Saturday, 6 March 2010

A Herculean Task: My Quest for a Pizza

Image: Hercules Crowned While Eating Pizza

For years I used to frequent my local Eagle Boys pizza shop for two reasons. The first reason was their Express Pizza. Let me explain, between 5.30pm and 8.30pm every evening they used to cook a small range of pizzas and have them hot and ready so that you could walk in and straight out with these pizzas. If for some reason you had to wait longer than 2 minutes to get one you would be given a voucher for a free pizza next time. The second reason was that they were cheap, at least $3-4 cheaper. It was a win-win-win for me, pizza that was quick, cheap or free. It was great I could pick them up on my way home, the boys and I could enjoy our favourite meal and Mummy didn’t have to cook.

But those days are long gone now (sigh) and I can still remember that fateful day when Eagle Boys started the long slide into oblivion. I was waiting to be served when I heard the manager lose his temper, he started berating the workers. “Get off your lazy butts and start working, there are people to be served, you’re not being paid to sit out the back and socialise!” I remember it so clearly because it was uncharacteristic of this manger to lose his temper in the shop. After a while a surly youth slouched out and asked me what I wanted. I had to wait for the Express pizza and he didn’t even apologise for the wait or give me my free voucher, he very much didn’t want to be there.

After that the manager soon disappeared and no one seemed to be in charge and worse still the Express Pizza cabinet was always empty. I tried several times buying pizza there but the service became slow and un-helpful.

By now my boys had developed a taste for pizza the only alternatives were Pizza Hut and Dominos, both charged the same for pizza but I preferred the taste of Pizza Hut. Whichever choice we made the required amount soon started costing me more than our tight budget could afford.

This worked out for several months (or 3 visits) until Pizza Hut closed for renovations. Soon the phrase ‘Can you bring home Pizza’ became a curse for me. I felt like Hercules being asked to slay the Nemean lion. My arrows (requests for service) just bounced of the hides of the employees, who eventually took my money but sneered at me in distain for smiling at them.

The worst day of my quest for a pizza could be compared to Hercules fifth task, cleaning the Augean stables in a single day. Time was short, the boys needed to be feed, bathed and in bed by 7.30pm so that I could then attend an important meeting. Of course that was the day I was delayed and had to stay back at work longer than I had anticipated. I had forgotten that the Pizza Hut was closed and was turning into the driveway when I saw the closed for renovation sign (tick), my brain chose the old spot, I would have to go to Eagle Boys (tock). I arrived at an empty shop and to my dismay saw that the Express Pizza cabinet was empty again (tick). I would just have to wait for it (tock). I still had some time left. I stood at the counter for what seemed like an eternity listening to the humming of the fluorescent lights (tick). Maybe the shop wasn’t open yet? No the door was open and upon checking the times they had been open since lunch. Where is everyone? (tock) By this time another customer had arrived and took their place in line behind me (tick). I looked around for any sign of employees, maybe they hadn’t heard me walk in? (tock) No another customer had just walked in and a buzzer sounded behind the counter to announce her arrival. All three of us stood there for a while in silence pulling faced at each other and shrugging shoulders (tick), the guy behind me is now reading the trading hours as well (tock). Is there a bell I can ring to let the Pizza people know I want a pizza? No (tick). Ok well time to be forward and announce my own presence ‘Hello anyone there?’ (tock) No answer (tick tock). I turned around thinking furiously what to do next? (tick tock) Well there was a third choice close by, Dominos (tick tock). Still no one coming to serve me, I looked at the people behind me and said in a loud enough voice ‘Well if they don’t want my money I’m going to Dominos’ (tick tock). One person laughed, the other avoided eye contact, I walked out (tick tock).

Down the road Domino’s was full, people where spilling out the door there wasn’t enough room for all the customers (tick panic tock). I walked in and the first thing which hit me was the smell of rancid meat, my stomach churned. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and blame ‘that guy over there’ for the smell. The girl who took my order was prompt and courteous (tick) and told me the wait was only 7 minutes. I have time to quickly visit the video store next door and see what new releases there are. Seven minutes later I arrive and ‘that guy over there’ is no longer in the store but the smell still is.  I hope I don’t get food poisoning (tock). I walk up to the counter and must have suddenly become invisible, no one wants to serve me, and they are all busy... looking busy, the girl who served me is no longer there (tick). Finally I catch someone’s eye. ‘No not ready yet, 4 more minutes’ (tick tock). Someone calls out my name and I wave at them, they place my order behind the counter turn around and disapparated (maybe they were heading back to Hogwarts). Someone else decides to ‘see’ me and I tell her who I am and want to pick up my order, it soon becomes obvious she can’t spell, but is asking me how I spell my name. I point to the order sitting behind the counter with my name on it. (tick tock tick tock!) ‘Oh that’s a funny way of spelling it’ she remarks and has a giggle. Yay I’ve have brighten someone else’s day with my name. “How much do I owe you?” I ask taking the EFTPOS machine which cheerfully chirps and a message is displayed ‘Funds Unavailable’ (TICK TOCK TICK TOCK!)

Eventually I was able to pay for the pizza but didn’t enjoy it, it was too cold and rubbery by the time I got it home, but then again that how all my Domino’s pizzas have been.

This story does have a happy ending. Since then I have discovered that if I order a pizza online at the Pizza Hut website they are cheaper than they are if you walk in an order them. The time it takes for them to receive my order and bake it is the same amount of time it takes for me to drive from work to the shop on my way home. So it is as easy as picking up a pizza on the way home again and the staff there is pleasant as well. Bonus.

Thank you for saving pizza for me Pizza Hut.


  1. That certainly has proven a Herculean task to obtain dinner. Crazy silly how Eagle Boys standards have slipped. May Pizza Hut continue to meet your needs :)

  2. I haven't tried them, but my sister says Pizza Capers is fantastic and they are opening here on Tuesday. I am looking forward to trying them out.

  3. My favorite pizza ever was from a company called God Fathers Pizza. They were gone for years then came back just before the American economy crashed. They didn't weather the crash and my favorite pizza is gone again. Pizza Hut is a good second choice though.

    I love the tick, tock throughout the post you are such a fun writer.

  4. It is often hard to find a good pizza around here too. That express place sounded awesome. Our Dominoes shut down after a bug was found my a customer...a bug... in their pizza. Cooked in it. Yikes!

  5. I was going to say too that we have a place like that where no one wants to wait on you...they'd rather talk to each other and hit on their co-workers and they'll look at you standing there but will go back to talking...whatever that is about.

  6. You can do the same thing with Dominos (order online then pick up in 15 minutes). I love Dominos pizza :) Although I have never really had a preference between any of the pizza shops (except we never really got Eagle Boys). We have a Dominos right down the road and have done the whole "order at work pick up on the way home" thing and have never had to wait. Plus you can get shop-a-dockets online and use the promo codes to get cheaper pizza!

    Also Jako Schwartz's brother is the new manager at Eagle Boys and Jako works there too :)

  7. Not a great day!
    We (obviously) don't get take away pizza very often - our "quick" pizza meal (usually Sat nights) is homemade & it actually takes longer than most meals I cook as I make my own bases.
    Reading about the pizza makes me hungry - I think I'd better go & get breakfast.
    Have a good day
    Renata :)


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