How to Properly Tip Your Pizza Delivery Driver
Like most people in the current economic downturn, I have had to cut back on my spending. And, also like many others, I have had to look for a way to earn some supplemental income as well. For me the choice was clear; go back to delivering pizza part time. I have extensive experience in this field, having resorted to it a few times before when my income level needed a boost. (Incidentally, I recently saw a new Mercedes with a pizza delivery car top on it. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?)
Now, for the most part I find that people are aware of the fact that, while a tip is not generally required for delivery, it is at least expected. From the customer’s standpoint it serves to keep the cost of their purchase down, since a delivery charge is usually not added. From the driver’s standpoint it serves to defray the cost of delivery, since the driver is not compensated for his gas, vehicle maintenance, or insurance, and is paid only an hourly wage.
However, unlike the other times I have used delivering pizza to supplement my income in the past, I am finding that these days, for some unexplainable reason, customers are either unaware that tipping is, if not required, then certainly expected, or they are aware and are simply too cheap to care.
So, with that in mind, here are some tips and guidelines for properly tipping your delivery driver, prepared by a hard-working man in the field.
1) It’s not 1955, “Leave It To Beaver” is in re-runs, and .50 WILL NOT buy a gallon of gas anymore. If you tell the driver to “keep the change”, be sure the change is worth keeping. Hint: Just like in a restaurant, it’s customary to tip at least 15% to 20% of the total. (On bad nights I have been known to hand back that quarter to the customer, and tell THEM to keep the change instead. On REALLY bad nights I have given the customer back not only their own quarter, but another quarter besides, explaining to them that they obviously need the money more than I do.)
2) Sending your kid to the door with the correct change so that you don’t have to face the driver with no tip will not lessen your responsibility, no matter how cute they are. After a couple of times of doing this, don’t be surprised if your delivery time gets longer and longer as you float to the bottom of the delivery priority list. “Are you implying that the best tippers get priority in the delivery order” you ask? Is the Pope Catholic?
3) Adverse weather conditions usually require a larger tip amount. Hint: If the driver has water dripping from his nose it’s usually a good idea to take that into consideration when figuring his tip. If the drip of water is frozen, I’d double it. And if his face is a shade of blue… well… you get the point.
4) Since it shouldn’t be a surprise that pizza is on the way to your house, seeing as how you just ordered it, for heaven’s sake have your money ready when he gets there. Don’t waste his time having to hunt your checkbook. (As a side rule to this, it’s best to NOT get in the shower or turn off your phone until AFTER your pizza has been delivered, nor is it a good idea to go visit your next door neighbor at this particular point in time.)
5) The assumption is that everyone knows where they live; however, you’d be surprised at the people who not only don’t know their own address but somehow have forgotten the very phone number they are calling from. Hint: Post your address and phone number somewhere close to the phone, like on the refrigerator maybe, for reference. Write it with a big red crayon so you won’t overlook it. Also, if the driver calls for directions don’t assume he knows where “Uncle Charley” lives, or where the “third oak tree on the right” is. (I once visited a town in south Georgia that had no street maps. No kidding. And when I asked the lady at the Chamber of Commerce why they had no maps, with an incredulously straight face she said, “Why? Because there’s no need for them young man. We all know where we live.”
As a side note, know what you want to order BEFORE you call the store. A roundtable discussion of what everyone wants on their pizza is guaranteed to get you placed on hold while you decide. After coming back to you more than twice with the order still not decided on, don’t be surprised if you end up on hold FOREVER.
Lastly, here’s a good rule of thumb to go by. If things are so tight around the house that you can’t come up off of a buck or two for the guy who delivers your pizza, it might be better for everyone involved to just save that pizza money and treat the family to a big bowl of mac and cheese for dinner instead.