by Jerry Guarino
The sky was dark blue with
a perigee full moon, filling the sky as Tony
drove his wife and mom from church to the Hofbrau
for their usual Saturday night dinner. He pulled
into the parking lot and stopped at the door.
You guys go ahead. Im gonna get pizza
at Mama Johns. I should be back by 6:30 at
His mom delayed his exit. Can you get me a
medium pizza so I have something for tomorrow?
OK mom and he left for Mama Johns
around the corner. He could make the trip to Totos,
his favorite pizza, but that was five miles up
the road, at least twenty minutes extra and he
had to get back to pick up his wife and mom. It
was already six oclock and there was a show
he wanted to watch that night.
He remembered the Mama Johns carryout
special back at his town. Mama Johns
has the eight-dollar carryout special. Ill
get two for sixteen dollars.
But when he entered the shop, he saw a different
set of pricing. Twelve dollars for a large?
Then he saw the flyer with the specials. Hmm.
Large five topping pizza for $10.50? He
handed the flyer to the boy with the hat on
sideways. I just want a large cheese; cant
I get this price?
Thats just an online price. Its
twelve dollars for a large.
Tony grumbled to himself, sat down with the flyer
and pulled out his iPhone. All right. Ill
go to mamajohns.com and place the order. He
discovered it wasnt that easy. Online pizza
ordering systems want your life story before you
can order. Argh. Name, address, zip code. Ah,
a pop up would you like to use your current
location. Yes. That will save a minute or
two. After that, he was prompted with the
specials. He didnt see the special that was
listed on the flyer.
Tony walked up to the counter and showed his
iPhone to the boy with the sideways cap. Hey,
theres no five topping large pizza on here
for $10.50. The boy looked at Tonys
Oh, you need to use the Mama Johns
app, not the website.
Tony gave the boy a frustrated look. Argh.
He went back to his seat and searched for the app.
Ah, here it is. Free. Install. Pop up. Enter
your Apple ID password. Tony entered his
Apple password and saw an error message. Tony had
been frequently frustrated by Apples
insisting on a password when he tried to install
a free app, download music or even for random,
seemingly mysterious reasons. Damn. What was
that password? He tried another. Same error
message. Damn. He tried another password.
No luck. Tony was starting to lose it. The phone
asked him if he would like to change his password.
Yes. The phone prompted him again. Would
you like to change it by email or by answering
your secret questions? Tony knew the last
time he tried to answer the secret question, he
got it wrong and was in for more frustration. Ill
change it by email. He made his choice. Ping. His
email prompted him to click on the link. When he
did, the page prompted him to put in a new
password. He entered a new password. Sorry,
that password has been used in the last year.
He entered a different password. Sorry, your
password has to include at least one capital
letter. He entered a different password. Sorry,
the password and confirmation do not match.
Please try again. By the time he finished all
this, he had lost the app and had to start over.
Tonys phone made that pinging alert sound,
a text from his wife. Were ready to be
Tony typed back. Its going to be a
His wife texted back. Did you go to Totos?
Argh. Tony texted again. Dont
ask. He returned to his mission.
When Tony finally got back to the app, he noticed
that he had to add his name and address again. Ah,
the pop up would you like to use your
current location. Yes. Tony searched
for the special large pizza with five toppings
for $10.50. Found it.
Finally. I might as well get mom a large too
for this price. What type of crust? Ill get
regular crust for mine and thin crust for mom.
What toppings for the first pizza? OK. Onions,
peppers, mushrooms. Thats all I want. Now
for mom. Thin crust with olives, peppers, onions,
mushrooms and extra cheese. OK, Im done.
But the phone just wasnt cooperating. It
asked him to put in his credit card information.
Tony pulled out his card. Mastercard, not
Visa. Card number. Security code. Am I done now?
Your card does not match your address. He had let
the phone pick the location, which was his moms
town, not where he lived. Argh. Tony
entered his correct address. Another error
message. What is the name on the card? Tony
made the correction. The phone, now clearly in
charge of Tonys sanity burst out another
question. Would you like to add a 2-liter
Pepsi for only a dollar? Tony angrily
entered No and finished the
transaction. But the phone app wouldnt let
Tony get away. Would you like to take a one -minute
survey after ordering? Tony thought he would
lose his mind. He pressed the button for No
and waited. Thank you for your order. Mama
Johns appreciates your business. A
confirmation receipt is ready. Would you like it
emailed to you? Tony pressed the Yes
button. Thank you. Please enter your email
Tony looked up at the ceiling. Why me Lord?
He entered the email address, and waited a few
seconds for the confirmation. Ping. He opened the
email. Mama Johns welcomes you to our
club. Youll be getting special offers and
alerts by phone and email. Your order has been
placed. Please allow 25 minutes for your order to
be ready. Tony looked up at the clock. 7 oclock.
Another text from his wife. Are you OK?
Tony responded. Yes, Ill be there by 7:30.
His wife wanted to know why. What could be
taking so long?
Tony realized he had gone through this nightmare
in order to save $1.50 and decided he couldnt
tell his wife that. Just stay there. Ill
call when I get back there. He ended the
text chat and sat down, closing his eyes and
wondering what he had done to deserve such angst.
Twenty minutes went by. Tony got up to use the
bathroom. On his way, he noticed a woman getting
up to pick up her order.
Thats one large and one medium pizza,
Miss Jones. That comes to $17.42.
Thats just what I wanted! He
couldnt stand the thought of finding out
why and proceeded to the bathroom. A few minutes
later, he returned to the counter to see if his
pizzas were ready.
The boy with the Mama Johns hat on sideways
looked up. Are you in the system?
Tony never heard this expression at a pizza shop.
I hope so realizing it had been over
twenty minutes since completing his order.
The boy looked at his computer screen, then
smiled at Tony.
It says your order is ready and he
turned to pull the two pizzas from the warming
area and handed them to Tony, all paid for.
Tony got in the car and headed back to the
Hofbrau, the two pizzas on the back seat. He was
stopped at a red light and called his wife to
come outside and wait. When the light turned
green, he pressed the accelerator. A motorcycle
raced through the red light in front of him and
he jammed on his brakes, missing the motorcycle
After his heart rate returned to normal, he
pulled into the parking lot for the Hofbrau. He
looked behind him to see one of the pizzas
splattered out over the floor and the other pizza
sitting harmlessly on top with the box lid still
closed. That was his moms pizza.
Like I said, it was a really big full moon.