 cents. I know it's within my right to demand the full amount but that brings up two problems: I don't have coins on me, so if they bring me another dollar because I demand 36 cents, they will expect me to give them change; it's not even worth my time to wait for them, I could be on my way back to the store gaining several minutes of working or taking another delivery.
  • For some reason when delivering to people with my same first name I expect them to be cooler than they are.
  • I delivered to two princess/fairy parties one of which had a blue blanket spread in front of the door with a 2x4 across it. I was told by the child to walk the plank.
  • I've been using a red pen to have customer's sign receipts. Because the ink starts off bright red and darkens as it sits, I like to pretend that it's magically drawing from the blood of people who conveniently forget the tip and total lines.
  • A guy asked to see his pizza before paying me to make sure it was fresh. He said as he opened the box "I told them I'm not buying it if it isn't fresh". He was third of three on my route (the one I took from Russian driver accidentally). Good thing I was having a great run and got there in short time. By the way, he tipped $6 once he'd determined the pizza passed his test.
I worked over 8 hours (came in early for one of the day drivers and stayed late because Little Yellow asked me to pretty early in the evening) and made $82.

Saturday, May 22

5/20 5/21 Dead Frog

I delivered to a park two shifts in a row.
There is a dead frog in our parking lot.
Rejected a penny on a $1.01 tip.
I forgot my nametag yesterday.
Busy but boring shifts.
Met an awesome cat.
Forgot one soda.
$57 on 12.
$41 on 10.

Wednesday, May 19

5/18 Friendly Customers

Last night was pretty freakin awesome for a Tuesday night. It started pretty quickly with a 12 pizza order to a park. Once I got there it took me a little while to find the people, but they gave me a $10 tip (and while that's lower than I would recommend for such a large order, I as certainly satisfied with it). To follow that up I had a $4 and a $6. Even the shitty tips were predictable, the first was a mexican guy who didn't speak english, it was all we could do between the two of us to communicate the total. The second was to a black lady in one of the extended-stay hotels. I've found that with hotels, you want to deliver to either guys who look like they do skilled construction work and travel around a lot, or business men. So basically people on a per-diem who don't mind if the company pays my tip. They're usually nice on top of that.

So I was in a good mood before the two shitty tippers and a good mood after because I had my first customer comment on my pizza tattoo. I drove up and two drunk guys were standing in the driveway, one had obviously been painting with a sprayer because he was covered in white paint except for clear areas where his face-mask and goggles were. They took the pizza and asked if my tattoo was real which of course brought on comments that I must really love my job and I explained that I really love pizza and one day will own a pizzeria. I flirted a little since it's nice to have such friendly customers and I wasn't in a hurry. They tipped me $5 and it was an all around great delivery.

Because I was in a great mood, when I got my last run and saw that someone had ordered one pizza, four 20 ounce sodas, and pre-tipped $3, I threw in an extra sauce cup for them. I normally reserve such treatment for my really great pre-tippers, but I was just feelin it last night. That sauce cup was my way of saying, "Dude, I really appreciate you being decent. I can't do much, but here's an extra sauce cup."

Inside the store things ran really smoothly, everyone just did their job, worked pretty much the whole time, end-of-night jobs were pre-assigned so there was no nagging Mama Bear about what she wanted me to do. I had to sweep (which is my favorite end-of-night job) and I noticed a lot of rollie pollies in the store. I guess they're everywhere this time of year.

I walked out with $41 off of 8 deliveries, which is pretty damn good for a Tuesday night. It averages to $3.85 average tip per delivery.

Oh! And to top it off, as I was walking out of the store the mini-cinnamon rolls that Milkdud made were coming out of the oven and she let me have one.