Friday, February 26

2/25 Quick Update

Just a short update. I only took two deliveries last night because we were slow again (and this week in particular I don't mind going home early). It's funny because I got lucky with a really close together double, literally around the corner from each other. Somehow I ended up switching the pizzas, but they were really cool about it and it took all of 3 or 4 minutes to sort it out.

I made $10 off of 2 deliveries.

After tonight's shift I'll be off for the weekend for my birthday (I'm 5^2!). I'll try to blog tonight's shift tonight, but if it ends up way after the weekend I wouldn't be surprised.

Wednesday, February 24

2/24 Snow Day

Yesterday Austin got a rare snow. Everyone freaked out, including me. Well, I didn't freak out, but I don't like snow and I'm not a great driver (I'm not one of the stereotypical bad delivery drivers that speed and cut people off, it's more that I'm not a terribly skilled driver), so I wasn't looking forward to delivering in the stuff though I was hoping that due to the unusually bad weather people would come through with the tips, and for the most part they did.

I took 11 deliveries including a quint. Drivers were taking up to seven deliveries at once. Estimated delivery time was two hours. At one point Little Yellow told people to stop answering the phone and just let them ring so we could get caught up. I did everything at one point of another, I answered phones, worked makeline, slapped dough, cut pizzas, prepped (they had prepped for a normal Tuesday and therefore ran out of just about everything, most of which is easily remedied by opening a bag but veggies take a bit longer to make).

My most interesting delivery was my next to last one. I was out on a double and I got to the first delivery and realized I forgot their ranch (I realized why I keep forgetting sauce cups over here, in Podunk the cut station was responsible for putting extra sauce cups in, but here I am). I grabbed my last free pizza card that I'd been hoarding and took the order to the door. I told the gentleman that I'd be happy to go back and get his ranch but if he wanted, instead, I'd give him a pizza on the house next time. Not only did he accept, but he handed me an extra $3 tip on top of the $3 he pretipped. I'm not above a little reciprocity.

Day Job Driver also had an interesting delivery but in a different way. He had two deliveries out to the same apartment complex and when he got to the first one no one was there, so he called the guy and it turned out that the guy was at the other apartment. He had ordered online then wanted to change the adress that it was going to, but he didn't make that clear to the bopper, so she put in a second order for the other apartment. So he had two orders, they were cash, it was obvious that one would be bad ordered, but when he got to the other apartment, the guy payed and then stiffed him. Day Job Driver just stood there at the door flabbergasted and said, "Really?! Nothing for the driver?" and the guy said, "I've got something for you" and slammed the door. Day Job Driver was still livid mad when he got back to the store. Granted, I would never question a customer that stiffed me, I just hang my head, forego the "Have a nice evening" and smile, and walk away, but I've wanted to say something.

I got $51 off of 11. An average tip of $3.35.

Monday, February 22

The Last I'll Say On Tipping

The tipping system is broken.

It used to be that tipping meant gratuity, which meant a small payment to show your gratitude for exceptional service. It no longer means this.

Somewhere along the way companies got the idea that if a waiter (or waitress) had a reasonable expectation of tips that they should be able to pay that waiter less than minimum wage as long as his tips and wages added up to minimum wage. These companies took the idea to our legislature and convinced them to make it legal.

People continued to take these jobs, these less than minimum wage jobs, because their customers were indeed grateful for the service and they tipped. There was a time when people actually did what was socially expected of them; It was expected that if you got good service from a waiter, you tipped 15%.

Cue the pizza companies. They noticed that customers were also grateful for having their food delivered to their house. They figured that if restaurants could get away with paying their waiters less because of the expectation of a tip that they could get away with paying delivery drivers less. This is where the similarities between waiting tables and delivering pizza end. I hate when people insist on comparing the two. I love my waiters and waitresses. I often tip way more than 15%. They deserve it, they do more than just take my order and bring me food. I appreciate all of those things that they do to make my experience good, especially those things that I don't see. You should tip them more too.

So far:
Tipping is no longer gratuity.
Pizza delivery is not waiting tables and the comparison is unfair to both parties.

