Pies from the delivery guy

by Conor Nordberg, Staff Writer

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And don’t forget the damn ranch next time,” my customer yells as he slams the door shut on me, leaving me with the customary 50 cent tip and an ever-so-warm feeling in my heart.

I work in the pizza business seasonally, slinging pies from our store to your home and anything in between. Being around pizza, making pizza, delivering pizza — what isn’t there to love? It’s tough to find a pizza delivery guy who doesn’t have his fair share of stories, amazing tips or funny encounters with old people. It’s a wonderful job, and like any, it has its drawbacks and benefits.

It’s the same thing for probably all food service jobs: the toughest part consists of difficult customers.

Flash back to an average Saturday night over the summer: parties are starting, it’s family night or people just simply want pizza. What this amounts to is a high demand for a product that can only have so many suppliers, or in this case, pizza guys. Consequently, people get angry and impatient.

It’s with this in mind that I would like to bring up one of our regulars, let’s call him Jalen. Jalen loves his Hawaiian pizza and spicy wings — never anything different. I have had the misfortune of delivering to Jalen many times and always with a bum tip. I occasionally luck out with $1. As someone who comes to his house often, I have had the great pleasure of seeing Jalen in differing states of consciousness, sobriety, and — most unfortunate of all — clothing. Jalen loves to accuse our drivers of forgetting something so that he can get discounted food next time, be it ranch, soda or even napkins.

There have been times of frustration, such as delivering to a very wealthy area and getting pocket change for a tip. Or times of fright, like nearly getting robbed or invited into a dark house in a poorly lit neighborhood.

See, tips are a big deal when you deliver. It’s not as if we’re simply giving away our time and energy to take food orders and deliver them, we’re using our own personal vehicles to deliver them, so if we aren’t able to average more than gas and repair costs, we’re losing money.

But more times than not, my interactions with customers are pleasant. I’ve delivered to beaming couples, kids excited beyond belief and people just glad to have steaming hot food delivered to their door. And if you like dogs, pizza delivery is for you; I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve had those slobbering bundles of joy rush up and try and greet me at the door.

But in my short 18 years of living, delivering pizza is the best job I have ever had. Seeing new locations and people every time you come into work is a definite plus and helps keep the boredom away. All in all, it’s worth it. The pay can be great and it only takes one generous person to clear off your gas prices for the night.

It’s a fun job that lets you meet tons of varying people. Having delivered to drunken college kids, half-naked old men, rich people, poor people and anything in between, I’ve seen people at their best and worst. Having these new experiences and interacting with so many people every day I work is great, and allows a glance into the human condition that I wouldn’t have known before.

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