All Over But The Shouting

"This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end"

- The Doors
"The End"


I kind of hate using Doors lyrics in my last post, but sometimes
'lil Jimmy Morrison has the exact words for the occasion.

As of right fuckin' now, The Streets of Pizza, the blog, is over.

Done.

Fini.


I just don't have the time or energy to keep it up any longer.
"Take this blog and shove it"?
No, not really. I've had a great experience writing this thing.
The feedback has been wonderful and it's good knowing that
there's some people out there rooting for the 'ol Pizzaman.

I might drop something in the future on my myspace page,
but don't hold your breath.
However, I will let you know when they fire my ass.

So, in this last entry, I'd like to thank some people who made
this blog what it is (or was):

I'd like to thank all my readers, all the letter writers, the
myspace friends, the Pizzalovers (Hell, even the bad
customers - they provided some good stories) and all the
big tippers (especially the big tippers).

I'd like to thank everyone at City Pages (past and present)
for their support and bandwidth.

But most of all, I'd like to thank CP's Online Managing
Editor Corey Anderson. Corey has put up with my bullshit
for a long time now. All my whining, poor formatting, lame
questions and my computer illiteracy.
He's been my number one supporter/cheerleader/hand-holder
through this whole damn thing.
Corey, thanks dude.


So, with that, I'm off to The Streets to deliver the
Hot & Fresh to the Pizzalovers.

Remember, tip well and don't be an asshole.

stay gold,

-The Pizzaman

"So you have another drink
and get down on your knees
You been swearing to God
now maybe if you'd ask
That this one be your last
Cause this one child, is killing you
This one's your last chance
To make this last one really the last"


-The Replacements
"The Last"


Tipping

"For the money.
For the glory.
And for the fun.

Mostly for the money"

-Burt Reynolds as The Bandit
"Smokey and The Bandit"

The other day I ran into a friend of mine outside of SuperAmerica. She was
with some guy that seemed vaguely familiar. The three of us decided to walk
home together since we live close to one another. On the walk home, the guy
asked what I "did". I told him I delivered for BS Pizza.
He shook his head and said "I don't get delivery from there anymore.
The service was kinda shitty and it took a long time to get there.
Well, actually, the first few times I got delivery the service was really good.
But after that, it really sucked."

I could start to smell this guy.

"Well..." I started, "How much do you tip".
He stopped walking, looked at me indignantly and said "Hey. I always really good".
"How much?" I asked.
"I usually throw 'em a buck or two... that's pretty good".
The fact that he used the phrase "I throw 'em" was not a good sign.
"No, no it isn't. That's shitty" I said "That's why you get such poor service"
"Yeah, right" he said, looking away "Like you guys remember every customer..."

It was then that I totally remembered this guy.
I'd delivered to him.
He was a cheapskate.

While the guy was looking away I blurted out his address.
His head snapped back and he looked at me.
"How did you know that?" he asked.
"Pizzamen never forget the addresses of bad tippers. We're like fuckin' elephants
that way."
At this point in our walk we were in front of my friends' apartment. The guy started
in on some excuse for his poor tipping habits.
I listened for a minute, then started walking away. I didn't want to waste anymore
time with this douchebag.
"Bye. I'll see you..." I said and split.


Shit like this happens all the time to me. People find out that I'm a Pizzaman
and they want to talk about tipping
"How much do people tip you?"
"What's your average tip?"
"What's a good tip?"

Now that I have this blog, I get emails from people every week asking how
much they should tip or what a "decent" tip is.

But I'm loathe to answer this, for it's one of my touchiest subjects. I hate the
fact that I have to rely on tips to make a living.
Sometimes while on the job, I feel like I'm a beggar, like I'm some street urchin
in a Dickens novel existing on the kindness of strangers to put some gruel in my bowl.
"Please sir, can I have some more"

Basically, I beg for a living...
...and I hate it.
I absofuckinlutely hate it.
Every night is a crapshoot.
Every night, at the beginning of a shift, I wonder if I'm going to pull
in enough bread to sustain my basement apartment-living, rattletrap car driving,
Campbell soup slurping, no health insurance having, thrift store clothed, lifestyle.

