I’m guessing that everyone, at one point or another, has ordered delivery. If you haven’t then you have missed out on something quintessential to the American experience. All you have to do is dial a number and in no time there is hot food at your doorstep. It’s something our ancestors only dreamed about.
However, next time when you’re waiting for your food on your couch — watching football or whatever you might be doing — take a moment to think about who brings you that food. Imagine driving your car around town trying to find hungry patrons and dealing with whatever they might throw at you.
Remember as a consumer that the delivery driver is the most maligned cog in the giant wheels of the food service industry. Nevertheless, that same person is also the one who ultimately decides how fast you get your meal, and if it is going to be tampered with in any way.
This is why you should respect your delivery driver.
He or she is no different than you. A majority of them are in college, just trying to eek out a living. As a former practitioner of this craft, I know there are certain things you should and should not do while ordering a meal.
The first thing you can do is pretty simple: Give your correct address to the person on the phone. For someone who makes a living by finding the right addresses at the right time, this is the most crucial part of the whole process.
Also, you might get a call from a random number after ordering delivery. Don’t cower in fear of this unknown number; it is your food calling — you should answer. I know it can be irritating having to direct the driver to your house, but it’s the only way you will get your food.
This goes especially for apartments. Whenever I delivered, I always dreaded navigating through them. The person was always on the top floor and in the least accessible building. So all you apartment dwellers: Answer the driver’s phone calls, to them your apartment complex feels more like a labyrinth.
Another really simple — yet often forgotten — thing to do is to turn on your porch light if you have one. It’s not much of a problem in the summer, but as fall and winter approach it starts getting dark at five o’clock. If the driver doesn’t have to walk around your block looking for an address with their dim cell phone flashlights, it makes their job a lot easier and you can get your food a lot quicker. Everyone wins.
Now comes the most important part of the whole process: The tip. Nothing else really matters to a driver but the tip. It doesn’t matter if the person that ordered was a total douche to them. As long as a good tip is forked out, everything is okay.
I’m not going to tell anybody how much they should be tipping, but I would keep in mind the distance that the driver had to travel, because gas costs an arm and a leg these days. Also take into account if they were pleasant to deal with. It’s the food service, so being courteous is part of the job.
Also take into account the amount of time it took for the food to get to you when tipping. However, in the driver’s defense, I was usually speeding and risking tickets just so I could maybe get a little extra for a tip. And I did get pulled over once. So reward them for being timely.
In my own humble opinion, I thought the usual 15-20 percent gratuity did the trick. However, if you completely stiff the driver they will likely not forget about you. They remember who tips well and who doesn’t.
I realize that ordering delivery is not a big part of anybody’s life (or at least I hope not). But for delivery drivers, no matter if they work at a pizza shop or a flower shop, it’s all they do when they go to work.
Small, simple things like saying ‘hello’ or ‘drive safe’ can go a long way to making their shift run much more smoothly. It’s not a very glamorous job, so just try to do your part to make someone else’s life a little easier — or else you might find an extra side of loogie on that pepperoni pizza you ordered.
Quinn Scahill is a senior English major. His columns appear Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to email@example.com.