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Grand Pizza Ripoff

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Why is it when I order my pizza pie as half mushroom, I get charged as if the entire pie had mushroom on it?

If the difference is $2 between a plain pie and a fully mushroomed pie, if I order just half mushroom, shouldn't I just pay the $1 difference?

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  1. How much of the $2 is the cost of the mushrooms? The cost of the labor to put the mushrooms on the pizza? The extra labor or concentration needed to ensure that only 1/2 the pizza is covered with mushrooms? The extra value of having two different types of pizza (plain, and mushroom) on the same pie without having to order two pizzas?

    In short, maybe it's not a ripoff. Maybe some other pizza places will price on the fractions, you can try to find them.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JugglerDave

      We're in a recession. I have ulcers. My kids need braces. My wife needs a new car. I see men in the street doing heavy manual labor. And $2 to put a few furshluggina pieces of mushrooms with the carefulness and precision of a medical laboratory, with the backbreaking strength takes that much labor? And charging the same as if they doubled the number of mushrooms?

      Believe me...that's not significant labor. They should thank me that with my choice of going to their pizzeria or someone elses, and pay my good money for a decent meal at a decent price, I picked them. I shouldn't have to thank them that they are charging me $2 for $1 worth of mushrooms. They are not counting out whether to put 54 or 55 mushrooms...just 50 vs 100, plus or minus. And anyway, so what. It's only a dang pizza, not rocket science.

      As the old story goes...if the store can't afford the 10 cents of labor it takes to put a few stinking pieces of mushroom on a pie, maybe they aren't in the business of providing value to the customers who frequent the place.

      1. re: Potrezebie

        I think its more about getting a custom pie. You have to pay extra for the customization. Also they may put the whole amount of mushrooms but just on one side.

        If you ask for something that isn't on the menu expect to pay more for it. Same applies to sandwich shops.

        1. re: Potrezebie

          Yeah...the pizza shop owner is in a recession, too. He has ulcers, his kids need braces and his wife needs a new car.

      2. More discussion on this topic here:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/554434

        1. In response to JugglerDave, let me ask again, why is it that many pizzerias that charge the same for, say, a half mushroom pie as they do for a full mushroom pie don't apply the same principle and charge four times as much for a quattro stagioni as they do for a single-topping pie?

          1 Reply
          1. re: racer x

            You might ask them why they (seem to) charge disproportionately. If you don't like the answer, patronize another place.

          2. this is status quo in my opinion. seeing "half and half pizzas will be charged at the higher price" is pretty much the industry norm. same as when a BOGO coupon says " lesser priced item is free item". Do you also expect to buy a 10$ bottle of wine, and with a BOGO coupon, get a 100$ bottle for free? its just the way it is. Your other options are: get two pizzas, or get shrooms on the whole thing(that way you dont feel ripped off). Of course if this scenerio makes you feel cheated, the fact that they are charging you 2$ in the first place, for what is probably .50$ worth of mushrooms, is pobably enough to begin with!

            1. Make your own pizza. With the money you save, you can pay for the kids' braces and the wife's new car. And you can just charge yourself $1.

              2 Replies
              1. re: nofunlatte

                Then let's close all restaurants...after all, it's cheaper to cook at home.

                The issue is fairness.

                And if you can't afford to eat out, sell some paintings.

                1. re: nofunlatte

                  And if CiCi's can make a buck with an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet for $5, the ingredients can't be that much of an issue.

                2. i had a similar problem.
                  when making my Usual Order i would get half mushroom, half sausage and i was being charged for two toppings. i just made a mention of it the last time i was in and i was told that it was a mistake that the cashier didn't ring it in properly. they made it up to me by comping my pizza.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ScubaSteve

                    Whoa, hang on a second here. You actually said something to someone _at_ the restaurant? I think that may disqualify you from posting here anymore.

                    Good to hear it worked out well, its amazing what asking or saying something can do!