I envy my friends who earn a steady paycheck, they know exactly how much
money is going to be coming down the pike on payday.
They can draw up a budget. They know exactly what they can and cannot afford.
But me, I'm at the whim of complete strangers who determine what I'll get paid
for my work.

Sure, I know what my regulars are going to tip. I know those two
gay dudes that order every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday are going
to hit me with at least $5 and "The Wolf" over on G Avenue is going to hook me
up with $4, while the couple on H Avenue with the annoying kid is going to stiff me.
But I go into a lot of deliveries blind. I have no idea what they're going to give me.
They might be total assholes and give me a dollar.
They might be nice and hook me up with a fiver.
Either way, I have to kiss their asses and hope they fork over the Long Green.

The other day I delivered to this women who commented that the delivery time
was "super fast", but then gave me a thirty five cent tip.
As I walked away, I thought to myself "That will never happen again.
You will never get service like that again".

Basically, what it boils down to is, if the Pizzalover treats me right, I'll treat them right.
If they tip me well, I'll bust ass to get their pizza to their home ASAP and be sweet
as a peach to them.
If they tip poorly, I'll try to avoid their order. And if I can't, I'll take my sweet time
getting there. I mean, it's the difference between doing a job for $5 or doing a job for $1.

So when I'm asked "What's a good tip?" I always tell them to tip as much as possible,
they'll reap the rewards in service.

If they ask for hard numbers I break it down like this:

- $3 - Three dollars should be the minimum tip. This is the bare minimum to
keep my crappy life afloat. Seriously, if you're tipping less than $3 you can kiss my butt.
- $4 - A bit better. You'll get good service, but nothing special.
- $5 - As a regular, once you hit the five dollar mark, you're getting my attention.
You'll get preferential treatment.
- $5-$10 - I'll know your address like the back of my hand. I'll try my damnest to
get your order and get it there as soon as I can.
- Over $10 - I'll pretty much stop everything and expedite your order. I'll grab a
cook and get him to make it right away. I'll pull it out of the oven myself. I'll
show up at your doorstep in record time. (I once had a regular who always
ordered a $20 pizza and tipped 100%. When that dude's address came up,
everything else became secondary and I'd get that pie out within 10 minutes)

However, if you're making a bigger order, let's say $30 or more, you should
tip 20% just like if you were dining in a restaurant.


So there you have it.


You want to get good service? You want to make your Pizzaman happy?

Follow these guidelines and make the world a better place for me and you.


sincerely,

The Pizzaman


The Pizzaman, a Mercedes-Benz and Charles Darwin


The other night, I spotted a brand new Mercedes Benz driving ahead of me.
It wasn't going very fast, maybe 20 mph. The Benz slowed down as it
approached a green light and started careening through the intersection
at a crawl. I slowed down as I approached the intersection, wary of the Benz.
It took so much time that I missed the green light.
I sat at the red light and watched the Benz putter away.

I caught up to it at the next light. The light had turned green several seconds
before and yet the Mercedes was at a standstill. This didn't matter to me for
I was planning on turning right anyway. I signaled my turn and slipped into
the right lane. Just as I approached the Benz, it took a quick and wild right
turn with no warning. I slammed on the brakes, then the horn.
The Benz paid me no mind.

Now, I'm way past getting pissed at this brand of jackassery, I see it so often
that I just make a quick mental note that Minneapolitans can't drive worth a
shit and go on with my day. I just let it go.
But as I followed the Benz and watched it carelessly and slowly swerve down
the street oblivious to anyone else on the road, I thought
"How the Hell can someone afford a new Mercedes-Benz, yet can't seem to
figure out where the fuck they're going or how to use their signal light?".

Somewhere Charles Darwin is crying.


Another Pizzaman Shot

Yesterday the Northeast Beat reported that a Pizzaman had been shot on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis.

It seems this dude was out delivering some hot and fresh when a stray bullet hit him in the arm. He managed to call 911, was taken by ambulance to HCMC and was released the next morning.
Whew, I'm glad to hear that he survived.

