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Quitters Never Win… Unless It’s Pizza?

, , , , | Working | November 26, 2020

I am a shift lead at a pizza place near my home. After some recent changes in management, we’ve lost a lot of staff and our district manager is spending a lot of his time at our store trying to get a sense of order back to things. I come in for my shift at about four to find the store in chaos.

I can see the digital display that shows our delivery drivers’ locations and how many orders are ready to go out. The column with the orders is full, with a scrollbar to one side and times of over an hour on the oldest orders. This is insane, as usually, the lunch rush isn’t too bad, and one driver can handle it.

I find our district manager in the back trying to prep ingredients and run the pizza line at the same time. Without missing a beat, I step in to start making pizzas to set aside until they’re ready to put into the oven.

Me: “What’s going on here?”

District Manager: “The morning driver showed up for his shift, took his first order, and then never came back. The store’s been so busy that I haven’t had time to track the kid down, and I had to call in one of the dinner-time drivers to cover for him. Dough hasn’t been made and ingredients still need to be finished. I want you on the line making pizzas as fast as you can. Prioritize carryout orders; the delivery orders are so backed up that they’ll just get cold if you put them through while the driver is out.”

I set to work, and when the other three drivers arrive for their shifts, we bring things down to a manageable level, though it’s still busy enough for dinner that we don’t have time to find our mysterious missing driver.

At one point during the dinner rush, the district manager’s cell phone goes off and he answers. A look of horror crosses his face for a second and all I can hear is his end of the conversation.

District Manager: “Yes, speaking.” *Pause* “About what?”

There’s another pause, and he huffs out a breath.

District Manager: “We’re actually in the middle of dinner; I’ll call you back when I get the chance.” *Hangs up*

It turns out that the call was from a local news station, asking if he could make a comment. He was so worried they were going to say, “A comment about the teenage delivery driver who crashed and died this morning.” Luckily, they were just asking about our newest advertising campaign we’d started doing throughout the city.

Finally, at about 7:30 at night — more than eight hours after the morning driver vanished — things slow down.

District Manager: “I’ve been here since ten. I’m gonna go find [Driver] and I’ll get back to you.”

An hour later, he walks back into the store and tosses the driver’s cash bag onto the counter. He’s half-laughing and half-shouting as he tells the story.

The first place he checked was the driver’s house. The car was outside, so the district manager went up and knocked. The driver answered the door.

Driver: “Oh, hey, yeah. So, I quit. Here’s your money. Now get off my porch.”

All the employees have gathered to hear the story, and everyone around lets out an audible “Oooooh” as they hear this.

Me: “What about his first order?”

The customers hadn’t ever gotten it and we’d had to refund their money.

District Manager: *Shaking his head* “I asked that before leaving. The little f***er came in, took the first delivery of the day, took it home, and ate it.”

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