                    1. re: ccbweb

                      Snort. Communicating with the restaurant BEFORE dissing them on CH? Classic.

                  2. well i'm a little into the camp of feeling a wee bit cranky when i'm charged for say, a spoonful of mayo or sour cream, or those five jalapenos I see ontop of my nachos.....but i'm not so sure you can expect pizza places to start calculating halves and quarters etc of stuff....half is not so much work but lets say you want one quarter w/ mushoom, one quarter sausage, one quarter xtra cheese....etc....it's actually a little bit more work.

                    I do see it with pricier items though that tend to be weighed before going on top of a pizza. . Mushrooms are a set price for "extra topping"....I don't think they tend to be weighed or have a certain # per pizza. Do they? Count me in the dumb camp if i'm talking out of line. :) Maybe they put all your mushrooms on one side.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: im_nomad

                      "Maybe they put all your mushrooms on one side" I said that too. I have to agree with you that there is no sense in complaining about this. If you ask me you are paying for the customization of the pizza regardless of how much work goes into the pie.

                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                        In my experience, the amount of topping used is based on density, judged visually. I've never been given a split-order pizza in which they put all of the topping that ordinarily goes on a whole pie on half a pie. They stick to the same density on a half order as on a whole order.

                        I wouldn't object to a higher fee for thirds, fourths, or other fractions, since there is more work involved (and who ever orders thirds or fourths?). But charging the same for a half order as for a whole is ridiculous.

                        Why don't restaurants charge different fees to cook a steak until it's medium-well or well-done than they charge for a rare steak, since these are customizations and involve more attention and work on the part of the cook?

                        How about scoops of ice cream? Most places charge based on number of scoops or quantity in a cup/cone, not by number of flavors (ie same price for 2 scoops of vanilla as one of vanilla and one of chocolate). Why don't they charge a higher fee for splitting the number of flavors in an order, since this is a customization and involves more work to prepare?

                        1. re: racer x

                          i think most people would'nt object to getting more of something or a change and having to pay for it, but thinking you might get charged less for a little less of something, doesn't seem to be standard, particularly when it's a relatively cheaper item like mushrooms.

                          For example, I can't tell you how many chicken topped salads or pastas i've ordered off the menu sans chicken, and still am paying the same price as I would with the meat. Occasionally a place might knock a bit off, but it's not the norm. I suppose I could always order it on the side and take it home to the dog or something, but I don't. I order the salad because all of the other ingredients on it appeal to me, and the restaurant gets to, in essence, sell my chicken breast twice. They set the rules i suppose.

                          I get that pizza is a customized item unlike many menu items. But to get into whether half a pizza's worth of items should cost less, you might as well start to get into it with the pizza place over the relative costs of onions to mushrooms to italian sausage etc....and why most of them charge the standard $2/extra topping, as opposed to $1 for onions, $4 for sausage etc (I've only ever seen one place that did this)

                          Maybe next time ask them for the other half of your mushrooms in a plastic bag....and take them home with you :)

                          1. re: racer x

                            Let's be technical about this. Remember from your school days...the area of a circle is PI times the square of the radius.

                            Think of it with pizza.

                            Area = Pi R Squared

                            In reality, only Sicilian Pi are square
                            Neopolitan Pi are round.

                            1. re: Potrezebie

                              Not sure where you are going with this.
                              Half the area is still half, whether you are dealing with a circle or a square.

                              1. re: Potrezebie

                                ""In reality...""

                                It was my in my childhood that I was forbidden to use pie, in a derogatory fashion, in reference to pizza. In other words pizza was that tomato sauce/cheese/meat dish and pie was the fruit/desert dish. Heaven forbid the kid that said "spaghetti noodle"! I think I could get by as a kid saying George Carlin's famous dirty words, but I better watch my mouth when it came to food.

