Saturday, January 30

1/30 Two Steps Back

I'm having a hard time staying focused writing this post. I'm so angry at the whole wage situation. Today Jolly Green told me that other drivers aren't refusing to route deliveries early and as reward to them he is allowing them to take whole deliveries while checked in. He says they are getting more money on their paycheck that way. All I hear is that he's penalizing me for being a stickler about being on the correct pay-rate all the time.

I'm also frustrated because I thought I was getting somewhere. I thought I had convinced at least a few other drivers that cheating the system was cheating them, but it looks like Jolly Green has undermined that. I thought we had this sorted out. Now I'm going to have to go to our district manager and complain and hope that I don't get in too much trouble... and I really don't want to get Jolly Green or El Jefe in trouble either; they're working with the system and de-facto policies that are there... that are above their heads to change. But I can't help but see this as them having less integrity than I do. They probably see it as being realists while I am being a pain-in-the-ass idealist. Maybe I am.

There was also some drama about me asking off for Super Bowl Sunday. I didn't realize that the date that I asked off and the Super Bowl were on the same day. I like football but not enough to pass up money to watch it; really, it's my turn to keep the kids on a Sunday. He threatened to write me up if I called in. I panicked, begged my grandparents who live 3 hours away to come watch them, figured out I don't have to work till 4, and calmed down a bit... but I'm still resentful of Jolly Green for not being understanding about things beyond my control.

There were good things today, I swear:
  • I delivered to a non-profit that tipped me $13 on a $95 order. They were super-nice. I Googled the organization and they provide matching services for families and foster-children who have emotional or behavioral problems. Now I know why there were so many children in the office that I delivered to. They looked like happy children.
  • A customer was not only very forgiving but also very generous when it was discovered that I only had $16 in change but owed them $18. They didn't care that I forced a $2 tip on them and they threw in another 5 on top of it.
I made $44 off of (I think) 8 deliveries. That makes an average tip of $4.29, helped greatly by my two Gold Star tippers.

Oh yeah, just realized I marked all of today's prep as 1/29. FML

Friday, January 29

1/28 1/29 RIP Bacon Bit

There was a dog, let's call her Bacon Bit, she was so fat that her eyes-sockets were rejecting her eyes and she wheezed. Her owners are an old couple. They used to order a double-bacon pizza, chocolate desert, and a Diet Pepsi. If the woman orders, she pays by check and will give a dollar or two. If the man orders, he pays by credit card and give 3 to 5 dollars. It was the guy this time and when I got to the door I did the small-talk chatty thing and asked where Bacon Bit was. He turned and let me down easy with a "Oh... we had to put her down, she was 18." I was sad. I let him know that I'm sorry for his loss. He tipped me $5. We were all happy... I mean... er ... sad.

Speaking of sad, I saw a rival chain's driver stopping at a gas station (while I was stopped at a stop light) to use a payphone. I felt bad for him, so I stopped and let him use my cellphone to call his customer. Poor dude. Didn't find out why he didn't have a cellphone, but at least he got where he was going.

I made $32 off of 7 deliveries, an average tip of $3.28

Guess I should mention my Thursday night over at Alternate Pizza Place. It was pretty meh. I dropped a breadstick under the cut-station and pretended like it didn't happen even though Little Yellow saw the tail-end of the fumble; Delivered to an apartment complex at which I've had an awkward experience; and delivered to a Mary Kay lady right before their cult meeting. I made $30 off of 7 deliveries (an average tip of $3 even). I guess those first two nights where I was making spectacular tips were just beginner's luck.

Thursday, January 28

Pizza Girls of the World, Unite!

I found @ajathefairy doing my normal twitter search on pizza delivery. I think she tweeted about a delivery. I'm always happy to find a fellow pizza-girl, so I asked her to do a guest blog for me. So without for further ado...


Thanks to @apizzagirl for inviting me to guest blog and bringing me into the group. I am very happy that she found me and reached out. I had no idea there was a world of drivers out there swapping pizza war stories. Diary of Pizza Girl is now my favorite thing.

