A Pizza For Another Day

May 6, 2008 at 4:17 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  I worked Friday night with Sam, which turned out to be his last night at our store; he was being transfered.
  We had time later in the evening to sit in back and compare notes on our respective management histories.  The usually quiet and reserved Sam opened up a bit, and we bonded.  We didn’t exactly hug and kiss and scissor, but it was good nonetheless.
  Earlier in the evening, a young guy walked in to pick up his order.  "And your name?"
  "Williams."–or some such crap.  –Like I care.
  "Sorry sir, I’m not seeing it.  Perhaps another name?"
  "Maybe Joe?  It’s just two pastas."
  I give him the look.  He gazes about and realizes he is not in Pizza Hut.  "What the hell?  I’m at the wrong place!"  He leaves.
  Customers are endlessly amusing.

  In 1992 I was working in Edwardsville Illinois.  A college town, it was Deadsville in the summer.  This was summer.  I would show up early, set up, and take a nap until my driver showed up.  Lots of spare time.  Time to think, which I’m sure I wasted.
  One warm afternoon I’m at the front counter daydreaming when a big four-door sedan pulls slowly into the parking lot and parks.  It sits there for quite a while.  Finally, two people exit the vehicle. approximately 80 years old.  Slowly, they make their way for the door, enter, and approach the counter.
  The man and woman stand and gaze at the menu for quite some time, their heads moving in synchronicity across the board.  At first I think, "Come on, people–I don’t have all day!"
  ….But sadly, I did.   I waited.  I was much more patient then than I am now, so I didn’t sigh heavily; instead, I calmly stood, passive.
  Finally, they step closer to the counter, but still gaze at menu board.  The man finally speaks, hesitantly:  "Do you still have….we want to get the two-piece and a biscuit."
  Apparently–twenty years ago–this Domino’s had been a Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Apparent also is the fact that 20 years ago was the last time these two had been to town.
  I gently gave them directions to KFC.

  In 1994, I was manager of Cross Keys.  Two amusing anecdotes come to mind.  I lived six minutes from the store.  They got busy, they called me on my day off.  Reluctantly I go in.  I’m already in a mood before I get there.  As soon as I walk in, I can see there is chaos.  Pies on the rack, coming out of the oven, pies to be made:  That was my two second evaluation.  The phone rings, and I’m right by it, so I pick it up.  A customer complaint.
  "Can I speak to the manager please?"
  "This is he."  I always try to speak grammatically to impress the unwashed.
  "Oh, okay.  Well, I just got my pizza delivered, and the girl didn’t give me my change.  She didn’t even offer it.  My total was 12.96, and I gave her 13 and she just left.  It’s not the money, it’s just the point that she didn’t even offer."
  Now I see.  And I completely don’t give a shit.  I answered bluntly, "Maybe she thought it was a tip."
  "Oh, you tryina be funny.  I see.  It’s not about the *money*. . ."
  "Then why did you call?"
  I don’t remember what she said, but she wasn’t happy that I cared not about her plight.  Finally I said, "Tell you what.  As soon as I can, I’ll have her come back with your change.  With your FOUR CENTS."  I hung up.  Of course I had no intention of doing that.  Katie was the driver’s name.  I told her about it so she could get a laugh out of it.

  At that same store, we had just gotten computers.  It was a big deal.  What, 94?  Pre-internet.  You’d be surprised how many businesses still did not have them at this time.  You always think that the times you are currently in are "modern," but looking back to….14 years ago, it was the Stone Age compared to today.  Okay, Bronze Age.  But our company deployed computers, and we got them in 94.  So, if you know anything, and I mean ANYTHING related to computers at all, you know that data has to be specific.
  All of our customers have one thing in common:  They are our customer.  But what do they have that is uniquely their own?  Their address?  Sometimes.  But this is before mapquest and google earth, so addresses were an unreliable marker.  Name?  Now that is a stupid answer.  Go look in the phone book and see how many people have the same name.  The answer, obviously, is your phone number.
  Well, welcome to the latter part of the 20th century, technophobes.  Dan was having no luck with a particular customer, so he handed the phone off to me.  I now know this is called escalation, but at the time I called it a pain in my ass.
  I put on my manager voice, the one reserved for unreasonable customers.  "This is Bryan, can I help you?"
  "Well I was just talking to the other person and saying that I am a person, not a number.  I have a name.  I expect to be known by my name, not by a number."
  "And–?"
  "He keeps asking for my phone number first, not my name.  He should ask for my name first."
  "Sir, the computer database stores all customer information according to phone number.  We use your phone number to access all information."
  "Well, I don’t know how computers work, and I don’t care.  I have a name.  You always ask for my phone number first, and I don’t like it.  I want you to ask me for my name first."  Obviously a liberal, he wants the world to be a certain way according to theory, no matter what the real world was like.
  "That’s not going to happen."
  "Well, I’m going to order a pizza, and if you ask for my phone number first, this is the last time I’m going to order."  Well, that’s a relief, because I don’t want to have to go through this every time you call–
  "So you wanted to place an order?"
  "Yes."
  "Okay.  Can I get your phone number please?"
  He sighs, and gives me the digits.  I enter them and his name and address and order history come up on the screen.  Last name?
  Smith.