I would love to go to a system where I didn't rely on tips, but knowing that your pizza delivery driver does rely on tips, you have an obligation to pay tips. Think of it this way, my employer pays me $4.95 while I'm out on the road, I think of that as payment for representing the company and as them covering their ass to make sure I make minimum wage. My employer does not actually pay me for delivering to you (yes they require me to deliver to you, but they don't pay me for it). You pay me for delivering to you with a tip. In most cased $3. Any additional amount over that $3 is gratuity.

It has been suggested that if I have such a problem with the low tips I get that it must be my fault. I contend that most people know how much they are going to tip before they even order, making the problem of low tips an education problem rather than a service problem. It has been suggested that if I'm receiving low tips because I'm sometimes forced to deliver cold pizza, that I should complain to my manager. I ask again, if when I get back to the store the delivery that is next in line is not piping hot (and bound to get colder even sitting in a hot bag on my way to the house) am I to refuse to deliver it? Make my manager remake it? Would you tip me the same because even though your pizza is now late it is hot? Less because it is now late (the most likely situation)? Or more because I put my job on the line to make sure that your pizza was hot? You would be naive to think that I would be able to keep my job if I was constantly doing such things. You may say that upon complaining to my manager that I'm taking pizzas that are cold and it is effecting my tips, that he will have a way to fix that. The only solution is to hire more drivers, likely an excess of drivers. This is a problem for me. More drivers means fewer deliveries per driver, fewer hours (as the bulk of those drivers will only be needed in the short 1.5 hour to 2 hour dinner rush), and consequently lower aggregate tips and lower aggregate wages. It's a catch-22.

Additionally, it has been suggested that I provide my best service no matter what, that small tippers can grow to be big tippers because they will be more grateful for my service. I would like to see you provide your best service after coming off of 5 deliveries where you made $4 in tips. When I deliver to a regular bad tipper I always hope that this time will be the time that they'll tip, that last time the pizza wasn't hot enough for them or they were short on money or just didn't know they were supposed to, and they never do. Enough of that and you'd stop providing them your best service too.

It has been suggested that if I don't like the tipping system that I should find another job. First, I like my job. My blog is a place to vent. It is cathartic. I try to mention the happy things that happen. I love prepping bell peppers. I like low water crossings, cows, water towers, and traffic circles. I like making a perfect veggie pizza because done right there are precisely two tomatoes per slice and it is beautiful. Second, let's say that I quit, it doesn't mean that all of the sudden all of the pizza delivery people are ok with the tipping system or ok with $1 and $2 tips. It just means that they don't care to speak out about it. Yes, a way to fix the system would be for all of the pizza delivery people to find other employment and for the companies to be unable to fill those jobs without offering better compensation. I suppose we could also unionize (it has been unsuccessfully tried). But, realistically, neither of those things will happen for exactly the same reason that there aren't a chorus of people delivery people on the internet railing against the system, most of them just don't know or care how much they're getting screwed over.

A quick note on the delivery fee. It does not go to the drivers. It is there because the companies can get away with it. My employer would be obligated to pay me a per mile or per delivery amount with or without the delivery fee. Not tipping does not send a message that you find the delivery fee to be unacceptable.

What I want you to get out of this is that clinging to a fantasy about the tipping system only hurts me. You do not send a message to the store that the system is unacceptable when you tip low. You do not send a message to the delivery driver that you are grateful for their service when you tip low. All you do is hurt the driver, make it harder for them to pay their bills and service their car.

Wrap up:

Tipping is no longer gratuity.
Pizza delivery is not waiting tables and the comparison is unfair to both parties.
Tipping is paying me for delivering to you. Anything above that is gratuity.
Quitting my job won't make this problem go away, it will just mean one less voice talking about it (and pretending a problem doesn't exist because no one is speaking up will not make it go away).

I know that most of you enjoy reading my blog and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this but I'm not interested in arguing anymore, so I'm turning off comments. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to blog my shifts this week. If I do, I will be turning off comments on there as well.

Sunday, February 21

2/19 2/20 I'm a Screwup

I feel terrible. Here I am, defending tipping, defending the fact that pizza delivery people work hard and deserve to be tipped well, and I've had a couple of very off nights.

