Friday, November 29, 2013

Meanwhile, on Planet Manhattan...

The byplay on the Today show fascinates me, from an anthropological standpoint.

It being the Friday after thanksgiving, they've got Willie Geist and the rest of the B-team manning the front lines, backed by a handful of other faces dragooned from various NBC news properties whose contracts aren't strong enough to get 'em out of work today.

Some of these people put across personalities typical of shallow, venal narcissists one expects in the job, and some, like Geist or Roker, come across as fairly gregarious sorts that would be fun at a backyard barbecue if you could keep the talk away from politics. They are all, however, very definitely Homo manhattanus.

Discussing the story of the manager of the Pizza Hut franchise who got ash-canned for not doing his job yesterday, the woman on the left, a stand-in from some evening news program, wrinkled her pert nose and whined "Who'd want to eat Pizza Hut on Thanksgiving?"

"Maybe the firemen who put out your sister's hipster experiment in deep-frying a turkey? Or the cops who dragged your drunk stepfather off your mom after his fifth Jim Beam made him disinclined to put up with her griping about his table manners anymore? You know, the little people who have to make the world keep turning on your days off?" I yelled at the TeeWee.

Apparently someone on the production staff remembered that Yum!Brands, owner of Pizza Hut and a spinoff of PepsiCo, had a lot of advertising dollars, because after a second's pause in the discussion, one of the other interchangeable talking heads suddenly looked like a gnat flew into her ear and then perked up with "But I love Pizza Hut! Just not on Thanksgiving?"

You don't love Pizza Hut, honey; hardly anybody over sixteen loves Pizza Hut; but Pizza Hut is reasonably priced and usually open*. Get it? No, no you probably don't.


* Actually, while I will eat Pizza Hut when I am traveling, as their lunch buffet is cheap and a known quantity, I wouldn't have them on my radar as a place to go on Thanksgiving. Living in the South as long as I did, when I get hungry of a Christmas/Thanksgiving/New Year's/Easter, it's to Waffle House that I reflexively turn.
.

49 comments:

Jess said...

I'm sure the producer was shouting into their earpieces: "Quick, your idiot sidekick just lost 2 million in advertising. Save the day, or all of you will be doing dog food commercials the rest of your life."

Robert Fowler said...

I work for a small pizza chain (6 stores) and one of our biggest days of the year is Christmas. I was surprised by that. I thought everyone would be so full of turkey etc. that pizza would be the last thing on their minds. Boy was I wrong. We are however, closed on Thanksgiving.

Joel said...

I haven't been in a PH in many years, but have a soft spot in my heart for it. Before I was married, when I was working in a small town Oldsmobile dealership and hating life, Friday (payday) evenings would be spent in PH with Heinlein and "small-pan-pizza-with-beef-and-onions-and-a-beer." Occasionally wondered if I was the only customer of that particular store who had a usual so usual the waitress didn't have to ask.

And yes, that included Thanksgiving.

armedlaughing said...

OR...
Someone who doesn't like turkey.

I had pizza, yesterday (NOT PH, but Red Devil, a local brand).

The elitists probably couldn't get their butlers to go there...

gfa

Scott J said...

"I yelled at the TeeWee"

Sounds like you're suffering food hangover. I recommend most food :)

On the subject of Pizza the Hut my pallet is usually rather picky about my pizza with my favorite being that I learned to make at home watching Alton Brown.

However, I do crave the stuffed crust pepperoni from that big chain every now and then.

Angus McThag said...

Pizza Hut can burn. They have the same no-defense policy as 7-11 for their employees and pizza drivers don't get to stay in a well lit camera covered working area.

Tam said...

The Pizza Hut in question was a franchise, McThag, so Yum!Brands' opinions on guns have no more weight there than their opinion on whether the manager should be fired or not.

SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!!1!eleventy!

Joseph said...

Love me some chinese on Christmas or Thanksgiving on the rare occasion there isn't a family thing to go to. Living in a college town with large asian community has it's perks.

Anonymous said...

1) I'm sure the hipster only eats designer/hippie pizza at the trendiest place.

2) I'm glad the manager told them to stuff it. The only reason the franchise owners wanted him open was to cook the sales numbers for their bonuses. The bad publicity would have wipe out what ever sales the gained. I'm sure the store owner wasn't planning to work on Thanksgiving.

3) The open on Thanksgiving for Xmas sales tells me how desperate business is to meet sales projections. The economy still sucks and business is scrambling to get close to last years numbers. Old NFO had a piece on it and it speaks of desperate measures and creative accounting.

I'm thankful for a boss who treats his employees like his family.

Gerry

Tam said...

How many people cheering for the Pizza Hut manager have ever gone out to a movie after dinner or gotten a gallon of gas on Thanksgiving?

Whited sepulchers, then.

Anonymous said...

Can't say I ever have Tam, though I have worked on every holiday at least once. I always pulled Christmas and New Years so people could be home with their kids.

Just strange I guess.

Gerry

Tam said...

