It was Valentine’s Day, and I had just finished writing and posting “A Love Story at Walmart: Part Two.” I was in the library at my school, Point Park University, and I was just happy that I had got it done at around 8:00 because the bus to my house would be coming at 8:07. If I missed the bus that time, then I would have to go on an 8:30 bus. So, I rushed out of the library and waited for my bus to come my way. It came in right on time, and I was able to take my seat on the bus.
While I was on the bus, I found myself reading this book called Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. A friend of mine from work had recommended this book to me, and she had a copy that she could lend to me. Anyways, I was reading Mistborn on the bus, and I ended up being interrupted by a text message from my friend Rosa. It read, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
I replied, “Aww thanks, happy Valentine’s Day to you too.”
Then, she asked me if I had any special plans for Valentine’s Day. I texted, “Nah, I’m just probably gonna chill by my lonesome self haha. What about you?”
Rosa ended up telling me that she was actually going on a date, and I was excited for her. I ended up putting my book away and calling her on the phone. I said, “Tell me everything, girl.”
She laughed and explained how they had a class together, and he was just real smooth with her. They had been talking for a week or two, and he ended up asking her out on a date on Valentine’s Day. I was being extra talking about how he was “the one,” and I just couldn’t believe that she found her soulmate. She was laughing and telling me to be quiet, but I just kept going and going with my extra comments about the two lovebirds destined to be together forever and ever. We ended up talking for a few more minutes, and Rosa ended up asking me about this one girl that I was talking to at the time. I was telling Rosa that I wasn’t sure about her, and I was leaning on us just being friends. Rosa understood and told me that she had to go and get ready for her date. I said goodbye to her and told her to let me know how it goes.
Anyways, I looked outside and saw that I was ten minutes away from the Century III Mall, where my car is parked. It’s 8:30, and I realize that I’m kind of hungry. I hadn’t eaten since 10:00 am, so I knew that I had to seriously eat something. I was thinking about stopping at McDonald’s, maybe Chipotle, but then I remembered that I was due for a free pizza at Pizza Hut. So, I went on my Pizza Hut app and saw that I had enough points to redeem and get a free pizza. I ordered my free pizza and saw that I only had to pay $1.07 for it. The thought of a free pizza had me salivating.
When I was a few minutes away from my car, I was trying to decide what horror movie I was going to watch when I got home. You honestly have to watch horror movies on Valentine’s Day, there are clearly no other movies to watch. I was considering a demon-possession type movie, but I low-key wanted to see people getting stabbed and killed. The movies I was considering were Saw, Scream, Friday the 13th, Hush and Halloween. There were a couple other movies I was considering on Netflix, but I wasn’t sure.
My bus made it to the bus stop at Century III Mall at 8:45. I got off the bus and went to my car. I started it, and I drove it to Pizza Hut. It was literally two minutes away from the mall, and it wasn’t hassle to get to the store. So, I parked my car, turned it off and went inside Pizza Hut. When I went inside, I saw that they were extremely busy making orders, and I looked to the side and saw my order would be ready in five minutes. So, I went back to my car and waited seven minutes before going back inside. I got back inside and saw that the status of my free pizza was set to “ready.” There were two people in front of me, and I just patiently waited till my turn. When it was my turn, I saw that the cashier was a 40-year-old white man. Anyways, I tell him that my name is Isaiah, and I’m here to pick up my pizza order. He grabs my pizza and tells me that it’s a $1.07. I say alright and pull out my debit card. Before I can put my card in the card reader, the cashier stops me and says, “Oh, I can’t accept that.”
I was confused and asked, “Oh, are you guys no longer accepting cards or something?”
He responded, “We are, but I’m just not trying to use our card reader for $1.07. I need cash from you.”
I was confused because I had always been able to use my debit card for $1.07 or even less at the Pizza Hut store that I was at. It didn’t make sense to me that I had to use cash all of a sudden. So, I asked, “So wait, are you not allowed to use cards for small transactions, then?”
He replied, “We can, but I just don’t want to right now.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from this guy. What do you mean you don’t want to right now? That makes no sense to me. I looked over at the crew and even they were confused with the cashier. I wondered if they were going to do anything, but they just were working and acting like they didn’t hear anything. In my mind, I was just telling myself to calm down and take a deep breathe. Then, I said, “Ok, so I don’t have any cash in my wallet. All I have is my card. So, am I not able to pay for my pizza, then?”
He sighed and said, “Again, I’m not trying to use the card reader because I just don’t want to use it for a dollar transaction. There’s no reason for that.”
I asked him if there was something wrong with the machine, and he tells me that the machine is fine and works really well. Then, I said, “So, you’re telling me that even though you can use your card reader for a $1.07 transaction, you just won’t because you don’t want to?”
He looked at me and said, “Again, I just don’t want to use the card reader for a $1.07 transaction. You have to pay with cash, otherwise you’re not getting your pizza.”
I was furious, and I was so close to really saying some interesting things to this 40-year-old cashier that was being difficult with me. However, I contained myself and said, “Ok, let me check my car real quick and see if I have any money in there.”
I went to my car, got inside and started screaming. I couldn’t believe this man was trying to really push my buttons. I was just letting out all my frustrations and punching the air like crazy. After that, I calmed down and went in my backpack hoping that I had enough money. I rejoiced as I found five quarters in my backpack. Before I went back inside, and I stopped myself. I was saying to myself that there was no reason to give this man what he easily wanted. Make it harder and difficult on him.
I ended up putting a dollar’s worth of pennies and nickels in a plastic bag. I was so glad that I had plenty to be petty back to the cashier. So, I had my bag full of change and carried it into the Pizza Hut store. Then, I poured all the change on the counter and told him $1.07 in change.
He asked me if I was serious, and I said I was very serious. He sighed and started counting them. I looked over him and saw that they were crazy busy in their kitchen, and it sounded like they needed his help. He hurried up and counted all the pennies and nickels I had, put them in his register and handed me my pizza. I thanked him and showed him my quarters. I said, “Yeah, I did have quarters, but I just didn’t want to use them. I much rather pay with pennies and nickels.”
He looked at me all mad and walked back into the kitchen. I yelled, “Have a good day, and also happy Valentine’s Day!”
I had my free pizza in my hands, and I headed back to my car. Thankfully, it was still extremely hot. I went home, and I ended up watching Saw 2 on Valentine’s Day. Ever since that day, I have refused to eat or order Pizza Hut thanks to the petty-ish moment that I had at Pizza Hut on Valentine’s Day.
This is the end of “A Petty-ish Moment at Pizza Hut.”
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On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing the short story “The Importance of Tipping.”