First, a little about me. My first job at 18-years-old was phone girl at a pizza place. It didn’t take me long to realize being a driver is way better than being a phone girl. I like that I’m usually the only girl on the driving team (big fat lesbian women who act like men don’t count). It’s the job I always come back to when my insecurities stop me from taking the big leaps in life.
I graduated with from a Texas university last month, bringing my total number of college degrees to three (B.B.A. + 2 A.A. degrees). I was the student leader of the year and editor-in-chief of the student newspaper at my local community college. I have a long list of academic achievements, plenty of business experience, y yo hablo EspaƱol. My state senator once told me he hoped I would replace him when he retires.

And here I am….delivering pizzas. I came back to it exactly two weeks before graduation. I am learning a new area with hundreds of cul-de-sacs and stop lights. After only a month of using it, I can’t remember what I did all those years without GPS. The truth is I have not even applied to a ‘real job’ because of how much I enjoy what I am doing. OK, maybe not the washing every dish in the store when closing or driving to the edge of our area to get stiffed parts, but there’s good stuff, too. I get to work with my two best friends, Shakira and my 2004 Olds Alero.

After a year-and-a-half hiatus, the last six weeks have not just been a job but an adventure. Most of the places I go to are worth a lot of money, but last Friday I got stuck in the mud going to Deliverance country where the woman who stiffed me weighed 700 lbs and couldn’t even get off the couch. Boy did she stink! There were no paved roads or street lights and the mud came up to my socks when I got out of the car. It was so dark I almost broke an ankle while trying to get through all the junk in the yard. When I finally got back in the car, it had sunk too far to move. The people in the house just stared at me as I struggled for a good four minutes trying to get the car unstuck. I wasn’t worried; my Alero never lets me down. I closed the store taking 15 deliveries and walking away with only $64. Just when you think it can’t get any worse….

On Saturday, the manager sent every other driver home by 8:30p. At 9:30p I was on a double when I got locked inside a parking lot. I delivered to a female ‘security guard’ who pushed a button from inside a building to lift the mechanical arm and let me in the lot. When the tiny black girl with 6-inch fake nails walked out of the building to stiff me, she locked herself out of the office. There was no way to raise the mechanical arm to let me out. She kept saying, “Sorry, I don’t even know who to call.” I was there for a good twenty-five minutes and just about to call the police to report a kidnapping when some off duty employee happen to come by the office for some paperwork. He swiped his card to let me out. I still don’t think my manager believes me about that one. I took 18 deliveries that night and only walked away with $54. Half of it (no kidding, $23) was in change that my manager wouldn’t accept.

Sunday I was planning to enjoy my day off by sleeping as long as I could. I awoke to the sound of my cell phone at noon. Bad news, three drivers called in sick, please come to work NOW! I thought I would be helping just for the rush. 8 Hours later they were giving me a prep assignment.
Just a typical weekend…


The great thing about being in the car a lot of the time is that no one can see me cry and I have a lot of time to get my shit together between being in the store and being at a customer's home. I was crying because I was exhausted and my back hurt and I had a chill that I just couldn't shake.

The deliveries were nothing special. There are a ton of apartment complexes in our area, I'm not used to that, but I'm getting better at seeing the patterns and finding the broken gates.

NEVER EAT THE CHEESESTICKS AT THIS STORE! I was making cheesesticks and I ran out of butter-sauce. I asked where there was more prepped. They said the walk-in. There wasn't any prepped, so I got the big jar to prep some more. I ask Mama Bear where another squeeze bottle was. She said there wasn't one. I balked. For a minute I honestly didn't know what she wanted me to do, but it became clear soon enough that she wanted me to prep new butter INTO THE OLD BOTTLE. And then it hit me why the outside of that bottle was so dirty, they haven't washed that bottle in recent memory. If there is one thing like this, there are more, it's only a matter of time before I find more.

Speaking of culture shocks, Little Yellow is the kind of manager that corporations love and would run a small business into the ground. Upon discovering that he wasn't going to bonus because the store's quality score was too low, instead of increasing the quality, he put a sticker with the address of the store's secret shopper so that when they order their pizzas are perfect. This actually ties into something I observed earlier in the night with Primary Job Driver. We were on the make-line and I observed that the reason the crust on the pizza was too thick was because they were saucing with a 3/4 inch border instead of the 1/2 border that's standard. He commented that its so that they need less toppings and cheese. So there's reason #2 not to order pizza here.

I made $35 off of 8 deliveries, an average tip of $3.08

Monday, January 25

1/24 Cryptkeeper

My first delivery was to the actor that played this guy. He was speaking Italian (I think. It could have been old man gibberish) and foaming at the mouth. I wanted to hug him but was afraid I'd break him. I once had a physics professor at UT that looked the same way, inches from death. We had these ancient mechanically raised and lowered chalkboards. I was always afraid that one would fall and hit him on the head and he'd never stop bleeding. In that same way I was afraid that this guy would spontaneously spout a headwound.

Other than that, the most exciting thing to happen to me was bacon jalapeno cheesesticks. I haven't perfected the recipe yet, it needs something, maybe ranch. Can't decide if I want to do the ranch as the sauce or if I just want to dip in cold ranch.

The tips were good, just unremarkable. I made $64 off of 13 deliveries, a tip average of $3.76.

Sunday, January 24

1/24 Science Olympiad

You know it's a small town when the local highschool hosting the middle school Science Olympiad is the main article on the front page of the town paper. They ordered 24 pizzas in two shipments, 9 for the concession stand, 15 for the kids. You would think this wouldn't be that complicated. I get there with the first delivery (my arms and shoulders are still sore from walking so far carrying 9 pizzas) and my ticket says I need $60 cash. They say they have $40 cash that they were told by the person that ordered it covered everything. I call ArmyCook. He says someone called in a credit card for $47 and there would be a check to cover the rest. There is no check. I call back. He's being uncooperative about getting me the information that I need to not sound like an idiot. Finally it's decided that they will give me $48 cash and I'll get everything straightened out at the store when I go to get the second delivery. We straighten it out. They end up giving me a $15 tip (which I greatly appreciated because I would not have blamed them if they didn't tip after the cash mixup, not out of not having a desire to tip, but more because I know that schools have to really plan and account for their cash and may not have been able to). That was delivery #1 and #2.

#3 - Then I delivered to a woman who really really needed to take a shower. And she stiffed me.

#4 - Then Army Cook let me practice slapping some dough which was awesome. I really want to get better. I take every chance I can to watch them to improve my technique. I've gotten better at getting the dough through the edge-lock and stretching; I just need to work on getting all the air bubbles out and actually slapping it to size. I made an almost perfect one for the crew-pie and a passable but not good one for a customer's order.

Discovered that our chickenstrip pizza + a drizzle of buffalo sauce is pizza nirvana.

#5 - stiffed by a woman whose doormat said "Welcome to the Jungle" I know you're thinking this by honestly I could only think of this:

and this:#6 - A cow in the road on my way back. It was alive.

#7 - $12 from a guy who was working construction on a house. To be honest I wasn't entirely sure that I even delivered to the right house; I didn't get close enough to read the house numbers; but for that kind of tip I'd gladly deliver a remake to whatever pissed off person who never got their pizza.

#8 - $6 on a free order. I let her keep her free pizza coupon. Honestly, good tippers deserve free pizza.

#9 - ? don't even remember what was up with this one.

#10 - one of my favorite old ladies. She always orders a cinnamon desert pie and a mountain dew. I feel like I should be denying her for her own good but she tips so well that I look the other way.

$63 off of the 10 deliveries which is a spectacular tip average of $5 per delivery. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that I was averaging less than $3?

Thursday, January 21

1/21 Uno

I only took one delivery tonight. I made $3.50 in tips off of it (and walked out of the store with a bright shiny $5 bill). It wasn't in a maze, it wasn't far away. Mostly I spend my time folding boxes. Chatting with Manwhore2, who reminds me a bit of Robot Bopper if he had game and social skills. I completely wrote off the book he recommended once he learned I was a reader though. For someone who claims to be ADD, that is one dense book, even I didn't have the patience for it.

I also gained nicknames for a few people:
  • Calico - a girl with a name like a cat and who doesn't seem to interact with the world quite in a human way
  • Manwhore2 - did I mention he has a key tattoo and wears a key necklace? Symbolism overload
  • FannyPack Dude - because I don't know how he found a fanny pack big enough to fit around him
  • Dobby - his nametag is blank and when I asked him if they just summoned him out of the ether to fold boxes he answered in the affirmative, so I assume he's a pizza-joing house elf.
I think I figured out where the weird smell is coming from. I think the sink in the back runs sulfur water. Eww.

1/20 New Store, 7 Wrong Turns, and Mama Bear

Last night was my first night at the new store where I'll be picking up weeknight shifts to supplement my weekend shifts in Podunk.

I was warned about Mama Bear. El Jefe warned me that Mama Bear didn't treat female drivers well, and I can see that that's going to be true. It's not that she treats them badly, it's more that she treats the boys so well. She has them calling her "mom" and you can tell that she enjoys being the female of the roost. She also made me take out two sets of my earrings (I only have three) and tuck in my shirt (and yet somehow my hair and Stripes' hair which is midnight blue on each side with a bright purple mohawk stripe down the middle is ok).

There are other things I don't like about the store and I can't tell if it's just because I judge it harshly against my own store or if these are valid complaints. It smells funny. Their sinks don't have a sprayer and the dishes area is cramped. The pizzas didn't come out looking as nice. Their hotbags are different and do not accommodate parmesan and red pepper packets (probably why it's so hard for me to get them to bring them on deliveries). Their delivery area is huge and labyrinthine (I made 7 wrong turns during the course of my 3 deliveries). Their dispatch system is ridiculous: instead of a simple letter/number grid there are big numbered sectors that are numbered like 344 and 427 and each one of those big blocks has a smaller letter grid.

Tips seemed to be better. I averaged $4.21 per delivery to total $33 on 6 deliveries.

I guess only time will tell which things I will get used to and which things will continue to drive me nuts.

Tuesday, January 19

1/17 Things That Make My Heart Hurt

This isn't my normal store gossip. I debated even writing this, but at the same time, this is what's going on at the store; these are the real-life stories and to be true to what I started this blog about, I need to get it out there.

Bambi and Stoner Manager are trying to have a baby.

A baby!

A whole person that would be entirely dependent on them.

In fact, they've already had one pregnancy that unexpectedly ended.

It hurts my heart a bit to think about. It's not that I feel like I have any sort of relationship with Bambi to try to tell her how to live her life, it's more that I know that neither of them are ready for a child and that she's in this magical fairy-land in her head where a baby is the next logical step.

I'm not that old and yet I know that at 19 I wasn't ready for parenthood nor a lifetime commitment to a mate. They are doing one and not even planning on the other (I completely dismiss their plan to have a long engagement and that they don't think marriage is necessary for a lifetime commitment. Not that I'm not saying it's not possible, I just know that those things are just words to them right now.)

I disapprove without it being my place to disapprove. I hope it works out for them, for both Bambi's happiness and the baby's (I have no doubt that regardless of the course this takes Stoner will make sure he's happy), but I have a feeling that she's going to realize at 23 that she tied herself down too soon.

All of this was revealed in a public discussion between Bambi, Cute Girl Bopper, and Gelwyn and I guess the biggest part of the problem I have with it all is the way Cute Girl Bopper looked at Bambi like she was the luckiest girl in the world, like she was living the dream, like she was a role-model for the way every young girl should live her life.

Ok, I've said my piece.

Sunday I:
  • Only had one stiff.
  • Delivered to a house that had paid in-store, so I had no idea till I got back to the store that they had tipped me $5.
  • Convinced Cute Girl Bopper to see what Elmer's Glue tasted like.
  • Had an interesting moment in which Eyebrows butted in on a discussion of "women's cycles" and I told him in no uncertain terms that he'll never be able to go pro with his vag expertise because there's no way any women except CamelToe is ever going to let him near her.
  • Visited the store that I will eventually transfer to. I have two shifts there this week and once a routine is established I'll drop my Sundays in Podunk. I met the store's manager (thinking of calling him Little Yellow since he's short and was wearing the ass-ugly yellow manager polo with a matching ass-ugly yellow hat), the store's Cute Girl Bopper (though Primary Job Driver says she's a driver), and their manwhore (who walked right up and introduced himself in a very "I'm gonna give it to you" way. Haha, if he only knew what I do to manwhores).
  • Made $60 off of 13 deliveries, an average tip of $3.32 (which is actually pretty frickin awesome)

Monday, January 18

1/16 Rough Morning

I love the phrase "rough morning"; that's how Jolly Green described my hangover Saturday morning. It actually wasn't that bad, it was more the lack of sleep than the excess of alcohol that got to me. I was a bit grumpy though and my first delivery of 20 chicken wings where I got stiffed didn't help. I didn't get much less grumpy through the day. My only $5 tip was from the guy working the drop-off at the Goodwill across the street. He was hot and really nice though, so it lifted my mood just enough to put up with the snotty rich-kid that followed him up (the probably fourteen year old kid pulled out a money clip and still only tipped me a dollar).