I've worked my share of holidays, too, Gerry, for the same reason as you. And I never felt ill will towards my employers when I was.

Kristophr said...

Waffle House. It calls to you. It bids you to join them.

Anonymous said...

Cracker Barrel! It was a scene out of a movie about an impending hurricane! But they were polite.

Steve Skubinna said...

It's hideous wage slavery when poor Wal-Mart employees are forced to work on Thanksgiving, or so state persons who prefer to sit at home and watch football.

Stadium and broadcast network employees working on Thanksgiving? Their patriotic duty, man.

Anonymous said...

"They are all, however, very definitely Homo manhattanus."

Not only that, they put the "anus" in "manhattanus."

Hope your Thanksgiving/Christmas season is one for the ages.

-Drifter.

rickn8or said...

Waffle House. It calls to you. It bids you to join them.

Does it still bid you to leave your pistola in the car?

Rob K said...

Ah, New Yorkers! Is there anything they actually understand about the rest of the world?

I hit Wal-Mart mid-day yesterday to get soda, coffee, and water-- stuff that had been forgotten in the planning, and I'm am mighty thankful that they were open.

If the company policy had always been to be closed on Thanksgiving so everyone was expecting it off, and at the last minute it was announced they'd be open and a bunch of people were told to be there, then the manager had a legitimate dispute.


Anonymous said...

I have Tam. It was based on the fact they made everyone else take a big bite out of the S%it sandwich but themselves.

If franchise owner said we are all working on Thanksgiving I might have a better opinion of him/her. But what they said was screw your traditional day off, your working!

We agree to disagree on this I guess.

Gerry

Reno Sepulveda said...

Here's a blurb for when you put all this awesome free ice cream into a book.

"Savagely intelligent insight and commentary from America's Heartland." - Lakeside Picayune-Intelligencer

Drang said...

I worked yesterday, the Salt Mines never sleeping. Stopped at Safeway on my way in, because I had forgotten to get anything for the Traditional Salt Mines Holiday Potluck.

Plus, it may be recalled by both of my blog's regular readers, last year on Thanksgiving Day I flew home from Noo Yawk City, as my employer's contributions to Hurricane Sandy recovery were deemed unnecessary.
Mrs. Drang and I ate Thanksgiving Dinner at the Black Bear Diner, a left coast family restaurant chain.

Mark Alger said...

There is this memory I have from when I was a wage slave: time-and-a-half or double time on holidays. When a nickle ninety eight a week was all you're hauling down after Uncle Sam gets through with you, that holiday pay can be a mighty inducement. 'Specially when you weren't doing much of anything anyway.

M

Joseph said...

There are Pizza Huts in Manhattan.

The Jack said...

I do wonder what the overlap is between people who complain about stores being open during holidays and those that complain about the social homogeneity of holidays being oppressive in forcing everyone to "celebrate".

Does the same person that rails against a restaurant being open on Thanksgiving also rail against how the banks are closed on Thanksgiving... or maybe even on the whole exploitation of natives thing?

Tam said...

Joseph,

I know.

I doubt they are often patronized by the Eloi under discussion.

Angus McThag said...

Pizza Hut has pulled a franchise because the owner ignored the disarmed drivers rule.

It's even in the franchise contract.

It was noteworthy to me because we actually covered this getting my business admin degree in a section about the down sides to franchise ownerships.

I guess if the franchise holder signed the contract, he agreed to abide by the terms...

Tam said...

I wonder how many people boycott Pizza Hut because it won't let its drivers go armed, and yet drink milk, juice, or soda bottled in a plant on the seedy side of town who won't let the bottling plant workers go armed? Or order from a local pizza joint that might have the same policy?

It's the selectiveness of the purity tests of Team Gun Rights that gets up my nose sometimes. :(

Anonymous said...

Since the ER never closes, I'm working tonight as well as last night. Had my share of pizza on holidays while I'm taking care of said crispy hipster. Somebody's gotta make the machine work while the Today staff is sleeping off the turkey.

Windy Wilson said...

"the selectiveness of the purity tests of Team Gun Rights"

Well, we have to know about these things in order to object to them.
Now, if so notified, the team is still as arbitrary and self-serving, I'm with you 100%.

Oh, and the best pizza crust I had was at a Pizza Hut -- in Munich, Germany, which may have something to do with it. I still wonder how many Muenchners thought the place was called "Pizza Hat".

Sue Batten said...

I never got Thanksgiving off when I was working, horses eat and need their medicine every day. I figure humans do too.

And I suspect the other employees might want the pay.



I would not have offered the manager his job back.

Anonymous said...

My Job not only requires me to be out going door to door but also going into said doors to do my job, My employer strictly forbids going armed. Since I accepted the job knowing about the no guns rule I have to make a choice just like I do about any other workplace rule. I either abide by the rules or I risk losing my job if caught breaking the rules. Larry in Iowa

amcz said...

Pizza Hut: Not the worst pizza I've ever ate (that honor goes to either Totino's frozen pizza or a local joint in Iowa/Idaho/Ohio/somewhere whose smell made me want to vomit), but it's sheer greasiness was always a problem.

