To those who may be currently working in the field of delivery service,
Let me start off by saying that the point of this open letter is more to act as a relatable and funny introduction or reintroduction to the delivery industry than any actual warning. However, there are some aspects of working in this field that the company should forewarn or at least mention during your training that they most likely will not. This is the case with almost all jobs, and chances are, you will have to learn these funnier aspects of the work simply by doing it. Here are just a few things I wish I had known prior to starting and a few of the sillier moments that came along with the learning process.
I became a pizza delivery driver over the summer before my junior year of high school and continued on into the school months. The pay was relatively good (in comparison to other fast-food jobs I had worked), and it wasn’t particularly hard. In theory, all I had to do was drive the pizzas from point A to point B and give a winning customer service smile while doing so. Sadly, theory generally doesn’t always equal reality when working fast food. I ended up having to work as an insider as well, including but not limited to making the pizzas, boxing them, organizing and restocking, opening and closing, taking orders over the phone and all the things that were definitely someone else’s job function. Being responsible for more than my share of work just went with the territory, and was mainly reliant on the other people I worked with during my shift. I think the main thing to keep in mind here is that even if your manager says you’ll only have to do certain things, being flexible when faced with the reality of your workload is very important. Going off of this, the people you work alongside have a huge effect on how bearable your shift will be. Some are lovely and have it in them to help. Some are surprisingly (and almost impressively) trash at being productive and doing the basic functions of their job. It wasn’t uncommon for me to look at some of my coworkers and think that it was amazing that they not only worked there but were somehow acting as a shift manager of sorts. Being in charge of other people while they didn’t seem responsible enough to handle themselves had always confused me.
Another struggle when it comes to delivery driving is tips. Although I’m not sure how it works with other businesses, driving pizzas was lovely and cost-effective as long as we actually had the pizzas to drive. This seems obvious, but if we were overmanned, the drivers would end up competing over the deliveries as the tips were how we made the majority of our money. Otherwise, we were likely to simply stand around and hope that somehow a huge amount of people in the area would be struck with the urge to have some mediocre and overpriced pizza delivery to their doorstep. This was especially true during the morning shifts, as it is rare for anyone to crave pepperoni or any miscellaneous toppings anytime before noon (for good reason in my mind).
Another way in which working delivery is unique to other positions is that if a mistake is made, it’s likely you’ll have to drive all the way back to fix it. If you work in a store and there’s an issue with the order, any worker would simply have to remake or change something right then and there. However, I can’t even count the number of times that there would be an issue with the pizza I was delivering and the customer would demand I drive all the way back to store, call my manager on the way back, most likely have to sit through his aggressive verbal irritation, and then return to the person’s house with the hopes that this time they would just eat it. In most cases, this not only lowered the tip amount but also wasted large amounts of gas money (as we were not reimbursed for such things). Not only is this unfortunate, but oftentimes, the reasons pizzas were returned were no fault of my own, branching from “this is the wrong pie” to “this piece has more sausage than this one, and I don’t appreciate such as asymmetrical order.”
This makes way into my next point; customers can be, in the kindest phrasing, unreasonable and unpleasant. This applies to almost all jobs that require interacting with people, especially customer service. However, what makes delivery so unique and lovely is that the customer will most likely find it easier to blame the person handing them their package than those who actually made it, even if any mistake made is no fault of their own. Of course, many customers are reasonable and likely to understand, even if there is an issue. But occasionally I would come across some overworked suburban mom that was likely to assign all blame for her unevenly cut slices and unexpected order of Pepsi rather than Coke (she was warned we only carried one brand over the phone) on the poor unfortunate soul handing her the delivery (being me).
And lastly, and only really applying to if you do food deliveries, your car will forever and always smell like whatever is being handled. In my case, that meant that my initial love and appreciation for pizza began to fade as my car completely absorbed the permanent scent of cheese, grease and sauce. This was pleasant for the first few days, and then simply became slightly sickening. In fact, when I had a bigger than normal order, driving with my windows up often resulted in them fogging up with the heat and impressive oil rising off the pies. This wouldn’t have been a huge issue until my windshield also began to suffer the same consequences. Although of course, I wish to avoid dying no matter what and doing so byways of “not being able to see due to excess grease stains making it impossible to see into oncoming traffic seems like a horrible way to go. Occasionally, even though I haven’t worked delivery for several years, I will still lean over to make a turn and catch the elusive scent of fast food and unpleasant memories absolutely ingrained in my seat cushion.
All of this to say, working as a delivery driver was a fairly lucrative and easy job. Sure, it had its downsides, but what job doesn’t? I don’t necessarily suggest it to everyone, but in the current world where the normally available jobs may no longer be feasible or safe options, this is definitely something that many could consider. If so, it’s like any job. You have to work to become good at it. Although, I do help that a few of these (admittedly aggressive and rather ranting) remarks help in some way.
Stay safe, everyone!