                        2. Sometimes its about technology. Most of the POS (point of sale computer systems) providers weren't able to get programs right for order entry of half, third or quarter portions of toppings and for them to be properly priced. The number of combinations was staggering. Most of the time it's entered as a whole topping and memo'd instructions, thus charging fully. Newer systems allow for specific partial topping entry and pricing, but its only been in the past five years or so that the major POS companies got it right.

                          1. little jfood takes pizza phone orders at a local pizza place and the stories she tells him are staggering with the people ordering.

                            I want to order 5 large cheese pizza - input 5 cheese pizzas
                            Make the first one half mushroom, half sausage - go back to pizza 1 and change
                            Second is all pepperoni - make the input
                            Third is sausage and pepper - yes, getting easier
                            Little suzy in the backgroud..."Daddy I want green peppers with the mushroom" "did you get that?" - back to number 1and change
                            Tommy in the backround..."I want half meatball on the pepperoni...OK now back to numer 2
                            Number four is half olive and the other half artichoke and soy cheese - OMG please get to the end
                            Numer five - Thai chicken and garlic....yippee it's over.
                            Wife in the background yelling..."Don;t you dare order that crappy Thai stuff. OK delete number 5 then silence. Hello sir, what would you like on the fifth pie. Oh I don;t know let me think. Four other lines on hold. Hello sir? Sir? Please call back when you can order...click

                            Yup $0.50 seems like a small fee for the pizza.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: jfood

                              I'm a firm believer in the "No Substitutions" stance.Once you give a customer the option to start screwing around with your menu/pricing/options etc.you are losing control.I have in the past asked someone to go easy on the cheese (usually the most expensive topping) but I never expected a discount.The customer is NOT always right.Making a pizza ,(particularly with a very fast wood fired oven)requires absolute concentration and rhythm.When you've got dozens of orders lined up and you start to get the ones that have been customised at will, it can completely throw you and can lead to more screw ups than you ever imagined,and yes i've had the " I'ld like the 18" Capriciosa...but just mushrooms on two slices please? "

                              I agree that a Buck is a Buck,but all this worry I fear is agrivating your ulcer.You "Picked them ",not the other way 'round.Go elsewhere I suggest and stay mean ,lean and healthy, because if they tell you to 'Get the f()#^ out of here .......' I think you may have a blood pressure problem to deal with also.

                              1. re: xny556cip

                                What's "Control" if the customer isn't pleased...he'll just go to another place that treats him the way he wants. If a pizza vendor told me to GET THE F()#* OUT OF HERE, he'd be wearing the next pizza...and my $12,000 lifetime value as a customer goes to someone else.

                                1. re: Potrezebie

                                  ""What's "Control" if the customer isn't pleased...""

                                  Truth of the matter is that some customers will refuse to be pleased, but will gladly mooch and munch a meal, once that magical word "free" is spoken.

                            2. I went to Papa Ginos the other week and wanted their "rustic" pizza (gross by the way). A whole one was $11. They also had some sort of garlic chicken standard pizza that sounded good for $15. I asked them if they could make the rustic pizza half garlic chicken. They charged me $17. So an extra $6 for garlic and chicken on the other half of the pizza. I wouldn't have thought it would be more than $3. Plus they didn't even put toppings on the full half - just about 1/3... I more see it as a way to jip the customer.

                              When i worked at a pizza place, half toppings was always half the price of toppings on a whole pie.

                              1. I just count my blessings that I hate fungi!

                                On the topping price, I see that as something to bring to the manager's (or owner's) attention as to get a feel for their policy. Perhaps it hasn't been considered to be an inequity as a paying customer?

                                I had ordered a foot long sub at my local sub shop, and they up-charged me $2. You can say my glue melted and made an offer to which orifice they can stick that sandwich into. The authorities became involved and fortunately they saw my point. They claimed I ordered 2, 6 inch subs, but the lip reading cop replayed the security tape and busted the manager. Later the authorities met up with the owner and found the manager was using a slight of hand to pocket money.