I suppose it starts with a lot of $2 tips on Friday night. $2 tips in particular irritate me because those people think they are tipping acceptably. Then on my last delivery I forgot the ranch cups, which is so unlike me. I always check the tags for extra stuff. When I told the guy at the door that I forgot them but that I'd be back as soon as I possibly could, the woman just inside made a disgusting scoffing noise and said "she forgot what?" like I was the lowest of the low, like what good was I if I couldn't even do my job and bring the ranch cups they ordered. It was a bad way to end the night.

Then last night I kept having $1 tippers. $1 tippers can't even pretend that they're tipping acceptably. Every time someone hands me a dollar as a tip I want to throw it back at them and yell, "Keep it! You obviously need it more than I do. Go buy yourself some class."

So, I'd had two nights of shitty tippers and it got to be the end of the night and I'd just gotten stiffed and I got into a neighborhood where the street signs are terrible, instead of being standard issue matte green with reflective white lettering they are matte brown with stylized matte white lettering. Anyway, I had a delivery to ***clarc and somehow I ended up on ***more exactly one street away. The houses are numbered the same and when I went to deliver the pizza a kid answered the door and seemed to know what was going on. As I drove off I noticed the street sign said ***more and had a 1/2 thought that I hoped I'd delivered to the right street, but I figured the kid wouldn't have taken the pizza if no one ordered it. I got back to the store and the phones were ringing off the hook and so I immediately go to answer it and it turns out to be the kid calling to let them know that he just got a delivery for someone else. I told him that I'd send the driver right out. I went back, I picked up the pizza which they had thankfully not started eating and from the fact that them mom came to the door with him I assume wasn't messed with and took it one street over to the correct people. I voluntarily gave them one of the free pizza coupons I've been hoarding. They deserve it for my screwup and hopefully it made the not hot pizza taste a little better. So another bad ending to a night.

Friday night I made $25 off of 7 deliveries. ($2.28 average tip per delivery)

Saturday night I made $27 off of 10 deliveries. ($1.41 average tip per delivery)

Friday, February 19

2/18 Another one of those boring nights

Wow, I wish I had something to write about but Thursday night was a lot like Wednesday night. I took six deliveries, one of which was a great tipper ($6). They're making me wear a nametag now (which I never had to do in Podunk) and this was the first customer to call me name. It was a bit unnerving. Other than that I had four $2 tips (I hate you special that encourage people to order just one pizza and therefore think that $2 is ok) and a stiff.

I kept having this fantasy last night of it being my last night delivering and since I wouldn't care about getting fired I talked to each one of those people (except gold star $6 dude) about adequate tipping.

I got $22 off of six deliveries. An average tip of 2.37.

Also, if you haven't seen my latest Slice article, I'm defending good tipping practices. I love the number of people who comment that they are good tippers, it makes me wish that I delivered the kind of pizza that foodies love and not the chain kind.

Thursday, February 18

2/17 Bye Bye Manwhore2

I only took two deliveries last night, almost not enough to even write a blog about. They were both pretty easy. One was to the grocery store down the road. Our bopper took down her drink order as Dr. Pepper, which we don't carry, so Little Yellow made me take one of each soda and find out what she wanted when I got there (she wasn't answering her phone). You bet I made that bopper carry the sodas out to my car and put away the unneeded ones when I got back.

Apparently Manwhore2 no longer works there. He was entertaining. Oh well. I hope he finds lots of ladies to charm at his new job.

Little Yellow and I had a talk about scheduling. He says I may get that Saturday day shift sooner than I think. I rejoiced.

$9 off of 2 deliveries. An average tip of $3 (the math works out like this, $4 + $2 + (2x$1.29)= $8.58, we round up).

