Lisa Birch

Oct 31, 2016

5 min read

That time I delivered pizzas to make a buck.

When I was 22 I decided I would apply to work in a pizza store. The manager phoned to invited me to interview. Apparently the only openings were for delivery drivers.

“Thanks, but I don’t think that will work for me,” I said and hung up the phone.

A few days later, my brother and I were talking and I told him I’d been offered the interview as a delivery driver. “That’s an awesome job, you should do it!” So, I called the manager, very apologetically and said I would give it a go.

There wasn’t an interview, just a trial shift. I drove the manager around in my car while she did deliveries, and I watched. Then we got back to the store, I was given a shirt and told to turn up for my next shift in a few days time. My first shift was very uneventful. I went to three houses, and did kitchen hand work in between deliveries. My manager then decided to tell me she was finishing up in a week, leaving the assistant managers to run the store between them.

I really liked working there for the first month or so. All the staff were young, either in school, or under 25, and despite the lack of free pizza, I have always loved working in kitchens and doing prep. Deliveries I wasn’t so sure about.

Most deliveries were uneventful. Sometimes people would give me an actual tip ($5 was the going rate), even though we don’t tip in Australia. Some people would tell me to keep the change, but on a Saturday night I could leave with about $15 in tips. Petrol prices were really expensive at this time, so every little bit helped. I also had to get a cheap phone for tax purposes mobile phone as I called a lot of the customers if they didn’t have a light on, weren’t home, gave weird directions, or told the store to have me call when I arrived.

Who gets pizza delivered? Pretty much everyone. I delivered pizza to plenty of teenagers who had me park outside their house, and they would come and meet me. I have pizza every Friday to a family who watched Better Homes and Gardens, which was always playing when I arrived (they never tipped). I have delivered pizza for parties, to ritzy houses and ones that aren’t so flash.

Being a girl, my manager told me, brought in good tips. She told me once she got $50 from a drunk guy telling her she was hot (yes, I believe this). I was growing out a really short hair cut, so I always wore pigtails (because, cute), and altered my shirt so it wasn’t the bulk Mens XL I was given. Once though, I knocked at a door, and I heard a woman say “The pizza man is here.” She had a young daughter, paid me, and I left, realising she never corrected herself.

I once had a really irate customer who lectured me for a long time for being late (he was watching the online tracker and I got lost), and then decided to be nasty, paying only in 50 and 20 cent pieces — his order was $24.95. He gave it to me on a take away container lid, and then said ‘hey, you can’t keep it’, even though I had no where to put his ridiculous amount of coins. He wasn’t the only one, people would wait while I would dig around for their five or ten cents change in my little money pouch, sometimes forgetting to use manners at all.

There was a customer blacklist next to the phone. One man, Leroy, featured four times. He used different numbers, or a slightly different address. When an order came through for Leroy’s real address I was adamant I wouldn’t take it. “It’s Leroy’s pizza mule,” I whinged, but to no avail. Leroy or Leroy’s friend took the pizza and gave me money, and there was no problem.

My store was open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and we got an order really late, maybe 11:55pm. The person who ordered had said to park on the street, the light wasn’t working and they would meet me. I didn’t want to do the delivery, but there was only me, so I went, praying the whole time that the customer would have a small amount of money. No such luck. I arrived at the house, where about six men came to meet my car. They gave me $100, and I just managed to make enough change for me. I refused to get out the car and had my doors locked, and in the end it was okay.

Eventually though, well into my second month, delivering pizza late at night wasn’t fun anymore. We had a few older guys start delivery, and one took all of the peak shifts, as he could only work two hours because of a bad back.

The shift that ended my love of delivery was supposed to be a simple one. It was only for a couple of pizzas and some sides, and when I arrived the husband and wife seemed nice, and asked me to bring the pizza inside. This is one of the things you’re not really meant to do, but lots of people like you to put the pizza on a side table while they get the money (fair enough really). The man asked why it was so expensive, and where was the pensioner discount. We only gave seniors discount, so twenty-something men really didn’t qualify. He started ranting and raving, with some appropriate f-bombs thrown in. His wife gave me the money in the end, but she was laughing at him too. As I walked out the door, he yelled “Go home and have ten orgasms!”

Ten orgasms? What the?

I was pretty shaken up after this, so went back to tell my manager. “Don’t even worry about it, people are weird,” he said.

“Can we blacklist them?”


It seemed a good reason to leave, so I found a new fast food job, one that wouldn’t require me to leave the store at irregular intervals, or introduce me to people who had nothing better to do than yell at the face of the pizza company.

I like books, rubber ducks, 90s pop music and putting words on paper. Wrote a thesis on romance. Failed roller derby fresh meat 5 times (and counting).

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