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BaseballGenius

Pizza Delivery

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Right now, Im a pizza delivery driver and I have noticed a couple acts perpetrated by the customers that really frustrate me.

1. It deals with tips. Some customers choose not to leave tips for me, even though I always perform a good service. You can hardly call it ignorance on their part, because who doesnt know to tip the pizza guy? They are trying to con me out of the money I deserve. Now, would it be immoral for me to con these people out of the money they were supposed to give me? A real life situation is when customers pay with credit cards, and they just need to sign their credit card receipt. They keep one copy and I bring the other back to the store. But on the one I bring to the store, there is a line indicating where to leave the tip. The stiffers leave this line blank. So would it be immoral for me to fill this line in despite their consent, and write in $1.00(for my tip)? Legal, no. But moral? I see it as money I deserve, that Ive earned from delivering their food to them. If I dont get that tip, I end up losing money on the delivery because of gas charges. You know, its not a favor Im doing for the customer. Im doing it because they are supposed to pay me for the service. In the end, it comes down to them "stealing" my money or me "stealing" their money. As Bo Jackson says, "Its better to give a lick than to receive one." Can this act be justified?

2. Its tough to deliver at night. This is because either people dont have their lights on or, in most cases, the numbers on their houses arent being lit up by the lights. The numbers usually arent close enough to the house lights. PUT THE NUMBERS NEXT TO THE LIGHT AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE VISIBLE AT NIGHT. This is to whomever can design this arrangement like that. Or even better is the structural design they have on the Air Force Base(at least in Montana). They all have rectangular lights that feature the numbers on it. Its as clear as day. Private developers and owners should wise up and consider something similar. Right now(in civilian neighborhoods), I have to guess the general location of the house and walk up to each house to figure it out. Its very frustrating, believe me.

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So would it be immoral for me to fill this line in despite their consent, and write in $1.00(for my tip)? Legal, no. But moral? I see it as money I deserve, that Ive earned from delivering their food to them. If I dont get that tip, I end up losing money on the delivery because of gas charges.

It's both illegal and immoral. It's theft, of the customer's money, and fraud on the bank, because you're entering phony charges.

You do deserve a tip for good service. But tips are optional, not included in the price of the pizza.

What you should do is a combination of two things:

1) Talk to the customers and let them know both how good your service is (they may disagree) and why such service deserves a tip.

2) Talk to the pizza place's owner and tell him you won't deliver to places where you don't get tipped.

As someone who orders take-out frequently (long hours), I'll tell you sometimes I plain forget the tip. Sometimes in the gathering of money it slips by, sometimes I'm so preocupied with the job it slips my mind. It's considered bad manners to remind the customer of a tip, but I wish the delivery men would remind me when I forget. I try to make up for it by doubling the tip on the next order, but I'm sure you know better than I why that probably doens't work.

I do try to tip well. After all, I order from such place soften, and good tips usually ensure better than average service.

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They are trying to con me out of the money I deserve.

You mentioned that you lose out on gas charges if you are not tipped for the delivery. That is certainly unfortunate. But honestly, I didn't know that the person who delivered my pizza had to pay for his own gas. I usually order from Papa John's, and the guy always shows up in the business car, so I figure that the business pays for the gas. Most customers probably don't even realize that you have to pay for the gas yourself. In this manner, yes, you do deserve some tip money. But if this is really so, when someone orders a pizza, the business should include after telling the customer the charge of the pizza that a tip is appreciated to cover gas charges for the delivery person. Otherwise the customers will never know that you deserve it. Also, most restaurants automatically add a tip if there are more than a certain number of people being served. It would make sense that if I wanted to have my pizza delivered, the business might add a bit to the charge to cover those gas coverages.

Apart from that, though you are probably doing a great job, you can't always expect tips. Tipping is complimentary and that can become frustrating at times. That comes with the job, though.

Edited by Mimpy

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Figure out a polite way of asking for the tip and educating your customers. Start with the presumption that they mean well and aren't trying to cheat you, and build on that. Something like looking at the signed credit-card receipt and asking, "Would you like to add a tip to that?" might work. If you work on a few different lines, you'll find something that works just right and does not come off as impolite either. Also, if you ask and someone adds in the tip, you can always clarify "We have to pay for our own gas", or something like that. That way, you educate them about how the system is "designed".

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When I first started delivering pizzas, I very desperately wanted to make every cent that I possibly could, because I really didnt have much money in my bank account. So I asked people who stiffed me, "Would you like to leave a tip today?" I did this to four people. Three of them told me they didnt have any more money. The other one reluctantly(very reluctantly) reached into her purse and gave me a dollar, and she said annoyed, "I thought only the paper boy asks for tips." After these encounters, I figured it wasnt worth creating an awkward moment for such little compensation.

From my experience, stiffers either have a sly, sneaky attitude or a lazy, bum-like attitude. It wont matter what you say to them, because they will try to wiggle their way out of paying.

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It's theft, of the customer's money, and fraud on the bank, because you're entering phony charges.

Its not theft of my time and money when customers stiff me?

You do deserve a tip for good service. But tips are optional, not included in the price of the pizza.

I dont understand why its optional and not a type of legal agreement. I get paid minimum wage because the customer is supposed to fill in the rest of the wages based on how well the service was. Cant there be a law created that makes tipping mandatory for certain services?

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But honestly, I didn't know that the person who delivered my pizza had to pay for his own gas.

A tip isnt only to cover the gas. Its to pay for the complete benefit and service of having your food being delivered to you. A delivery driver doesnt take the job to break even or only make minimum wage.

I usually order from Papa John's, and the guy always shows up in the business car, so I figure that the business pays for the gas.

Are you sure it wasnt just a sign on the top of his personal car? Personally, Ive very rarely seen drivers who get company cars. The driver still has to pay for gas though.

Otherwise the customers will never know that you deserve it.

Its not common knowledge?

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Its not theft of my time and money when customers stiff me?

I dont understand why its optional and not a type of legal agreement. I get paid minimum wage because the customer is supposed to fill in the rest of the wages based on how well the service was. Cant there be a law created that makes tipping mandatory for certain services?

Not and have it still be a tip. There is no contract with the customer the obliges them to tip. You could negotiate with your employer and have him pay the cost of gas if its not averaging out well for you or seek new employment if you have better options available. Legally requiring a tip would amount to adding it into the bill as a delivery charge.

I agree with SN that you out to try saying something. I would suggest asking them for "tips" on how you could improve your service since you must not have done a good job. When they ask "what do you mean?", tell them that you noticed they did not leave a tip and that must mean that you did a poor job.

Best case scenario, they are reminded or guilted into tipping you or, they tell you that you did something poorly and then you can improve your service with their advice.

Worst case, there is an ackward moment of silence and then they shut the door on you.

With regular non-tippers who are not ammenable to your suggestion, you should feel no obligation to do a good job for them. Deliver their pizza only when it's on the way to somewhere else. "Sorry that took an hour and 45 minutes...traffic was terrible"

Sincerity is key to pulling this approach off.

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Its not common knowledge?

Well, when I order pizza, they ask me if I want to pick it up or have it delivered. If I tell them I want to pick it up myself, they tell me a certain price. If I tell them I want it delivered, they tell me a certain price. Regardless of whether those prices are equal, the deal is the same: product/service for a certain amount of money. So $12 for a box of pizza with delivery included. That's the agreement, no? Any additional tipping to the delivery man is completely optional.

I don't know whether it is common knowledge that the delivery man has to pay for his own gas. That's what I was referring to when I talked about "deserving it." I didn't know it before today myself.

Edited by Mimpy

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Now, would it be immoral for me to con these people out of the money they were supposed to give me?

If you pay too much for a new car because of your ignorance of its actual value, are you entitled to rob the car dealership?

If you sell a car at a loss because you expected to make it up on the financing, but the guy paid cash, are you entitled to rob him?

There's a reason why only explicit, not implicit contracts are legally enforceable. Otherwise anyone could claim that he "thought" he was getting deal X instead of deal Y.

I remember a lawsuit about this, where the waiter sued a patron for not giving a tip for an expensive meal, and the judge threw the case out. If implicit agreements were legally binding, imagine being arrested for not leaving a large enough tip.

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Right now, Im a pizza delivery driver and I have noticed a couple acts perpetrated by the customers that really frustrate me.

I have been a waitress for 2 years now so I understand your dilemna. I think its wrong morally and legally, although tempting, to add a tip amount to a credit card slip.

Perhaps you can get a gigantic button that says TIPS APPRECIATED with flashing lights, or make up a little note or card to give to customers who order regularly but don't tip and give it to them with their change. Whenever someone at the Italian Restaurant I work at says keep the change but leaves a cheap tip, 2-3 times less then reasonable, we always return the money to the patron and rudely say, "Here this is yours." 9 out of 10 times, more money is added to the change by these customers. If your boss allows, you can add a $2 service charge to the bill on those cutomers who never tip.

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I have been a waitress for 2 years now so I understand your dilemna. I think its wrong morally and legally, although tempting, to add a tip amount to a credit card slip.

