Trying to get a free pizza

When I was a teenager, Domino’s pizza had this special going on. It was something like Mondays (or was it Friday’s?) you could get a large pizza for 6 bucks or something like that. It was substantially cheaper than the rest of the week, and since it was easy, my mom was all for it . (mom and dad were divorced, so it was just mom, my brother and I). It became our Monday (or Fri?) thing. When the delivery guy rang the doorbell, we all used to sigh and argue about who would get off their ass and answer the door to retrieve the pizza. One day, inexplicably, I volunteered. My mom handed me a check, written out for eight dollars. ‘oh my god’, I thought, ‘my mom doesn’t know the pizza only costs six dollars!’.. At the time, I did not understand the concept of tipping outside of a sit-in restaurant.

So I take the pizza, hand the guy the check, and he starts to walk off with it. “Hey, wait!” I said – ” You owe me two dollars”. The guy looked kind of confused, but then ,weirdly, came back with a sigh and gave me change.

Naturally, I became a huge fan of answering the door Monday nights. Unbelievably, every time this would play out the same way, and I would collect two dollars. (which believe me, when you are 14 or so is like winning a small weekly lottery). After about a year of weekly deliveries, a new guy finally arrived and told me to fuck right off, that was his tip…. I swear to god I didn’t know until then. And yes, I did change my behavior accordingly

But that is all foreshadowing.

At some point, my mom decided she needed to go somewhere for a couple of nights, and left my brother and I alone in the house. Obviously, we were completely delighted to hold down the fort unsupervised. This night, My friend Judi, and I’m pretty sure Kim, came over to spend the night, and my brother was off somewhere doing his own thing, which I am sure was equally questionable in the long run.

We girls sat around and did whatever we did at the time, and at some point we got hungry. We couldn’t agree on anything, and in our opinions the cupboards were bare and my mom should have been turned in to child services (TOTALLY kidding about that, but we did joke about it). We all dreamed of pizza. That we could agree on.

My friend Michelle, who was a complete force of nature and one of the most funny and daring people I have ever known (sadly, she is no longer with us – but god, she was so great), had recently told us a story about how she got a free pizza. Her mom worked the graveyard shift at a 24 hour diner type place, so Michelle was always home alone at night. She said she called up a pizza place, ordered one, and then when the guy came to deliver it answered the door in a complete fog like she had just woken up. Then when the delivery guy got confused, she acted like it must have been a prank call, because she didn’t order it…..but at the same time, man, it sure smelled good. How much was it? The guy told her the price, she said “oh, that’s too bad, all I have on me is a dollar”. And as the legend goes, he just gave her the pizza for free because he would have to get rid of it anyhow.

As an adult, I tend to strongly disbelieve this story. I think she was totally lying and made the whole thing up. But the beauty of Michelle was, it’s just as easy to believe that she pulled off this stunt. She had none of the teenage nervousness we all did, she was beyond her years, and god dammit, people liked her! So it is entirely possible.

In our case though, we thought about what Michelle said, and it seemed like a completely realistic probability, so we called One of the finest pizza places in town and dispatched them to my house. We all waited nervously. It was dark out, but in reality probably only about 8pm. But being alone, this took on a sinister vibe. The front entrance had a hallway and a door off to each side. When the doorbell rang, we were all stationed in position. Somehow I was elected to answer the door, Judi stood off to the side out of view with my brother’s machete, and Kim had a baseball bat or something on the opposite side.

In hindsight, it’s so stupid (I mean, on a lot of levels) , but seriously, at 8pm a teenage girl answers the door of a home as if she owns it and nobody else is around, acts completely out of it like she has been in a year long slumber, and then tries to haggle over the price of a pizza after insisting some kind of stalker must have ordered it instead? I’m sure I also completely overacted this and gave the whole thing away.

The first guy was very nonchalant and cool about it. “whatever, shit happens, probably a prank caller, I’ll just take it back.” I tried to throw in a McDonalds Christmas Collectors drinking tumbler to sweeten the deal, but he was fine taking the pizza back instead.

We called about three other places. Each time the machete got lowered in frustration and we walked away dejected and hungry. None of these delivery guys gave a shit.

We had run out of the good pizza places, and at this point had been at this for a couple of hours. I said ” I guess we can try Domino’s”. Though since I ate their pizza every week that was my last pick. But whatever, let’s do it.

I called them up. They asked for my phone number. When I gave it to them, they said “Oh, is this Tanya?” ….. “WHAT? How do you KNOW that?”…. “You order pizza from us every week. we will be by in half an hour. We already know your address.

This had never dawned on me. Not that they had that technology, but that they would even remember their customers at all. (but of COURSE they did, I was the asshole who always stole their tip! – even though at the time I had no idea I was doing that – I thought I was simply robbing my mother) shit. This plan was not going to work now. They knew exactly who I was.

We then spent the next 30 minutes ransacking my house ( my mom’s room and clothing pockets) trying to scrounge up the correct amount of money to pay for the pizza in full. We did finally get enough, but just by a hair. I can assure you we did not tip.

Later, after eating that delicious pizza, we called them and said that the cheese was stuck to the roof of the box and the slices were not cut through. We made a big deal about it, and had the phone handed off to a manager (Honestly, that WAS true, but not enough to lose your shit over) They offered a credit for a free pizza for being as terrible as we accused it of being.

So in the end, we did get a free pizza, just delayed.

But…. I think back on my relationship with Domino’s, and I cannot IMAGINE how many pizzas were delivered to my house freshly spit upon or worse ( Oh my god, I don’t even want to know I’m pretending semen doesn’t exist now). So, they probably got their revenge on me many times over. And my brother and mother as well!

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