However, this news is disconcerting, to say the least. It's bad enough to have to worry about someone robbing your ass and/or shooting you on the street, but now the worry of taking a random bullet while driving? Fuck me.

To add insult to injury, some douchebag commented on mnspeak that the wounded driver was probably "too high to notice".

Too high to notice? Fuck you, man. Fuck. You.

Oh yeah, Ha-Ha motherfucker, that's really funny. Remind me to send you a note commenting on your Momma's dried-up twat when she dies.

Shit like that is one of the reasons that I have a problem with customers and the general public overall when it comes to my profession. Pizzamen are a joke, a punchline. We have an unwarranted reputation as being stoners, reckless drivers and losers. This is something I've never understood. Sure, some Pizzamen smoke the cheeba, but I've known a lot of people in various professions that smoke that shit 24/7. Dentists, accountants, members of the city council, the school board, I've seen all of these cats puff on the Sweet Leaf, so don't be singling out the Pizzamen of the world as stoners.

We're just like anyone else out there, we've got kids, mortgages, car payments. We're doing the same shit as you, working to make ends meet. Unfortunately, we're pegged as losers.
A few weeks ago I was at a party with some friends when I was introduced to some hotshot in the newspaper biz. My friend asked me how the Pizza gig was treating me. I responded that I was currently being fucked over management, The newspaper hotshot started laughing.
"Oh, you're being fucked over by management? Ha-Ha-Ha"
This dude thought this was incredibly funny.

But why? Is it funny when he gets screwed by management? (he totally is, by the way) No, it isn't. But since I'm just some lowly, dirtball pizza delivery dude, it isn't as important, I guess. Somehow, the fact that he makes much more money, has health insurance and a nice benefits package makes his predicament much more important and mine is marginalized.

This really pissed me off. I mean, I'm out there working just like this dude. I'm trying to make a living, trying to pay the bills.

Yet, this guy laughed in my face, just because I'm a Pizzaman and not some big-wig with a "real" job.

I'd be willing to bet if this guy got fired, he'd walk away with a nice severance package and health benefits for a year, but if (or perhaps when) I get axed I'd just be shit out of luck.
Plus, the chances of that dude being shot, robbed and/or assaulted on the job is significantly lower than mine.

I just don't understand why people think this way. Other people working in the food service industry aren't pegged in this manner. Nobody goes around saying Servers are huge stoners or Bartenders are total losers. Yet, the stigma of Pizzamen somehow survives.

You'd think news like that Pizzaman being shot would make people think differently, make them realize that we're out there taking huge risks just so they don't have to get off their asses to get some pizza.

We're trying not to get shot, trying not to get in an accident, trying not to be robbed, trying to survive traffic (just like the "norms", who continually bitch about their short 30 minute commute. Fuck man, I fight traffic all the time, every day) just so we can make a living.

But still people think that being a Pizzaman is a joke.

For example:
I delivered a pie the other night to a woman who thought it would be funny if she brought up the specter of Toua Xiong, the Pizzaman that was killed on the North side last Summer. The dirtbag that killed Xiong had just been sentenced and this customer decided it would be hilarious if she mentioned this subject.

She greeted me by laughing and saying "I won't kill you! I won't kill you!". I was taken aback, for I didn't know what the fuck she was talking about at first.

"Wh-What?" I stammered.

"I said 'I won't kill you'". she said with another laugh.

"Um... Oh, OK" I replied, remembering the headline from that morning's Strib.
"Well, OBVIOUSLY you don't read the paper. I'm talking about the guy that got shot..." she started.

"Yeah, I know. Toua Xiong, the Pizzaman that was killed on the North side. They sentenced the killer yesterday. I know all about it. What makes you think I don't read the paper?" I said, starting to get pissed.

"Well, I thought it would be funny if I--"

I cut her off.

"Well, I don't think it's funny when people get killed. Especially if they're doing the same job as me"

"It's not funny?"

"No, it's not." I said "Not at all. That'll be $20.35"

She handed over the money.

"Well, I just thought..." she tried.

"Well you thought wrong. That poor kid died in the street like a dog. He was just doing his job"
I turned and left.

I counted out my tip. $2.50.

That's not enough for me to be putting up with shit like that.

