Last weekend after coming home from camping and spending the next five hours in a unending stream of necessary chores (popping the camper back up to dry out, draping our blankets and sleeping bags over the patio furniture for the same reason, taking a blissful post-camping shower, doing a quick clean of the house to keep up with the pretense that we’re not being held hostage by a thin layer of cat hair, and doing a grocery/Target run), we decided to call in for a pizza for dinner.
I dialed the number and was immediately asked if I could hold. After five minutes, I hung up. I mean, I have my expectations, you know? I call, the phone rings, someone answers in a reasonable amount of time, I order, and someone brings me pizza and wings directly to my doorstep. That’s how it works, right? Only Jason was shocked: “Why did you do that? Now we’ll be at the end of the queue!”
So I called back and was once again put on hold. After another few minutes I finally got to place my order and asked how long delivery would take: “More than an hour.”
Since my blood sugar levels were at an all-time low and I was quickly approaching Hangry Territory, I said, “OK, I’ll come pick it up.”
At this point I was starving and had been on my feet nearly all day cleaning or running errands or whatever, and basically I just wanted some damn pizza.
When I walked into the pizza place, the lone guy there greeted me with, “I tried to call you. We’re out of traditional wings. Do you want boneless instead?”
Now wings are pretty much my favorite food ever and the boneless ones tend to irritate me with their pseudo-wingness. But the guy looked harried and he had attempted to call me to alert me to the situation, so I said that would be fine and sat back to wait the required 10 minutes before they were ready.
And then, as minorly annoyed as I was (fueled mostly by my raging hunger), I felt my annoyance immediately dissipate because it was obvious that someone had called in sick and this employee was doing all he could to stay alive. The phone kept ringing, the ovens kept beep-beep-beeping, and delivery drivers kept coming in and asking questions about their next destination.
And this employee was doing his damnedest to keep up: taking orders, pulling out fresh pizzas and cutting them, sending the drivers out on their assignments. (“And don’t forget to swing by the BP location to pick up some wings!”)
An elderly gentleman then came in to pick up his pizza and after waiting barely two seconds for the employee to notice him, he snapped, “Where’s my pizza?”
The employee looked everywhere while the old guy literally tapped his foot in impatience before he realized a driver must’ve grabbed it by mistake. “I’m so sorry, sir. One of our drivers accidentally took it. I’ll make you a free one, and it’ll take just 10 minutes.”
At that, the guy turned to me, rolled his eyes, said, “You BELIEVE this?” and stormed out, slamming the door as hard as he could.
The employee shrugged his shoulders in a “Whaddya gonna do?” gesture and got back to work. The phone was still ringing, the ovens were still beeping, and drivers were still filing in and out, part of a chaotic assembly line missing some parts but still getting the job done.
When my (boneless) wings were done, the employee handed them to me and as he searched for some containers of ranch dressing, he turned to me, stricken. “Oh, God. I’m so sorry. We’re out of ranch.”
“You know what?” I told him. “That’s OK. It doesn’t matter.”
Because it really didn’t.