Friday, July 01, 2005

CRAP JOBS : Mr. Delivery

I have a telephone number that is two digits removed from that of Mr. Delivery, I get up to 10 calls a week for chicken korma, ciggies, Kit Kat and a six pack. There is quite clearly a serious problem of untreated dyslexia in my neighbourhood. I once got a call from a guy ordering pizza and when he found out he didn’t have Mr. Delivery on the line, he asked if I wouldn’t mind terribly going out and picking up a quattro stagione for him and bringing it to his house. He offered me R100, not a bad tip, but we agreed it would be easier, at least for me, if he were to try dialing again.

Best yet was a little boy who called six times insisting he had dialed correctly and that I was playing some sort of bizarre and sickening trick on a hungry child. He was absolutely insistent that he’d dialed the correct number each time and demanded to speak to the manager. The Manager informed him that his mother needed to take him to the doctor and have him checked out, whereupon the mother was heard in the background saying “Let me do it.” She did and I presume His Majesty got his cheeseburger at last.

Way back when I wanted to make extra money by working nights I thought I’d try driving for Mr Delivery, it sounded appealing, couple hours at night, tips, blah blah. Well, not exactly. I turned up for the interview in a horrible little office in the back of a worse building on a dingy street. The management were behind a cage, and the drivers, many Bulgarians and Pakistanis, sat in an office smoking one cigarette after the other until they were called whereupon they jumped to their feet smartish and ran out the door.

They don’t let you out until you’re trained and I was allocated a large gruff no-nonsense veteran, let’s call her Petronella. She’d been doing it for a long time and was full of tips and traps, mostly warnings about checking everything the restaurant put into the heating box. She wrote everything down meticulously in a notepad she kept above her sun visor.

“They rip you off all the time,” she said, her eyes blazing.

Our first order called for pickups at four different restaurants in the space of 10 blocks. Sounds easy enough, but there’s a parking problem, so you park where you can find a spot, get out and run into the restaurant, wait for the food, run back to the car, off to next restaurant, etc. Finally you make it to the customer’s house and are met by four drunk and rowdy men who pinch your bum and give you a five rand tip.

It got worse, we made a delivery to a house which was up a cliff and about 2 miles away from the intercom. Eventually a tiny figure came running down a path, arriving at the gate half an hour later panting. We handed over the parcel and went back to the depot, to be told that the restaurant had forgotten to pack the foo yong. My fault, a crucial mistake on my very first day. As we returned to the restaurant piloted by a fuming Petronella, trying no doubt to imagine the most convenient way of dumping me in a bush, I realized I was not cut out for a career with Mr. Delivery. Our total haul for the night was R7.50 delivery fee x 5 trips plus mingy-beyond-belief tips - equals … never mind, plus we had to buy petrol on the way back.

It’s given me a new appreciation for the ubiquitous black clad Mr. Delivery driver darting through the door as though his life depends on it ... it really does.

Crap job, but somebody has to do it.

PS If this sounds better than your own crap job, the rate is now R13.95 a trip. Tips are still paltry.

No comments: