By John Wisor
I have so much rage in my heart for poor tippers. There is nothing worse in my line of work, or of anyone in tipped positions, than those who treat tipping as optional. To be fair, I may not seem all that angry at you when you stiff me, but on the inside, I am seething. Now at this point I’m fairly used to being stiffed, although the feelings may be dulled and I may even come to accept it as an inevitability from some repeat offenders, but every passing act of being denied a tip is like hot metal jabbed in my back. I brought this to you, please reward me.
Some customers will verbally thank me as they stab me in the back, claim to appreciate the service, even engage in small talk while I’m standing at their door. But a small handful of customers over the years have been so above and beyond rude and difficult with me, and yet still had the nerve to stiff me that I question the value of my work. The woman who made me wait outside in the winter cold for 10 minutes before answering the door. The guy who didn’t give me the full cash amount because 50 minutes was too long of a wait for him. The woman who knew I was in her hotel lobby, but didn’t feel like coming down and paying for the food. These are just a few examples.
These customers make The List. On every delivery order, there are tags that have the various items you order, but there is also one tag for me, which has your name, address, phone number, and any special instructions you provide for how to reach you. These mostly get discarded when I get back to the store, but for this special breed of difficult stiffers and awful people, I hold onto these tags, arranged neatly on my dashboard, with all their information, so I can remember them. They have made me contemplate quitting, egging their houses, popping their tires, or even throwing their pizza on the ground and walking away, should I ever be forced to deliver to them again. One of the more lucid fantasies I had for a customer was getting a Master’s Degree, finding his place of employment, working my way up the corporate ladder, becoming his boss, and finding a way to fire him. Oh, the fantasies I’ve had.
But over time, with these tags on my dashboard baking in the bright sunlight as the days pass, the thermal ink begins to lighten. As my life continues forward, and as I have more decent days, I notice that the information on the tags is no longer viewable, having long faded from my memory and from the bright sun. The tags were always useless, and I realize that just like these handful of customers, everyone has bad days including me and one stiff, one bad action from any one of these individuals is not worthy of my scorn and resentment. I took The List, now totally empty and crumpled it up and threw it in the trash where it belonged all along.