A pizza delivery arrived. The kid looked freshly stoned, and from the aroma coming from his clothing I assumed the inside of his car was still a bit foggy. “Hey.” he said, stopping at my desk.
“How can I help you?” I asked.
“I have a delivery for you.”
“I didn’t order anything.”
He looked confused, and he pulled out the order slip to show me.
“It says to deliver the pizza to this hotel.”
“Yes, it does. If you look closely, you will see a room number is written on the slip. You can go ahead and bring it to the room.”
“I need to get the money for it, though. It’s not prepaid.”
“I’m sure they will pay you when you go up there.”
“I have to go up there?”
“That is how this usually works. I can call the room to let them know you have arrived. Head on up, and I will call them for you.”
The kid seemed unsure of himself, but then again, he was completely baked. He got on the elevator, and I called the room.
“Who is this?” Asked the guest. He sounded defensive.
“Hello, this is the front desk. I’m just letting you know that the pizza you ordered is being delivered to your room.”
“Cool… You paid the guy, right?”
“Well, you can just put it on my tab.” He said, and hung up.
I can assure you, I had no intention of paying for that pizza. The kid returned empty-handed. He approached the desk, and stood there, staring at me.
“Are you all set?” I asked.
“I still need fifteen dollars for the pizza… and a tip.”
“He didn’t pay you?”
“He told me he left cash for me, with you.”
After I laughed, I said…
“He told you that your money was at the desk, and you gave him the pizza?”
“You gave him the pizza without taking his payment, and you let him shut the door. Is that, right?”
He said that in the most stoner way possible. It was one part confusion, and one part realization that he is an idiot.
“You just gave away a pizza.”
“No… I need to get paid for it. I can’t not get paid for it.”
“You actually believed him when he told you I had his cash?
“That’s what he said.”
“You can feel free to knock on his door again, and try to get your money from him, but I am not paying you anything.”
“But, the guy said you have the money…”
“Sorry, guy, but he lied to you, and you fell for it. He scammed you for a free pizza.”
“But, he said he left you the cash.”
“Again, sorry, but he lied.”
“Someone has to pay for it.”
“How much money do you have on you?”
“That isn’t your business.”
“Sure, that’s true. I’m just guessing, since someone has to pay for the pizza, and you are the one who handed it to the guy, without taking the payment, you will be paying for the pizza.”
His brain was trying to catch up with the reality of the situation.
“That’s right. You, sir, just found yourself floating on down shit creek without a paddle. Next time, make sure you take the money before you hand over the pizza.”
The kid left. I watched him light a blunt as he drove around the parking lot. The kid never left the property, he just drove in circles. A few minutes later I received a call from the pizza shop.
“Hi, we just delivered a pizza to your hotel. Is this the manager?”
“Hello, and yes. Your delivery person is doing laps around my parking lot.”
“He said you took the pizza from him, but refused to pay.”
“Are we going to have a problem?”
“Your problem is, you hired a dumb-ass. Your delivery boy took the pizza to the guest’s room, and chose to believe the guy when he told him I would pay for the delivery. I am not responsible for paying for food that guests refuse to pay for. If you want, I can transfer you to his room.”
I didn’t wait for an answer. I transferred the call, and hung up.
This isn’t the first time someone tried pulling this scam while I was working. My phone rang again, but this time it was the guest who stole the pizza.
“I would like you to block calls to my room, please.”
“I can make sure not to transfer any calls to your room. Is everything alright?”
“I just want peace and quiet, is all.”
“So, you got squared away with the pizza place.”
“It’s all good. Have a good night.”
He hung up. Ten minutes later, a guy wearing a greasy, stained t-shirt with a pizza logo, walked in.
“I need to speak to the manager.”
“What can I do for you?”
He slapped a hand-written bill on the counter.
“You can make this right.”
“We still haven’t been paid for the pizza,”
“That is not my problem. Feel free to knock on his door if you want. You can’t seriously believe you can hold me accountable for this.”
“Which way to his room?”
I pointed the way to the elevator. He stared at me for a moment, then continued…
“What’s the room number.”
“Oh, sorry, I can’t give that information away. Privacy rules. You should already have the room number handy from when he placed his order. Good luck, and please be quiet in the hallway.”
“Would you just give me the room number?”
“I don’t have the original ticket.”
“Go ask the burnout you sent here. Better yet, just take it out of his pay. Either way, if you think you can convince me to pay you for that kids’ poor choices, you are way more stoned than he is”.
Greasy-shirt-guy, stared at me. He was looking mean. It reminded me of when I was a kid, and I would watch wrestling on television. If the Undertaker was shorter, fatter, and smelled like a deep fryer, that guy would be spot-on.
“I just made a decision. We won’t be doing business with this hotel anymore.”
“You aren’t doing business with us, right now. You are doing business with our guests, who we are not responsible for if they choose to rip you off. Tell your delivery dork to make sure he gets the money. Did that thought, cross your mind?”
“Okay, listen. My shop is closed for the day. I want to go home. I’m not leaving until I get paid.”
“It’s funny how often I hear those exact words, here. Are you going to threaten to call your pimp, next? If your freshly-baked driver can afford the blunt that he has been sucking on, he can afford the fifteen-dollars to cover the cost of the pizza.”
He stood still for half a moment, then put his hands up to his face.
“Shit.” He said.
“He’s your nephew, or something, isn’t he?”
“So… are we done here?”
The guest who ordered the pizza entered the lobby.
“Do you have any extra plates?” He asked.
“We sure do. You can get them from the dining room. Do you need plates for that pizza you just had delivered?”
Greasy-shirt-guy lifted his head, and locked his eyes on the guest.
“You owe me fifteen-dollars!”
The guest had that deer in the headlights expression on his face.
“I thought he put it on my room account.” He said, pointing at me.
“No.” I said. “You have to pay for your pizza, but, you already knew that.”
“I don’t have any money on me.”
“We can walk back to your room, together, and you can get your wallet.” Said the pizza-guy.
“I don’t have cash, like, at all.”
“We have an ATM, right here.” I said.
The guest took a moment, then, he walked to the ATM. He struggled to get his card in the slot; his hands were shaking. Moments later, a twenty-dollar bill appeared. The guest handed over the bill, and the pizza-guy walked away with it.
“What about my change?”
The pizza-guy held up his middle finger as he walked away. “Tip.” He said.
“You can’t, not tip.” I said.