from Silver Doctors:

Thought inflation was already pretty bad? It’s actually worse than that. Much, much worse…

(by Half Dollar) I’m a World Class Master Pizza Baker, and I don’t say that to brag, for I would never do that, much less would I ever boast, but I say that to establish my expertise.

Of course, I did in fact invent stuffed-crust pizza in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and if given the choice of only being able to eat one single food for the rest of my life, well, heck yeah it would be pizza, so I am kind of biased like that too.


Nonetheless, one of the economic field tests that I regularly conduct on Main Street involves assessing any given pizzeria’s quality and value by simply ordering a “Large Pepperoni Pizza”, and let me tell you right off the bat that if I’m not counting at least 3 slices of pepperoni per slice of pizza, that’s an automatic fail.

Regardless, since I am a cheapskate, I really enjoy Little Caesars $5 pizza, and I’ve been eating that brand for so long, that I remember the time when it was “Pizza, Pizza”, meaning, you always got “two awesome pizzas for one low price”, or however the marketing hype went, and the pizza “box” was super weird in that it was really long so that it could hold both pizzas in the same box, with a divider in the middle, and the box was also weird in that it had a paper top that you ripped open instead of a cardboard top that you lifted up.

Over the years, I’ve been waiting for the price to go up on the “Large Pepperoni” pizza, which could also be the “Large Cheese” pizza, for either large pizza costs the same, which Little Caesars calls the “Classic” and not the “Large” per se, but generally speaking, the size of the “Classic” is in fact the universally accepted, industry-wide benchmark for the “Large” pizza.

So I keep on waiting for the price to go up from $5, and while the employees do their very best to up-sell you and get you to pile on a bunch of overpriced toppings, like feta cheese, or anchovies, or banana peppers, and while the employees do their very best to flat out steer you away from the Classic Pepperoni Pizza in order to push you into one of the more expensive offerings, like the Extra Greasy Pizza, or the Super Loaded Pizza, and while the cuter employees wink at you and try to get you to upgrade your order, like with some breadsticks, or maybe even an order of chicken wings, and while the price has gone up on everything else for sale at Little Caesars over the years, including said breadsticks, said wings, and soft drinks, and sauces, and so on, and so forth, well, I’m still waiting.

I’ve been waiting to see the price inflation, but I just haven’t seen it yet.

Sounds familiar, right?

Indeed, the cost for a Large Cheese or a Large Pepperoni has been $5 for as long as I can remember, and since my memory is blown, that’s probably a really long time, but it wasn’t until ordering pizza just last night when it finally hit me: The price may still be $5, nominally, but in reality, the pizza costs so much more than that.

Much, much more.

Allow me to explain.

First and foremost, I love perks, and Little Caesars always had plenty of freebies and extras to go along with their pizzas, with the key phrase being “always had”.

That is to say, for the longest time, along with the $5 pizza, Little Caesars would handout paper plates, crushed red pepper packets, parmesan cheese packets, plenty of napkins and even snack-sized packs of shortbread cookies baked in the shapes of little triangular pizza slices and fat cartoonish Julius Caesar heads.

As a general rule of thumb, I would ask for six packs of cookies for every two large pizzas, for ahh, the umm, err, uhh, for the kids.

But I digress.

They stopped giving away the paper plates, and they stopped giving away the parmesan cheese, and it was a total bummer when they did those things, but it only worsened from there as the free packs of cookies were getting harder and harder to come by, no matter where I happened to be in the United States, and over the last year especially, the year the whole, you know, Zombie Apocalypse thing began, I never see the cookies at all anymore, and don’t even get me started on the napkins!

Like, I ordered two large pizzas, and I’m handed four stinkin’ napkins?


And it’s not like you can even grab the napkins from the counter on your own anymore, because the napkins are no longer loaded into dispensers and placed on top of the counter, for now, you’ve got to ask for the napkins, only, it’s not really like asking, but rather, it’s more like getting on your knees and begging for napkins while singing the employees’ praises because the few employees inside of Little Caesars are always covered in dust, they’re always sweaty and sorta smelly, albeit semi-obfuscated by the pungency of a dozen or so pizzas baking in the oven, with the exception of the cute, winking ones, of course, for they generally smell pretty good in an “I put on way too much perfume” kind of way, which isn’t really all that bad, but the other employees always have a bad look on their faces, as if the employees are constantly high-strung and working under a ton of pressure & stress, so in my experience, to get more than just a few napkins, the best tactic is to “kill ’em with kindness” as opposed to taking Karen’s approach.

Sometimes I wonder why I even open the door for her?

But there I go again with the you-know-what.

Here’s the point: It used to be that when you ordered a pizza, you got so much more, stuff that quite frankly, a lot of people enjoy with their pizzas, but now, you pretty much just get the pizza.

But wait, there’s more!

That’s right folks, because they don’t call it “shrinkflation” for nothin’, you know!

You see, the “large” pizza is supposed to be fourteen inches round, but I think the next time I order I’m busting out the tape measure because I’ve got this sneaky suspicion they never stretch the dough out that far anymore, and at the risk of another digression, I’d also add that putting a smaller pizza into a larger box can, and does, have catastrophic consequences resulting from the drive home, so unless you like scraping cheese and topping off of the inside of the box’s lid, don’t drive it like you stole it, but rather, drive it like grandma.

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