Pizza What?

Last night we decided to order a pizza.  When I placed my order online, I got a message saying it would be delivered in 3 hours.  Well that’s kind of odd…and well…I want my pizza now, not at 9:45PM.  I called the store and was told that the soonest our order could be delivered was over an hour away.  I asked how that could be since I order pretty regularly and get it in about 20 minutes.  She – very rudely – advised me that I wasn’t the only person who ordered pizza tonight, that there were 4 orders ahead of me.  She went on to say that it would take as long as it takes for the driver to come back and forth for the 4 orders in front of me.  I didn’t feel like arguing with her, but thought it strange that she was making it sound as though they only had one driver.

Believe it or not, the driver arrived about 25 minutes after I ordered.  And it was a cat we know pretty well…as much as you can know your local pizza delivery guy.  He’s really neat and super friendly.  He once gave my husband a 2 liter of Diet Coke after realizing my husband was in the ARMY when he arrived home in uniform during a delivery.  He truly is a pleasantry to have standing on your doorstep chatting about life while signing a credit slip.

So when he showed up last night, I asked him what was going on at the restaurant since they seemed to be in a cluster.  He immediately looked exasperated and exhaled loudly as he began to tell his tale.  He said Pizza Hut is a huge corporation that simply doesn’t want to pay it’s employees.  He said that they pay their drivers $5 an hour when most pizza joints pay their drivers $7.25.  He said no matter what, they’ve refused to compete with the other guys by raising their pay rates.  He said because of that, ALL THE OTHER DRIVERS QUIT!  That’s right, all the other delivery drivers quit because they weren’t making enough money to survive.  Not only that, but the restaurant employees quit, as well…leaving the manager to make the food that night.

We asked about credit card tips, and he told us that not only does the restaurant take a cut of the credit card tips, but that he doesn’t see those tips for some time after.  When it comes to it, he makes very little guaranteed money, and the tips he gets from credit cards are reduced and take time to get to him.  He also said that of the $2.75 delivery fee, he only gets $1.  The only way he can really survive is on decent cash tips.  I asked him why he stayed, and he said he had no options.  He has a young family to care for, and he’s going to school.  He can’t run the risk of not getting another job or getting one that he couldn’t work around his schedule.

At this point, I feel like crap because I gave him a $5 credit card tip – before hearing his story.  Off he went and I found myself in a conundrum.  Do I stop patronizing this establishment because of the way they treat their employees?  Or do I continue to order pizza from them and leave huge cash tips for this driver?  It’s a whole day later and I still can’t stop thinking about it.  This guy is first generation in the states, has a family to support, is going to school, and is trying to make a living.  And this is how we treat him.