Working in a pizza joint isn't always the most enviable job. Actually, it's never an enviable job, to be perfectly honest. The thousands of people who work at the countless pizza places across the country know this all too well.
Just ask the following people who recently shared their horror stories from their time at any given pizza joint. Whether they cooked the pizza, sold the pizza, or delivered the pizza, they all have something to share. All posts have been edited for clarity.
They Had Some Extra Help With This Delivery
“I used to manage a Papa John’s. A guy called in the middle of the Super Bowl and ordered 15 pizzas; all half this and half that. I explained to him that due to the increased volume of business due to the Super Bowl, the added complexity of his order, and the added fact that he was ordering a large number of pizzas, it would probably be at least 45 minutes to an hour before his pizzas were delivered.
He immediately became extremely irate and said he expected them to be there in 30 minutes or less or they would have to be free.
I explained for the umpteen thousandth time that the 30 minute or free guarantee was a promotion that Domino’s ran in the ’70s and early ’80s, that we had never honored that promo, and that even if we had, we would not be that night due to the Super Bowl.
At this point, he complained that he had a whole Super Bowl party and was depending on our food. When I explained to him that so did MANY other people, all of whom had ordered before him, he decided this was a good time to start threatening me.
He threatened to come up to the store, shoot me, then go to my house and assault my girlfriend. Due to problems we have had in the past, our calls in this particular store were recorded. Since I already had his name, address, and phone number from his order, it was very simple to arrange a ‘delivery’ for him.
His delivery was a couple of sheriff’s deputies to arrest him in front of all of his friends. For some reason, he didn’t order from us anymore after that night.”
They Were Scared For Their Life
“I delivered pizza for Pizza Hut for almost a year and most houses were fine. Some didn’t tip, some did. Some were rude, some weren’t. However, there was always one place that scared the heck out of me.
I got an order to take a couple pizzas and whatnot to this address I’d never delivered to a couple months in. I drove there, but couldn’t find the street sign and my GPS was telling me to take a turn into a forested area with no discernible roadway. I was driving around for 15 or 20 minutes trying to find the right road to turn down and repeatedly calling this customer. I finally stopped where it was telling me to turn and got out and walked to the side of the road with a flashlight and see the narrowest dirt ‘road’ winding into some trees.
I assumed this was it and pulled in, and after a minute or so of slowly driving with the high beams on, I pulled up to two identical trailers in the middle of the woods. One on the right, and one on the left. There were no numbers, and this guy was still not picking up. There were no lights on in either house and, eventually, I decided I was not ready to die and decided to take the pizza back and said they never answered.
I leaned into my car to grab my phone to call ‘HQ,’ and when I stood back up, this dude was standing on the other side of my car, staring at me. He didn’t make a single sound walking up to my car. Scared the heck out of me because it was like he just appeared. He looked like Vince Neil if he were a vampire. Dirty, long nails, heavy-set mouth breather.
I was paralyzed, my brain trying desperately to shift from ‘gibberish in neutral’ into ‘something, anything, as long as it’s in motion.’
He just plopped wrinkled cash onto the roof of my car, walked around and gently took the pizzas from my frozen hands and walked off into the darkness. He didn’t even head to one of the houses.
$5 tip, though.”
I Bet He Won’t Open The Door Like That Anymore
“I used to be a delivery driver for Pizza Hut, where I worked the Sunday afternoon shift. It seemed like I would have the same man order a supreme pizza every week.
I was always the one to deliver his order because most of the time I was the only driver on duty at that time of day. Alan was a nice, quiet man who had a lovely front porch. One day, I didn’t take his delivery for some reason.
Poor Marvin took the delivery instead… on the day Alan decided to open the door stark unclothed. Alan wanted to show me (a small redheaded girl) his goods, not big Marvin.
Alan never got another delivery.”
How They Survived The Storm
“Back when I was 16, I worked at a pizza place. It’s the middle of July in the Midwest, so guess what kind of weather we got? If you said ‘freak storms,’ you are correct.
It’s mid-morning and the initial rush has petered out. We just have one customer and he’s waiting for a pizza he ordered.
It starts to rain and quickly moves to rain and hail. The winds start going crazy outside, the rain is pouring down along with some quarter size hail. We’re basically looking at weather that goes to funnel clouds very easily. It happens very quickly; it is starting to rain when our customer walks in the door. We build his pizza from scratch and it’s in the oven. It’s been less than 15 minutes.
One of my delivery drivers is in the back and he calls to me, with the phone pressed to his face, to say our other pizza driver is huddling under an overpass with some poor random bicyclist huddled in his back seat for shelter (He’d been caught in the weather and the driver stuffed him in the back seat for protection against the flying debris). He tells us it looked like a funnel cloud was forming and it had blown past them and was heading in our direction. I go back to thank the driver for the info, and to tell the driver to stay safe and come back when he can and not to rush.
