Rotten Rules and Hot Pizza

Jul 29th, 2011 by Diane Seymour | 0

Image by Newbirth35

I like my pizza hot. So, when I sat down today in the middle of the afternoon at one of my favorite pizza chains with my slice of pepperoni, I eyed it suspiciously. Where was the glorious pepperoni grease that should be lying in the little indentations in the cheese? Why didn’t the entire surface shimmer and shine from the reflection of fluorescent lights overhead? What caused the first-bite tip of the pizza slice to curve up, not down as it should, across the paper-plate edge?

“I’ve never gotten cold pizza here before,” I said to the manager.

“One of our two heat lamp bulbs is burned out,” she replied, “but I’m not allowed to buy one locally. I have to put in a request with the company. The approval could take a week depending on who’s in the office and then it takes two weeks to get one delivered here once it’s ordered. The funny thing is, the lamps are available now and are cheaper at the hardware store right here in town.”

I took my pizza back to be table and savored the first few hot bites, intrigued by the heat-lamp bulb dilemma. I went back to the counter.

“Can you order more than one lamp at a time?” I asked.

“Yup, I order six at a time,” she answered as she slid the chicken-bacon ranch under the one remaining heat lamp bulb, which necessitated the sacrifice of the meat-lovers’ to the dim outer reaches of the lamp’s heat arc. I imagined myself sitting too far from the campfire to stay warm and made a mental note to make my slice choices by lamp position for the next three weeks until the new bulb arrives.

Back at my table, I finished my now semi-warm slice, but before heading home, I went back to the counter, hoping that the manager didn’t think me a stalker.

“If you can order six lamps at a time, why don’t you always have at least one spare on hand?” I asked, sure that I already knew the answer.

“I’m not allowed to order new ones until we’ve put the last one in service. Sometimes the second one burns out right after we put the last new one in.” She smiled, shook her head, and went back to work.

I cursed the anonymous, rule-making office-sitter out there somewhere far from pizza ovens, heat lamps, and hot-pizza loving customers.

“Perhaps there’s a reason for the rules,” I thought. “Perhaps there are only two heat-lamp bulb making individuals left in the world and they aren’t teaching anyone their trade and they’re both ninety-seven years old. Or, perhaps heat lamp bulbs each contain 17 grams of gold at $1,632 per gram making the price of one lamp $27,744 plus other materials plus production labor plus depreciation plus profit plus salary for another anonymous rule-making office sitter at the heat-lamp bulb-making plant.”

A quick Google search dashed my desire to bring reason to the rotten rules. Multiple suppliers are available for industrial grade infrared bulbs to keep my pizza slices cozy for 5,000 hours, or approximately 1.39 years based on my estimate of hours of actual bulb operation. Prices range from a modest $6.99 per bulb up to a luxury model at $17.99. Tomorrow, I’m heading down to that local hardware store to buy a heat lamp bulb to donate for the benefit of all hot-pizza loving people in my community. Maybe I’ll donate two. Three weeks is an awfully long time to wait.

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