Given the recent tiff over what percentage to tip a waiter, occasionally a situation arises where somebody earns that tip not for meritorious service, but for service following a meritorious screw-up.
Friday night, I was indulging my stomach at a local Pizza Hut. My order was simple: large thin-crust, cheese with beef topping. I placed my order with my server and I waited.
She came back once to verify the order. Then again.
"You just want the marinara underneath, right?"
Yes, I did. I didn't know I had an option, but clarity was helpful -- or was it?
She returned again. "So you want the marinara with the beef topping and the onions and peppers?"
No, no, no, I corrected. Just the cheese and beef.
Then her supervisor came out a few minutes later.
"We're trying to cook your pizza," she said, "and we've gotten three different explanations."
My head dropped to the table. By this time, I'd figured out what was behind the confusion: word corruption. I didn't notice if the server had even written down the order.
"I said I wanted a thin-crust, beef topping pizza," I explained. "I don't know how that got transformed into a beef taco pizza."
Half-embarrassed, the boss went back and straightened it out. The humbled server brought me out some free breadsticks. Her humbled superior followed about 15 minutes later with the pie.
"May I serve your first piece?"
The way she said it, she sounded like she wanted to wash my feet. Normally, I would politely decline, but I indulged this one time because I sensed the desperate need to correct a massive mistake.
"Uh, yeah, go ahead."
They checked on me several times through out the meal as I downed it.
"You ought to be on Man Vs. Food," my server commented. "You ate that like a champ."
She got a nice tip -- above 18 percent.