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10 Things the Pizza Delivery Guy Doesn't Want You to Know

He's hiding something -- maybe. See more pictures of international tomato dishes.
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If your idea of delicious (and convenient) dining is eating a pizza while watching the big game, you're not alone. Pizza is a $30 billion industry in the United States, and the average American eats around 26 pounds of pizza per year. That's a lot of pie, and chances are, at some time or another, and probably more often than not, you've opted for pizza delivered to your door. It's usually pretty fast, and you can't beat the convenience. The clean-up can be a breeze, too. Eat it straight out of the box with some napkins, and you won't spend the rest of your night at the kitchen sink. The world of pizzeria pizza isn't all pepperoni and piquant sauce, though. The pizza guy who delivers your pie may look fresh-faced and friendly, but he could be harboring a few secrets you should know about before you spring for that hefty -- or embarrassingly stingy -- tip.

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To cut costs, the delivery guy might use his bike or walk, instead.
To cut costs, the delivery guy might use his bike or walk, instead.
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He may thank you for your business -- a lot. Just like almost every other business out there today, economic woes are eating into restaurant profits across the board. According to YUM! Brand's (Pizza Hut) Chief Executive, David Novak, dinner is one of the hardest hit meals. When you figure in the high cost of fuel that's resulted in bigger surcharges for delivery from many pizza joints, the lowly pizza guy is just glad he isn't cooling his heels back at the shop. Many have turned to alternate methods to deliver your pie. Don't be surprised if your delivery driver rolls up to your house on his bicycle, moped or even on his own two feet. Smart cars could be a good option, too, but the drive will have to make the dough before he can purchase one.

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It may feel a little awkward offering up a $2 tip to a polite gentleman who seems more mature and better educated than your average pimply-faced pizza delivery person, but hard times have resulted in a super tight job market. All kinds of workers are holding down two and sometimes three jobs just to make ends meet -- when they can find jobs, that is. Men and women of all ages, races and education levels are providing for their families by doing whatever it takes to pay those bills and put food on the table. If you discover that your pizza guy is an out of work engineer, purchasing guru or middle management administrator fallen on hard times, be kind, but don't be too surprised.

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You could make it a family affair and get your kids involved.
You could make it a family affair and get your kids involved.
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Pizzeria pizza may be a good deal when there's lots of competition in the marketplace, but the price always creeps back up into the stratosphere eventually. Sure, compared to a dinner out it's not too bad, but compared to what you would spend to make a pizza for yourself -- well, there's no comparison. It isn't just the money, either. If you craft your own specialty pizza, you control the ingredients. Go ahead and splurge on quality deli pepperoni once in a while. The rest of the time, some low-fat cheese, low-sodium sauce and garden fresh vegetables will make a very flavorful pizza that's cheaper and better for you.

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You may not think of pizza delivery as a hazardous occupation, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks it as the ninth most hazardous job in the United States. The select group of top 10 most hazardous jobs includes roofers, aircraft pilots and logging workers. This isn't because of the risks involved navigating your porch steps in the dark, either. Much of it is driving related; so much so that some insurance carriers refuse to write personal policies for pizza delivery drivers. Chances are that at some time or another, you or someone you love will be on the road with an underpaid, harried speed demon who's trying to shave a few seconds off a pizza delivery -- even if it means putting your life in jeopardy to do it.

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Take note if he's scoping out your stuff. He may not be as nice as he seems.
Take note if he's scoping out your stuff. He may not be as nice as he seems.
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We don't want to terrify anyone into swearing off delivery pizza altogether, but people aren't always what they seem, and pretending to be the pizza guy, or using pizza delivery as a cover for casing homes to return and rob them later, isn't unheard of. We like to think of pizza delivery as a higher calling, but a Fargo, Minn., man used it as a cover for assault and robbery. It's never a good idea to take things at face value, even pizza. Lock your doors; instruct your children about proper stranger etiquette; and pay attention to things that seem off, like someone spending too much time staring at your new flat screen or asking about your work schedule. Even the pizza guy may have ulterior motives, so use common sense and caution.

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Pizza delivery isn't going to make anyone rich. Although the pay scale may change somewhat from area to area, many delivery people make less than minimum wage. They may receive a small extra bonus for each stop on their route, but that isn't going to put anyone through college, either. The specifics will vary, but the take away is that drivers rely on tips to survive. You're not obligated to pay a tip, but when you don't, you aren't hurting the pizza parlor, the chain (if it is one), or whoever it is that put you in a bad mood. You're hurting what may be the lowest man on the pizza production totem pole, and the one who can least afford to take the hit.

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Who is he really?
Who is he really?
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If you plan on robbing a pizza delivery person, think again. A robber in Overton, Fla., did just that and decided it worked so well the first time that he'd try it again. The second time, he ran afoul of an undercover police officer. The story doesn't end well for the robber, who was killed by a second officer at the scene. The risk wouldn't be worth the reward. It's likely that a pizza delivery person wouldn't have much money on him, anyway. It looks like the flip side of the pizza delivery burglar is the pizza delivery cop, which only goes to show that the guy with the pie in his arms could be just about anyone.

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If you're having a bad day and figure the pizza guy is a good option to take your frustrations out on, there may be more fallout than you expect. The deliveryman may take orders, bus tables and even prepare the pizzas. This is not a person you want to make angry. If you're rude, next time you may discover fewer toppings on your pizza or worse, so remember to play nice. And you never know, the pizza delivery man could be having a bad day of his own. If he's dealt with several surly customers, he may deliver a swift kick along with your pie.

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A happy pizza delivery guy makes more money than a surly pizza delivery guy. That doesn't mean he's all that pleased when faced with bad behavior or poor judgment. These no-nos are bound to annoy the bearer of your hot, tasty pizza and encourage him to run over your petunias while backing out of the driveway.

  • You're passed out drunk when he arrives.
  • You take 15 minutes getting the money together and then quibble over your expired coupon.
  • You aren't home when he drives up because you've stepped out to the grocery store.
  • You think tipping is for suckers and explain that you're not giving him a cent, but no offense, it's a matter of principle.
  • It's dark, and your street light is out. You didn't turn on your porch light, and there's no numbered address on your house.
  • Mindy, your Doberman, is snarling, slobbering on his shoes and clearly headed for a canine meltdown.

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When you answer the door in your bunny slippers and yesterday's T-shirt, it's nice to think you're anonymous and maybe a little invisible (OK, so wishful thinking), but the fact is the folks who deliver your pizzas will remember if you're rude, take a long time to respond to their knock, or neglect to tip. Stiffing them or making them late for another delivery could mean that next time you'll be shuffled off to the new guy, a rank amateur who'll forget to zip up the insulated carryall and sneeze on the pizza box as he hands it to you.

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Sources

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