Perhaps you can get a gigantic button that says TIPS APPRECIATED with flashing lights, or make up a little note or card to give to customers who order regularly but don't tip and give it to them with their change. Whenever someone at the Italian Restaurant I work at says keep the change but leaves a cheap tip, 2-3 times less then reasonable, we always return the money to the patron and rudely say, "Here this is yours." 9 out of 10 times, more money is added to the change by these customers. If your boss allows, you can add a $2 service charge to the bill on those cutomers who never tip.

I heard on the radio couple years ago about a statistic saying that if a waitress puts a smiley face on the receipt, the customers are apt to tip more. Any truth to that, Alessa?

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This reminds me of the Panucci's Pizza box in Futurama that reminds customers "Don't tip the delivery boy!"

I'm not a fan of the status quo in re tips. There are too many differing conventions from industry to industry. Who will take offense if you don't tip, and who will take offense if you do tip? Including a standard service fee in the bill would make things much less complicated and arbitrary. Servers wouldn't have to depend on charitable whims for their income, and people are less likely to "stiff" their server if they have to appeal to a manager to get the service fee removed.

Of course I'm only talking about what would make things easier for me as a customer. I make no normative proclamation on the subject.

I also rather like the button idea.

-Q

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Its not theft of my time and money when customers stiff me?

Not with tips (more below).

I dont understand why its optional and not a type of legal agreement. I get paid minimum wage because the customer is supposed to fill in the rest of the wages based on how well the service was. Cant there be a law created that makes tipping mandatory for certain services?

You are talking about two explicit agreements here:

1) Your agreement with the restaurant. Here you accepted the wages offered and the tips you expect to get.

2) The cutomer's agreement with the restaurant. Here the customer accepts to pay a price for a product and its delivery.

Have you an agreement with the customer? Tipping is a common practice, so you'd think an agreement exists. However, tipping is optional. Because it is optional, the agreement is the customer may tip if he wants. Therefore even though by any reasonable standard good service deserves a tip, no customer who refuses to tip is in any sense stiffing you. he's being a jerk, and looking for trouble (do not ever antagonize the people who handle your food or your money), but ultimately he's excersicing his choice not to tip.

In addition, I, as customer, am not responsible for the restaurant's, or your, business arrangements. If you work for minnimum wage and tip, that's your affair and your employer's, not mine. I do know waiters and deliverers live largely off tips. But I tip well, or poorly, or not at all, based on how I judge the service, not on what the waiter needs.

I would advise you not to try making up phony charges. Moral or not, it is illegal. You could go to jail, and you definitely do not want a criminal record.

As for a law making tips mandatory, I've my reasons to eschew restaurants that include a tip in their prices.

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Regardless of whether those prices are equal, the deal is the same: product/service for a certain amount of money. So $12 for a box of pizza with delivery included. That's the agreement, no? Any additional tipping to the delivery man is completely optional.

When they tell you the price on the phone, thats the legal/contractual agreement. In that total if you choose to have it delivered, in most places about $1.20 is added for the delivery charge. The driver receives about $0.70 of it and the company the rest, for whatever reason. Then, of course, the tip at the front door is optional, but the customer should feel obligated to give a couple bills for good service. The customer who pays nothing extra to the driver besides a $1.00 from the delivery charge and honestly thinks thats what he deserves for the service, the customer must think its a really menial task. So why dont they just pick it up themselves?

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I deliver pizzas, and I can understand the urge to add money to the tip line - Especially on a day like today, when I am risking my car and health to deliver pizzas (The roads are crappy in Green Bay today). But, it isn't really theft to stiff your driver; it's just rude. It's like saying, "I don't care that you could get in an accident while bringing me and my family dinner, just give me my damn pizza." I'm the type of guy who's satisfied with any tip that's equal to or greater than a dollar. I'm not saying I think a dollar is a good amount to tip, I just don't get bothered by it.

The addresses irritate me just as much, if not more than a stiffer. Have you ever seen a beige address on a beige house? It's ridiculous! My house has a white mailbox, with black numbers that are easily illuminated by car headlights. No bushes to conceal the mailbox, either.

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I'm the type of guy who's satisfied with any tip that's equal to or greater than a dollar. I'm not saying I think a dollar is a good amount to tip, I just don't get bothered by it.

Same here. Im satisfied with at least a dollar. At least it shows a little gratitude toward my service.

Have you ever seen a beige address on a beige house?

No. And I never will, if you know what I mean.

What place do you work at?

I would advise you not to try making up phony charges. Moral or not, it is illegal. You could go to jail, and you definitely do not want a criminal record.

Yeah, I guess youre right. I cant force them to give me money.

