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Archive for July, 2009


The other day I go to this delivery and a Siamese cat walks up to me meowing the the whole way. I love Siamese cats. I suspect I’ll get one some day (right now I have 3 of my own cats). I ring the bell, nothing happens, so I pet the kitty a little. It purrs and meows and does the whole slinking around like it loves the attention. I ring the bell again. This time the customer opens the door. I asked, “Is that your cat?” He says, “Yup, he thinks he’s a dog.” FYI for cat and dog owners alike: no cat thinks it’s a dog. Cats are way smarter than that. That’s why they say dogs have masters, cats have servants. There are lots of talkative cats in the world. Doesn’t make them confused. It makes them vocal. I have one. My littlest cat, Luna, LOVES to talk. If you meow at her, she’ll do it back. You can actually “talk” for quite some time with Luna. I also taught her how to shake hands like a dog would do, but that’s just a trick, not a personality trait. If cats think they’re anything, it’s that they’re gods. One of my cats, Fluffer, thinks he’s a repository for food. Lol. He weighs 22 pounds. The other cat, Rogue, thinks she’s a spy surrounded by North Koreans. They all have their quirks, but it’s who they are. Not to knock dogs or anything, I just don’t like the idea of a cat being called anything other than a cat.

The Driver (Adam Smith)

© Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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I love the bumper stickers that say “Visualize Using Your Turn Signals”. I really wish people would. Seeing as how we’re on the road for hours during the day, we see this a lot. The guy in front of you will either slow down for no apparent reason, or, even better, suddenly stop short and turn. Either way, they should let the rest of us know about it. I’ve asked people about it and they’ve said it takes too long to signal. Really? It’s right there next to the steering wheel. You can hit it with your finger while you’re driving. How does that take too much time? It’s like the people who’ve told me they drive with their high beams on and don’t care if they blind other people, which is funny because if I get blinded and lose control of my car, I’m going into the light: your headlights. I’m taking you with me.

Anyway, I’ve also seen people turn left from the right lane with no signal, right from the left lane with no signal, and, of course, cut me off with no signal. Sometimes I want to follow them and yell at them to use their turn signals, but that would result in me getting arrested for road rage or some nonsense. I remember back in the 80s police officers used to give tickets for people not using their signals. I’ve even seen people turn left at a red light with no turn signal. Right with no signal at the light is tolerable, you’re not getting in my way at that point, but left at a red light? Come on, even if you do signal when you do that, you’re an idiot. There are good reason for laws requiring the use of turn signals: they let the rest of us know what your plans are ahead of time so there’s no accident. And i know the argument you shouldn’t be following that closely, but come on, even if you do keep a reasonable distance, you know when these mental midgets slam on the brakes and suddenly turn, you could hit them. Or at least spill your coffee.

The Driver (Adam Smith)

© Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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I remember one year, I’m taking this delivery to a house in the middle of a hilly town on a night that we happened to have a blizzard. We had just over a foot of snow and it was still snowing. How I got to work that day, I’ll never know (different car). Anyway, I kind of like working in those conditions. The roads are bare, with the exception of the occasional brave soul going somewhere themselves. The thing I like the most though is the way the night air is so quiet. It’s like time is standing still. You can hear everything, and the crispness of the cold without the wind is refreshing. The snow falls with only the slightest whisper as it brushes against the trees and touches the ground. To me it’s an amazing feeling.

After about half an hour of driving super slow, I finally get to the street. Of course it’s a hill, and a steep one at that. I started out okay, drove up, then followed the road to the left, went about 500 feet or so and got to the really steep part of the road. Just then my phone rings. “Hi Adam, it’s Ashley, the customer called and wants to know when you’ll be there.” Really? She can’t be serious, I’m thinking, it’s only been half an hour. The thing is, when it snows like that, every order gets backed up because we have to go much slower to get there safely. I can’t count how many times other drivers got in accidents in the best of conditions, let alone how many of them crashed because they weren’t careful in bad conditions. I tell her I’ll be there in few minutes. That was wishful thinking on my part.

