Friday, November 30, 2007

A City In China

It was November 21, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I arrived for my job delivering pizza at 11:00 AM. Day time orders are usually pretty dismal, but today was different, several orders right off the bat. In fact, while delivering my first few orders an ABC News item on the radio reported that the day before Thanksgiving is usually the busiest for pizzerias citing Domino's specifically saying they planned to deliver billions (duh.)

Of course a surge in business means taking orders from people who are not regular customers and it was evident to me straight away that many of my customers fell into that category. My tips were dismal. The folks who order pizza regularly either expect or at least accept that tipping someone for doing work they otherwise would do themselves is customary. It seems there are still folks out there that don't share that view, or would rather not accept it.

So on the busiest delivery day of the year, I drove almost three times the miles of any shift I've worked in my four months but made only about as much as on a typical Saturday Night. What about the delivery charge you say? Well, I get about nine cents of that $1.50 delivery charge you pay. Without a tip, I'm only making minimum wage which doesn't go far at $2.90 per gallon. So I implore you, please tip your drivers. If you feel you can't afford the extra couple bucks, may I respectfully suggest you consider picking the pizza up at the restaurant.

How much gratuity is reasonable you ask? Allow me to share my personal guide for acceptable pizza delivery tips:
  1. 15-20% of the order total should be considered the minimum.
  2. Add an extra 2-5% for each mile you live from the pizzeria.
  3. Consider adding an extra 2-5% for an unusual delivery
    (Large orders necessitating a solo run, delivery to a station other than the front door, etc.)
  4. Remember that the driver has little control over when orders leave, pizza quality or accuracy of the order. Negotiating price is never an option, call the store with concerns.
  5. If you leave money for the kids, or encourage them to handle the exchange at the door, please ensure they know how much gratuity you intended to share.
The great thing about this job is that most people are grateful to have someone who can swoop in and save the day or make a regular meal a special occasion. It's heart warming, as a father, to be so anxiously anticipated by the kids and gratifying to see people enjoy a product I helped create. Thanks for helping me pay for the opportunity to lean to fly and to take care of my little family. Call me next time you want a pizza.

Would you like more insights into the life of a delivery driver? Wondering what the standard gratuity is for other professions? I recommend these sites:

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