For those of you who didn’t know, I recently started serving part-time at Giordano’s Pizza in Chicago, the premier spot for Chicago-style deep dish.
I’ve been done with training for about two weeks now and I love every second I am on the clock serving. Being so close to numerous hotels and the Magnificent Mile, we get a ton of first-time guests and I always like to personalize the conversation I’m having with my guests in any way possible (it’s said that a server’s tip can be increased up to 15% by them simply personalizing a conversation). Chicago, being the sports-crazy town it is makes it easy for me to find something to talk about with my guests.
Recently, Giordano’s landed Chicago’s biggest sports star, former MVP and number one draft pick, Derrick Rose as a corporate partner. We now advertise our pizza as “The 1″ as in “the number one pizza in Chicago,” as well as Derrick Rose’s jersey number, one. We even have a ‘Derrick Rose pizza’ that is made with his favorite ingredients. What makes this story I’m about to tell even more ironic is that I’ll be serving Rose or his entourage in the coming weeks as Giordano’s is hosting his “coming back” party as he returns from missing an entire season with a torn ACL.
Rose received a great deal of scrutiny toward the end of last season from Bulls fans as his team was pushing a Miami Heat team to the limit in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. He was 14 months removed from an ACL tear, cleared to play in the series and was performing highlight reel dunks in pregame that excited a desperate Bulls fanbase as it was already out its team’s top three scorers from the season. He chose to sit out the series as it “was in the best interest for him to rest for the duration of the season.” (I need not mention the amount of players in the NBA and other collegiate and professional sports that returned from ACL tears in 3/4 of the time). Here’s a funny parody video of the injury Zack and I used to blare in our roommate Matt’s (a die-hard Bulls fan) face last year when he’d start talking about Rose and the Bulls. It’s a YouTube video of … well you’ll just have to watch it and try not to laugh
Chicagoians, being as pompous and arrogant as they are when it comes to sports, act like Indianapolis isn’t even on a basketball map as they forget the toughest teams Jordan’s Bulls had to play in the 90s were the hicks from four hours south. A few times in my short tenure at Giordano’s, I’ve let patrons know I am a proud Indianapolisian (I choose not to use the disgusting “H” word … it makes me feel dirty) and am met with some shrugs and jokes about my choice of NBA team. It hadn’t affected my tip until last night when I was talking to a group of guys who had just left the Blackhawks game and hadn’t dined with us before. One of them asked about the Derrick Rose pizza and the others started chiding Rose for his choice to sit out the Heat series last season. One of them then asked me, “Well, you’ve been around here, what are your thoughts on his decision?” Quickly I told them I was from Indianapolis and didn’t care about Rose’s injury status as the Bulls were just another speedbump in the Pacers’ road to unseating King James and the Miami Heat as the top dog in the NBA. Naturally, they had some choice words for me as they called me an idiot and were quick to tell me how wrong I was – they must have stopped watching the NBA Playoffs after their beloved Bulls got knocked out last season. (On a side note, the first thing we do when we approach a table is inform the guest that it takes around 45 minutes for our deep-dish pizza to cook so they know up front). These gentlemen were in a hurry and weren’t in the mood for a 45 minute wait so they asked me how long it would take for us to make the Derrick Rose pizza. I mean, you couldn’t have teed me up nicer for a response to a question like that. Without a moment’s pause, I told them if they ordered a D Rose pizza it would be ready in about 17 months … I couldn’t even finish the sentence before I started chuckling (it’s okay to laugh at your own jokes if they’re funny). The flabbergasted looks on the gentlemen’s faces told me that I had crossed the line. After about a 10 second pause they chose to all get sandwiches and didn’t speak to me again other than asking for the check.
At first, I had a picture of the receipt up but I chose to take it down for a few reasons. If you’d like to see the receipt itself, let me know and I can send a picture. The overall bill wasn’t too expensive, but the gentlemen wrote “0.00″ HUGE on the tip line and then put an X next to it as if he thought I may have missed that HE STIFFED ME!!! Then, on the line that said ‘signature’, he wrote (expletive) the Pacers and underneath he wrote “GO BULLS!!!”
Evidently the gentlemen didn’t think I was funny as I thought I was (believe me, it’s not the first time this has happened). Maybe the guys will come back in a few months apologizing to me for being too harsh about a joking matter, letting me know I was correct in telling them the Pacers are more relevant now than the Bulls – with or without Rose. Or maybe I’ll just have to put this receipt in a special place and look at it the next time I need a laugh.
Until next time,
Oh, and GO PACERS!!!!!!!!!!