Those bastards.

Edited by BaseballGenius

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Now that you have that settled, I'm curious: how frequently do you encounter people who won't tip? and, are these regulars, so that you know in advance that they will not tip?

When I work about 8 hours and get 30 deliveries total, I'd say 5-8 customers leave me no tip, 10-15 give a tip but under $2, and 10 give me a tip over $2. I think its something like that on most days. I dont want to ruin the meaning to the initial topic, but I make $10-15 an hour on average. It was the principle of the idea though.

As for the regular stiffers, I really only know a few. One of them lives in one of the nicer houses in Great Falls, but shes pretty hot so its hard to stay mad at her. Seeing her face is a good enough tip for me. The other one is such a fraudulant bastard, because its obvious he knows that he should tip me but he chooses not to, ever. And he orders once a week. His goal for the transaction and confrontation with me is to have it last as short as possible. He swings the door open and flings the check at me, and says "here you go." Before I even have time to say "Thank you", his front door is shut. It was almost funny last time. I didnt get one word out before I realized he wasnt there anymore. Trust me, he's intentionally trying to get away with it, and thats why he pisses me off the most. But in general, I dont think I deliver to many serial stiffers. Our loyal customers, which are quite a few, are the ones who treat us with respect.

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As for the regular stiffers, I really only know a few.

I insist: is there any way you can refuse to deliver to people who won't tip? Ideally, you and the restaurant ought to be on the same side. I don't suggest delaying the delivery (that may keep you from more profitable deliveries), nor spitting on his food (that's childish).

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Let me get this straight: you are not willing to endure an awkward moment where you ask for a tip, but you are willing to steal from people to get one?

Tipping is optional, not contractual. That's what makes it a "tip" and not a "fee." If you don't like it, find another line of work.

When your employer charges a delivery fee, then they are telling people: we have a contract with you to deliver this pizza for $1.20. That is all they are obligated to pay. They don't have a contract with you - they have one with your employer. If you expect them to tip and they don't tip, you can remind them of it and see if they will agree with you that you should be tipped. If they don't agree, then you have only one moral and legal option: find yourself another line of work where you pay doesn't depend on the whims of others.

You can also try to make an agreement with your employer to not require you to deliver to houses that don't tip, or include "plus tip" in their advertising. But the idea of using fraud to force people to tip is THEFT, plain and simple.

That's it. Tipping is optional. Period.

[edit: alright, good, at least you accept this]

Edited by Inspector

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I insist: is there any way you can refuse to deliver to people who won't tip? Ideally, you and the restaurant ought to be on the same side. I don't suggest delaying the delivery (that may keep you from more profitable deliveries), nor spitting on his food (that's childish).

If I refuse to deliver to a house, then I get fired. And theres no way the managers would agree not to take a customers order, even if they are a serial stiffer. Why would the company care if I dont get a tip? If they refuse the order altogether, they lose money. Besides, theres only a few common serial stiffers that order from my place, so its not really worth keeping track of. Most of the time, they are fresh new faces that stiff me, and they consist of mentally retarded people living in gov't housing projects, old ladies who dont know any better, drug addicts in trailer parks, or bitter adults in general. Not anybody I would want to mess around with face-to-face.

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I heard on the radio couple years ago about a statistic saying that if a waitress puts a smiley face on the receipt, the customers are apt to tip more. Any truth to that, Alessa?

I have a hostess who actually brings the bill and they do put smiley faces on it. I don't know if its true but it can't hurt.

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If I refuse to deliver to a house, then I get fired. And theres no way the managers would agree not to take a customers order, even if they are a serial stiffer. Why would the company care if I dont get a tip? If they refuse the order altogether, they lose money.

Your boss might be concerened about rapid turnover. That would depend on how hard it is to replace someone in your job. If it takes days or weeks, he shoudl care about your tips, and should decline business with non-tippers (it costs him money if he's short of help for a significant period of time). Otherwise, no.

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As someone who orders take-out frequently (long hours), I'll tell you sometimes I plain forget the tip. Sometimes in the gathering of money it slips by, sometimes I'm so preocupied with the job it slips my mind. It's considered bad manners to remind the customer of a tip, but I wish the delivery men would remind me when I forget. I try to make up for it by doubling the tip on the next order, but I'm sure you know better than I why that probably doens't work.

One time several graduate students and I went to a Ryan's (one of those large family steakhouse buffets) but we all forgot to tip the waitress. It was an embarassing moment. Nevertheless, we called up the restaurant and received her name so that we could mail her a check. This practice is probably more difficult to do with delivery men, but perhaps you can try?

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