Cafe Society

Domino's Pizza admits it sucks, promises to do better

I hate Domino's Pizza. Seriously loathe it in a way that ought to be reserved for the hating only of living things, not branded corporate entities. I hate it so much that when one of its commercials comes up on TV, I always turn away and give it the finger, curse at it or, if I'm feeling particularly embittered, start in on the Story of the Dessert Pizza -- a kind of founding myth of mine and Laura's relationship.

See, back when we were living in Albuquerque, we were poor. Dirt poor. Dodging creditors and Hungry-every-Friday poor. We were know-the-mailman-by-his-first-name poor, because I was unemployed at the time, collecting government mercy funds from Uncle Sugar, and I knew to the minute just what time our mail carrier was supposed to show up with my unemployment check. We were poor enough that ordering a pizza represented a kind of wild and fiscally unsound celebration -- a twenty-dollar bachanal that amounted to a significant percentage of our net income for the week.

One week, I got all hot and bothered about a series of Domino's commercials advertising some kind of dessert pizza with cinnamon and frosting and god only knows what else. I wanted one of those things the way Ralphie wanted his Red Ryder BB gun, and one day -- in a fit of madness that only those who've been in a position where they can't afford a delivery pizza can ever understand -- I picked up the phone and just ordered one. Didn't check the bank. Didn't go through the couch looking for change. Just ordered it, pulled out a credit card so hot it had to be picked up with tongs, and waited for my delicious disk of dough and cinnamon and frosting to arrive.

When it did, I could've wept. The thing was just inedibly bad: an ugly, small, misshapen, disgusting lump of burnt pizza dough dispassionately sprinkled with a few grains of bitter cinnamon sugar and served with a pathetically tiny cup of cold cake frosting that looked nothing like the gooey, luscious stuff being poured out in the commercials.

In a rage, I walked the thing down to the dumpsters, threw it in the trash, and vowed bloody vengeance on the Domino's Pizza company. I swore that I would never eat another Domino's pizza, that I would pluck out my own eyes before watching another Domino's commercial, that I would never again find myself so destitute that I could have my heart broken by a motherfucking delivery pizza.

So my primary reason for hating Domino's is highly personal, but I also have some larger, more general complaints. For starters, the pizzas taste like crap. Like crap and salt, actually, and they have an aftertaste of lowest common denominator that can't be shaken no matter how much cheap beer you chase it with. In a 2009 survey of consumer-taste preferences, Domino's ranked dead-last -- tied with Chuck E. Cheese's.

But now, after years of sucking and disappointing its customers, it looks like Domino's is finally coming to terms with its loser-dom. The company has announced that it will do something that almost no other food company has ever done, a kind of nuclear option for brand-name chains: It's re going to redesign every element of its core-menu item, the Domino's pizza. This is tantamount to an admission of defeat, of copping to years of terrible pizzas foisted on the young, the poor and the dumb.

Domino's is going to be taking a look at everything: crust, cheese, sauce, the whole megillah. For an interesting breakdown of everything that Domino's is planning, you can check out this piece from Bruce Horovitz, writing for USA Today. Or you can just cast your mind back a few years to when another company tried something similar to what Domino's is attempting.

I've got two words for the Domino's executives who thought this was a good idea: New Coke.

Good luck, you sons of bitches.

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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan