We’ve gone from “phone girls” to Web ordering, from phone booths and home phones to cell phones and apps, from just pizza and Chinese to anything you could want, and from calling to check on an order to online tracking. But the more things change, the more they stay the same…
I’m old enough to remember when being a pizza delivery driver was a position of shame. That was the eighties and the pizza man was then the pizza boy. Oh how times have changed… We are in the 21st century now and the much-maligned pizza man has been replaced by the rideshare driver who carries food to people’s homes in the non-peak rideshare hours. Only curiously the rideshare driver, who is the delivery man on the come, is not made in the same social image as the pizza man of Ridgemont High lore. When Spicoli ordered his large pie to the classroom I sat in a crowded theatre on a rare Saturday night off and groaned while everyone else laughed. You see, I was (no longer) a freshly minted Domino’s employee.
In the Eighties, If a Dominos car wasn’t in your driveway on a Pizza Friday you simply weren’t cool and your parents were clueless.”
Everyone remembers where they were when an epic event went down-Kennedy, Challenger, the O.J. chase.
I remember Spicoli…in the Toco Hills theater.
My friend Gary outside his store - circa 1983.
In The Beginning
When I started in the delivery business you could still smoke in a mall, Heck…you could buy cigarettes from a vending machine in a hospital and smoke them in the waiting room. Rotary dial phones were on the way out and shuttle control on an $800 VCR was not yet a thing. If a Dominos car wasn’t in your driveway on a Pizza Friday you simply weren’t cool and your parents were clueless. It was an event, that car showing up in the neighborhood with a metal sign sporting a domino with three dots strapped down with cords on the top and heralding the arrival of what would arguably become the most iconic food of that decade. It was new. It was fresh-this delivery thing. Drivers behind the wheel were invisible before the floating logo making its way down the road. There was no GPS. There were no cell phones. There was no internet and no personal computer to speak of. There was cable and the home telephone. The customer called the store and placed the order with a phone person then waited for it to be delivered by a driver. But that was another era. That was so breathtakingly five minutes ago.
Delivery has already become an astounding growth industry and it’s only going to get bigger…
Here we are today, 2018. Uber’s cool. GPS, smartphones, apps are ubiquitous…and so are cars and people willing to drive them for hire. Companies are desperate for said cars and drivers and attrition rates in those jobs are around 70%. The great dream of the pizza driver to become even more independent has come to fruition, while at the same time confirming the old saw of being careful what you wish for.
While simplifying some tasks- the GPS is overrated, cars will overheat, cell phones won’t have signals, and customers have not evolved through the decades of ordering pizzas on Friday nights…they still act like they’ve never done the act before. They still endeavor to frustrate the driver with wrong phone numbers, addresses, angry barking dogs that the customer assures us won’t bite (they do), the ability to order it yourself online and then not take responsibility for pressing the wrong keys on your home ordering terminal, and a lack of urgency or respect or decency (see full monty) in some cases. The more things change, the more… well, you know the rest.
Delivery has already become an astounding growth industry and it’s only going to get bigger and employ more people, and issues will multiply with the number of people that will flock to those new jobs that are really just old jobs revamped and on steroids. We saw a need to offer solutions, answer questions, address issues, and serve the people who serve others in this market where it is in the infancy of the behemoth it will shortly become.
We want to do it with professionalism and respect for the entrepreneurs who do the absolutely thankless and often dangerous task of driving treacherous roads through suspect weather (that most commuters can’t handle 20 minutes a day) through road ragers only to deliver for a few dollars (and often nothing) to strangers acting stranger in an unfamiliar place. We will do it unapologetically with intelligent thought and many times through humorous prose and video as well as irreverent takes on the episodes that play out through our daily travels. We will offer drivers a place to come to vent frustrations of the job with their fellow travelers.
Welcome to drivebydriver. Our mantra here is Happy Trails.