Sunday, February 14

2/13 My Heart Container's Made of Pizza

Saturday was my last day in Podunk. I'm glad that of all the managers it was Army Cook that had the shift. We were getting along rather well. The customer's weren't bad. Lil Nicky came in at noon and we were busy enough to need him. I got prep done in time to chill out under the drivers' station one last time and get a bit of reading done just before the late afternoon rush. There are a lot of things I will miss:
  • The sprayer for the dishes.
  • Lil Nicky randomly walking up and saying, "God [PizzaGirl], you're such a douche!" Which is a bit of an inside joke.
  • Sleeping under the drivers' table (the new store has these horrible metal bars to create slots for bags making it impossible to sleep there).
But, there are lots of things I won't miss and I'm glad that I've made the decisions that I have. It's funny because all during my last shift I felt like I was seeing signs that told me it was better off that I go. It started with a mysterious wrist tattoo (which I was later informed has something to do with some sort of Scandinavian rock band). Then there was "Cerete not Cerp" written in chalk above someone's doorbell. Right after that I had to deliver to the duplexes and after walking past lots of dead vegetation I found that the peephole on the door was circled over and over again in yellow crayon.

I guess I should also say that there was a holiday this weekend. It involved heart shaped pizzas.* Per Army Cook we're not supposed to cut them because "you wouldn't want to give people broken hearts". Beyond the cheesy pun, I guess I see his point that it doesn't look that much like a heart after being cut (not that it looked like one before being cut) but at the same time an uncut pizza is pretty damn useless. I ended up cutting them into quarters before he had time to stop me. I like to think that it's more romantic this way because it's like a full heart container made of pizza.

Only had one completely shitty customer. They pre-tipped a dollar. I pre-shook their soda.

I made $77 off of 11 deliveries. An average tip of $5.71 (helped out greatly by two $8 tips).

*To some of you this might be a dead giveaway as to where I work and I'll refer you back to my post on my Anonymity and ask that you keep it to yourself.

Thursday, February 11

2/10 I give you pizza, you give me money

Last night I did dishes at the new store for the first time. I miss my sprayer. I miss water that I could turn up enough to be scalding hot. I miss opaque water (this has more than a hint of sulfur in it). But Little Yellow helped me out with the dishes and we chatted, which was nice. I don't know quite how to describe him. A bit weasely, he takes pride in being able to hit his numbers, nothing you say to him is "off the record", but with those things understood, he's nice.

As far as deliveries went, I had the lowest tip average I've had at this store. We weren't terribly busy. I expected more business since the weatherMan predicted sleet (which never came). I know there's been snow other places, but I'm happy to have no precipitation whatsoever. Our lake is finally back up to normal levels, the aquifer is recharging, and I'm ready to get back to wearing flipflops.

I had two bad tippers in a row tell me to keep warm. I wanted to throw something at them. I kept their pizza warm and a couple of singles is my thanks? I could light those singles on fire for more warmth than they get me out of the electricity bill.

Pacman reported 4 tips over $7, so I guess I just got the bad luck.

Speaking of tipping higher, if your pizza isn't late yet and I call for directions, tip me better. My options when a street doesn't show up in my GPS and I didn't write down directions are:
  • Wander around hoping I'm in the right neighborhood until I spot your street. Estimated time it takes: 15 min - infinity
  • Call the store, wait for someone to be available, wait for someone to look up the street, locate me, get coherent directions from here to there. Estimated time: 20 min + travel time for how lost I am
  • Stop and call you the instant I realize you're not in my GPS and am not yet lost. Estimated time: 5 min + normal delivery travel time
I got you hot pizza; You give me money. That's how that works.

I made $33 of 8 deliveries, a tip average of $2.83 per delivery.

Sunday, February 7

2/7 Superbowl Sunday

Things were busy(ish) tonight. I told Jolly Green that won't be working there after next week's schedule is done. He seemed as relieved as I am about it. He doesn't know I'm still going to out District Manager about the problem... and then I'm washing my hands of it. If they don't fix it and another employee decides to complain and ends up taking them to court over it, I'll have laid the groundwork for a successful class-action lawsuit of which I'll be happy to claim my cut.

The tips weren't good, the number of runs wasn't good. Now that I think about it my tips went 2 5 2 5 5 2. I delivered a pizza to a woman surnamed Merkin, she was one of the $2 ones so I'm guess she wasn't vagazzling.

I made $28 off of 6 runs, averaging 3.38 a delivery.

