As a delivery driver, nothing is more annoying than a customer who sends a young child to the door to pay for the order. It’s a guaranteed stiff because kids that age have no concept of tipping. The parent gets to avoid feeling uncomfortable facing the person they are stealing service from (that’s right, not tipping = theft of services, gasoline isn’t free and my time on the road is money, when you don’t tip you’re stealing from me). And, you’re also teaching that child some terrible life lessons.
And then there is the other issue- parents sending their kids to the door with money to give to a stranger.
Wrap your head around that for a second. With all the hysteria around child predators and abduction you would think that people would be smarter, but I guess wanting to avoid feeling guilty about not tipping the driver, they’re willing to put their child in danger.
I make it a point to tell young children that they shouldn’t open the door for strangers regardless of the scenario. Some kids are just happy to see the pizza guy and rush to the door, ecstatic about the feast they are about to enjoy. Others, well, they are the ones conscripted into stiffing the driver, and most of them don’t look like they want to be at the door to begin with.
So, what to do? We can’t yell at a kid or the adult or we risk getting fired, but, I came up with an idea- Tell the child that they shouldn’t answer the door to a stranger. Depending on the age of the kid, make up a story about a child who opened the door without their mom or dad next to them who went missing and was never found. Don’t get gory or graphic, don’t sound spiteful or angry because you know you’re not getting a tip. Don’t even mention the “T” word, just make sure you talk in a tone where you know the parent can hear it, and if they say something, then just tell them you’re only trying to help protect their child.
They’ll get the message even if they don’t tip ever again. You’ll know you’ve called them out without ever saying why you really did. Of course, I loathe this type of passive-aggressive behavior we are pushed into, but that is not our fault. The rules of service industry put us at the mercy of customers in every way, shape, and form, and we are expected to take abuse with a smile and a thank you. We have to be very crafty about how we send messages, and that sometimes requires a basic skill in acting and a penchant for duplicity.
Yes, being stiffed is part of the job, but that should not involve using a young child in the process. It’s a gutless, below-the-belt move and one that infuriates me for so many reasons. In lieu of blowing up my spot and screaming at these lowlifes who drag their kids into their scumbag practices, I suggest reminding these “parents” that sending their kid to the door could cost them a whole lot more than they bargained for.