Reflections of a Domino’s Delivery Driver

Right upfront I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I do enjoy this job despite everything below.  Except for the hours, it’s an easy gig that pays quite well.

About the pay:
I get minimum wage. In my state, that’s about $10.50/hour. Well, that’s my base pay.  I also work for tips.  In the current economic environment, tips are about $3.50 per delivery.  So if I can manage 3 deliveries/hour, that’s usually an additional $12.  Making my take home around $20/hour.

Tips are arbitrary.  Some people tip a lot, some don’t tip at all.  Generally, the amount goes up as it gets later.  Is it a good system?  No, but it’s what we have and I work within it.

My duties:
In the store, I have to answer the phones and take orders, handle walk-ins (both ordering and picking up), do some store cleaning chores, fold product boxes (they come flat in bundles), and, of course, deliver orders to customers.  When we are busy (rush) the latter is where I spend the majority of my time.  In fact, some nights I don’t spend more than a few minutes actually in the store and only see other drivers in passing.

About the customers:
The majority are pleasant and generally happy to see you. And, to young kids, I am almost as great as Santa Claus!  I generally engage with the kids, though only on a limited basis, since, for me, time literally is money.
There is a smaller group who are indifferent.  I am being paid to do a job, I get it.  For them I make the transactions efficient, quick and pleasant.
There is a small minority who are genuinely unpleasant.  Again, a quick transaction and then on to the next one.  I’ve learned not to take it personally and put it behind me as soon as I drive away.

That said, there are things that make my job more difficult.

Customer Scenario #1 (11:30 PM):
I’m assigned a delivery to an apartment on SW Tigard St (5 miles south of the store).
I load up the order, checking that everything is there, put it in my car and drive out of the parking lot.
About 10 minutes later I arrive at the apartment complex and locate the building and apartment, then I knock on the door.
The occupant opens the door and says that he didn’t order anything.
I apologize and return to car.
I recheck the address on the driver information slip and confirm that it matches.
So then I call the number on the driver’s slip.
A woman answers:

Me: I’m calling from Domino’s to confirm your address for delivery.

Woman (to someone else): Hey, Sean, what’s your address?

Me (internally): WTF?

Woman: It’s 121… It’s not funny to me and it’s not funny to the driver, Sean.

Woman: I’m too drunk for this…

Me (Shaking my head and pinching the bridge of my nose): Sigh

Woman: 121xx SW Steamboat.  It’s in Beaverton, I think, not Tigard.

Woman: I’m not sure what the apartment number is…

Me: The address is the apartment number there.

Woman: It’s a confusing complex.  If you need help, I can come down and meet you.

Me: No, it’s OK, I know it.

The actual address is about 10 minutes away (2 miles north of the store).
I start my car and leave the Tigard complex to drive to the address she just gave me.
Several minutes later, I arrive at the complex and locate the building and apartment.
The apartment is an end unit on the 2nd floor and there are two people standing outside on the apartment’s deck with a full view of the stairs.
I ascend the stairs carrying a large blue thermal pizza bag and I’m wearing my Domino’s uniform.  I am very conspicuous so I fully expect that one of them will meet me at the door.  Nobody does.

I knock and someone inside yells, “Who is it?”

Me (internally): Seriously?

But I reply, “Domino’s”

One of the occupants flings open the door and walks away.  I’m standing in the doorway alone staring into the apartment.
After a minute or so, the woman on the deck calls to the person in the apartment:

Woman: “Who was it?”

Man: “It’s your pizza.”

She comes in off the balcony, greets me at the door and leans against a couch to keep from falling over. She signs the credit card slip, I give her the order and exit down the stairs.

When I return to the store, I check to see who took the order so that I can make sure they know to confirm the delivery address next time.  It turns out the woman placed the order herself online.

Customer Scenario #2 (12:00 AM):
I Arrive at the apartment complex and locate the apartment.
The occupant opens the door when I knock.  I can see into the apartment and notice that there is a drug pipe on the coffee table.  I don’t smell marijuana smoke, however.
It’s a cash transaction, so I tell him the amount owed:

Me: Your total is $20.95

Him: Pulls out wallet and stares uncomprehendingly at its contents.

Him: How much?

Me: $20.95.

Him: Pulls several bills out the wallet and attempts to count.

Him: Gives up and hands me a 20 and several singles.

Him: I think that’s $23 there.

I thank him, take the cash, give him his order from the bag and leave.

Customer Scenario #3 (11:00 PM):
Store phone rings and I answer.

Woman: I don’t like your pizza, do you have the number for Pizza Hut?

Me (sighing):  No, we don’t.

Woman (with genuine surprise): Really? You can’t tell me?

Me: No, I would need to look it up just like you.

Customer Scenario #4 (9:00 PM):
Customer calls to place a complex order with numerous items.
He is difficult to understand because the store is noisy and he has a strong accent.
I take the order and confirm each item, then tell him the total and ask how he wants to pay.
He replies that he wants to use a credit card.
I begin by entering the credit card number and confirming it.
Next I ask for the expiration date and the security code.
Finally, I ask for the billing zip code.

Me: And your billing zip code…

Customer: Um, 97008.

Me: Sorry, it rejected the card.  Could it be something else?

Customer: 97223?

Me: No, it still rejected the card.

Customer: I got it downtown, it’s B of A…

Customer: 97224?

Me: No, it’s still rejecting it.

Customer: I got it downtown, I’m not sure.  I’ll check and call you back.

