Is Human Dignity Worth A Free Pizza?

In the course of human events, there are evenings when making dinner oneself is an unfeasible task, and circumstances necessitate the ordering of a pizza.

Despite the convenience of delivery, it is cheaper, and often easier, to order from home and send someone to pick up the pizza.

This appears an even better plan when one person is on their way home from work and willing to stop by on their way home from work.

On the day in question, I drove the 90 mile round trip to and from work, instead of using the bus as usual, so I could return home in time to assist my sister with setting up for our friends bridal shower.  In order to expedite dinner, Mom ordered pizza when I was about 20 minutes away, and I went directly to the pizza shop.

Okay, this wasn’t the pizza shop, but I think it is amazing that this game even exists.

It was on my way home.

It was simple.

In theory.

The pizza shop was a typical franchise storefront, with a narrow waiting area, and a large industrial kitchen dedicated to the mass production of pizzas.  Most employees are young, high school or college students, some more awkward in their youth than others.  The cashier embodied the stereotypes of the American Pizza Shop Employee, similar to the workers at Pizza Planet in Toy Story.  This teenaged young adult was doing the best he could with the trifecta of phones ringing constantly, one of two cash registers broken, and no one to assist him with taking both in-store and phone orders.

I stood at the counter for about five minutes, before I used my “assertive, I’m not angry yet” voice to say I’d been there for a few minutes.  The cashier looked increasingly frazzled and overwhelmed while another employee retrieved the pizzas my mom had ordered online.  I received the boxes, and wondered why there was only one pizza and not two.  I called Mom, she checked the online receipt.  One of the pizzas had somehow gone missing between the check-out and receipt page.  There may have been a wormhole involved.

I opened the one pizza, and it did not match the order.

Pizza1

I was presented a series of dilemmas:

  1. I was running out of time before we needed to leave to set up for the bridal shower.
  2. The online site is a corporate service, while this pizza shop is run by a local franchise owner.  It is not the fault of the young cashier that the online site made our pizza disappear.
  3. However, it was the fault of the store that the one pizza we did have was not the right pizza.

I stepped forward and took action, deciding to forgo the second pizza problem, and deal with the one that was the store’s fault.  A young woman, fresh to her shift, showed poise, courtesy, and intelligence and took care of it.

However, this left me waiting another fifteen minutes.

Pizza2

And another dilemma: Did I demand remonstration for my wasted time and frustration?  In other words, would I berate the manager on duty, explain my frustration, and demand a free pizza to soothe my wrath?

On one hand, my role as part of the American Capitalist, consumerist society is at play.  I am right, for I am the frustrated customer.  You need my business and word of mouth to maintain business.  I deserve the free pizza.

On the other hand, I believe in Christ’s words, “Love one another,”  and am a fan of Gandhi and other leaders of non-violent movements – all which center around the dignity of all human beings.  Also, I have worked in retail.  I have manned the cashier during the madness of Valentine’s Day and the lead up to Christmas in a Hallmark store.  I have stood, berated by a customer frustrated by their outside worries, all culminating in shouting at a minimum wage cashier trying to do their best customer service in the face of immovable forces.

Pizza3

This stereotypical cashier and his bright eyed co-worker are not the ones who developed the pizza corporation’s website.  They are not the ones who made one of the two cash registers fail.  Nor did they decide the person manning the front counter also needed to take phone orders, forcing the cashier to choose between the person in front of them or the loud brrrinng of the phone, taunting them, letting them know they are just not fast enough to do it all.

Ultimately, do I choose between making this young cashier’s day harder and more stressful in order to gain a free pizza, or do I step back and let it go?

After all of this thought, I received the corrected pizza.

And made my way outside.

At first I agonized over my decision, wondering if I had been too passive, if I should have let my greed take over.

However, later, after having the chance to eat, and to let the emotion fade, I’m glad I did not pursue the free pizza.

This may be a small thing in a world full of dark and unspeakable crimes against humanity.  However, it also millions of small things put together which make this world a brighter, better place.

IMG_20121025_175922

Afterword:

The bridal shower went very well, and everyone had a fantabulous time.  The couple have now been married nearly three weeks, and are having a great time.  As a bonus, here is a picture of me at the non-scandalous bachelorette party.

mustache

SIDE NOTE 1:

This week is Independence Day in the US.  That means a great excuse to watch shiny fireworks and eat ice cream.   Happy Birthday, USA!  You’re 237 years old, but still only look 29.

SIDE NOTE 2:

I saw this Infographic For Authors on The Queen Creative, and thought it was fun and worthy of sharing.

SIDE NOTE 3:

Work In Progress Editing Update: 69,000/90,000 Words (about 21 hours)

I am nearing the Epic Conclusion of the book.  That means a lot of action scenes to make sure aren’t repetitive.

SIDE NOTE 4:

As many others have heard, 19 firefighters in Arizona were killed in the line of duty.  Out of respect to them and to their families, here’s a link to a local organization accepting donations to relief to families: 100club.org 

If you can’t afford to donate, I am sure they will accept prayers (regardless of religion or denomination).  Prayers and good thoughts are always free.

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12 thoughts on “Is Human Dignity Worth A Free Pizza?

  1. I learned my lesson in New Zealand. Arrived at one of the two THC hotels at Mt. Cook, only to see the cloud cover seriously ruin the view. First bad weather I’d had on the trip. Groused at the desk clerk while checking in. Put away my luggage, took a walk outside, and then went in and apologized to the clerk. The young woman told me not to worry about it, that she’d dealt with much worse. I’m not sure if that made me feel better or worse.

    • It’s easy to get mad at other people for being rude, but much harder to admit to and apologize for one’s own rudeness.
      I’d rather not meet the people who were ‘much worse.’

  2. I’m so glad that you didn’t berate the manager and express your frustration. I’ve been in situations so similar, and in the end, I’m always glad that I didn’t give into my feelings at the time. Especially if it’s as crazy as it sounds like the little pizza place was.

    I have been rightfully assertive when the employee is texting or lounging around or just generally doesn’t seem to care about if my order/meal is late.

    But in this case, I think you made the managers day less stressful even if she doesn’t know it! Good for you.

  3. I’m glad you didn’t berate them. I think everyone winds up feeling awful (both berator and beratee) I really do believe about the power of, “a million small things” to have an amazing and positive effect. From a business side, If I were the manager, I would let my staff know that if we make a mistake like that, please OFFER the customer a coupon for a free pizza to show that we respect their time, value their business and that we’re sorry for the mishap. Of couse, I wouldn’t have the one kid in front also answering the busy phone….but that’s me. Hope you have a happy 4th and congrats on your soon-to-be epic finale!

    • Yes, I think the real problem was the management, not the specific employee. And, I think it is both the store manager and business owner who are part of the problem. For example, I would have a station at the back of the store or in the back office specifically for phone orders, thus making the front more pleasant for in-person orders and pick-ups.
      Hope your 4th of July is spectacular too!

  4. Good for you for showing restraint! Corporate policies are often totally disconnected from front-line reality, and it is the customer-facing people who often feel the wrath!

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