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Pizzas and Pennies

Don't mess with the people who handle your food.

I don’t want to sound like a Debbie downer, but most people generally suck at tipping. Maybe it isn’t necessarily the public’s fault, but hell I like using their ignorance as a scapegoat. The real problem is that some people go their whole lives without ever working in food service. Others try and forget how shitty the experience was once they land a “big kid” job. I digress. Tipping is important, and here’s why:

For every delivery that leaves the store the driver is supposed to receive $1.25 for their efforts. This $1.25 is taken from the delivery charge (you know the hidden charge that older people usually bitch about). Essentially, this $1.25 is supposed to go towards the driver’s mileage; although it never seems to work out that way. Because sometimes you have a delivery which is 8 miles each way; and let’s be real $1.25 isn’t going to cover all of those miles.

When people don’t tip it makes things worse. It’s like the biggest “fuck you” out there. It’s like finding out that Santa’s not real, and instead of receiving Christmas gifts your parents just shit under the Christmas tree. What’s worse is when people do tip, but then ask for it back:

One Friday night the pizza shop was overly busy, and we were severely understaffed. It had gotten to the point where I was taking four or five deliveries at a time; and I was slightly overwhelmed. I remember packing up my 7th run and looking at the dispatch screen in horror. I had no idea where this address was, and I was already late. I remember sprinting to my car, dropping my delivery bag, and grumbling obscenities. I was so pissed. I began driving down 405 like I was Paul Walker. The sun began to set, and I started to get nervous. “I’m never going to find this fucking place,” I muttered to myself. After driving for about five minutes I had somehow made my way down a quiet hollow. Now don’t get me wrong I usually like driving down backroads; but this particular hollow looked like a scene from Children of the Corn. I reached for my phone to call the customer; I wasn’t about to be slaughtered by Malachai. Thankfully the man answered and met me in the middle of the road. He was pleasant, but something seemed off. Maybe it was the slurring of his words, or maybe it was the fact that he called me “honey cupcake” over the phone. Nevertheless, I got out of my car, greeted him, and gave him his food. In return he gave me forty dollars to pay for his order. I began to reach for my change and realized I only had five dollars in my pocket. Fuck. I had forgotten that the customer before him had taken a majority of my change.

I explained the situation to the customer, and asked if he had any smaller bills. The man replied with “maybe there are a few extra bills inside of my house; follow me inside.” Uh no. Not today Satan. I kindly declined and suggested that I go back to the store for change. He was against this idea, and pondered for a second. “Well sweetie why don’t you keep the change as a tip,” said the man. Get the fuck out. I was shocked. “That’s a $17 tip; I couldn’t accept that,” I said. He insisted, and followed up with “Just tell the folks that I gave you a really great tip.” After thanking the man about 7879807 times I returned to the store.

That night I made over $100 in tips thanks to that man’s generosity. Until the next day, when the man had sobered up and had called the store. I remember coming into work and my general manager pulling me into the office. “He said you stole from him,” said my manager.

It was my fault. I should have carried more change. However, the man’s accusations were wrong; I didn’t steal from him.

After a 30 minute phone conversation between the man, my general manager, and I the man stuck to his original statement. He demanded that I deliver the money out to him sometime this week, and that he would call to set up a date and time. I looked at my manager with watery eyes. How could she believe him? She constantly was tossing around phrases like “Kat is one of my best employees; she’s like family.” My manager explained that if we didn’t pay the customer back, then he would call corporate. So, I patiently waited for the man to call; and always made sure to carry the $17 in my wallet. Days had passed, and I had assumed that the man had forgot about it. Wrong assumption. One Wednesday I came into work and my manager had pulled me into the office again. He had finally called. I was so frustrated. I became filled with rage. I agreed to pay the man back, but he wasn’t going to get the $17 back in bills. Instead, I had made an effort on my break to go to multiple convenience stores to switch in the bills for pennies.

After stopping at McDonalds, Sheetz, Wendy’s and three different grocery stores I had finally acquired $17 in pennies. I returned to the store and began unraveling the rolls of pennies, and started tossing them into a plastic bag. Then, my coworker and I left the store to drop off the money. I remember pulling up to his driveway and seeing him hiding behind a woman wearing an American Flag t-shirt. I didn’t even bother getting out of the car; I know when to pick my battles. Instead, my coworker got out of the car and handed the woman the sack of pennies. She did not look amused. Then he got back in the car and we headed back to the store.


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Pizzas and Pennies
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