Over there -------> I've posted links to my Slice articles.

2/6 Jolly Green Pushes Me Over The Edge

Jolly Green gave me the last bit of pushing that I needed last night to get out of there. I've resolved myself to a course of action. Here's my run-down (mostly so I have it in one place but it might give you some idea of the scope of this problem):

11/28 approximate date of pay-rate change
12/12 I find out about the pay-rate change and confront El Jefe.
1/3 Stoner Manager continues to clock me out early on runs. I confront El Jefe again. He tells me to unassign runs that Stoner Manager checks out to me. He tells me that he will tell the new general manager about the situation.
1/5 approximate date of manager switch from El Jefe to Jolly Green.
1/15 Army Cook continues to try to check things out to me early.
1/30 Jolly Green tells me that he is rewarding drivers who agree to route early by allowing them to take deliveries while checked in. He tells me that this is making them more money than I am making.
(2/5) possibly unrelated, Jolly Green, without explanation, stops scheduling me as the Sunday day person after months of me having the shift.
2/6 Jolly Green forces me to take two deliveries out of a triple because I won't route the third one until it is imminently coming out of the oven.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to talk to Little Yellow about moving over there for Friday and Saturday nights. I was planning on quitting Sundays anyway to spend more time with my children. That leaves only one reason to stay in Podunk, my Saturday day shift. I think that the negatives far outweigh the positives there. With that said, once I have confirmation that I have secured the shifts at the new store I will be placing a call to our district manager to explain why I left the Podunk store. I no longer care if I get Jolly Green in trouble. He has lost my sympathy.

Regarding my shift yesterday, it was pretty standard except for I ended up working 10 hours (so that Lil Nicky could go home early and throw a surprise birthday party for his best friend). I was feeling rather excited about my upcoming birthday for most of the day but this whole wage thing put a major damper on things. I just hope that when a resolution comes I'll find a way to make delivering fun again. Remember when this was fun?

I made $70 off of 17 deliveries.

P.S. On the new pay scale I made approximately $6.95 an hour, which is more than I made on the flat rate. I say this to illustrate that it isn't the money that I have a problem with but rather the fact that I have to play games and be okay with the fact that no one would be accountable for my pay rate.

Saturday, February 6

2/4 2/5 Two Shifts, Two Stores

I know I'm running a bit behind, so here goes for Thursday:

I worked at the new store. I took six deliveries, discovered a death-trap of a road called Hairy Man Rd, delivered to some lesbian Wiccans and came out of their apartment smelling like incense but $10 richer because I chatted them up about their tarot cards, and delivered twice to the apartment complex that I had the weird experience in. I wish I could power-wash my memory of that place.

I made $36. $4.71 average tip.

Friday night I worked in Podunk.

I took 8 deliveries including two to a little circle neighborhood. The first one didn't have a house number and I ended up trying two of their neighbors' houses (who also didn't have house numbers) before finding the correct house. When I rang the doorbell at the first wrong house more than 20 yippie dogs rushed the screen door and pushed it open. Now I know why they had the gate wired shut. The house looked clean though, so I guess whoever it is is doing okay with so many dogs; it didn't look anything like what I've seen on Animal Cops for people that hoard animals.

On my last run I thought I thought I was doing the team a service by delivering to the duplexes that never tip on my way back from another delivery, but in a turning of the tables, the first delivery (a sour-looking pregnant lady) stiffed me and the duplexes actually tipped me.

There was also a bit of drama about dishes. Jolly Green assigns me dishes every Friday night. He's told me that he does this because he "uses up everyone else during the week". Whatever. Just wait till tomorrow's post and you'll discover the depths of my hatred for Jolly Green right now. Anyway, he assigned me one of the boy boppers to assist on dishes. I asked him to do a simple task, start rinsing the dishes while I collect the rest of the dishes from the front. He rinsed (inadequately) three dishes and when I came back I found him running dishwater. I may have been a little harsh when I kicked him off the dishes. He sure wasn't complaining though. If I'm going to be on dishes they're going to be done my way even if I have to do them by myself.

I made $31. $2.58 average tip.

