"You live at 1283 South Elm Street? Awesome. That house rules. I'll make that delivery first and these three other deliveries afterward."
If you're a customer who relies on pizza delivery, you want the pizza guy to say that about your address. For some reason -- probably one you're unaware of -- you're in that special 10 percent of customers whom delivery boys love. As a three-year pizza delivery driver who's only recently called it quits, I'm going to let you in on a few secrets that will make you a preferred customer. Suffice it to say, it mainly comes down to being courteous and polite and not treating the pizza dude -- who's actually doing you a big favor by bringing pizza straight to your lazy ass -- like some hired dick.
Here are the top eleven reasons your pizza boy loves you:
11. You follow a tipping percentage You're not ordering $80 worth of food and thinking a $5 tip is cool just because, "Hey! $5 is a good tip for a pizza, man!" You know why there's an automatic gratuity added to orders over a certain dollar amount? It's because of cheapskates. Don't be one of them.
10. You provide detailed directions. This makes our jobs so much easier. No wrong turns, dead ends or bollards to swerve around. We know you're in apartment A, in the rear of the building, and the only way to get there is through the alley. And we know to look for the Ohio State flag hanging out front. Thank you.
9. You party. A lot. Let's get this out of the way right now: There's a love-hate relationship that goes with working Friday and Saturday nights in any American city. It's the weekend, so you're going to be busier than usual and your shop may be open later hours. In short, that equates to more money at the end of the night (whether you promptly head to a bar and blow a significant sum of that money is another matter). But one way to make your pizza guy (or lady) go to your house first is by telling us you're having a party and ordering several pies. You' re having a good time; we're having a good time. We deliver enough to lonely folks, and there's nothing wrong with that, God love 'em -- but peeking in on a party is always a bonus.
8. You won't let us leave until we take a shot. This (and a few other items on this list) include deliveries to parties. I did all of my delivering in the shadow of a great American beer brewery, in a beer-soaked neighborhood, and even though it's not always beer you practically beg us to drink, most of us won't turn down free booze. It's a rare occurrence, and drivers should decline because it's the professional thing to do, of course. Of course.
7. A smoke-filled room. "C'mon in, man." You invite your pizza delivery guy into your apartment, strewn with video game controllers, overflowing ashtrays, yapping dogs and an impressive-looking glass collection on a shelf. It's a bold move to offer the pizza guy a toke of your pot, but it's an appreciated gesture (as long as you don't think it's a good trade for the tip -- it isn't). I always turned down the offer, because being high for the next three hours of a shift (sworn upon by some as the only way to deliver pizzas) is not the ideal working situation.
6. You ask us to buy you cigarettes, beer, etc. It's not a huge deal. You might have had a few too many, or you're thinking to yourself, "One more turn!" while in the middle of a marathon session of Civilization V. Before you know it, you're out of Marlboro Lights. Why does the pizza guy want to do this extra favor for you when he has three other deliveries in the car? Because you will compensate the pizza guy for the smokes, condoms, two-liter bottle of Coke or whatever else you ask for -- plus you'll tip extra. That's the expectation, anyway. And it makes the pizza guy remember you -- and the generous tip you provided.
5. You give us a slice of pizza. Contrary to popular belief, it is impossible to tire of eating pizza. So when we deliver too much -- maybe you ordered too much, people left, whatever -- and you offer up a slice of your jalapeño and bacon pizza, we're going to gladly accept. This, though, is also not acceptable as a tip.
4. You're waiting for us. You're at the window or the door, you have money and know how much money you need to get back in change. Precious moments -- no, not those -- are wasted waiting for a customer to come down from the top floor of a downtown loft to pay you in the lobby. Let's just put it this way: Anytime you're waiting outside a crowded place -- apartment building, bar, party, whatever -- you're awesome. You're on your game, and in the middle of a night delivering to drunks, it's refreshing to interact with a customer like you.
3. You order from a bar. Delivering to a crowded bar is typically an interesting scenario: You park out front (flashers on, always), walk in, and it's like all these eyes of hungry, drunk people stare right through you. You finally spot the customer (many times it's the bartender), and since they've either been getting tips themselves all night or doling them out, they're going to be kind with the gratuity. After wading through a sea of douchebags ("YO, PIZZA MAN! I GOT MONEY, I'LL PAY YOU FOR THAT PIZZA RIGHT NOW!"), getting a fat tip is a sweet reward.
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2. You know exactly what you're wearing. You pepperoni-and-extra-cheese-loving exhibitionist! You decided -- planned, even -- to answer the door in that. Whether it's a see-through nightie or just boxer shorts, it's always awkward. Ornery old gay guy, I totally know what you're doing. Same goes for you, négligée-wearing hotel guest. In most cases, the pizza guy is going to keep his back to the door if invited inside while you fish out the tip from whatever change dish sits on your coffee table. Still, it makes for a pretty good story when you arrive back at the restaurant, and in a job that can be incredibly monotonous (same streets, different day), it's pretty entertaining.
1. You're drunk and you tip $20 and you're like, "Keep it, dude! Have a good night!" Nuff said.
And one thing that will always annoy your pizza delivery guy: You get up in the middle of what we can only assume is a sexual encounter and come to the door a heaving, sweaty mess. Just gross.