Thursday, November 25, 2010

So Much for Thanksgiving. The Perpetrator of the Amherst Pizza Scam is an Ungrateful Bastard

Thanksgiving invariabaly brings stories of heartwarming reunions—and transportation problems.  The script also calls for an occasional story of tragedy or loss.

Amherst experienced one of the latter last weekend, shortly before the holiday. The great pizza scam was almost tailor-made for national media distrubution: a sad event, in which, however, no one was killed, physically hurt, or made homeless, thus providing an opportunity to moralize while indulging in some subdued humor and the inevitable feeble food puns. AP, UPI, and CNN all picked up the story.

As Suzanne McLaughlin's account in the Republican put it, the business was "too trusting." [Manager Sean] "McElligott said he would help drive the pizza to the Mullins Center, but the man never came back, he said."  "Normally, we would take a deposit for such a large order, but we went 'on faith,' McElligott said."

In a later report by Matt Pilon in the Amherst Bulletin [see below], owner Walter Pacheco agreed, "It was a boo-boo on the manager's part to start the order before we had some sort of deposit."
Pacheco said that he tried to give away as many pizzas later in the day as he could, but said that well over half of the pies had to be thrown away.

"It was a total loss," he said.
According to Pilon, police believe they can identify the culprit from the security video, though as the MassLive tv report explained, police first have to determine whether an actual crime was committed. The voluble commentators on the Republican's talkback page had a lot to say about that question as well as the incident as such. Reactions ranged from empathy to a rather less charitable: how stupid can you be? with a few others pointing out that $ 3,900 was a small price to pay for this sort of national publicity.

Suggestions I have heard (from friends, on Twitter, etc.):
• residents could take up a collection to pay for the loss (nice idea, though I assume that, in these difficult times, people will prefer to give even those small amounts to charities that help the truly needy)
• Dylan should pay the company for its loss. He was in no way responsible—on the contrary; there's not any evidence that the culprit actually worked for him—but it would be a grand gesture. (clever)
In the meantime, here's something to be thankful for:  that you are not a complete ass like the guy who thought this stunt would be funny.


Larry Kelley's account in "Only in the Republic of Amherst" (26 Nov.)
• Matt Pilon,"Antonio's stuck for $ 3,900 pizza bill," Amherst Bulletin, 26 Nov.
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