Had I not stopped to get the phone, I might have made it. I had the momentum to probably make it up the hill. Now that I was stopped with no traction, I was dead in the water, well, snow to be exact. I put the car in first and gave it some gas. I got about ten feet and the car slid back. I tried again. Similar result, except this time I slid back twenty feet. “This isn’t working”, I said. I carefully let my car roll back to the bottom of that hill, put the car back in first and gunned it. The wheels ripped through the snow and just kept on spinning. Now I’m yelling at no one, “Murphy’s Law, right?” Of course. So I back up, go back to the main road, and start the whole process again. I go up the street. come around the corner, and when I get to the steep part I give it a little extra gas. Now I’ve got some momentum and I’m off up the hill. I’m trying to read the numbers on mailboxes and not crash at the same time. I’m half way to her house when my car starts slowing down, and, of course, I lose traction and start to slide backwards again. This time I say, “Fuck it”, I put the e-brake on, get the food, get out, and start trudging up the hill on foot through this mess.

It was probably 15 minutes from when the girl at the pizza place called to when I get to the woman’s door. I knock, and of course she takes forever to get to the door. She opens it and says, “Hi, did you have trouble finding the house?”. I want to throw the pizza at her and leave. I don’t, of course. I just politely explain that her road is steep, my car isn’t 4 wheel drive, and I couldn’t get up the hill. “Oh”, she says. Oh. How nice. I can’t help but wonder after experiences like this if people live in a bubble. Some people say ‘Oh’, some people get pissed and don’t really care what the weather is like, they want their food fast no matter what, and some people, the really good customers, are very appreciative and know not to say stupid things to the person delivering their food. Especially in a blizzard.

The Driver (Adam Smith)

© Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Yesterday, I’m coming up a street on my way to a delivery, and some moron jumps out right in front of me and proceeds to go a whopping 25. There was no one behind me for at least half a mile. So I’m yelling (through the glass), “Really? Really? You couldn’t wait? Fucking moron!” I seriously hate when that happens. If you’re going to cut me off at least do the speed I was going or faster. If you have no intention of going as fast or faster, wait. Seriously, he would have had to wait 2 seconds for me to pass. Why is it that those two seconds are so important that he has all the time in the fucking world to go 25? I don’t get it.

At the top of the street, it happens again from another moron. Keep in mind that my car does 0-60 in about 5.5 seconds and can beat a Porsche Boxster as well as 90 % of the cars on the road. So I’m not exactly one of the slow ones on the road. Every time this happens it feels a little like someone yanked a choke chain around my neck. The next guy had the decency to go about as fast as I was going, so I was less annoyed. Annoyed that he did it, but not really annoyed at his pace.

So I get to my delivery, get my tip, get in my car and head back. I’m coming down the road the pizza place is on and a woman comes flying out of a side street without stopping, signaling, or even looking. A few seconds later and I would have hit her, and it would have been entirely her fault. Moron number three. We get to the light where the pizza place is, and just as it turns green and she starts down the street I give her the finger to let her know what I think of her driving. It’s a small consolation, but if it’s that or nothing, I’ll take giving the bird every time.

I don’t think people realize how many of these scary on the road stories there are. Literally hundreds. You can’t imagine the number of ways we almost die delivering you hot food quickly. But we do it. We do it for the tips. Remember that.

FYI: My blood pressure is always perfect when I go to the doctor. I don’t know how or why, I just know that it is. Maybe because I get mad, then get over it. I don’t carry this stuff around. That would be bad. You’ve heard of going postal, right? You don’t ever want a driver going mental like that. Trust me on that one folks, it wouldn’t be pretty.

