Dixie and I always order pizza from the same place. It’s a little Mom & Pop joint nestled in a nearby residential area. It’s called Science Fiction Pizza. If you drove by at night you wouldn’t know it was a pizza place, because the “Science Fiction” is lit up on the building but the “Pizza” is on an unlit sign in the window below. At night you’d see only “Science Fiction”, which could mean any number of things, pizza being probably the last connection one would make.
To the right of the lit “Science Fiction” there is some cut off information, which you can decipher on your own:
The inside of the pizza place is non-descript: a small bare room with just a counter and some arbitrary decoration. There is a picture of “Earth at Night” on the wall behind the counter, which separates the entrance from the kitchen; on the wall to the right hangs an oversized towel with an echinacea print. There is one small table in the bay window: it is made from a 3-inch slab of wood covered with another half-inch layer of laquer. There are pictures between the wood and laquer.
The place is run by a couple (I’m guessing) in their fifties or possibly sixties. The husband has a thick European accent which I can’t place. It is open from 3:45p.m. until 2:00a.m. almost every day.
We discovered it at around 1a.m. several years ago. While we were making our way through one of the Arrested Development seasons we had a sudden pizza craving and Science Fiction Piza was the only place open at that hour. We ordered a large pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and green peppers, and again the following two nights. We haven’t ordered anything different since. We love it.
I was over there again tonight picking up the usual and punching in the VISA/debit thing. When the option for “tip” comes up, I always consider leaving a tip because it’s a nice Mom & Pop place, but my ‘I’m not technically receiving any service because I’m picking up the pizza’ thinking always wins the day and I don’t fill in a tip amount. Should I be tipping for pizza pick-ups? I may tip simply because I want to, but am I obligated to tip for a pick-up?
The tip option on the debit machine is handy, but it also seems a bit presumptuous to me. I always feel guilty leaving it at $0.00, mostly because it feels like the person operating the machine can immediately see that I’m a Non-Tipping Bastard. Or that’s what that person would think. I’m not a Non-Tipping Bastard; I’m a Tips-With-Service Bastard, but a stranger working in the service industry wouldn’t know that.
With the old-school way of tipping, you could leave money on the table or leave nothing and your waiter would be none the wiser until you were long gone. Tip jars at the counter added a little guilt (the person giving you change looks nonchalant, but are they really?) But the tip option on the debit machine is the worst, in my opinion.