Some store gossip:
  • Neither J/K nor Malibu Ken are on the schedule next week. Don't know if they both quit or what. Won't miss J/K, but Malibu Ken was such pretty eye-candy.

Saturday, January 16

1/15 Soggy Socks

It was a cold and rainy Friday night in Podunk, Tx. Pizza Girl was tired from a long day of corporate grunt-work and looking forward to making some money and saving hungry, good tipping people from having to get out in the rain to get dinner (Ok, fine, "looking forward to" may not be the most appropriate phrase, but she was at least resigned to it). There was just one problem; having had an extremely early morning she had worn her favorite shoes, her beautiful tan checked Vans, the ones that are not rainproof, and in fact the left one seemed to have developed a microscopic fissure in the sole earlier in the morning, allowing moisture to seep in and invade her sock. It is also a fact that Pizza Girl counts soggy socks as one of the top five worst sensations ever (along with the feel of sliced ham). She has even been known to insist that trips to amusement parks be water-ride free* (as those of you who frequent amusement parks already know, sock-free footwear is not conducive to long days of waiting in line and therefore is not an option).

So, it's easy to imagine that she was not in the best mood when Army Cook decided to start checking things out to her without her permission; and I'm sure you'll understand her harsh treatment of him as Army Cook was merely the latest in a chain of managers to try to cheat her (purposefully or not) out of money. She was even less optamistic about the evening after two customers in a row used their own pens to sign the credit card receipts. No one knows what motivates these people, but it seems as if they knock a $1 off of the tip since the driver didn't provide the additional service of pen-lending.

But she saw a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, a silver lining in the storm clouds. Though the rain would make her cold and soggy, this very fact would bring out the natural altruism in people and they would open their pocketbooks. They would not only see a person with hot, delicious food, but also the cold, wet creature that they summoned without a second thought. Like this:

and hopefully not this:

Alas, she was disproven after taking two quads, there was only one person who tipped more than average and that person is one of those amazing customers who always tips $5 (and who Pizza Girl appreciates come rain or come shine).

The moral of this story: Wear better shoes, don't expect people to think beyond themselves and empathize with the person standing on their doorstep, and spend your tip-money ($40 off of 10 total deliveries) on booze.

*She told me to tell you she's not a complete jerk. It is possible, should enough people in the party desire to go on the water rides despite the logistical problems (and the fact that real roller coasters are more fun and there are plenty of parks wholly devoted to water-play for which the footwear dillema does not apply) that arrangements can be made to change shoes at lunch and go on the water-rides in the afternoon.

Sunday, January 10

1/9 Big spenders keep me in the green

I'm really torn on yesterday. On one hand it sucked:
  • Lil Nicky lost a transmission so I was the only driver all day. Meaning I was super-busy
  • I got a record number of stiffs. 7!* That's 28% of my deliveries that didn't tip me at all. When did not tipping become acceptable?
  • I ran into a bush while trying to three-corner turn on a narrow street. The owners were in their driveway but had their back turned. I hope I didn't hurt their bush and I hope they didn't see me.
  • I ran into a ditch coming off a driveway that I know is narrow and has a steep dropoff on both sides. I was feeling great because they tipped me $5 and in return I got to get them their pizza in 25 minutes instead of the hour that the online ordering promised, so I wasn't paying much attention to what I was doing. I don't think my car was hurt; my back hurt a bit last night but it's fine now.
On the other hand, my night was AWESOME:
  • I got two $10 tips in one night (one was a pretip, so you know I hooked them up with extra sauce-cups for their breadsticks),a $7 tip, and three $5 tips.
  • While dawdling around my 2nd to last delivery I texted in to the local Alternative Rock station and won tickets to see Manchester Orchestra which I'm super excited about.
  • Being the only driver means I get to take ALL the deliveries.
  • Jolly Green, being new, trusts us drivers to have his password. This means when I want to take a quad, I take a quad, regardless of how many of those pizzas will be marked as "late" in our inflexible dispatch system.
On the other other hand, the one in the middle, the one that'll smack in you in the face if you get too close:
  • One of the boy-band boppers either has a crush on me or has some particular amusement of how dismissively I treat him. I would up the meanness but, from my experience with younger guys, that would encourage both of the previously mentioned ailments.
Ok, so here's the bottome line, $114 off of 25 deliveries. A good $3.27 average tip.

