Kirk Novak: TRUE TALES OF A FORMER PIZZA DELIVERY DRIVER, chapter four

Pizza delivery drivers work for tips. This is known. Tips are accepted, tips are appreciated. A customer can leave a tip by putting a little extra on the credit card receipt, writing a larger amount on their personal check, giving cash above and beyond the total amount due, or doing something else entirely the traditional offering of money for gratuity. You see, tips come in many forms, and can enrich a pizza delivery driver in ways beyond the simple accumulation of wealth.

The cutest tip I ever received was from a trio of grade school girls who ordered a pizza on their day off from school. I handed them their pizza and they handed me exact change. Then they handed me a small gift wrapped box and told me, “I hope you have a sense of humor,” before closing the door to eat the pizza that I brought them out of the kindness of my heart or because it was my job. I got back into the car and unwrapped the box. Inside was a travel bottle of shampoo and conditioner with a note that read, “TIP: WASH DAILY.”

Little girls: 1, Aggro teenage heart: touched.

I do have a sense of humor.

Bros partying in their apartment on a Saturday afternoon offered me a beer bong in their parking lot as a tip. I declined. I find that manner of drinking alcohol to be degrading and uncivilized, and alcohol also makes me act like that without sucking it through a funnel and a tube. I was driving too, and drinking and driving while delivering pizza is like the Siren that calls the Captain to bash their ship against the rocky shore, which means that this was a terrible idea. Dummies.

A dude said he didn’t have any cash for a tip but he’d smoke this joint with me on his front porch. I accepted. We never saw each other again.

I was given a variety of unopened adjunct American lagers once. I filled a pizza bag with them, took them to the humble abode that I could afford on a meager pizza delivery driver wage, and drank them while watching an episode of the classic sci-fi drama “Space Precinct” on late-night television.

I was given assorted bags of weed of varying quality, usually quite poor.

I was generally given a dollar or two. Once, I delivered a house salad late at night. A house salad from Nemo’s in the 1990s cost between two and three dollars. That is not the kind of order you want to deliver at the end of the night because you often get a leaky dickhole and a gapped tooth grin as a tip from these cheapskates. A drunk Missouri good old boy without a shirt, rocking a thin gold chain, wearing a sweet mustache, with curly dark hair and smelling of the sweet essence of cigarette smoke, takes his salad, hands me a 20 dollar bill and says, “Delivering just a salad sucks doesn’t it?” He winked and closed the door. That was probably the biggest cash tip I ever received, and it was clearly from a man who had time traveled a long way to order that salad.

On the far reaches of our delivery area was a stretch of road in a part of town that was known for two things, speeding tickets to generate revenue to pay the cop that writes the speeding tickets, and fuckpad motels that charged by the hour or week. I got an order from the most dilapidated slum motel for modern transient living and made the delivery. The scrawny waste that opened the door took the pizza and gave me the money. I think there was a dollar or two for a tip. The room was bare walls with peeling paint and art in the form of pages torn from hardcore pornographic magazines on the wall. A chunkier mulleted fellow was sitting at a card table buried under a variety of drug paraphernalia and empty bottles of booze. They invited me in to hang out. It looked like a great party, but I was on the clock, and I had a job to do.

There are some people who don’t tip. I don’t like those people. We should ridicule and ostracize them from polite society. Imagine a few feet of fresh snow has fallen on the streets and the best kind of people, people that work in insurance, order over 100 dollars worth of lunch specials. Small pizza, salad, fountain soda. You carry the lunch specials to an upper floor of the office building, taking several trips to complete the delivery. The customer joyfully hands over a check for exact change! It’s very hard for a butt ugly teenage hoosier from St. Louis, Missouri to maintain their composure and dignity when confronted with such a dehumanizing situation, but I did. I’d like to think I grew as a person that day by not resorting to swearing and violence until I got back to my car.

Another time the store was slammed with orders, we had lost one of the drivers working that night to a car accident, and I was delivering orders five or six at a time that were running super late. The customer took their order, but they did not tip me. I tried to explain the situation but was abruptly shut down with a curt, “I don’t care.”

The truth of the matter is, I didn’t really either. I still don’t. Maybe even less than I did then, but with more heart and empathy now. I got an education delivering pizza.

This was just some stories about tipping on orders. There are at least 2 or 3 more…

TRUE TALES OF A FORMER PIZZA DELIVERY DRIVER.

Enjoy your delicious moments.

 

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