Savannah Pizza Company, Midway, Georgia

        After a lazy Saturday afternoon nap and I felt like getting a slice of American Pizza Pie. My wife and I had visited Stoner’s Pizza in Midway, Georgia before and we had liked it, kinda. 3 of 5 stars. The last time we visited, they had just had a massive fire and they were closed but we had driven by recently and saw a new sign on the door, and they were calling themselves “Savannah Pizza Company” even though, from their five locations, none were in Savannah. “That’s fine,” we told ourselves… A little puffery in advertisement is the norm. So, I’m sitting in the lounger and express to my wife my desire to shop local and buy pizza to eat… Like, now. Cause I’m hella hangry.

So, normally, we’d take the extra five minutes to drive to Mr. Pizza, cause they’re like, AMAZING… Or even go to Pizza Peddler, cause they’re legit great… But Stoner’s (Savannah Pizza Company or Dough Bro’s or whatever new name they’re using) is the quickest off of 95 and so I want to eat as soon as possible, so that’s where I call. “Pauly” I say three times to the very quiet teenager who is taking my order - “Large Black olives, Pineapple, Green Bell Pepper.” Don’t judge me. I appreciate TWO fruits on my pie, because, technically, tomatoes.

We arrive, having drug my wife onto a “date night” which is really just to go pick up the pie and She’s reading a Karen Marie Moning novel on her phone while I’m listening to r/maliciouscompliance on my phone. And maybe that’s why I decided to stand my ground during the next few interactions when I arrived at Savannah Pizza Company.

        A little background on that, I’m married to my third wife and she’s the most wonderful person to me. I was married twice before and both were lying manipulative cheaters who took advantage of my middle name being “doormat.” Not anymore. The more I grow older and learn to love wife #3, the spicer we become in our interactions with other people, because she came from the same place, emotionally. But, growing together as people, we’ve both learned to stand up for ourselves and stand our ground. That’s the reason I’m writing this.

I walk into the door and tell them I’m here to pick up an order for “Pauly” and the same teenager I spoke to on the phone looks over at the two bags and says: “It must not be ready yet. Maybe another ten minutes.” So I say: “Alright, I’ll go wait in the car.” I should have known better because I see one cook walking to the bathroom and another out the side talking to a delivery driver. The pie was on a room temperature shelf, in a delivery bag, getting cold this whole time. But I’m like - “Well, they know what they’re doing. I’ll wait ten minutes.”

So back to the car where the wife is playing a mobile game that we both play together. We talk about the new guild she opened and I’m trying to level up to join it so I can “help” by sending supplies. Whatever. Ten minutes go by and in that time, several people have come and gone, exchanging money for food. I wander in and tell them it’s been ten minutes and I’m ready to pay. The same teenager looks at (what appears to be) the same bags on the shelf and gives a little frown. Her boss, a larger twenty year old lady, looks with her.

“What was the name?” the older one asks.

“Pauly. Large black olive, pineapple, green bell pepper.” I reply.

The younger one frowns again and says: “Here’s a large one for Kelly.” Oh. I understand. Not many people down here get “Pauly” when I say it over the phone. Understanding this I reply.

“Large black olive, pineapple, green bell pepper?” I ask.

“Yeah.” She says. That’ll be $20.18.”

I hand her my card, very reluctant to see her physically typing it in. I’m not a fan of human interaction with my card and make a detail to watch for suspicious charges over the next few weeks. People are people… I can trust machines with my card normally. Whatever. Give me the pie.

I thank her and she thanks me and I walk out with the box and the receipt on top. After exiting, I smell it and it seems… Off somehow. I open it up, Instead of green bell pepper, it was green olive. Whoops. But then I notice it. My hand isn’t warm. This box is cold… And not only that, it’s very, very wet. Almost as if it sat in the window for ten minutes. Interesting. The younger cashier hadn’t put two and two together to realize that. And that’s forgivable. We’ve all made mistakes, especially at that age. But it was the green olives. I’m allergic to green olives. I can’t have them. And I know that’s weird to a guy who loves black olives, but that was the hand dealt to me and I’ve got to live with it… But not pay for it.