And I'm not sure if this whole gig is worth putting up with insensitive fucks like that and/or getting a 9mm hole in my body.

---

I'd like to wish the wounded Pizzaman a speedy recovery.
Roll on, Brother.

-The Pizzaman


It's Springtime... and the crazies start calling

Yes, Spring is finally here.
After a relatively short but brutal Winter that I didn't think would end, the season of renewal has arrived.
Hallefuckinlujah!
Of course, Spring isn't all short skirts and blooming flowers, it's also the season where the money starts to dry up on the Streets of Pizza. Tips are way down and the Pizzalovers can't seem to get their shit together. It seems every other delivery I'm left waiting on someone's doorstep while they slowly make their way to the door or they search for their payment or they try to figure out what planet they're on.
Seriously, I've had more whack-ass customers in the last month than I did the whole winter.

For example:

-The woman who insisted I deliver to her back door, yet greeted me with the batshit-crazy cries of "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!?" and "GET THE FUCK OFF OF MY LAWN!" when I entered her back yard. It was only after I identified myself as The Pizzaman that she calmed down. She was standing on her back porch, a dead ringer for Ruth Gordon and I totally expected her to whip out a double-barrel shotgun and waste my ass. Finally, she calmed down a bit and I asked for her card and I.D., since she had charged the pizza on her Visa. She responded by saying she didn't have a driver's license. I told her I really needed to see her I.D. if she wanted to charge the order. Again, she said she didn't have a driver's license. This went a few rounds, then somehow she slipped into the story about how she found her dog. "I found her standing in the street, all alone. Isn't she cute?". The crazed woman opened her door so I could see her scruffy little mutt standing on her bed. As she opened the door, I was overwhelmed by the stench of urine. I started to turn away, but not before I saw a pool of liquid start to form underneath the pooch.
"Isn't she cute?" the woman said again.
"Yup. Sure is." I replied, before asking for her I.D. yet again.
"I told you, I don't have a driver's license. How about a passport?"
I told her that a passport would be OK and she disappeared inside the house, leaving me staring at the dog through the screen door and trying not to breathe.
As I waited, the little dog approached the door, reared up on it's back legs and put it's front paws on the screen door.
Although it was a small dog, it was sporting a huge erection.
That poor dog, it possessed a massive dog-dong, yet was repeatedly referred to as a "she" by it's owner.
I felt sorry for the little mutt.
Finally, the woman came back to the door with, get this, a drivers's license.
She filled out the credit card slip, called me a "fucking bum" and said that BS Pizza was run by a bunch of "fucking bastards" (I agreed with that last one).
After I got the signed credit slip in my hand I thanked her and made a hasty retreat.

- The old man who answered the door wearing nothing but a t-shirt that was two sizes too small.
This morbidly obese dude opened the door to reveal his Jabba-like bod clad in a tiny t-shirt that only covered his man-boobs. He smiled at me with his yellow, severely fucked-up teeth and started breathing heavily. Although I was totally grossed out, I smiled back and asked for the payment. He turned around to grab the cash off his kitchen counter, revealing his massive cottage-cheese ass in the process. Seriously people, this guy's ass was gigantic.
I took the money, thanked him (he tipped rather well) and split.
I thanked God above that this guy was fat, for his gut was so big and hung down so low that it covered his junk.
Praise Jesus.

-Lately, I've been delivering to this older woman, probably mid-fifties, that I can only describe as creepy.
Like, seriously creepy, dude.
Unfortunately I cannot put into words exactly how creepy.
Actually, she's rather nice and if I wrote down the words exchanged during the delivery, it would seem fairly normal, but it's just that she has this weird je ne sais quo that makes my skin crawl.
On the Creep-o-meter, I'd put her somewhere between Dennis Hopper in "Blue Velvet" and your Uncle sticking his dick in your ear while you're sleeping.

