It’s safe to say that I’m a
fat guy pizza aficionado. Papa John’s is my favorite among the chain pizza “restaurants.” In fact, placing a Sunday order to PJ’s is an almost-weekly ritual during football season. Put simply, I’m a frequent customer.
Even if I had taken several days off from going to the gym, even if I had noticed a little more roundness in my face, even if I had eaten pizza at work earlier in the week, none of those fact patterns would have enough negative momentum to shame me into refraining from obtaining a pie (or two) if the mood struck me.
That’s why it’s so remarkable that I recently found myself on to the Papa John’s website, my belly empty and my head full—full of mozzarella-covered visions of gluttony, that is—and wound up logging off in disgust without ordering anything.
What could cause such a strange—some might say “sane”—reaction?
Nothing short of a staggering blunder by the good folks at this fine pizzeria.
You see, dear reader, Papa John’s has a promotional program in which the customer accrues “Papa Points.” It’s a simple concept. One earns points for every purchase he makes, and, once the customer has 25 points, he is entitled to a free large pizza. I’ve been “enrolled” in this program for about two years.
The Papa John’s website previously only provided the current balance of Papa Points, indicating the amount of progress I had made toward my next complimentary step towards obesity. Sadly, the information provided on the account screen has changed. Take a look:
Note two things. First, Papa John’s now explicitly provides the formula by which points are earned. It’s right there in front of you: The customer gets a point for every $5 spent. While I’m quite certain this information was always available somewhere on the website, it was heretofore safely and conveniently buried beneath a mountain of terms and conditions, allowing an air of rationalization-friendly mystery to cloud the customer’s judgment.
This alone would not be so damning. But Papa John’s compounds this egregious error with an exponentially worse mistake: Listing “lifetime points earned.”
You’ll notice that my total is 176. One hundred and seventy-six.
That’s 176 in two years. The long and short of it is that I spent something like $440 per year on Papa John’s pizza.
Not $440 on pizza. $440 on Papa John’s pizza.
The implications of this are instantly disheartening to say the least. Perhaps literally, since my coronary arteries are probably lousy with plaque. Hence the aborted order.
My humble suggestion to Papa John’s would be either to abandon this horrible practice or to carry it fully to its logical conclusion. For example, they could list the amount of weight a customer had gained as a result of their cumulative orders. Or, perhaps they could tally the number of female encounters I’ve forfeited thanks to the added calories from their delicious food products.
Maybe they could do something even more “on the nose” in lieu of telling me my all-time Papa Points, like listing the days by which my lifespan had been shortened. You know what? Nuts to that. Just put a picture of an increasingly-decomposing corpse next to the order screen, with the caption “YOU, IN TEN YEARS” underneath.
As you can tell, this incident had a weighty impact on my entire mindset about pizza delivery. It was so profound, in fact, that I waited four days after my initial hankering until I finally ordered pizza again.
Bringing my lifetime total to 180 Papa Points.