Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Delivery Driver Gets Robbed - Then Gets Shafted

Let's take a moment from our current unending electoral fears and pomp to consider this story out of Michigan where a pizza delivery driver is informed, after being robbed at gun point, he has to repay some of the money he lost to the store.  If you think that sounds fucked up, don't worry the store and the company has a policy that makes it all make sense:  The driver's not supposed to leave the store, ever, with more than $20 in cash on his person.  So anything more than that the driver might have is supposed to be locked into the driver's personal locker at the store.

If you're not rolling your eyes, yet, you're suffering from a case of privilege and ignorance.  You also probably believe that the laws forbidden contact between strippers and customers are obeyed; that HazMat workers always wear proper protective gear; and that people turn off their cell phones at the gas pump, too.

Here's a clue for all you find people swimming in ignorance:  The majority of strip clubs work very hard to make sure that their dancers know they're expected to be available to their customers, without letting them get caught violating the law; Hazmat workers can get very blase about what they consider to be low-level risks; most people with a modicum of knowledge recognize that the spark hazard from a cell phone is so far below reasonable probability that obeying those stupid signs and laws to turn off the cell phone is a waste of time for no material improvement in safety.  (Now, making sure to take steps to avoid static discharge - those make a good deal of sense.)  And pizza delivery drivers are screwed so many ways by their management it's not funny.

First off, most places only offer drivers minimum wage - or less.  Because you can argue that the driver is in a tipped position, the management can shuck off their labor costs onto the consumer.  Of course to be a delivery driver - you need access to a car - which is gas and mileage for wear and tear on the vehicle.  The pizza shop ain't paying for that shit - that's the driver's problem.  So, that's coming out of the minimum wage the driver is supposedly making.   And remember - the driver isn't even likely to be getting minimum wage in the first place.  Tips are where the delivery driver makes or breaks it on these nights.

The more deliveries a driver can make per trip, the better it is for him.  He doesn't give a shit about how cold your pizza gets (to be fair, why should he?  The store sure as hell doesn't care, either.) nor how many more pies are waiting to go out.  The less back and forth driving he can do, the more real money he'll make over his necessary overhead.  And going out with more than one order and only $20 means that if both parties need to make change from $20 bills, the driver is stuck come the second stop.  In practice most drivers I've known want to have $20 in smaller bills per delivery on their route, when they leave the store.  Just so they don't get caught in a position of being unable to make change for their customers.

Also going to the more deliveries thing - no matter how little time it takes to drop cash into that locker, it's going to be a time suck.  It might be only a minute, but I suspect there's going to be logging involved, and other paperwork crap, too - all of which deducts from the time the driver can actually be doing something that makes them enough money for this evening at the store to be anything more than wasted time.

Let's not forget that drivers are going to be fired for taking too long on their rounds, for letting pies sit too long before taken out on delivery, or if the customer has any complaint about the experience.  The driver has zero incentive, to spend time on anything but deliveries as long as there's something close to ready to go out.

Then there's the effect of the ubiquitous delivery fee:  consumers see that, and assume it's going to the driver, so they don't need to tip.  Which is so many kinds of fucked up I don't care to get into it.  Look up, online, some of the complaints pizza drivers have about delivery fees if you want to see how it works out in practice.  The effect that matters here is that the chain is perfectly willing to impose a fee on the consumer knowing it will harm their tipped employee, with no benefit accruing to said employee.

Finally pizza drivers get targeted for robberies all the fucking time.

As long as the injuries aren't too horrific, they rarely make the news.  But this story's blase, if a driver feels a delivery to be unsafe they can tell the manager is just so much unadulterated bullshit.  The company in this case is washing its hands of any obligation to the driver, and then getting shocked when the drivers try to maximize their own efficiency for their personal benefit.

I am not moved by this story's reporting, nor do I find the store's position very sympathetic.

And please remember to tip your drivers when you order delivery.

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