As we both know, today was not the first time you’ve ordered pizza for some office occasion or other. You’ve been doing it for years. As someone who’s never ordered pizza for the office, perhaps I’m a bit out of my jurisdiction to give you pointers on how to perform this important task, so forgive me in advance. However, I feel that there are several basic concepts about ordering pizza for a large office that, despite your extensive experience in the matter, you’re still failing to grasp.

First of all, people like pizza. People especially like free pizza. Please take this into consideration when determining what quantity of pizza to order. Do you notice how people swarm into the conference room at the mere announcement that the pizza has arrived, literally trampling over each other to get their grubby, jutting hands on those big greasy cardboard boxes? And how people come away from the conference room with far more than they actually intend to eat, their paper plates drooping from the weight of whatever haul they managed to make? That’s because we all know that your inability to correctly calculate how much to order makes shortages a virtual certainty. We’ve all felt the sorrow of being the guy who didn’t get to the pizza party on time and came away empty handed. You’ll witness all these same behaviors at U.N. food distributions in Namibia — the eagerness, the primal brother-against-brother bullying, the sad, famished sorrow of the weak and the slow. It’s human nature. The only way to change it is to order more food.

Secondly, while I appreciate how you order a diversity of toppings and I understand that this is your attempt to please everyone, you should realize that in actuality, you are pleasing no one. Pineapple pizza is quite an acquired taste, enjoyed by an elite few. That’s why the pineapple pie is always the last one to be touched. Yet time and again, we can count on you ordering a pizza covered in that pungent tropical fruit, in stubborn defiance of the obvious.

Conversely, other toppings are quite popular. Do you notice how quickly the BBQ Chicken pizza disappears? Perhaps you could order two of them next time, or, better yet, five. Why there were two mushroom pizzas today, I’ll never know. Sure, some people like mushrooms, but nobody really seeks them out on anything. We just kind of tolerate them when we happen to find them in our food. And if anyone really is that fond of them, they can get them on the vegetarian pizza, which also contains ample mushrooms. Do we need three pizzas with mushrooms? Am I unaware of a recent surge in popularity for this fungal foodstuff? For people like me who are not particularly fond of mushrooms, we find ourselves instantly shut out of three entire pizzas, and, unless we arrive within the first nine seconds and the gods see fit to bestow upon us a sacred BBQ chicken slice, our options are severely limited.

Here’s a suggestion: maybe next time, you could order a plain pizza. You know who eats plain pizzas? Everyone. Sure, some people prefer to have toppings, but in the absence of toppings, they’ll make do with plain. And for people who don’t like toppings at all, plain is pretty much the only option, isn’t it? If you order only pizzas with toppings (and you do), I pity the person who enjoys his or her pizza plain. Might I suggest buying a couple of plain pizzas as backups? Maybe you’re worried that people will find plain to be a bit bland or unexciting. Maybe you’re trying to get pizzas that are “edgy” and “hip” or that “test through the roof” with the “MTV generation”. But this is really a case of knowing your audience. We’re not hip, we’re not Hawaiian, and we’re not a bunch of truffle-sniffing pigs. So skip the pineapple, halve the mushroom order and serve up some plain pies already. Trust me, plain’s a perfectly respectable pizza and we won’t think any less of you for ordering it. And if anyone doesn’t like it, then they can just shut their lousy trap as far as I’m concerned.

After all, it’s free pizza. It’s not like anyone has any right to complain.

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