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For years and years I thought it would be fun to deliver pizza.  It was one of those jobs that I thought always would be fun, but never actually tried.  How hard could it be?  When I was younger I wasn’t very driven to do anything thing.  I was a carpenter and thought I’d be a carpenter until something better came along.  That something better was expected to be the ultimate super career of California Border Fruit Inspector.  In my mind there was nothing better than sitting waving at people and occasionally stopping someone to ask if they had any fruit.  Next on my list of low responsibility, flexible jobs was delivering pizza.  Back in the day when I was still able to eat pizza, there was no person I loved more than the pizza dude.  He brought so many joys in a small, hot box.  What could be better than to be the person to bring all of that joy?  I had no idea.

I live in a suburb of Austin, Texas called Round Rock.  They’re not really sure what the population is because about 50,000 people have moved here in the last ten years but it’s around 80-90k.  The town is growing so fast that they haven’t even finished roads and have people ready to move in.  I live in a subdivision called Sam Bass Trails named after a bank robber, but no one knows that because a big truck knocked over the sign at the entrance to the subdivision and it was hauled off long ago.  I’ve only heard tales told and have never seen it.  Last year a small strip mall was built and the only business in it’s 15,000 sq/ft was Dominoes Pizza.  Dominoes only used a small portion of the space which parts of remain empty still.  From the moment I bought my house, the little voice inside of my head has been prompting me to try the pizza thing.  I don’t really need the money but have time to kill because I am way too efficient with being a photographer and have boring spells where I write stupid blogs about thing just like this.

October this year rolled around and I decided to do it.  My brother had actually been a delivery driver for them for several months.  I think he was looking for something that required very little mental effort as his last job running tech support for an internet provider wiped him out.  I filled out the application form which I haven’t done in many years and returned it.  They hired me the next day.  I think I might have been a little overqualified for the job but they seemed not to care.

My training and beginning day was October 5th.  I was feeling kind of weird.  I’m not used to having people tell me when and where to be.  I’m not used to having someone else dictate anything to my life unless it is a client, and with that I can always say no or at least have it on my terms.  I was on time, but I wasn’t sure if I would make it.  After all it was about 100 yards away from my house.

The first thing they did when I arrived was have me put on the Dominoes uniform: a blue teeshirt and hat both with the logo on them.  I put it on and looked in a mirror.  “Oh,” was all I murmured and rolled my eyes thinking of how ridiculous I looked.  Wearing this outfit made me look so stupid.  I was starting to regret my decision to try this job at that instant.  It got worse when the ‘manager’, a long haired guy five years younger than myself told me and another trainee to tuck in my shirt to abide by Dominoes policy or as I decided it should better be called: The Unholy Law.  I am not a chubby fellow nor am I a skinny fellow.  I am average build.  Tucking in a teeshirt does nothing for hiding some of the chub that I would rather people imagine.  I NEVER tuck in a shirt.  I specifically buy dress shirts to shoot weddings that are not meant to be tucked in.  The only thing I will tuck in is a dress shirt for a suit and that’s covered by a suit coat NOT TUCKED IN!

I tucked in my shirt and walked into the training room, a small 4×6 office where I was subjected to the training video which mostly was about how the computer tracking system worked.  I failed the tests at the end which I assume is a bad sign, but eventually figured it out.

Delivering pizza was the next step.  A pizza ride along was next.  They give you over to an experienced pizza delivery person and you see how it’s done.  This was the clincher.  My brother was who I was riding along with.  That was good for me.  It was a kind of tandem pizza delivery thing where I would follow him up to the door and deliver the pizza with him and observe.  I thought it just made us look like idiots.  How many delivery people does it take to deliver one stupid pizza.  I started observing the customers at each delivery and noticed that most of them were not the happy people who I had expected waiting patiently for their pizza.  They were hungry and wanted their damn pizza.  I found out quickly that the longer it took, the less of a tip there was.  In my head I started devising an if statement to represent this:

Definitions: Customer time (a), Travis tip (b), 30 minutes (ah), 60 minutes (ai), 90 minutes (au)

if a if a>ah and a if a>ai and a if a>au then better to eat the pizza myself
end if

I was really freaked out.  The people who ordered pizza really weren’t angry, but had so many different personalities.  Not everyone laughs at the same jokes to the same degree.  Not everyone finds my bumbling Woody Allen-esque mumbling amusing and some down right hate it.  I was worried. We got back after the deliveries and now it was my turn to deliver and be watched by my ride along brother.

We put the Dominoes sign on top of my car and set off with three orders at once.  Two on different sides of town and one at an old lady’s house around the corner who they called Wheelchair Lady.  I was informed that Wheelchair Lady was a Dominoes regular who was remembered not just because she was in a wheelchair but because she required the delivery boy to enter her house, get her a Coke from the fridge and a glass from her cupboards.  She smoked heavily and her entire house was mired in the stench.  I think this first delivery of mine made up my mind that delivering pizza was not for me.  We were gone for an hour delivering three pizzas and when I returned I told the manager I was done.  He just smiled as if he knew I wouldn’t make it from the beginning.  I hung up my hat and shirt and walked out as soon as they doled out my tips.  THANK YOU GOD FOR MAKING ME SELF EMPLOYED!

Dominoes was started by a devout Catholic who sold the pizza chain for $1 billion in the 90s.  He is currently starting a city where his devout Catholicism can be the ruling law of the land.

The Dell factor.  Why is Round Rock growing so damn fast?  This is the corporate headquarters of Dell  Corp.  They employ 10,000 in Round Rock and another 10,000 inAustin 5 miles south.  In 2005 Dell sold $50 billion in computers and electronics.  They have a 60 year deal with the city of Round Rock to split sales tax revenue which has caused property taxes to be cut by more then half since 1993.  The city receives sales tax revenue on $5 billion dollars of Texas computer sales.  People ask why I moved here.  Now you know.

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