The Lone Ranger

I deliver pizza to keep the bills paid while attending school. It can be the best of jobs, and the worst of jobs. When the runs are steady, and the tips are rolling in, delivering can be like being on cloud nine, getting paid to drive around listening to the music of your choice. Other days, it's not so much fun, either stuck instore working (drivers are expected to pick up the slack instore; I do everthing but run the place when not on the road) when its busy, overwhelmed with late deliveries, obnoxious customers/people, idiot drivers, bad weather, and non-tippers. The job will murder you if you come in tired/in a bad mood. For a simple job, it can be surprisingly exhausting, and I'm always amazed at how many cycle through who just can't hack it, too slow or can't find places, can't be bothered to show up, or whatever. I'm one of my store's few competent drivers, getting all the hours I can handle, and usually work dayshift alone, hence the title. In lieu of further description, I'll just share some things about the job.

The pizza industry in general pays peanuts, no one more so than drivers, who are legally treated as waiters. I make $7.25/hr instore, and $4 on the road, plus 93 cents per delivery. This works out to about $5.30 an hour. We are paid less than minimum wage, and less than it takes to keep a car on the road, with the expectation that our customers will tip us, so please do so.

On that note, a $2 tip was good in the 90s, not so much now. $4 or $5 makes me happy, but a generic "decent tip" is somewhere around a gallon of gas, $3.60 at the moment. $2 won't make me mad (slightly better than breaking even), but if I average $2 per run, I've had a bad day. Unless you live VERY close to the store, $1 is an insult, causing me to lose money relative to staying on the clock instore. If your order is very large (over 10 pizzas), the threshold of "good" goes up. I don't expect 15% (though I'm definitely happy to receive that), but anything less than 5% is poor, particularly since the kitchen staff want a cut on the big orders.

Drivers have long memories. Stiff me twice, and I will remember you. Stiff enough times, and nobody in the store will want to take your orders. I don't screw with people's food, as it's unethical, bad business, and will likely result in me having to make the same trip twice anyhow, but if I know you're not going to tip me, your delivery will be routed last. If you tip well, I will do everything I can to get your delivery taken first.

Shelling out for gas sucks, but the real cost of delivering is that it will destroy your car, particularly the transmission and suspension. In the long run, a fragile car will cost more to run than a gas guzzler that's reliable. Having access to two cars is nice if you deliver full time, an everyday junker, then a nicer backup for when car one breaks down, or bad weather, when nice safety features like bright headlights, tires that have tread, and working wipers/defroster are called for.

Speedy delivery happens in the kitchen, not on the road. Short of gross incompetence (really incompetent drivers don't last long, though mediocre ones hang around for awhile), or the occasional stupid mistake, there's not much a driver can do to influence the delivery time. If the store is extremely busy or severely understaffed, it is mission impossible to get deliveries to the door on time, nothing I can do when it took an hour to leave the store.

I may drive aggressively, but I won't speed more than 5-10MPH over the limit. Likewise, I drive slow in residential neighborhoods, as I don't want to kill someone's kid/get in a wreck.

Pizza shops generally don't care what you're on, so long as the job gets done. Most drivers at the least smoke.

The danger of robbery is an issue, as is the hassle of getting harassed by delinquents, particularly in bad neighborhoods (this is why most females won't deliver), but the dirty secret of why drivers want bad areas redlined is simple: money. People in bad neighborhoods generally don't tip, at all. There's one particular neighborhood in my area that, in nearly two years of delivering, I've never once gotten a tip from.

Delivering will kill your social life, and your sleep cycle,due to the long, generally late-night hours. But hey, I know all the obscure side streets in town, to impress friends on days off.

Music keeps me sane on the road. I couldn't do the job without a well stocked MP3 player.
solowing solowing
26-30, M
4 Responses Mar 4, 2012

I did that too. It's a large reason I make my own pizzas. I know what can happen to my food if left alone with a person who may have a grudge and no chance of being caught doing stuff to it.

I think most food chains have a very short shelf-life for employees. It's just a really tough gig and not a lot of return. But, hugs solo... you're keeping things together and that' s more than a lot of folks are doing.

Ordinarily, I spend most of my time on the road (60% on the road, 40% in store, keep in mind that I mostly either work dayshift or close, so I spend more time instore), but day drivers spend more time in store, as it's sometimes dead, and they have a lot of prep work. Closing drivers have to stay an hour or two after close to clean and set up the store for the next day.<br />
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Speaking of jerks, one of our drivers got a real winner today, a group of young punks that kept dancing in front of his truck, would follow him as he tried to go around. The threw a football at him, and it bounced into his bed. He sped off, leaving said group of punks minus a football. Our manager backed him up, telling the caller that if they wanted the football back, they'd have to come and get it.

I guess they thought they were real funny - too bad he couldn't run over a toe. If stupidity like that was painful for those who do it, not just those of us who have to suffer through it, there might be less of it. But then again, you just can't fix stupid.

On average, do you spend more time in the store or in the car? I'm glad you let folks know they need to tip - I don't know why people are so mystified about tipping - get a clue, people. I waited tables part of my way through college, so I can relate. <br />
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As for the driving, when I first moved to LA my then boyfriend/later husband had a hard time finding a "real" job, so he became a messenger. He'd work 10-12 hour days sometimes, most of if spent in traffic. Sometimes he'd get a really long run right at rush hour - a nightmare. And the pay wasn't that great when you took gas and wear and tear on the car (and your nerves) into consideration. And, as you know, people can be real jerks.