Thursday, December 31, 2015

Product Reviews: The Big Box of Domino's Pizza Sadness

I've been meaning to write about this experience for a while now, but for whatever reason, it's taken me a couple of weeks to actually feel up to sitting down and putting it into words. After some reflection, I honestly think it's because I needed some time to process what happened and not feel so darned sad about it. No, no one died. I didn't lose my job. No one I care about has been diagnosed with cancer. The Bumpus hounds didn't even break into my kitchen and eat my Christmas duck... although you'd be a lot warmer if that were your guess.

Seth and I got kicked in the nuts a couple of weeks ago by Domino's when they delivered us what we've both since decided is the worst pizza we've ever had. It's since been dubbed the "big box of pizza sadness". I never thought I'd actually use the words "pizza" and "sadness" in the same sentence, but Domino's has taught me never to say never. (Thanks, Domino's!)


Now... don't get me wrong. I understand that part of what comes along with ordering pizza from a big-ass chain like Domino's on the regular is that you're going to experience positively stellar pizzas juxtaposed with pizzas that leave some room for improvement. Usually though, even the improvement pizzas are edible and taste pretty good, even if maybe they're not as pretty or oven fresh as one would have hoped. All things considered, we were happy for a very long time with the vast majority of the items we got from Domino's.

Case in point, that gorgeous half-and-half thin crust pizza pictured above is the one I ordered for myself the time we got Domino's prior to the box of sadness. I did what I almost always do if we have a Friday coming up -- got one side with meaty toppings and one side with just anchovies, or onions, or something so that I could enjoy some of my leftovers despite it being my abstention-for-religious-reasons day. Both sides were equally delicious -- plenty of toppings and cooked to perfection. Definitely something I was thrilled to see show up on my doorstep and that I felt was worth the money.

Now just above is Seth's photo of part of what came in the box of pizza sadness. It had so little sauce on it that we weren't sure they'd bothered to put sauce at all. Also, there was very little cheese, almost no toppings, and it was overcooked to the point of being burnt. It literally tasted like a burnt cracker that had been sitting around all week and the second pizza we ordered was just as bad. For the first time in history, neither of us wanted to finish the leftovers, so we actually wound up throwing them in the garbage. As you can see, Seth was so pissed off, he uploaded the shot to Instagram, told every last member of his considerable following what happened, and tagged Domino's. He also wrote up the experience on his Examiner column.

Despite Domino's saying that they wanted to make things right, I just want to make it clear that they didn't make things right. Twice we requested either a refund or a free pizza to replace the unacceptable monstrosities they sent us, but they refused to give us either of those things. So, yeah. We are out the thirty-something dollars we wasted on this crap and have absolutely nothing to show for it. At this point, I actually doubt we'll ever order Domino's again.

And let me tell you, that's a sad day for Cat and Wolf because we've made some really fantastic memories around Domino's pizza. We had Domino's the day we met in person for the first time over ten years ago -- what we'd come to consider our first real "date". We ordered Domino's for many, many subsequent anniversaries because it was the first meal we ever shared together. We've even ordered Domino's for birthdays, special occasions, or to brighten a day that was otherwise going horribly. Domino's was sort of like a part of our little family of two, so this really bothered us.

It also got me to thinking about the future of takeout pizza and wondering if maybe it's on its way out, because honestly speaking -- while Domino's had yet to screw the pooch as badly as they did this last time, the consistency went down the tubes a while ago. Delivery pizza chains just aren't trying anymore and when I consider how amazing frozen pizzas are getting, I can see why.

That photo just above is of the Holy Pepperoni frozen pizza Screamin' Sicilian makes. It's just incredible -- easily one of the best pizzas I've ever had in my life, even including gourmet pizzas I've had at sit-down restaurants. They make other varieties as well, including a really delicious one with meatballs and pepperoni called the Mambo Italiano and an all-cheese variety called Bessie's Revenge that is just perfect for our abstinent Fridays. I've had remarkably good frozen pizzas from DiGiorno, Red Baron, Freschetta, and Tombstone as well. Every last one of them has been better tasting, more consistent, and cheaper than Domino's, Pizza Hut, or any other "fast food" type pizza chain.

Now... that picture just there is of a homemade pizza Seth made for us to have for lunch one day recently. He used an instant pizza dough mix from Betty Crocker, some Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce we had in the fridge, and some cheese we had on hand. He topped it with some cilantro and yellow onion we already had around. It tasted every bit as fantastic as it looks and it was made entirely using pantry staples and other ingredients we just happened to have lying around. No one went shopping for anything special or planned ahead for this, meaning anyone with the will to actually bother making their own pizza could make this.

That said, the main perk delivery pizza has to offer modern people is convenience. I will happily pay more to enjoy convenience on a busy day or a day when neither of us feels like cooking... but I'm only going to consider it worthwhile if what I get for my money actually tastes good. That blight on humanity that Domino's sent didn't even come close. Why would I bother anyway when I can pay a fraction of the money on a ridiculously good frozen pie like the ones Screamin' Sicilian, DiGiorno, or Freschetta make? Why would anyone?
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