—A Lovable Misanthrope
Oh, Lovable—I've been waiting four years for someone to ask this question. Thank God for your slightly klutzy phraseology, or people might think I wrote it myself. (For the record, I didn't.)
I've alluded to having worked in restaurants in the past, but until now I've glossed over the fact that I still work in one. But I do, and I'm not ashamed! These days, lots of your favorite writers (not that that has anything to do with me) do the same.
I'm coming out of the mop closet to prove that any pizza slave can grow up to be a famous features writer. Yay! (Unfortunately, most famous features writers will still have to deliver pizza to make a living. Boo!)
Like you, I find it difficult to believe there's anyone who doesn't know you're supposed to tip the delivery person. People I meet socially often do seem genuinely confused as to how much they should tip, though. From here on out, they won't have that excuse.
The easy answer is $5. The more nuanced answer is that about 85 percent of customers will throw down $3, $4 or $5. If you tip more—or less—the driver will remember you. Precisely how you'll be remembered is entirely up to you. (If your order is over $50, adjust these figures upward.)
Remember, the pizza-delivering community is rife with creative folks—writers, musicians, pornographers—who've been put out of business by the Internet, so when you show largesse to these grease-stained wretches, you're not just being polite, you're supporting the arts. Good tippers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your change!
QUESTIONS? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org