- The confused/stoned/mentally ill dipshit.
I arrived at this dude's apartment and called, per instructions. He answered and said he'd be down in "a second".
Well, five minutes passed and he still hadn't come down to the door. As I reached into my pocket for my phone to call again, he finally arrived.
He was a 20-something guy wearing a black t-shirt. He looked pretty normal.
"Hi!" I said, "It'll be $19.53"
He shook his head.
"You got the wrong guy. I'm waiting for [BS Pizza]"
I thought to myself "What the fuck? I'm standing here with a [BS Pizza] shirt, a pizzabag and a little paper bag containing his soda. What's wrong with this dude?"
I stood there for a second appraising the situation, then told him I WAS from [BS Pizza].
"No, no, dude. I ordered a PIZZA" he said, shaking his head again.
I looked at the order slip, then at him.
"You mean a medium with sausage and pepperoni and two soda's?"
"Yeah"
"Well, I'm your guy"
"No, no..." he started.
I read off his name, address, phone number, then pointed at the pizzabag.
"How did you know that?" he asked, looking confused.
"Because you told me over the phone" I countered.
"Oh..."
He handed me a five dollar bill.
"Thanks a lot, dude" he said, putting his hands out for the pizza.
I looked down at the fiver, then back at him.
"This is five bucks, man"
"Oh... uh... isn't that enough?" he asked.
"Nope"
He reached into his pocket and handed me a twenty.
"Is that enough?" he asked.
"Sure" I said, handing over the pizza and the sodas.
He looked at the pizza, then back at me.
"Wow! That was easy!" he said, grinning.

Yeah dude, maybe for you...

Streets of Pizza Readers, I Need Your Assistance

Dear Readers of The Streets of Pizza,

I, the hard-driving, service industry slave/alternative weekly blogger have a problem and I am asking for your help.

It seems as though BS Pizza, for some unknown reason, has issued "Employee Self Assessment" questionnaires to their delivery drivers.
I have never, ever had to fill out one of these things and I am totally dreading doing so.
Fuck man, one of the reasons I have this menial job is so I don't have to deal with shit like this. But now, I am now faced with the tedious and baffling task of filling this sumbitch out, even though I find it unnecessary and frankly, ridiculous . The Man is breathing down my neck, expecting me to answer asinine questions like "What would you like to accomplish at BS Pizza?". I would like to answer "I would like to get through each shift without being killed in a car wreck or held up at gunpoint". or "I've been working at this joint for 6+ years. You should know me by now". But alas, I feel this is no time for honesty, boat-rocking or airing of my grievances. This is not what the managerial wonks want to hear.
On top of that, I would (rightfully) be classified as a wise-ass.
This is definitely a problem for me.

Now, I know a lot of you work straight jobs and are probably saying "What's the big deal? I fill out this kind of crap all the time" and that is exactly why I'm reaching out to you, dear reader, for your assistance in completing this task, for I know absofuckinlutely nothing about this crap.

Below you will find the five questions that appear on the form.
If you would be so kind as to email some answers to these questions, I'd be much obliged.

Orwellian Corporatespeak is encouraged, as is any true/untrue comments pertaining to my stellar job performance.

Please send your suggestions to pizzaman@citypages.com

Winning suggestions will appear in a future edition of The Streets of Pizza.



"Accomplishments: What do you feel you have excelled at during your time at (BS Pizza)?"


"Growth: What would you like to improve on in your own job performance?"

"Developmental Needs: What do need to assist you in improving your performance?" (sic)
(I don't even know what the fuck they're even asking me here "What do need to assist"? WTF? With all the heat they're blowing concerning the supposed importance of this questionnaire, you'd think they'd take the time to proof read the damn thing)

"Goals: What would you like to accomplish at (BS Pizza)?"

"Supervisor Help: What can I do to improve my performance and assist you?"


Alright people have at 'er.
I know you'll come through for me.

