November 15, 2005

Something Is Lacking In The Delivery

I was doing a search for a story I thought I heard on the radio the other day. It turns out I read about it from this The War On Guns post. Pizza Hut as well as Papa Johns, Domino's & a few other national delivery chains have a very strict no weapons policy. They also have a very strict compliance policy. This means if you have anything they consider a weapon you will be fired. It also means that if you're the victim of a confrontational robbery while on their clock you must comply with any & every demand a robber makes. If you don't you could be fired. When I first heard about this policy in the early 90's (I worked at Pizza Hut for a while when I was in college) I upset the manager because I pointed out that if a robber demanded we all perform oral/anal sex on him we could be fired for refusing.

Anyway the reason given for this policy (& similar ones) is that it reduces the chance of injury during a confrontational crime. The idea is if you just give the robber what he wants he'll take it & leave. Problem is reality can be a bitch. As this story points out sometimes you get your ass kicked even if you comply with their demands (& it's not limited to the pizza business either).

But something else eclipsed that when I started doing the checking I wanted to for this post. See I didn't recall the source where I saw the story, so I typed in "Pizza Hut robbery Florida" into a search engine. Here are the results:

Delivery policies change following local robberies

Two men bound, robbed at gunpoint at pizza shop

Detroit pizza delivery driver murdered in store robbery

Two Arrested in Pizza Hut Robbery-Kidnapping

Second pizza robbery suspect charged

Police see similarities in fifth Pizza Hut robbery

Pizza Hut Armed Robbery

To Deliver Of [sic] Not Deliver? That Is The Question

Pizza drivers abducted at gunpoint by four men

Girl, 14, Accused Of Robbing Pizza Delivery Driver At Gunpoint

Pizza shop worker turns tables on armed robber

Oddly enough that last link, where the pizza shop owner thwarts the armed robbery - that was in England! The shop owner grabbed a kitchen knife & sinc e the armed robber only had a hammer & a lack of courage he hauled ass.

But stores getting robbed 5 times in a few months? Hell even different stores in the same area getting robbed 5 times in a few months? & a friggin 14 year old girl has figured out who the easiest prey of all is? & not once but several times drivers have been not only robbed but kidnapped? They're damn lucky to be alive.

Anytime you have a while to spend surfing, google "pizza robbery". You'll be amazed not only by the sheer volume of stories but the lack of common sense that pizza places seem to have. Employees are unarmed & must comply with your demands. if I were a crackhead or street thug & needed some cash & maybe some food I damn sure know where I'd go. Think about it - if you were looking to rob someone would you pick A: a delivery driver or pizza store where there's plenty of cash on hand & the employees are not only unarmed but required to do what you say or B: someone who is probably armed & probably won't get fired for kicking your ass or even shooting you? Go ahead. Mull it over for a while. No need to rush your decision.

I used to be perplexed at why the companies in question showed such a disregard for their employee's safety. I often heard that "studies have shown compliance leads to a greater chance of escaping uninjured" but we all know those studies are BS. If you don't believe me then read No Quarters post about this subject as well as TFS Magnum's. But a long while back someone told me what the deal was; insurance rates. Yep. Insurance companies have some say in a company's internal policies. If an act is felt to be too dangerous they'll threaten to jack up the rates or withdraw coverage completely unless that practice is stopped.

The bad part is those insurance companies are subjecting their clients to even more liability by this insistence on barring self defense. If I knew someone who was killed while working at a place that bars weapons or mandate compliance with confrontational crimes, I would urge as strongly as I could to grab a lawyer & sue that company. On what grounds you ask? Because the company had a policy that prohibited self defense yet did not provide any security to minimize such risk, the company exhibited negligence that contributed to that person's death. If the person had been armed &/or able to pursue a defensive course of action without fear of losing his job, not only might he have been able to live through the encounter, but the very fact that defense was possible could have deterred the murderer to begin with.

Yet sadly when 3 Pizza Hut employees were killed in 1991 the families chose to sue Glock.

"Police say it appeared... James Bloxham and waitress Melissa Moniz, put up no resistance before they were shot along with manager Robert Curry on Jan. 17, 1999." They followed company police. & of course they were unarmed which further limited their options.

Oddly enough Glock sold the pistol to a police department who sold it to a gun shop in Denver who sold it to a gun shop in Tucson who sold it to a person who sold it at a gun show. After that it ended up being sold to the murderer to be. Strange how they actually think (or thought) Glock should be liable. Luckily for Glock the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act should negate such suits.

Anyway, Pizza Hut paid a six figure settlement to the families if I recall. I don't recall if this was an out of court settlement for a lawsuit or if Pizza Hut paid them pre-emptively to reduce a chance of such suit. But it's speculated (by some folks I used to know in the pizza biz) that a company gets off cheaper by paying the occasional six figure settlement than by paying an increase in insurance premiums (as estimated that they'd rise a certain amount if employees defended themselves or carried weapons with the blessing of the company).

It's a sad state of affairs. For a few folks working for such companies is the most acceptable option they have. But to work for such companies you either have to be defenseless in being & attitude or you risk getting fired.

If you're wondering, when I worked for Pizza Hut I was the safest driver at my store. I was young, knew the bad neighborhoods we delivered to very well (as I grew up in one of the bad neighborhoods) & I was armed. The managers (there were several in my brief career) knew this & even asked me to volunteer to go to certain areas instead of letting other unarmed drivers go there. Of course we never discussed it directly cause they'd have had to fire me, but they knew some drivers carried & were happier about that than the alternative. (This wasn't speculation; after I left Pizza Hut I kept in touch with the managers & they were able to be more candid about their views since I was no longer an employee.) From what I gather it's still a "wink & nod" system at the store level. Most managers don't object to drivers carrying in their cars or even on their persons. They just cannot openly condone it & if caught they'd have to fire the employee who was carrying or who had defended himself. It's the middle management & up (to the corporate offices in Kentucky if I recall) that insist on folks being disarmed. So yes I violated the no weapons policy set by corporate HQ, but I did so with the implicit consent of the store managers. Not that having their consent would have stopped me (in a little less than a year there were 4 or 5 robberies, one lady driver sexually assaulted & another driver beat up pretty bad) but it makes me feel just a wee bit better about going against an agreement.

If you still do your business with such places, then the next time you go in to the store ask to chat with the manager. Then simply ask him why the hell they have such a policy. Ask him who he'd rather rob, etc... A store manager in a national chain cannot do a damned thing openly about it, but he will mention these chats to his boss if enough people have them, & the most practical thing is it could convince him to not fire an employee if he catches a glimpse of a proscribed item or hears talk about the best way of defending yourself against a robber.

Posted by Publicola at November 15, 2005 04:52 AM | TrackBack

It is still a wink and nod at the store level. I worked for a Pizza Hut in 99-00 and I still know some people there, and we delivered to some rough areas. There was never a time when the management overtly acknowledged the fact that they only sent the big, burly male drivers to those places, and usually the two drivers that carried got sent first.

Posted by: Josh at November 16, 2005 05:08 PM
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