I hang up and leave the order screen open in case he does ever call back.
No idea where he got this card, i.e., Found it on the street? Bought it from some guy in a hoodie? Craigslist?

Customer Scenario #5 (2:00 AM)
Especially note the time on this one.
I’m ready to end my shift and the manager asks if I’ll take one more. I acquiesce and load the order into a bag, grab the driver tag and head for my car.
The address is about 10 minutes northeast of the store on a side street off of a major road.
I arrive at about 2:15, double check the address, grab the bag and walk to the door. I note as I approach that the house is completely dark. Not too surprising considering the time, but I’m apprehensive.
I knock on the door and wait. No one comes and no lights come on.
I knock again. Same thing.
I’m feeling more apprehensive, so I don’t ring the bell and instead get my phone from the car and call.
Phone rings several times and a male voice answers.

Me: I’m calling from Domino’s, I’m here with a delivery.

Customer (to someone else in the room): Driver’s here.

Customer (to me): I’ll be right there.

Hangs up.
I wait. No one comes and no lights come on. After a couple of minutes my phone rings.

Customer: What address are you at?

Me: (reciting the address on the driver tag)

Customer: Oh, we’re not at that address anymore. Do you want me to tell you the new address?

Me (internally with a sigh): No, not really.

Me (to the customer with more annoyance than I intend): Yes, please.

Customer: (gives me new address about 2 miles away, but still in our delivery area)

Considering the hour, I’m grateful that the current occupants didn’t wake up.
I put the bag back in the car and drive to the address he gave me.
There are lights on and when I knock at the door, the customer opens it.
It’s a cash transaction and he lets me keep the change, “Because of the address mix-up”.
I return to the store and when I explain what happened, the employee who took it says that that was the address the customer gave when he called and placed the order.

Customer Scenario #6 (1 AM)
Likely my last delivery of the night as the store closes at 2 and there are still three other drivers working.
The address is about 5 miles north of the store, an apartment in a small complex off of a main street.
We have a number of these complexes with fewer than 10 units. This one has 6 and I’m delivering to #6.
It’s on a credit card, so I gather the items (there are 5) and load them into a bag. Then I pick up the bag and grab the credit slip on my way out the door. I load it into my car, drive out of the parking lot and arrive at the complex at about 1:30. It’s cold and a light rain is coming down.
I double check the address and apartment number and knock on the door. The customer opens it and I start with my usual greeting then give him the credit slip to fill out.
He writes 0 for the tip, fills in the total and signs it. Then he reaches into his pocket and hands me a folded bill. I thank him and in the dim light I can see a 1 and a 0, so I guess it’s probably a 10. As his total was $65, that wouldn’t be out of line. I note, however, that the bill feels strange as I put it in my pocket.
I give him his order from the bag and, transaction completed, I return to my car and drive back to the store.
When I get there, I unfold the bill and am surprised to see that it’s not a 10, it’s a 100. Either it’s fake or he’s made a mistake and given me the wrong bill from his pocket. If the latter, we will likely get a call asking if I can return it (it’s happened before).
I show it to the others in the store and on close examination, it’s obvious it’s a fake.

 

So not only did he not tip, he gave me a counterfeit bill.
When I mentioned it to a couple of other drivers the next day, one of them said that customer had done the same thing to him.

Some basic things to remember when calling in your order:
Be sober/pharmaceutically unimpaired.
Have a basic idea of what you want (we’re Domino’s, we sell pizza).
If you are ordering for 6 people, don’t have a conversation with all of them about what they want while you have us on the phone.

  1. It’s hard to tell if you are talking to us or them.
  2. It really slows down the ordering process, especially when there are disagreements and order modifications. There are always disagreements.

For a delivery, we need to have an actual address where you want it to go or we can’t get it to you.  Seriously, I can’t over emphasize this!

These things are important all the time, but become critical during rush.  During the hours from about 6 to 8:30 we may be handling 50 orders per hour.  While I’m taking your call, two other lines are ringing, several people are standing at the counter, 4 employees are on the make line, 2 are at the oven, and I’m being called to deliver an order.

Basic things we need to help us get your delivery to you:
Your address.  The one where you are expecting delivery.  With the apartment number.  The right one.
Visible street numbers.  Especially at night.  Most of us use GPS now, but it’s not always dead on.  Especially for apartments.
A phone number in case we can’t find your address.  Yours.  Your current one.  That you will answer when we call.
Your vigilance.  We are going to be at the address you gave us sometime in the next 30 minutes or so.  If you don’t answer the door when we ring the bell or knock, we are going to try to call you on the number you gave us.  If we get no response from any of those (and we will try more than once), the order will go back to the store.  Then you will have to call the store and you will be angry, my manager will have to apologize and we probably will have to re-make the order.  Then a driver will again be dispatched to deliver it.

And a hint for parents:
When you order for your kids and pay by credit card but give them cash to tip the driver… you might want to check their pockets later.  We can pretty much be assured that no one under 18 will tip.

And something for everyone who pays by credit card:
You should completely fill in the form and you really should take your copy.  I’m honest and all of the other drivers I know are as well, but it would be trivially easy to throw away the signed copy and write a $1 or $2 tip on the other copy and then sign it with a scribble.  Or to fill in the empty lines on the form that you left blank and signed.  Are you really going to remember that you paid $24.37 instead of $25.37 in a month?  Does anybody even reconcile their account anymore?
And one more reason: The copy has a ridiculous amount of information about you — Name, Phone and Address.  And we’ve already been to your house and seen it inside and out…

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