So, I close the box with a very disappointed sigh. I can’t trust these guys to get it right so I’m just going to suck it up and go to Pizza Peddler, which, maybe I should have done in the first place. Hey, at least Savannah Pizza Company wasn’t on fire again. I walk back in and tell them I need a refund.

“Hey I just need a refund. There’s no green bell peppers but there’s green olives. Just a refund, thanks.” Like, I hope I didn’t come off snarky or spicy because I was really still super hungry but I wasn’t having any more of their shenanigans tonight.

So the older lady gets involved when the younger one starts apologizing and it’s all good, but I mention that I need both receipts for the transactions and she’s a little confused.

“One for the charge and one for the refund.” I explain, to which she gets it, but then starts talking about it going back as cash and it will take a few days, and I’m like, alright, no problem. Just the refund and then I’ll leave. So she apologizes again and I take my two papers back to the car where a very quizzical wife looks at me, with no pizza. I open the door and look at the receipts before getting in and it’s the wrong receipt for the refund, or so I thought. They had charged $20.18 and only refunded $19.40. Whoops. I go back inside.

“So I think I don’t know, but I think I got the wrong refund.” I show the younger one the papers.

The older one says: “They charge a credit card fee.”

“So you can refund the fee.” I say.

“It’s seventy eight cents.” She says.

“Yeah.” I say. “And you can refund it right? I mean, everything was wrong. Refund the whole amount.”

“Well it's the fee they charge to use a credit card.” She says again.

Now, at this point I have had enough. Just enough. I was probably a little shaky and more than a little upset. I’ve driven twenty minutes to get here, only to wait another ten minutes for a cold wet pizza that isn’t even made properly and then I’m being charged for the honor of doing so. I spy a large plastic tub next to the register and there’s a pile of dollars in there. I reach in and take one dollar off the top and tell them: “Fine. Here’s a dollar, I’ll be right back with your change.”

The older lady is visibly red in the face. At the top of her lungs she screams out: “How dare you touch our tips! Put that back right now!”

To which I reply, “Well I’m owed seventy eight cents, I’ll bring you back the change from my car.”

She promptly opens up the register and slaps down three quarters and a nickel. “Here’s eighty!”

I put the dollar back in the tub, take the four coins and tell her: “Well now I owe you two cents, so I still have to go make change, I’ll be right back.”

And at this point I’m out the door, shaking with anger. I walk out and all I hear is screaming from inside and honestly, I don’t even care if I stole three cents from them. I’ll mail them a check if they decide to press charges.

Honestly though, the “tip bucket” wasn’t sufficiently labeled. It had one of those “Dear friends and companions” messages on it that pretty much one had to read into to understand it was private employee appreciation money rather than just saying “TIPS” in red or whatever. Instinctively I probably understood it was tip money, but these people never even really tried to rectify with the customer the whole situation. It was as if somehow, they were doing me a favor by letting me walk in their door.

And here’s the thing, I’m not just some yahoo who doesn’t understand the way the food industry works. I’ve owned my own cafe and managed several others. Still today I do technician work and cleaning at a very well known franchise location and am paid handsomely for it because I know what I’m doing. So if I were worth my salt as a manager and was working this night and desperately knew that I was number three in the pizza choice for a small town, I would work desperately to try to make things right with the customer. I’d not quibble and argue about a fee you have to pay to your credit card service company. I’d have given me a free drink, or at least… You know… An apology. 

I got none of the above. That’s why I’m giving this location 1 out of 10 or 5 or whatever. I’ll never go back there. I’ll never recommend there… And I’ll actively campaign that they go out of business… Again.

And, you know… Maybe instead of mailing them a check for $.02, they can just take this article as my two cents worth.