Pizza: Buy 1 Get 1 Free

I have now encountered two pizza shops selling pizzas with a buy one get one free pricing scheme. This means the price of an individual pizza is high, but with the free one factored in the collective price is rather low. It is very annoying. What if you want an odd number of pizzas?

I wonder what logic is behind this? Is it to eliminate small orders? Is it to create a reputation of good prices on large orders?

I wonder how much business is gained and lost solely due to this pricing?

Here are my two stories:

Episode 1

Context: It’s late December, I’m hunting for housing on the Central Coast. It’s late afternoon and I have not yet had lunch. I stop by a pizza shop intending to order a medium pizza. I’m tired, in a good mood, but not feeling very inclined to deal with nonsense.

I walked into the shop and noticed the prominent signs declaring all pizzas were “Buy 1 Get 1 Free!” I did not need two pizzas. And this happened:

Clerk: Can I take your order?
Me: I see your pricing is set up to sell pizzas in twos. I’d like one pizza; is that possible?
Clerk: Sorry, we’re not allowed to sell individual pizzas. The second one is free!
Me: I have no use for a second pizza. The second pizza is not free, it is factored into the price. And I don’t want it.
Clerk: I’m sorry.
Me: The store is empty. Right now you’re selling zero pizzas. I want a pizza. I will pay for a pizza. Let’s make this happen.
Clerk: Alright, I can make this work.

And I purchased one pizza for about 66% of the menu price. The clerk was very aware he was breaking company policy. He even brought the pizza out to me with an empty decoy second box. They must be serious about this. My receipt was rung up as an order of a side. It felt rather sneaky and dangerous.

Episode 2

Context: It’s Monday. I’m doing laundry at the local laundromat in the early evening. I have not yet had dinner. After starting the washers I walk over to the neighboring (different) pizza shop. I’m not feeling clever, adventurous, or particularly sociable.

As soon as I walked in I saw the dreaded two for one signs. The guy behind the counter looked more like a bouncer than a pizza maker, and he seemed a little perturbed. I think he was anticipating my desire to order one pizza.

Me: Hi!
Clerk: Hey. What do you want?
Me: Well, I’d like to order a pizza.
Clerk: We sell ’em in twos.
Me: I know, but I want one.
Clerk: I recommend two smalls.
Me: No chance of getting a single pizza?
Clerk: Nope. We sell ’em in twos. Get the smalls.

And so I walked out with two small pizzas and a vow to never frequent this odd-number-hating establishment again. (But then I discovered the pizza was pretty good, so I might have to reconsider that vow if I ever need two, four, or 288 pizzas.)

Have you ever encountered pizzas sold two by two?


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