On a high school trip, people voted to either stop at a McDonald's or Pizza Hut. Out of sixty or more students, none voted for Pizza Hut. I think I heard they closed umpteen hundred locations some years.

Their spaghetti and garlic bread were fairly good as far as I can remember.

Robin said...

A friend of my wife's has been working security for extra money lately and ended up having to sit in a car in a club style grocery store parking lot on Thanksgiving day.

So my wife took some of our Thanksgiving dinner out to her to be nice. While they were sitting in the car talking and eating, at least a dozen people drove up - astonished that that chain club style store was not open on Thanksgiving.

Some people ain't too bright.

Anonymous said...

Eh, I'm sort of on the fence on the whole "being open on holidays" thing. On the one hand, when I was a broke college kid 9 states away from my immediate family and not particularly keen on my local relatives, I enjoyed the time and a half pay and something to do, and partook in a many a thanksgiving at the waffle house*. On the other hand, now that I have my own family and get along better with my local family, I'm also very glad to have those days off now. I also find myself irritated when my friends and family are in jobs where they must work holidays, especially given that when they took those jobs, those were originally days off.

In general, I have no problem with companies being open on these days, but I generally have a problem with it being mandatory. If people want to volunteer to work those days, I have no problems, but these holidays used to be one of the very few days you could rely on everyone being off and able to get together. Not so much anymore, and I think that's something to lament, even if I don't think there should be laws against it.

Kristophr said...

rick8tor:

Mere signs will not make me give up a basic human right.

Kristophr said...

Tam: This is why I gave up being either a libertarian or a gun rights purist.

These days my attitude is "fuck you, I'll keep the heater in my pocket and snicker at your rabbit people signage".

Buzz said...

"Homo Manhattanus" sounded like something completely different to me. I heard songs from Les Mis and envisioned Cat-like people dancing to Judy Garland.

Anonymous said...

I've never really been into holidays, so more often than not I work them. Typically the phones ring off the proverbial hook. I just ignore them and get mote done in several hours than I do the rest of the week.

Angus McThag said...

The awful pizza is why I gave up Pizza Hut, the purity test is how I get my ansomiac friends to stop pressuring me to go there.

The local guys are much better pizza anyways even if it takes three times as long to get the pie because they don't deliver and the owner always wants to chat about guns and cars.

I totally misread what we were talking about when I went off on my tangent.

So I shall slink away with my tail betwixt my legs now.

Light29ID said...

Eh, I prefer Papa Johns anyway. You can get some great online deals.

Tam said...

I don't order from Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Donatos, Dominos, or any of those places, man; I live in Broad Ripple.

If the wait for Bazbeaux's is too long, then there's always Bebop. Marco's in a pinch.

I'll do Pizza Hut or Dominos if I'm in a hotel someplace and don't know enough about the locals. Papa John's is too soggy.

I've had the Pizza Hut lunch buffet in West Leb, NH once or twice when I was house-sitting for Marko.

Light29ID said...

"Maybe the firemen who put out your sister's hipster experiment in deep-frying a turkey?"

I know a couple of firefighters that volunteer to do the Thanksgiving shift because they get to run actual fire calls, instead of meatwagon runs. One year they ran a call to an apartment complex where a woman burned her turkey. And turned the 4-plex into a three alarm...

Anonymous said...

I'm just thankful that you watch the Today show so I don't have to.

T.Stahl said...

The last time I ate at a Pizza Hut was in Chongqing. They are overpriced even in China. :-(

Mike_C said...

Go ahead and taunt us with your list of artisanal collage-town (sic) pizza places, Tam. Marco's beats most of the pizza I've endured. "In a pinch" indeed!

> The last time I ate at a Pizza Hut was in Chongqing

Wow, that brought back a strange memory. Herself and I were refused service in a Pizza Hut in East Malaysia way back when. It was just after 1 pm local time and the joint was packed with people enjoying their lunches. We tried to order. The clerk told us we could not order. Was it because we were pasty, sweaty obvious tourists cluttering up their place with too much luggage, I asked? No, it turned out they were closed for lunch between 1 and 2 pm. The employees had their lunch break then. A smiling manager appeared and told us we were welcome to wait until 2 pm "Please, have a seat here in the meantime!" when they started up again.

Yes. One ought to wonder about the sort of people who go to Borneo and try to patronize a Pizza Hut. And fail, yet. I admit this freely. I think that was the last time I was in a Pizza Hut. But the local McDonald's knows me all too well.

J.R.Shirley said...

I worked Thanksgiving. Eh.

Trent said...

Waffle house? Over Cracker Barrel on thanksgiving? Hmm I think I question your judgement on this one lol!

Tam said...

Dude, Cracker Barrel is to greasy short-order Southern breakfast food what Disney World's Frontierland is to the real Old West. :p

Geodkyt said...

Word, Tam. Just ate at Cracker Barrel recently. . .