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.