As this is being relayed back and forth, there’s a massive crash and the sound of breaking glass. Our GM comes running out of her office yelling and cursing, thinking someone in the store just destroyed something.
I come running out of the back because the whole building shook and oh my God there is a customer out there!
What do we see? Our marquee has been ripped off the building and chucked through our front window like a battering ram. It snapped in half so that half of it was in the lobby, the other half had cleared the counter and come into the area where we cooked and prepared food. If I hadn’t gone back to talk to my delivery driver, there was a real chance I would have been hit by the thing.
The poor customer in the lobby has hit the floor and covered his head with his hands. He comes up slowly, shedding pieces of glass, and turns around to stare at this huge metal thing that missed him by about a foot.
Our GM yells at him (over howling wind, rain and bouncing golf ball sized hail that’s now playing pinball in our lobby) to get behind the counter with the rest of us, and rushes us all to the walk-in cooler. We wait in the cooler for about 30 minutes for the noise to drop before coming out.
Our power is dead, but we make our customer a new pizza with fresh ingredients (the one in the oven, plus the ingredients we’d had out in the prepping station, were scrapped on the off chance that they had gotten glass in it) free of charge and give him directions for cooking it at home.
By this time, the storm is gone and it’s just another beautiful summer day; bright blue skies with a lovely rainbow. If it wasn’t for the giant sign in our front window, you wouldn’t be able to tell there was a storm!
Our GM runs off to call corporate to let them know the store is closed due to our sign sitting in the front lobby. And corporate? They want to know why we can’t just sweep up the lobby and continue business. Our GM tells them that we have no power and it is a safety issue to allow customers to climb through a shattered storefront for food that we couldn’t cook anyway.
Only the threat of possible customer injury makes corporate (begrudgingly) agree that closing the store is the best option.”
The Reason They No Longer Make Deliveries
“In the late ’90s, I was still living in Detroit and in between desk jobs, so I delivered pizza as a part time gig. Detroit’s neighborhoods have been rough for a few decades now, but the ’90s seemed like they were on their own level. I won’t say the specific neighborhood, but there were some really rough ones.
This one house, though…this house was just in awful shape. I kind of figured this would be bad even as I was driving down the street to get there. Every other house (literally) was either burned out or very obviously abandoned.
This one was just abysmal, but I tried to be optimistic. I walked up to the door, awning kind of drooping over my head, and knocked. Almost instantly, the door cracked open, and all I saw was a dark hand with what looked like a glock. ‘Leave the pizza and walk away.’
I complied, obviously, and told my manager that I wouldn’t be delivering to that neighborhood anymore. Things are slightly better in Detroit these days, but calling the cops was totally pointless in the ’90s.
Still stuck around with that job for another six months or so, but that was probably the only thing on that level I’ve seen.”
And He Still Wouldn’t Admit He Was Wrong
“I manage an Italian quick service restaurant. Our menu is primarily pasta, but we sell a few other things including pizza. We occasionally have people call in bigger orders that they want to pick up at a later time to save themselves from waiting too long in the lobby.
One day, a man walks in during the middle of dinner and says he has a call-in order for five pizzas. I head into the back to ask them back there if they knew about a call in order. It happens sometimes where the kitchen staff gets the order but that isn’t fully communicated with the front of house staff. But nobody there knows about it. I ask the other managers and they don’t know about it. OK…
I head back up front to talk to the guy and share the news; we don’t have his order ready, and we don’t even know what the order is.
Guy: ‘It’s five pizzas. What do you mean you don’t know what it is?’
Me: ‘I’m sorry sir nobody here has taken a call in order today. Are you sure you called the right (Store Name)?’
Guy: ‘Of course I did.’
Me: ‘Well maybe you called the one in (town which is five minutes down the highway)?’
Guy: ‘No, I specifically made sure it was the one in (this town).’
Me: ‘Well I’m sorry sir we don’t have record of it. We can throw it together for you ASAP but it might take a little. What was the full order?
The guy, at this point, is livid, barely keeping it all together. He’s clearly in a rush.
Guy: ‘Well, I have one large pizza with pepperoni and green pepper. I have a medium pizza with just pepperoni. One large pizza with bacon and sausage. One pepperoni pizza on the gluten-free crust…’
So as he’s reading this off, my brain is trying to process everything. We literally can’t make any of the items he is ordering. We sell cheese and pepperoni pizza – we don’t have the ingredients to make anything he is asking for because this isn’t a pizza place, it’s a general Italian place.
Me: ‘I’m sorry sir but you definitely did not place this order with us. We literally cannot make this order and everybody here knows that. We don’t even have a gluten free pizza crust.’
