Here’s a Tip

I used to deliver pizzas. It was my first real job, and it’s still one of the best I’ve ever had. While everyone else in my town scrambled to mow cheap old ladies’ lawns, broke their backs in construction, or flipped burgers for minimum wage, I got a nice little payday by zipping around in my rusty Celica GT blasting Sir-Mix-A lot. Girls loved that.

Oh please, let this be the time I finally live my dream. Please.

My pecuniary haul was highly dependent on tips. I played up my small-town charm (which was easy, because I delivered pizzas in the small town that instilled it) and generally did pretty well. I wasn’t a partier, so I had no problem taking the Friday and Saturday night shifts, benefitting from citizens’ drunkenness and general lack of judgment. Usually, a drunker person gives a bigger tip.

Thanks to this gig, I kept myself threaded in Guess jeans (pegged, natch) and sweet Adidas kicks.

Clearly, I never delivered a pizza to Tiger Woods. I was appalled upon reading this piece on Tightwad Tiger, teeny tipper. I delivered pizzas to no fewer than four dilapidated trailer parks, and those folks always took care of me. Sure, those were also likely to be the yokels who tried to tip my 17-year-old self with a lukewarm Busch Light or an hour-old Toaster Strudel, but their hearts were in the right place.

When I delivered to the two fancy subdivisions on the edge of town, I would peer into a foreign world over the shoulder of the owner, where rear-projection TVs blared Atari 5200 games (which were quite logically twice as cool as the Atari 2600 crap I was stuck with). While eagerly awaiting payment, I often stood in high-ceilinged entryways, which I eventually learned were called foyers (spoken as fwa-yay, in a nasally Southern Ohio drawl).

These moneyed folks usually sent me off with exact change and a pat on the shoulder that said “I didn’t get this fwa-yay by givin’ basketball star pizza boys two dollars.”

I graduated from my job upon heading off to college, my real fantasy forever unfilled, for no lovely lass ever ordered double anchovies, which would have signaled her desire for my “services”, a la the finest film about pizza delivery ever made, Loverboy.

Let me shake off this nostalgia and get to the point. People now are financially frightened, and the ironic way forward through the market malaise is to get folks spending cash confidently. Tiger Woods has lost not only his golf game but also his grasp of patriotic trickle-down economics. It’s a despicable, elitist bit of nomenclature, but you get the point. Tip more, and maybe our dear waiters and waitresses will spend more, and the world will be saved.

Undoubtedly, our nervous pals in Washington are going to be looking for nickels in the couch cushions, so make sure to encourage your server to claim those cash tips appropriately come tax time. Given the inanity and proven ineffectiveness of our current Keynesian deficit spending, Uncle Sam’s likely paying close attention.

7 thoughts on “Here’s a Tip

  1. I am currently a waitress so I gotta say, yes to your tipping strategy. And in college I delivered pizza. I was a tiny little girl in a uniform — I got a lot of alcohol added on to my tips too. My manager’s instructions were to never turn down a tip so I wound up with a lot of booze in the back room at Dominoes on some nights. Too bad I didn’t drink then. What a waste!

  2. I do think that tipping habits are directly related to the person’s experience on the receiving end of the tipping process. When I delivered pizza in the late 1980s, during the day, I got about $1 per delivery (7% of sales – because I am an engineer at heart, I kept records) and I make sure to do better than that everywhere (20% to waiters/bartenders unless you screwed up on purpose or had a rotten attitude). I always got served at crowded bars I frequented because the bartenders knew they were getting a tip with every beer they handed me over other people’s shoulders.

    That was fantastic movie. Kirstie Alley and Carrie Fisher have never looked as sexy since then.

  3. I don’t know if the Domino’s delivery guy, circa 1993, had much luck with the skinflints at 2335 Sheridan Road. This article also reminded me of a timeless leper joke — what did the leper say to the prostitute? Keep the tip.

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