don’t be deceptive, at least with regards to my pizza…

November 8, 2009 11:01pm
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I actually noticed this many moons ago when they first launched it, however apparently time ended up getting the best of me and thus I never actually got around to posting it. Nonetheless, it’s very rare that I order pizza from Domino’s these days, so it seemed only fitting that I re-address what I had originally seen long ago…

…with a twist!

So anyways, Domino’s has this new thing on their website after you order that they cleverly call the Domino’s Tracker – basically, it’s a visualization of how long it’s going to take your pizza to be ready for pickup, and since it features some pretty graphics and even a progress bar as opposed to just “15-25 minutes,” I thought that it seemed pretty cool. What was even more interesting, however, and note – this is likely where I should pick up my gullible hat – is that if you leave your browser window open, the progress bar actually “updates,” in theory, as your order is working its way “through the kitchen.” As you can see in the first screenshot below, “Omar” had just placed our ham & cheddar cheese pizza and italian sausage sub into the oven at “7:39pm.”

Now again, call me naive if you will, but the first time I saw this, I thought, “Wow – that’s pretty cool! How are they actually tracking those handoffs throughout their kitchen, though??? They couldn’t have a separate ticker that employees constantly have to update for each and every pizza, now could they?!” In retrospect, maybe I just put too much faith in the pizza industry at large, but I guess the fakery finally hit home when I came back from another tab a couple of minutes later to see that the browser had refreshed and unbeknownst to me, not only was my pizza done and ready for pickup, but in fact I had already driven down and actually picked it up!

My best guess is that the “tracker” is nothing more than a Flash animation on a timer – possibly set to the estimated time to pickup, if they were really snazzy – that just moves through the various stages of pizza creation at a set interval. And maybe I’m making too big of a deal out of it to even suggest that it should actually be accurate if Domino’s is going to boast a Track Your Pizza option on their website, but it just seems silly to start with a great idea like this and then half-ass it when a simple movie of “Here’s what we’re probably doing to make your pizza right now…” – if it’s not actually happening, then why bother?

Nonetheless, as evidenced by my TwitPic post a short while ago, I did hop into the car and go pick up said order at that point – low and behold, “I” hadn’t already picked it up, despite whatever the pizza tracker said, and it ended up being perfectly acceptable sustinence for an otherwise stressful evening. Didn’t think to ask for “Omar” at the counter to thank him for a job well done, although that would’ve been amusing seeing as I’m guessing he doesn’t actually “exist,” either. Admittedly, it does make me a little sad that Domino’s would deceive us with what essentially was an elaborated stopwatch that in my case had a glitch that suggested time travel and alternate realities. Maybe there was a disclaimer on the page somewhere that said, “Tracker is for novelty purposes only – you’ll get it when we’re done with it…” – but I certainly didn’t see one.

Lesson learned – as cool as it might be, it’s just not very likely that anyone would invest in the technology to track the creation progress of an $8 pizza in hundreds of stores across the country.

Final score: Gullibility – 1, Scott – 0

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