  Oh, I hated this guy.  I can’t remember his name, but I remember his address.  When I worked in Hazelwood.  The guy lived in these condos, and his address was, as he said it whenever he ordered, "7443 apartment D, as in Delicious Domino’s Delivery."
  Yes, he was that kind of fag.  I don’t mean he was gay; I mean he’s an annoying faggot.
  For a while he was ordering every day.  I mean EVERY day.  If he ordered early in the afternoon, he would order twice in one day.  And he ordered the same thing every time.  A medium pan pizza with hamburger, light cheese, and extra extra EXTRA sauce.  What a dick.
  I’ve delivered to him a few times.  I know why he ordered every day:  he never left his apartment.  He may not have been able to.  He would come to the door with no shirt on, and he was a big, big, incredibly fat guy.  Look, I’m a big guy, okay?  If I think someone is extraordinarily fat, just fucking believe me.  He may not fit through the door without a shoehorn to squeeze him through.  I’m sure when he leaves his apartment it sounds like a 500 pound zit popping.

  The address is 79 Cynthiana.  I doubt if the people who did this still live there–it was 17 years ago, and based on their behavior I’m sure they defaulted and went into foreclosure.  It was a nice neighborhood, upscale houses in this subdivision.  Of course, when a black family like this moves in, not only does it drive down property values, but it makes everyone not like having black neighbors.  They were THE stereotype.
  Someone from there (typically a black family in a large house like this is a large extended family; I’m not a racist, I’m stating fact) would call at least twice a week, and from that, they would call and complain and end up getting a free pizza.  Every week.  It was always something.  Wrong size, wrong toppings, wrong crust–It was obvious that they knew how to play the game.  I’m sure it was like some great revelation to them ["You know what?  All you have to do is call and complain and they’ll give you another pizza for free!  We can eat for free forever!"]
  Once I actually told them, "You know, it seems like we mess up your order an awful lot.  That’s more than a coincidence.  I wouldn’t put up with that kind of service.  If it were me, I’d quit ordering from us."  Hint, hint.
  We actually complained to our supervisor about them, but he was a solid Christian who believed in doing the right thing and turning the other cheek.  I felt like planting my ass cheek on their pizza.  But then our supervisor–Donnie–had to deal with them on the phone.  Once that happened, we cut them off of the free ride.
  The last free pizza they got, I delivered.  It was a medium, and the guy wanted to call the store and complain, because it was supposed to be a large.  I said, "The pizza this is replacing is a medium, so what you get is a medium."  He went to go get his phone, and offered to have me step inside while he called.  I responded, "No, I’m cool."  I’m not going in.
  He was offended.  "Oh, you’re cool?  Well I’m cool, too."  He went inside and slammed the door while I waited on the porch.  I’m sure he thought he was cool, in 1991 with his cordless landline phone.
  He came out a few minutes later, handset held to his face.  He wanted to make sure I heard him tell my manager, "Yeah, and another thing:  your driver here has a real attitude problem."
  Pffft.  You have no idea, asshole.  I gave him the pizza and left, he did not get another one.  But you see what he was trying to do there?  He was trying to get ANOTHER free pizza from a free pizza.  They have done that in the past as well.  Call and complain about a pizza they received– the next day–so that hopefully they’ll talk to someone else, and scam another free pizza out of it.
  This went on for almost a year before we convinced Donnie that the shit had to end.
  I got to take the call, when they tried to get a free pizza.  Maybe they tried again after this with someone else, but this is the call I got.
  "Domino’s Pizza."
  "Yeah, uh, the pizza we got last night was WRONG."
  I recognized the MO, the voice.  "Really?  Can I get your address so we can check on that?"  We were still on paper.  This was 91 or 92, before computers.
  "79 Cynthiana."  Ha!
  I braced myself.  "Okay, we’re not sending you any more pizza.  Ever."
  "But my pizza was wrong!"
  "I highly doubt that.  But the fact is, all you do is call and complain to get free pizza.  We aren’t doing it anymore."
  "Well, it’s supposed to be, ‘the customer is always right’?"
  I was waiting for this one.  "Technically, a customer is someone who pays.  You’re not a customer."
  "I’m going to call your office."
  "Good.  Let them know we did what we were told.  It was our boss that told us not to serve you any more.  Not only do you not get any more free pizza, you get no more pizza, period.  Not from us."
  "That’s bullshit man!  That’s fuckin wrong!  Ya’ll is racist!"
  Racist?  Me?  Nigga, please.  "Have a good night."  I hung up.  I never heard from them again.

  So, to recap–the older confused couple–that was 17 years ago, so they’re probably dead.  The guy paranoid about being a number is probably not dead, but hopefully he lives in paranoia in his basement, fearing all technology.  The fat guy is probably dead, and his carcass would be stinking up his condo.  The assholes at 79 Cynthiana are gone from my world, at least.  My guess is they got foreclosed many years ago, and the entire extended family living there (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins) got evicted and moved back to the city where they belong, collecting welfare and having babies and getting shot.
  The moral of the story is, don’t fuck with me, or you’ll end up dead. 
  You know, eventually.

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