Guy: ‘This is preposterous. Why would you tell me on the phone that you could make it then?’
Me: ‘I’m sorry sir but we did not.’
Guy: ‘Here I have the number still in my call log. Isn’t this you?’
Guy: (looks confused). ‘Are you sure?’
The guy calls the number to figure out what is wrong. I reach around the swinging door to grab the cordless phone and place it on the counter in between us. It doesn’t ring.
He called a pizza place that had just opened up very close to us. After hanging up the phone, he throws out a quick sorry and heads out the door.”
All Of That Over Pizza?
“A couple years back, right after I graduated high school, I was managing a Little Caesars Pizza. It is a miserable, miserable place, if you were wondering.
This one lady would call with this really specific order, I think it was light sauce, double cheese, and cooked a little longer. One night, I had a new girl working register and she got the phone and took the lady’s order. She didn’t take a name, as we are carry out only we didn’t get a ton of call ins. So about an hour went by and the girl called me to the front to talk to a customer. As soon as I came around the corner, this lady just starts screaming at me.
‘Y’ALL ALWAYS MESS UP MY PIZZA, IT’S A PIZZA IT AIN’T THAT HARD.’
I tried to calm the lady down and explain to her someone new took her order and it was an honest mistake, offered to comp it and make her a new pizza. She was still irate and kept yelling that she was going to get me, my crew, and my GM fired.
So I eventually called my GM because this woman would straight up not leave, he asked to speak to her, she talked to him.
Then all of a sudden after about 30 seconds, she screamed, ‘Oh you think this is funny?’
My GM was laughing at her because she evidently wanted free pizza for a month for her troubles.
I then had to call the district manager, aka two steps below the owner of 47 stores, to talk to this lady. She cussed him out too, and still was in the lobby screaming at me. Sometime during all this her son, who looked around my age at the time (19), came in the store and was standing with her.
Now my crew had this dude named Terry, huge black dude, who you couldn’t see unless you were in the back because he was on oven duty that night. This woman’s son decided it was time to escalate this to a physical confrontation, because even I was laughing at her at this point. He opened the door to the back. We always joked if someone did that, they were going to get messed up. Well, it turned out not to be a joke.
Terry whipped this dude’s butt. Dude got like two good hits on Terry, but Terry just dropped this dude in the matter of about 10 seconds with a flurry of poo that made me think to myself, ‘Terry should be my manager.’
To conclude, the son got a ticket for trespassing in addition to getting his butt beat, the lady got banned from our store, and I got a story that I will truly never forget of how people will flip out about pizza.”
When Doubling Down Isn’t Far Enough
“I used to be a manager at a fairly expensive Italian restaurant that has the word ‘pizza’ in its name. It was common for managers to answer the phone for takeout and delivery orders if the hosts were busy. One day, I got a call and answered it with the usual ‘thank you for calling, this is [my name] speaking, how can I help you?’
The lady asked for delivery, I took her address and she ordered two large pizzas, her total was around $60.
She then tried to tell me that her total was wrong and that it should be $24.99.
I went through her order and explained to her how much each pizza cost with her chosen toppings, and she started to get angry, telling me I was scamming her, we had a special on now for two large pizzas for $24.99, and that she could see the sign from her window.
At this point I was really confused, because we had never had a special like that, had no exterior signs advertising any specials, and the address she gave me was across town from the restaurant so she couldn’t possibly see it. I asked her to read me the sign she could see from her window, and it prominently displayed the name of a discount pizza place (and a phone number that was not the number she called).
Realizing the problem, I tried to tell this lady that she has called a different restaurant at a different phone number. She absolutely refused to believe me and threw a temper tantrum on the phone demanding I honor that restaurant’s advertised special and send her pizzas immediately for the price she wants. After a few more unsuccessful attempts to communicate to her that I was in a completely different restaurant, I gave up and hung up on her.
I hope she got her pizza.”
Are You Going To Steal From Kids?
“I work at your standard pizza restaurant and it was close to Christmas, so we were taking charity donations that month. We actually had a donation cup on the front counter in lieu of a tip jar.
Late one night, a guy came in to order and I was by myself making food. I went to make his order when I saw out of the corner of my eye him grabbing the cup and pouring out some money and counting it out for himself. Then he told me he wanted to order a soda. I calmly informed him that the cup he just grabbed all his money from was not a leave-a-penny take-a-penny jar and that he just stole it. He made a nasty face at me but returned a pile of change. Then he pulled out his wallet and placed a five on the counter. I took it and he snapped at me, ‘Did you just snatch from me?’
