How Much Would You Pay for This Pizza?

I have a story for you with all sorts of twists and turns, but first I’d like you to look at this pizza and decide how much you would pay for it.

On Saturday morning I went to the local farmer’s market with Megan. While waiting in line for coffee, the smell of delicious pizza drifted over to me, and I decided to pick up a personal pie for lunch.

The pizza stand offered marinara and margherita, and I can never remember the difference between the two. Fortunately, I spotted a pizza sitting on top of one of the ovens, so when it was my turn in line, I pointed at that pizza and said, “I’d love to have that pizza–it looks amazing!”

The cashier smiled and told me that pizza wasn’t for sale. It was a pizza they made for another customer, but the pizzeria had burned it.

I hadn’t intended to literally buy that specific pizza, but now my thoughts shifted: They were probably going to throw out that pizza even though it looked perfectly fine to me. I don’t like wasting food, and a part of me was excited that I wouldn’t need to wait for the pizza to bake.

So I told the people at the stand that I would gladly buy the pizza. This began a back-and-forth discussion (no one else was in line behind me) that includes in no particular order:

  • The pizzeria telling me that I didn’t want that pizza because it was burnt, and me telling the pizzeria that it looked fine.
  • The pizzeria saying that if I liked burned pizza, they would gladly make one for me.
  • Me clarifying that they were going to throw away the pizza and emphasizing that I would gladly “take one for the team” and prevent delicious-looking food from being thrown away.
  • The cashier looking back at her coworkers as if to say, “I don’t know what to do with this guy.”
  • The pizzeria saying that the pizza had been sitting around for a while (my guess was 10 minutes) and that it was cold, but I told them I was taking it home and would reheat it.

The pizzeria finally relented and saying they would give me the pizza for free. But I wasn’t there to get a free pizza–I truly like to support the local businesses at the farmer’s market, so I said I would only take it if they let me pay for it.

At this point I suspected that they were fine getting rid of the pizza and they were also done talking to me about this specific pizza. So I didn’t push the point about paying, as I typically pay with a credit card at the market.

They boxed up the pizza–the pizza you see here–and gave it to me. I realized that I had a $5 on hand, so I made things even more awkward by sliding it across the counter and saying, “I’ll just leave this here,” to which Megan (who at this point had distanced significantly from me) said, “The tip jar is right next to you!” (I overlooked it).

I’m happy to report that the pizza was absolutely delicious. Yes, some of the crust was too burnt to eat, but it was 5% of the pizza at most. It was very close to being worth the full $16 listed price on the menu.

Having worked in a restaurant years ago, I genuinely try not to be an annoying customer. Despite my best intentions, I think I toed the line here. I plan to revisit the pizza stand this week to order a fresh pizza like a normal human, pay full price, and tip in such a way that covers last weekend’s pizza cost.

What do you think about this ridiculous encounter? What dollar amount did you choose at the beginning of the post?

2 thoughts on “How Much Would You Pay for This Pizza?”

  1. Haha.. it’s interesting how my opinion of how much I’d pay changed over the course of the story. In the beginning I thought you were served that pizza and were being asked to pay full price. I thought to myself, “I would probably be upset enough to complain and ask for a new pizza. There’s no way I’d pay full price and the most I would be willing to pay is $5.” As the story went on, I decided that I would happily pay up to 50% of the original cost of the pizza.


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