FALL!

According to the Sun, temperatures will continue to drop this coming week. Hoorah! For the pizza delivery drivers among us, this means one thing: more money! Also: more stress, more miles on the car, more near collisions with deer.

Last Saturday night, I had the first taste of the coming dinner night rushes. It is hard to explain the nature of the business if you’ve never worked in a pizza shop before. We’ll have two guys working inside – taking phone orders, making pizzas and subs and salads, working their asses off so that when we, the drivers, hustle into the store, our orders are prepped and ready to go.

At my independently-owned pizza shop, most nights there are only two drivers. During the week this works out well – it is just the right amount, and we both make lots of money. On Saturday nights, it gets a bit more hectic, and on the rare nights when there are three drivers, we’re still getting our butts kicked.

The run starts when you walk into the store and put your hot-bags (if you’ve chosen to use them) under the sub-table. You walk over to the oven and look at the pizza boxes and sandwich bags stacked atop. Usually, the inside crew is either too busy to route you, or aren’t familiar enough with the area to route you. The first step you must do is to determine which order is the oldest. In more modern shops, with computer systems, the computer identifies the oldest order – but this shop uses the tried-and-true “guest check” system. Identifying the oldest order, you also quickly determine which are also heading in the sometimes general direction – sometimes this can be identified as vaguely as “west” (meaning anything to the ‘west’ of the store regardless of how far north or south it is).

Bagging up your runs, and making sure to account for side items – sodas, salads, etcetra – and jumping into your car, the routing begins. Some nights you may have a simple group: three deliveries up to Loveton, maybe two to Cranbrook Road. Some nights you’ve got a single to Cuba, three out to Falls, one to Jerome Jay, and two Mays Chapels atop of that. Loveton is north. Cuba is northwest. Falls is West. Jerome Jay and Mays Chapel are both south.

Talk about a headache.

I can’t wait.