I should explain that it is Saturday night at 2 am and I was not in the mood, so I replied without thinking, ‘Well, you steal from children with cancer.’ He immediately started sputtering that he didn’t steal and a myriad of other defenses, then threw his $5 bill in the donation cup and stormed out. His friend picked up his food later.
I consider it a win overall.”
Don’t Tip, Don’t Get Pizza
“I’ve been a delivery boy for several pizza places over the past few years. Usually, the houses that end up on the ‘Do Not Deliver’ list are houses that have repeated problems or are known non-tippers.
One house in particular was near the edge of our delivery range, had a very specific order so we always knew it was them and most times they would end up complaining and demand a refund or a new pizza entirely.
The owner of the pizzeria had been in the industry his whole life so he was very aware of people like this. After the first few times of refunding or remaking, the owner would pay special attention to these orders. He would make the order himself and give them to his most experienced drivers explaining to them the situation so the driver knew to be extra careful with the pizza.
After a perfect pizza and a perfect delivery when the call inevitably came in for a refund, the owner basically told them he personally made their order perfectly and trusted it with his best driver so he knew they were full of it. He basically told them to get lost and never call back.
Here’s how he knew they were definitely full of it – they would call from a blocked number to try and order so obviously they still wanted the food from this particular place so they must like it. When they gave their address and the owner realized who it was, he told them to once again never call back and that his restaurant would never serve people like them, who were just trying to get a free pizza.
Known non-tippers also make the list if the owner cares at all about their drivers. All owners I’ve worked for have cared about their drivers.
How Do You Get On “The Blacklist?”
“About three months into my first stint as a driver for a national pizza chain, I started to notice a pattern of regular customers who did not tip. We’re not talking tiny tips, or being picky that I wasn’t getting that I thought I deserved as a driver. I am talking flat out exact-change and no-tip. I even got berated once for not having ‘change’ to give back the customer his 32 cents. Seriously?
I was one of two full-time drivers. On a particularly slow mid-week shift, we started talking about the whole ‘exact-change/no-tip’ thing. We compared stories and even addresses. We realized that this was a habitual issue not just something unique to my own experience.
Around this time, we were ‘upgrading’ to a new order management and dispatch system. While setting things up, we noticed we could customize the order taking screen. There was one line item for delivery notes that was ‘public’ and another that was ‘private.’ Realizing this, we both exchanged knowing looks and began referring to ‘Delivery Note #2’ as the ‘Blacklist Line.’
Once the new system went live, we started keeping track of things like which customers were great tippers and super nice (high priority customers) and which customers were rude, impolite/rude, and/or were exact-change/no-tip types (low priority customers).
After about three months, we had a pretty smooth system going. If a blacklisted customer ordered, I would refuse to take it and leave it for one of the drivers with less seniority. If they got a good tip, they would make a note on line two.
I guess I should explain that it wasn’t like once a customer was blacklisted that was it. It wasn’t a once-and-done thing. We kept updating the entries (both good and bad) on a regular basis.
There was one particular customer we had finally gotten to the point of refusing to deliver to them period under any circumstances. I deleted their address from the system and made a note that said they were habitually rude, did not tip, were sometimes not home when they ordered delivery, and often complained for no reason what-so-ever just so they could get free pizza. The manger was already tired of this customer’s bull but still had to abide by the whole ‘customer is always right’ lies.
One night, a customer called in and the poor girl taking orders didn’t know what hit her. She said that we were unable to deliver to them. It wasn’t uncommon for people outside our delivery zone to try and call in an order on a busy night. So we noted those customers in the system too. Well, the customer went off on her. She started crying and handed the phone to the manager. He got the customer’s story and then told the customer he would call them right back.
I came in from an order and got cornered by the manager. I could tell he was mad but he gave me a chance to explain the situation. A few minutes later, the other full-timer came in and confirmed the story as well as why we made the decision to not deliver to that dude customer any more.
My manager called the customer and they got in a heated pseudo-argument which the managers ended by saying, ‘Our delivery service is just that – a service. It is customary to tip delivery drivers because they are using their own vehicles and paying for the gas out of their own pockets. If you don’t want to tip a delivery driver then don’t order delivery. Thank you and good bye. He then slammed down the receiver, looks at me and just mutters ‘what a butthead’ under his breath.
From then on, ‘the blacklist’ became an accepted thing, and during an all-store staff meeting the following week, the system was explained so that everyone else who worked there (who were all expected to take orders over the phone) understood what ‘Delivery Line #2’ meant.
A few months later, I ended up leaving the store (on good terms) and went to school out of town. After finishing school and moving back home, I decided to pick up delivering again part-time while I continued on in grad-school (this time in town). A total of four years had passed between my first stint as a driver (back in 1999) to my second stink (in 2003).
On my first day back as a driver I noticed ‘the blacklist’ was still going strong. Needless to say, I was pleased.