Thank you.

sincerely,

The Pizzaman


What PizzaMen Talk About When They Talk About Delivering Pizzas

Here's an excerpt of a phone conversation I recently had with "The Snake", a fellow pizzaman:

Snake: "Dude, guess where I delivered to tonight?"
PizzaMan: Where?"
S: The apartment where I lost my virginity"
PM: "Nice. What was the story? Who lives there now?"
S: "It was the total classic delivery, two dudes, totally baked out of their minds. They came to the door and I was like 'Hey, pizza's here' and they were like 'Sweet!' and I was like 'You know what else is sweet? This is the apartment I lost my virginity in."
PM: "What did they say to that?"
S: "They were cool about it. The one dude asked which bedroom, I pointed to it and the other dude was like 'YES!'"
PM: "That's pretty good. I had a delivery kind of like that, recently"
S: "Oh yeah? Where?"
PM: "Remember Amy and Jenny's place? The place where they had that one party?"
S: "Yeah".
PM: "Yeah, that place. I delivered there the other night and when the guy came to the door, I said 'Dude, I've had sex in this apartment'".
S: "What did he say?"
PM: "He said 'Me too!'"
S: (laughs) "Sweet!"
PM: "Then we high-fived."
S: "Nice"

An Open To The Mayor of MPLS

Dear Mayor Rybak,

Please turn up the thermostat.

sincerely,

The Pizzaman

Pizza Delivery Drivers Robbed on MPLS' Southside

According to a Crime Alert issued by the MPLS Police, eight pizza delivery drivers have been robbed since December 12th in the Third Precinct. This was disconcerting enough for Strib reporter David Chanen to do a story in today's paper.
I'd like to thank Mr Chanen for this story. Hopefully this will lead to the capture and prosecution of these thugs.

Meanwhile, I was out on the Streets tonight. It was uneventful (thank God) and fairly busy. Unfortunately, the Pizzalovers of MPLS were extremely cheap and I walked away with very little cash.
People don't seem to understand that when I drive to their homes to deliver a pie, I'm literally risking my life. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, pizza delivery ranks in the top 10 most dangerous jobs (No shit).
Now, I haven't had that much trouble over the years (knocks wood, knocks wood again, crosses fingers, rubs rabbits foot), just a few frightening crackheads, several groups of shifty teenagers threatening me, my car stolen, a Travis Bickle-like character charging through a Swankwood lawn threatening to kill me, numerous road-ragers trying to run me off the road, and countless near misses in intersections.
So far I've been lucky (crosses fingers and toes, molests horseshoe, crosses self even though decidedly not Catholic) and here's to hoping that luck continues.

That said, this whole thing makes me wonder if this shit is worth it. I mean, besides bad tips, pissed customers and car repair bills, I've got to worry that some punk with with an itchy trigger finger is willing to blow my brains out for the 17 bucks in my pocket.
Fuck me.

It's times like this where I think it might be time to get out of the game.
This shit ain't gettin' any easier and I ain't gettin' any younger.
I don't know...

I just hope I don't get gunned down after 1 a.m..
I'd hate to have the last voice I hear before I shuffle off this mortal coil be Al Malmberg's.

Thank You Friends

"Thank you, friends
Wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you
I'm so grateful for all the things you helped me do"

-Big Star
"Thank You Friends"


I'd like to thank a few friends for their support during my recent travails with the Pizzacar:

Miss Lake Calhoun
MLC not only lent me her car while she was on vacation and drove my sorry ass up to Forest Lake to pick up the new rattletrap when she returned, but she also gave me a buck when I came up one dollar short during the purchase.

Miss Rock

A long-time friend and regular pizza customer, Miss Rock gave me a whopping $10 tip when she heard of my car problems. She only asked that I "speak highly of her."
I cannot speak highly enough.

Amy of MPLS
I received an email from CP headquarters saying I had an envelope waiting for me. I went down to CP HQ, opened the envelope to discover some cash and a nice note:

"Hoping I'm amongst many other fans, along with the paypal guy, that don't want ou to go! Here's for your car- or simply a tribute long overdue. Thanks for keepin' our eyes open to all the shit that really goes on day to day on the streets of our city.
Thanks for keepin' it real.
-Amy
MPLS

That was pretty damn sweet.
Upon opening the envelope and discovering the money it contained, I showed it to Paul Demko. Demko immediately suggested we spend it on beer at Cuzzy's.
I resisted Demko's suggestion, put the money towards the car and taped the note to my computer.
Thanks Amy.


Also, thanks to all the letters writers, book binders, Bible belters, money changers, spoon benders and my pizza-loving regulars.


-The Pizzaman


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