Thursday, February 4

2/4 Yelling Manager and a Fairytale

It's been raining for at least a day straight now and yet last night was pretty slow, I only took 6 deliveries, though they were fairly good deliveries.

I met another one of the shift-leaders. Imagine a shortish white guy, shorter than me, who walks like he's about to "cap a fool" (if that is indeed how that phrase goes, I'm not really up on my slang), he wears his shorts just below his knees and his socks just below his shorts, he is incapable of speaking in a conversational tone at a reasonable volume, instead he artificially lowers his voice and barks everything, like the fake drill-sergeants in movies (I have no idea if real drill-sergeants do this but I imagine that they do not need to do anything other than raise their volume to inspire intimidation, I would certainly be intimidated, which is probably why I would be terrible in the army). I'm going to call him Yelling Manager. Other people who have nicknames now:
  • Insectosaurus - he's giant and never talks. I was trying to help out on make-line but there is only a very small corridor between the oven and the cheese-station and he was blocking the entire thing. I tried making a few pizzas but getting to the cheese was a hassle as he would not move even a little bit to allow me access.
  • PacMan - in honor of the hoodie he wears, is leaving in a few weeks (or so he says)
I made $33 off of 6 deliveries, an average tip of $4.21 And since I don't have any good customer stories of my own to tell I offer you Another Delivery Fairytale From AjaTheFairy:

The Tale of the Car Stuck in the Ditch

It was pitch black...I couldn't see anything. There were no house lights or street lights. My reverse lights could not penetrate the dark matter that surrounded us (me and my car). Backing out of a narrow mud driveway and cut the wheel 6 inches to the left about 5 feet early. It was the first time that I ever had to call the store and have someone come get the next delivery. The problem was it was 10 minutes to close and I was the only driver. It was my first time working a whole shift with the general manager, who came to get the last pizza. I am just glad the guys were not there to see it.

My car only had one wheel on the ground. I have never seen anything like it. My trunk was about 8 feet off the ground. I had 3 fat people climb on the back of the car and we still could not get the back end on the ground. My engine was touching the ground.

I didn't have the money for a wrecker, so I called my dad to bring some rope and our minivan. The problem is, I don't have a trailer hitch or ANYTHING to attach a damn rope to pull it out. We took a big gamble and used the back axle. My dad and my boss are mad at the homeowners because to their own admission it 'happens all the time.' I'm fine. The car is not speaking to me.
Total tip for the trouble: $1.47.

This begs the question: If national pizza chains have tens of thousands of drivers all over the country, why don't they have a deal with AAA? Even if the corporations didn't pay for it themselves, they could at least negotiate a discount for drivers to pay themselves. It would only take a phone call from one VP to another. It's a win-win

Monday, February 1

1/31 Post-Jager Sunday Morning

I realized yesterday as I was walking back to my car from a delivery that I love my car. I really do. I feel like he's an extension of me. I know that a lot of people who spend so much time in their car feel like this. My car knows more of my secrets and has seen more of my tears than any person ever has. Which reminds me... he needs an oil change.

I always have such esoteric thoughts while hungover, which really is the most notable thing about my Sunday (damn you Jager!*). I was thankful it wasn't sunny, but it was cold and I enjoyed watching the wildlife be out. By wildlife I mean cows. I have a weird fascination with cows...and horses with jackets on...and little birds that puff up in the cold...and ducks that inadvertently line themselves up in rows in the retaining pond.

We were just steady enough that I never got to sleep it off under the driver station. I'm glad that I'm going to be dropping my Sunday shifts. I'm tired of going in and Goofball and Stoner Manager haven't gotten prep finished and so I get stuck doing it all. When I open on Saturdays prep and dishes are both always done before the second driver gets in.

I made $40 off of 12 deliveries. A crappy $2.04 average tip.

*Having random free-association thoughts. Anyone seen "Gamer"? You know that scene, the one where the whole thing becomes ridiculously implausible? I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it because the scene is genius like the moment in "Transporter 3" where he floats the car with the air in the tires. But somehow I can imagine my Saturday night ending with me trying the same stunt with my car and some Jager. Imagine.