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Mike Donovan delivers pizzas for Domino's in Mira Mesa. Drivers are paid $1.20 per run for mileage, but it's been the same for years, even with gas prices going up. Papa John's pays 65 cents. Donovan explained that the restaurant's delivery charge doesn't go to the driver, which many customers mistakenly believe. He says, "I hate the fact that everyone tips in a restaurant, and all they do is bring you the food. Maybe you get a refill on your Coke. We have to go out in the rain looking for an apartment, or trying to figure out how to get into a gated complex, or being stuck in rush-hour traffic. And we still get stiffed on tips, or someone says, 'Keep the change' when it's only 35 cents."

What is the best tip you've gotten?

"Usually it's delivering to a party. It's that dynamic, of everyone throwing money into the pot; people are in a good mood. I've had times where I end up with a $20 tip out of that. Once I had an $8 order, where someone gave me $20 and told me to keep the change."

What is the worst?

"Aside from busy times, in the rain during football season, and getting stiffed, I once had a disabled person not tip me. When he placed the order, he wanted a lot of extra stuff. Napkins, peppers, and things like that. The guy wanted me to bring it into his house, place it on his table. I had to go back to my car and get all the extras he wanted. I didn't get a tip from him."

Who are the best tippers?

"People partying."

Do you notice a difference in rich people or between races?

"I delivered in Rancho Bernardo, and the tips weren't better than Mira Mesa. I don't buy into the myth that poor people tip more. It doesn't make sense. Ultimately, people that make more money have more to throw around and will tip better. When I deliver on the Miramar Base in the barracks, sometimes the grunts tip well. The higher-ranking officers sometimes didn't tip for shit. I have found that black people don't tip. There might be one out there that does. I'm not talking about you. But you need to talk to your brothers, because they just don't tip. On the radio they talked about a university that did a huge study, and it showed that blacks are bad tippers. They were right."

What professions are you not sure about tipping?

"Skycaps and bus drivers. I tip generously when guys wash my car. They're putting a lot of work into it."

If you don't get tipped, what do you do?

"I will ask, 'Was there anything wrong with the service?' Sometimes they say no, and I say 'Oh,' and then walk away. It's not like that helps. It's never gotten someone to open their wallet back up."

Mike goes on to explain that when he delivered flowers, he rarely got tips, but that didn't bother him.

"I figured the people receiving the flowers didn't order them or weren't expecting them. So I don't expect a tip. But what bothers me about delivering pizzas is the fact that someone who should tip doesn't, and someone who is less likely to, since they live only a few blocks from Domino's, might give you a big tip. There's no logic behind it."


Sexy Lexy Lilix is a stripper at the Body Shop off Rosecrans. She's been "dancing" for six months. She says she hates when guys have excuses for not tipping. "They will say they just got there and don't have any change. Or they say they didn't see me onstage. They are sitting there staring at my pussy, and then they don't tip. I hate that."

What is the best tip you've gotten?

"Someone gave me a $100 tip once."

What is the worst?

"Not getting a tip. You are dancing naked in front of them for a few songs, and when you go around to collect tips, they conveniently leave."

Who are the best tippers?

"I don't know. Some guys will be dressed up and you think they have money, and they don't tip well. You can never tell." Another stripper walked by and told me military guys suck.

Do you notice a difference among wealthier patrons or different races tipping a certain way?

"I don't really want to get into that."

What professions are you not sure about tipping?

"I don't know. I tip most workers. I don't know about anyone else. If someone does a job for me, I tip them."

If you don't get tipped, what do you do?

"I'll say, 'Did you see my dance?' It's a nicer way of asking for the tip. Then I usually tell them to be sure to tip the next girl."

I've heard some stories about dancers only working for tips, or just getting minimum wage. Others have said they have to pay for "stage time." When I ask about this, Lexy doesn't give me a straight answer. She does tell me she wants to get into holistic medicine when she finishes school.


Howard Clayton has been a limo driver for 25 years. He said it's fun to watch people rent the limo and how they act completely different after lots of drinks. He says, "And the more people drink, the bigger my tip usually is. I think they lose track of money. Tipping is also an act. You learn to take care of people, and they take care of you."

What was your best tip?

"I've gotten a $300 tip for working eight hours, for eight people."

What's your worst tip?

"There have been two or three times where I didn't get a tip. Cheap people might tip $10 to $20 for an entire night."

Who are the best tippers?

"In general, it seems East Coast people are better tippers."

Do you notice a difference in races? Do poor people tip better than rich people?

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