Pizza delivery men feel the pain at the pump

Jun. 4, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Everyone is feeling the pain at the pump, but imagine if your income and job depended on how much was in your tank. That's exactly the case for people in the delivery business. We caught up with two local pizza deliverers who say high gas prices are leaving their pockets empty.

Jim Talley is the owner of Pizza Pronto in Columbus. The sign on the front of his business reads Free Delivery, but he says that may be changing soon.

"If prices continue to be high, you will see an increase in our price and we have not had one of those in 18 years. We've shortened our delivery area some," said Talley.

James Lee starts his car over 20 times a day to deliver pizza's for Pizza Hut.  He's been a delivery man for the past 15 years and says he's never wanted to get another job until now.

"I'm trying to hang on to this one. I've had it for quite some time and I like my job, but the gas makes it rough," says Lee.

Lee is like all other pizza deliverers who have to provide their own gas.

It takes about $65.00 to fill up the tank in his 97 Ford Explorer, but the amount he gets paid per delivery isn't putting the same amount he spends in gas back in his pocket, leaving him in the red on many nights.

"Well I mean it averages out sometimes it's good and sometimes its bad, depending on how the deliveries are coming in," adds Lee.

We followed Lee on a delivery. It took us about seven miles to get to the customer.

Lee says sometimes the trip is longer than that.  "It's cheaper to pay the pizza guy to deliver than drive and go get the pizza. At $4.00 a gallon, I don't drive anymore. If I can avoid it, I walk," says customer, Jason Gilbert.

And as for Lee, he says he's going to try to tough it out a little longer.

But until gas prices go down, he says his routine will probably stay the same, leaving his customers stomachs full and his gas tank on E.