                                Bottom line is that after you are gone home, there is a possibility some manager can be taking an advantage of the situation.

                                1. Potre, this is how I order a "half" Pizza.

                                  "Yes, I would like to order a large mushroom pizza, and would like all the mushrooms you normally put on it, on one half only"

                                  so I get all the toppings I am paying for.

                                  As for it being more labor... forgetaboutit,,, making a pizza is not rocket science, that is why when you go to ANY pizza joint, 99% its a HS student making your pizza.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                    That may not always work if the toppings exceed a certain threshold. I once had a pizza order come into the kitchen that the owner had to come back to adjust. He said the pizza would be horrible (wet-n-nasty) if I was to make it per specifications. It was a veggie cheese pizza which the toppings contained too much moisture to bake right.

                                    The owner was very honest and fair about the order, and even went to the table to enplane some adjustments he had to make to their order. (It included $3 off, BTW. It was also back in the late 80's)

                                  2. wow are we really complaining that much about it. Just a few points I want to make here while re-reading this thread.

                                    First off I come from the philosophy that "the customer is not always right" If you want something customized you should expect to pay a little more. If you go to a restaurant and order pasta entree that contains mushrooms but you don't like a lot of mushrooms so you ask for light on mushrooms they don't discount your entree for any ingredient you may want to leave off.

                                    When you order a pizza with half of an ingredient this means you are sharing it with someone. Most restaurants charge a sharing fee to split an entree in half.

                                    I'm sure you see where I am going with this and the arguements that it's less so you should pay less just doesn't hold water. If you want mushrooms and you love mushrooms then pay the extra or make your own pizza or perhaps buy two medium pizzas one with mushrooms. You also shouldn't get a discounted rate because high schoolers make your pizza they didn't force you to come there and spend your money.

                                    but you say it doesn't take any more labor and less product shouldn't I pay less? When you purchase a pie from a pizza place you aren't playing for the labor there are lots of factors. You are paying for the brand and you are paying to get it made just the way you want it. Getting something tailor made to fit your personal needs and yet you call it a ripoff?

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                      "When you order a pizza with half of an ingredient this means you are sharing it with someone."
                                      -- says who?

                                      "If you want something customized you should expect to pay a little more.... Getting something tailor made to fit your personal needs...."
                                      -- We obviously have very different notions of what counts as a customized order. (See my post re steaks and ice cream scoops above.)
                                      Customers order half-orders frequently enough that it should not be considered a "customization" (ie, an unusual order).

                                      1. re: racer x

                                        Hey pizza lovers. IT'S ONLY A PIZZA. NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

                                        Ever hear that a vendor should provide customer service if he wants repeat business?

                                        Give me what I want, show me you care about the customer, I'll be loyal for life.

                                        You aren't selling me customized Saville Row suits, just a bit of bread, tomato sauce and cheese. How labor intensive and detailed can that be to show that you are providing good value in a product to a customer?

                                      2. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                        I believe you missed the point of what is fair. Your philosophy that "the customer is not always right", argument, doesn't hold much water either. Wronged customers do go elsewhere as happy customers are their friend.

                                        Reminds me of a prepaid Pizza gift certificate, I got from a friend. It listed their 14" pizza with up to 5 toppings as "prepaid item". They refused to honor their own certificates! Oh, they paid and paid dearly, given the choice of restitution or jail.

                                        I do not patronize a place to start a food fight, but I am not about to be taken advantage of, either.

                                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                          "When you order a pizza with half of an ingredient this means you are sharing it with someone. Most restaurants charge a sharing fee to split an entree in half."

                                          I'll agree that an individual pie is equal to an entree, but a large pizza is generally meant to be shared. Especially if it's going into a takeout box, which means that the resto doesn't have to separately plate two half entrees.

                                          1. re: Kochav

                                            i always order a large pizza for myself and frequently do half orders of toppings so it's like a first and second course.