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I'm a pizzaguy, you know. I've been trying to figure it out, why I like being a pizzaguy. It's not hard work, it doesn't require a lot of thought or skill (although a mindset for navigation helps).

What I've noticed is the instant gratification. People like the pizzaguy. It's not like the pizzaguy comes unannounced, or that the customer waits for their pizza without knowing what they're getting. A customer calls the pizzaplace, makes their order, and then is told that anticipatory statement: The pizza will be there in ## minutes.

So they wait. Some days, I take the order, make all the food, and deliver it myself. On others, I don't even know what's in the heat-safe bag when I head out the door. Either way, I'm the only one the customer actually sees, actually meets in person.

By the time I do arrive, the customer has been waiting. It's been a predefined time, so they're usually not anxious or upset over waiting. They know it's coming, and they know someone will be at their door soon.

Delivery of an order always gets a pleasant 'thank you,' and usually a tip. Each time I deliver, it's an ego boost: the customer was expecing it to happen, and when it does they are grateful.

Their gratitude extends outward as well. The pizza delivery driver can park pretty much wherever they like (without blocking traffic), they can walk into most places unaccosted ('I'm supposed to go to the 4th floor conference room!'), and everyone holds doors open. When you walk into a bar wearing a pizza shirt and carrying an order, you're the most loved person in the place. They might not have been the one to order, but they remember: they remember how they didn't have to do anything but place a call, and their food was brought to them, wherever they happen to be. I've delivered to offices, machine shops, bars, hotels -- the customers count on the fact that their food will find it's way to them, without fail.

Delivering pizza isn't rewarding just because of tips or service to the community. It's because society has an elevated place for delivery drivers: They want something, they ask for it, and it's given to them. What could be better than that? It makes them happy, and they show it to the pizzaguy.

When I lived in a small house that was in a rural area, we had a dog that had free run of the front yard. (well, technically she was in a fenced yard on the side of the house, which she would swiftly climb and end up in the front yard.) When we would order pizza, I would specify on the phone... "Tell the delivery person to stick the pizza box out of the car FIRST. then step out of the car. The dog will recognize this person as THE PIZZA GUY and she won't try to act threatening. It worked every time, as long as they actually listened to me.

--pero , 9/6/2004 14:16:36

Can I get a large pepperoni, black olive, artichoke, and shrimp for delivery, please? Delivery time, 4 hours? Sure, no problem!

--David Vaiyne, 9/10/2004 11:47:36

pero: smart dog! He knows better than to interfere when dinner arrives ;) Mr. Vaiyne: You're in Delivery Zone 835, so your delivery fee is $163 on that $14 pizza. Is that OK?

--Derek, 9/10/2004 14:47:15

I've always thought that an interesting way to raise money for a cause would be to hold a Local Street Knowledge Bowl. You'd have teams competing to show that they knew the streets of their town the best (and maybe quickest). Organizations would put forth their most savvy worker: taxi drivers/dispatchers, pizza deliverers, firemen, policemen, ambulance companies all vying to name the most obscure allies of the town, streets so short they only have one house on them.

--busmun, 9/10/2004 22:08:21

The worst street weirdness we have here is the use of 'north' and 'south'...the town is divided along Main Avenue and streets are named either 'north' or 'south' (3rd street N, 5th ave S), but there's culdesacs named 'north' and 'south' based on relation to each other. So, North Woodcrest is north of South Woodcrest; South Woodcrest is north of North Terrace; North Terrace is north of South Terrace, which is North of 1st Avenue South. It's unfortunate when you see 'South Woodcrest', and start heading to the south end of town, because it's northeast of our pizza shop. I know where most things are, but we've got a wall-sized map in the back for accuracy :)

--Derek, 9/11/2004 17:34:48

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