Psycho Driver

October 4, 2005 at 10:15 AM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 1 Comment
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I have been in food service for twenty years, basically.  I just recently took a new position not in food, but those years, those experiences, are a part of me.  I feel the need to share.
I worked for Domino’s Pizza from 1986 to 1989, and again from 1990 to 1999. and then from 2001 to 2004.  I also worked for Steak n Shake briefly, Papa John’s even more briefly, and also for a friend of mine who owns a restaurant, I have worked there since 1999 through the present, although now I am just part time.
I have worked in over 2 dozen locations, for dozens of managers, and a mixed handful of supervisors.  I have worked with thousands of people, and I have had hundreds work for me when I was a manager.  I have hired hundreds, and I have fired or caused to quit several dozen.  In terms of food service, anything you have done or could think of, I have done twice.
So I believe I will start with this little story. 
I had just become manager of the Cross Keys Dominos. Probably about 94.  The previous manager had left the store a disaster in terms of sales, operations, inventory, and—crew.
He hired someone right before he left, knowing he was going to leave, the bastard.
THe person he hired was named Jim, but we all knew him as "Psycho-driver."  When most drivers were in their twenties or thirties, this guy was 44.  And he was short, and he had a complex about it.  He drove a beat up old van that he had to continually add radiator fluid to.
He always thought everyone was out to get him, screw him over, everything was unfair.  He claimed I treated him differently from the other drivers, denying him driving opportunity and runs.  I had brought him into the office several times to try to straighten him out, reason with him, get him to get over it, or whatever it took. 
Case in point about the typical problem we had was the one I fired him for.  You have dinner rush, lots of orders, lots of runs for the drivers.  They come in, grab, and go.  You give them as much as you can, going in a similar direction, because there are lots there.  Towards the end of the rush, the pies arent stacked up, you may just get one.  Slow but steady.  Then it tapers off. 
At the end of the rush, he is up, he has two that go together, and they are the only pies up.  I have six drivers standing there, soon to be just three, because you send some home after the rush.  As he is bagging his runs up, another call comes in, and he sees that it is in the general directioin he is going.  NOrth.  Well, half of our runs go north.  The two he is already taking are over twenty minutes, and I have standards.  He wants to wait for that run.
I said, no, of course not.  He wants to argue, he wants to know why.  He says I always let other drivers do it.  Which I did not, that is one of the things I changed when I took over, I improved service by not letting drivers take stupid runs, and it increased sales.
So we go in the office.  He was very manipulative, very conniving.  He could twist anything you said.  But he wasnt sublte about it.  You could see what he was doing.  It was obviously all my fault.  I had started to come around to his way of thinking and had been working hard on getting along with him, and getting over my obvious prejudices, but now it was apparant that I had backslid, and he wasnt sure if there was hope for me.  This is what he said to me.
I said, "Well, I’m sorry you feel that way.  But since this is my store and I’m in charge and I make the rules, and I am the one YOU have to get along with, you are going to have to leave.  I can’t have you working for me anymore.  You are a disruptive negative influence.  I shouldnt have to make special cases for someones personality, and I’ve done it for you long enough.  Get your shit and clock out.  You dont work here anymore."
You’d think that would be the end of it, in fact it was only the beginning.  It ended when I called the police and they came to the store to forcibly make him leave.
He called two weeks later about his check.  I said I had had it mailed to his house.  HE then, in the same breath, managed to have the balls to ask me for a good reference, tell me that I owed it to him, and blamed me for firing him.
I stared at the phone with my mouth open.  Unfuckingbelievable.
He did tell me one time, on one of the days we were getting along, that he had played saxaphone for the Ike and Tina Turna revue.  He was about the right age for that, but I wasnt buying it.  But he showed me proof.  He had photos with him and Ike.  Playing, and also backstage photos and the like.  A short, chubby white guy in the middle of all the tall skinny black guys.  Maybe they just looked tall compared to him.  Hell, maybe they just looked black, too.
He said to me, "You know, Ike Turner was the only person I ever let call me "Shorty.’"
"Really?" I asked.  "What did you call him?"
"Oh.  Mr. Turner."

1 Comment »

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  1. dear mr. turner, i still haven\’t received my check..your ass is mine doughboy. shorty.

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