This article originally appeared on VICE Germany
For about five months, Joshua has been slinging pizzas around Berlin from the back of his bicycle. The 20-year-old delivers pies to the city’s hungry and hungover, come rain, snow or public holidays, for a basic pay of $11 an hour. But on a good day, he can pick up an extra $50 in tips.
I spoke to Joshua to find out who the worst tippers are, which customers he silently judges and how many of them he's caught having sex.
VICE: How often do people answer the door without their clothes on?
Joshua: My last fully naked customer was about three or four days ago, when I delivered to a hotel room. She didn’t say anything – she just took the pizza and closed the door. The nude ones always do. I'd say 50 percent of the people who order a pizza seem to decide to go for a shower seconds before their food arrives. So I get customers who’ve literally just rushed out of the shower every day.
Do your customers every try to pay with other things when they don't have any money?
Yeah. Recently, this guy who was completely stoned asked if I'd accept an ounce instead. Even though it was worth a lot more than the pizza, I said no because I've quit smoking and dealing. And the weed looked really rubbish, too. Another stoner once made me wait for 20 minutes at his door, claiming he couldn’t find his cash. When he eventually unlocked the door, he confessed that he had actually been looking for the key – which had been in the door the whole time. Another guy invited me in for a spliff and a slice of pizza.
What kind of people are the worst tippers?
It's almost always office workers who call in large orders at lunchtime. They'll order pizza for $100, but they won't leave a single penny as a tip. Also, rich people are not only really tight, but often incredibly rude, too. Sometimes, if you kiss their arse and pretend like there's absolutely nothing in the world you'd rather do than bring them food, you can get a pretty decent tip. The best tippers are our regular customers and couples in their twenties and early thirties who don't have children.
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What other tricks do you pull to get better tips?
When they open the door, I start breathing heavily and say, "Wow, so many stairs!" That obviously only works when they’re actually living on a higher floor – it's always a good idea to pretend like getting to a customer's place has left you knackered. On bank holidays, it's very lucrative to remind people that you're working on a holiday. And finally, if a customer adds a particular request to the order, like asking us to bring along a packet of fags with the pizza, I try to do that, too. But there are always people who, no matter what you do, will never tip.
How often do you catch people having sex?
Lots of customers have that post-sex glow on when I arrive with their order, but I’ve only ever caught one couple. As I was approaching their door I could hear everything, but I couldn’t just leave the pizza outside – so I walked up and rang the doorbell. When it was clear they couldn't hear it, I started banging on the door. It took about 15 minutes before they finally heard me. When the guy eventually opened the door, he just stood there, at "full mast", with his partner sat naked behind him. It took him about ten seconds to realise who I was before he quickly paid me and slammed the door without us exchanging a single word.
Have you ever eaten a pizza that you were meant to deliver?
No, though I’m always tempted. But we're given a free pie every day, so I often take mine with me on deliveries and eat it in the corridors outside the places where I've just delivered.
Have you ever had a date with someone you've brought pizza?
Yeah, three or four times. It works both ways – sometimes I ask them, and other times they’ve asked for my number. I did once get politely rejected, and now I think she’s stopped ordering from us to avoid awkwardly running into me again.
It's clear that some taxi drivers in Berlin also sell drugs. Could you order drugs as a side to your pizza?
I’ve certainly thought about it, but I haven't dealt drugs since I was a teenager. One of my colleagues has talked about wanting to sell on their deliveries, but I don’t know if they've actually done it or not. It does make sense, though. It’s a totally discreet transfer – all the customer needs to do is pretend like they gave a huge tip and nobody would know a thing.
Do you secretly judge customers who are obviously home alone, but still order loads of food?
No, because they're our most reliable customers and they tend to be the nicest, too. I also think some people order to stockpile for later because they can’t be bothered to cook.
What do you think about people who live nearby but still want a delivery?
Some are nice, but mostly they’re arseholes – they think because I haven’t come far I don’t deserve a tip.
This article originally appeared on VICE DE.