Having the Friday evening ‘go out’ jitters during this virus pandemic had my wife and I making a date to leave the house, pick up a take-out calzone, and grab a couple of tubs of ice-cream on the way back home to watch more television while we enjoy our take-out dinner date. I say “watch television” because all of our house arrest entertainment (e. g. movies, news, more movies, more news) comes from that flat screen device. “So let’s watch another movie”. Great! And yes, we have been doing other things as well.
Originally desiring that our calzone come from a known local pizza place just up the road a piece, had us searching their menu to see the topping my wife called out first, “ricotta”, missing from the menu. I had used Yelp (yes, I hate to admit it) to locate another pizza place that we had been to before, but had yet to try their calzone. Thinking the restaurant’s location was just about 8 miles away, and having to order take-out or delivery during this ‘social distancing’ time, we decided to look at the menu link provided by Yelp. We noticed that Flippin’ Pizza has ricotta in their calzones as one of the main cheese ingredients. I also know that Flippin’ Pizza has some of the better flavored garlic knots that most closely resembles mine. So the wife and I decide we are going to order ahead of time and just swing through and pick it all up. I guess that’s where the problems began.
I have blasted Yelp for years for being filled with too many reviews from people that don’t have any reason, or in some cases knowledge, to be reviewing. In Yelp I find myself having to read many reviews to get an overall picture; basically to throw out the 5 Star “THIS PLACE IS FANTASTIC” reviews and the “DON’T EAT HERE” negativity of some goth 13 year old. But I have come to realize that Yelp does provide a good ‘at your fingertips’ service for information to the user. Within just a click or two I am reading a menu, checking business hours, seeing if they have a full bar and their health scores. I began to take notice of Yelp as a good resource for information that is quick, somewhat reliable and easy to get to when they started posting health scores of restaurants; but then again, I must’ve been using them before to have noticed.
Continuing with our desire to ‘call-in’ our order; the wife’s “Did you call it in yet?”, had me quickly answering questions as I was (again in a few clicks) about to order on line without realizing I was ordering. I had said to my wife, “hold on, I think I’m already ordering on line”. Within a couple more clicks I had paid for my order, was given my order number and told how long the order would take (~45 minutes). I was kinda impressed, but totally unaware that I was inside of Yelps internal ordering system, which I believe may be handled by another third party vendor (e.g. Grub Hub).
We got rather distracted on our venture to retrieve our pizza from a franchise location about 8 miles from our house, only to find out that location had closed. We didn’t use the mapping service from Yelp, because we thought we knew where we were supposed to be going to get our food. 20 minutes later had us looking through a strip-mall parking lot for the right location. Simultaneously I was back again searching Yelp for my order to find out the location I had ordered from . . . another twenty minutes away.
So now our order should be getting completed or just recently completed as I approach the Flippin’ Pizza location called out by Yelp. I make my way through several people . . . about 6’ away from each other; outside as well, but several inside of the parlor waiting to order, or receive their order.
I approach the counter and begin to recall my order with the somewhat new cashier. As she fumbled for about a good solid 12 minutes trying to find my order by another name, a phone number, type of credit card; who knows what? The line behind me is now out the door . . . everyone still 6’ apart. I finally ask the cashier to just walk over to the oven area and see if any of the orders are for a calzone. If so, is the name “CritDicks” attached to it. For some reason I thought it odd when ordering, the name on the account was “CritDicks”. Ah, that should have told me that I was within the Yelp system; and the cashier was telling me they don’t have my order. Hell, a whole new order could have started 12 minutes ago and I wouldn’t be that far behind.
Finally the owner or manager, or pizza Chef . . . could’ve been any one of them, comes from the oven area and tells me that they haven’t been getting the Yelp orders. Just then another customer comes up from behind . . . still 6’ away, and says he has the same problem with Yelp, as another guy steps up next to me and has a beer poured for him. So a bit more of my conversation at the counter with another associate has me asking if I can order a beer as well while they get my order. He hands me my beer and says, “it’s on Yelp”.
I took my beer and walked outside to an empty patio thinking that ‘’ now ‘’ I get to wait for my calzone to be made. So that’s 40 minutes that I should have had my order in hand, and now heading to get some ice cream; but instead I have another twenty minutes getting my order actually built and another twenty minutes waiting for it to now to be given to me.
That was a fast beer; oh yeah, I finished it ‘cause the wife was driving. So I’m into this pizza Friday date for about 2 hours so far and had two beers (shhh, had one at home before we left) and no pizza. Not a bad date so far.
We finally got home after stopping to pick up some ice cream. Finally time to re-heat our calzone and knots in the toaster oven. The garlic knots came out delicious as were anticipated. The calzone should’ve been turned upside down on the pan in the oven, to crisp the bottom layer that had moistened by sitting on the foil inside the small pizza box. The calzone was created from a 12” pizza dough and was less in size than most we purchase. The flavorings were good and the left-over calzone toasts up nicely. It had plenty of ricotta.
So if Yelp didn’t ‘help’ Flippin’ Pizza out tonight in a time of social distancing-encounters, it created one, or several. I still don’t like Yelp because there’s another company writing reviews that actually looks at things from a customer’s insider point of view. http://www.CritDicks.com