Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pizza Pirates

My two younger boys and I decided to kidnap Daddy for lunch today. We looked in our super-duper coupon book for a deal and we settled on a trip to the local pizza buffet. The free adult entree with purchase of one entree seemed like a good deal.

We walked into the pizza buffet and were immediately greeted by a swashbuckling team of managers. We have visited this restaurant before but have never seen this many people working at once. They reminded me of a merry band of pirates, each one chanting corporate songs and wielding pizza pies as if on cue. It was surreal and a bit unnerving.

The manager who rang in our order looked at my coupon and sighed. He then tallied up my total. "That will be $17.67" he said.

I looked at the total and it seemed a bit high. "I'm sorry, did you take off the coupon?"

"Oh yes" he assured. "You just have to buy drinks when you use this coupon."

My foggy-Mommy brain could not do the computation as I wielded my own toddler, 4-year-old, and bottle of hand sanitizer to the nearest table. A table that proved too close to the actual buffet and too close to the merry band of pizza pirates who were waiting to address our every pizza need. They continued to chant songs, call out cues, and flit about as if pants were afire. I get indigestion just thinking about it.

My hubby soon pointed out Captain Corporate Pizza in the blue oxford shirt with the logo on his pocket. He was commanding the other workers about and striking fear in the hearts of any general manager in his path. I think this fear may be the cause of our being overcharged. I looked at my receipt and realized the nervous general manager had overcharged us by $5. I went back up to get what would likely become my Starbucks money.

We marveled at how one man, Captain Corporate, could set such a terrible tone for the entire restaurant. His brute management style and employee scare tactics had cost us an enjoyable meal, but watching the pizza pirates in action was somehow mildly amusing. Sort of like watching a reality TV show that you know is bad, but your just to weak to look away.

We walked out of the restaurant and as we were buckling up our little dumplings, the general manager walked out of the exit door and yelled over to our car and waved to us. "Good to see you folks, come back soon!" He never stopped walking and went straight back into the entrance door like a cuckoo clock chiming the demise of a pleasant meal. I think he knew we had witnessed a siege and his band of pizza pirates were not so much merry as mired in corporate menace. It is a shame that some believe these tactics an effective way to motivate employees. It certainly does not motivate digestion.