The Driver (Adam Smith)

© Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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So I’m driving, and a car pulls out behind me and wouldn’t you know it, the bastard has his high beams on. Ask anyone who knows me, my number on pet peeve on the road is high beams. I think these people should be pulled over, dragged into the woods, and beaten into submission with a blunt object. Then said blunt object should be used to smash their headlights and every window on their car. Yeah, it gets me mad. I can just barely tolerate it when it’s someone coming towards me since I can try to focus on the side of the road, even though that’s a pretty stupid skill to learn when the object is to keep your eyes on the road. But when it’s behind me that really gets me. I’m driving. I can flip my rear-view mirror down, but then I have to fumble with my side view mirrors, while I’m trying to pay attention to the road. For just this purpose I put those aftermarket ultra bright headlights in my car. I think they burn at 5000K, maybe 7000K. I can’t remember. So what I usually do is pull quickly over to the side of the road, let them pass, then quickly get behind them and FLOOD their car with my brights. Lucky for them, I don’t do it for long as I don’t want to blind people coming who didn’t do anything wrong.
It’s even more annoying when someone does it during the day or at dusk, or even in high ambient light areas like the middle of cities. Those people I just want to push off a cliff, then drop their car off to finish the job.

The Driver (Adam Smith)

© Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“Kick Rocks” Pizza Delivery Nightmares by Adam Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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The first time I delivered pizza, I was 24, unemployed, and at the end of my rope. I was My mother suggested I check out the local pizza place to see if they would hire me. I didn’t want to do it and kept thinking, “What kind of loser delivers pizza?” As it turned out, it was me. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I could make doing just that. I think that first night I worked from 5 to 10 pm, got paid an hourly rate of $6 an hour (this was in 1994), and made twice that amount in tips alone. I made about $100 in 5 hours. $20 an hour by today’s standards isn’t bad, but can you imagine making that much as a 20 something in 1994? At the end of the night when I counted my cash I was stunned at how much I had in my wallet. I didn’t tell my parents how much I made, but I didn’t complain about the advice my mother had given me either.

Since then, I have gone back to college, gotten a degree, worked in several salaried (professional) positions, and even owned my own pizza place. But the most money I have ever made in my life was delivering pizza. I worked for a very large franchise at their world headquarters doing technical support and started at $35,000. Delivering pizza I make on average about $50,000 a year, sometimes more. The professional job I had to dress in slacks, shirt and tie, shoes, and had rigid expectations. The delivery jobs, I got to show up in jeans, a tee-shirt, boots, and had a very relaxed working environment (compared to other jobs). It isn’t rocket science which one is better.

I know everyone wants to say they’re working towards the future, have a 401K, medical, vacations, a house, a dog, 2.5 children, etc, but at the end of the day I’d rather start at a level in pay it will take the other guy 10 years to achieve, and figure out my own game plan for the long-run.

I don’t want to mislead anyone, though, while it is better in my mind, there are a lot of downsides to delivering pizza as well.

First off, you use your own car and beat the hell out of it for minimum wage.

Second, you risk your life each and every time you get behind the wheel for anything. Drivers are on the roads ALL DAY. Our odds of getting in an accident are much higher than the average person’s.

Third, we drive in all kinds of weather: snow, rain, extreme heat or cold; we’re out there.

Fourth, most customers don’t look at us as what we are: waiters who drive their food to them. We should get at least a 20% tip all the time, but for some reason some people seem to think that delivering food in all sorts of conditions on time is easier than a waiter taking it from the kitchen and walking it to the table.

Fifth, and last, there are all sorts of things we have to deal with from unhappy owners, to hazardous conditions, to other drivers, and even getting robbed or killed. Customers should look at us like we’re two steps above a waiter and tip us accordingly. Waiters, after all, often have food runners who actually deliver the food while all they do is take the order and bring drink refills.

Still, if you can work out a system at a good place in a good area, you can make a lot of money and have a lot more freedom than you might somewhere else.

In the rest of the pages I will go through different stories and scenarios to let people know some of the things we have to deal with and hopefully help people to make our lives easier by ensuring they show us the same respect we show them by giving us a good tip.

The Driver (Adam Smith)

© Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Smith and drivershout.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

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“Kick Rocks” Pizza Delivery Nightmares by Adam Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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