And since lists of numbers are pretty, here's mine:
4 2 0 4 3 0 0 5 2 0 10 2 7 4 5 2 10 5 0 2 0 0 2 4

*I will mention that two of those stiffs happened after I karmically gave away my remaining good luck to TrekMichaels (who still hasn't said what he did with it)

{note} I just realized, while making the title of this post, that I marked all of my prep yesterday as 1/7, whoops

Thursday, January 7

1/6 National Championship

As I write, UT is losing the national championships. Yes, I'm a bit sad, but I'll get over it. We were massively busy and the best parts of my night came while working in-store. Despite everyone being scheduled, there still weren't enough people doing dough, so I helped out there. I'd really like to get better at it.

Unfortunately, tip-wise, things were pathetic. I was stiffed three times. Two of those were people who were upset that their (hot) pizza took over an hour to get there when we told them that delivery time was over an hour. One was to a woman who touched the pen to the tip line and decided not to tip me after all. Her pizza wasn't even an hour out.

I did have two bright spots from the real UT fans. The first $5 tip came from people who left their burnt-orange Christmas lights and Christmas light longhorn up just for the game. The second was a big order to a house that had the TV turned up so loud I could barely hear the guy.

We have a new general manager, I think I'll call him Jolly Green.

I might actually be transferring to a closer store. At my primary job, my new trainee is a delivery driver for that store and I asked him to talk to his GM about getting me on. It's funny because he's delivered to me before (he's one of the ones who didn't bring Parmesan), so I started this out with a bit of resentment. I don't know why but I just can't let it go when things go wrong. I will note that he remembered me and that I tipped him $5 anyway.

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

Monday, January 4

1/2 1/3 Why do I have to be the bitch?

I interrupt the regular shitty-tipper coverage to bring you more about my wage dispute. Yesterday Stoner Manager made it clear that while he knows that we (the drivers) are getting "fucked over" by the new wage policy, he's not going to get yelled at for having a higher percentage of late pizzas because he didn't circumvent the dispatch system. I was once again ready to walk out. I thought I had covered this with El Jefe and that we were clear on how things were going to work. Half the problem is drivers like Goofball who know they're getting fucked and just don't care because it's easier to just do what they've always done and not fight it.

So I threw down with El Jefe again. Did I mention that this is his last week in the store? So I take anything he says with a grain of salt.


We threw down, it went something like this:

Me: Mr. Jefe, we need to talk. You told me when we talked about this last time that things were going to change. They have not. Today, even after I asked him to stop, Stoner Manager continued to check me out on deliveries while I was in the store and far in advance of the pizzas being ready. When I asked him to stop he said that he didn't care that I was getting fucked over because he needed those pizzas checked out in less than 20 min.

El Jefe: It's not 20 min.

Me: Beside the point... You need to fix this. Do I need to go to [regional manager]?

El Jefe: No, you can just unassign runs that get logged out to you like that.

Me: Why does it fall to me to be a bitch about this? Do you know how much trouble it will cause me if Stoner Manager checks things out to me and then I go over and uncheck them out? That's not my job! You need to talk to him and stop him from doing it. That's YOUR job.

El Jefe: *mumble, mumble*

Me: Does that mean you're going to talk to him about it?

There may have also been something about it being his job to care that other drivers are getting fucked over even when they don't care themselves.

If things don't change my plan is to go to the regional manager. Then corporate. Then the Texas Workforce Commission. Maybe those last two at the same time. And I'm going to tow the line because it's up to me to determine if they're retaliating (something they aren't doing right now and I would hope that they don't stoop to).

Throw in a new general manager to deal with and this problem could easily go away or it could get much much worse.

Anyone have any advice? Have you ever dealt with this?