In November I, Seth Mazow, won the “Hands On An Eggplant Sub” contest at Homeslice Pizza in South Austin, entitling me to a free year’s worth of pizza.
Q: What’s the deal?
A: Every time I walk through the door I get one large pizza with unlimited toppings, standard or premium, for free for an entire year. Tax is included in the freeness, but not beer, salad, etc. Good for dine-in only, but if there’s leftovers I can take them home in a box. I can also get free slices from the take-out window.
Q: Holy crap! Do you have any idea how amazing that is?
Q: Are you tired of pizza yet?
A. No. There’s enough different toppings to mix things up. And while I recently re-joined the ranks of the employed, I’ve never lost my sense of excitement at the prospect of free stuff.
Q: How much pizza do you eat?
A: An average of two per week, one with my
girlfriend fiance wife and one with friends. When I was unemployed it was more like three or four per week.
Q: How do they know that you’re the guy who won?
A: My picture is on the wall of the kitchen. Most of the staff has gotten to know me by now, but if there are impostors garnering free pizza by masquerading as me, I’m not aware of it.
Q: Do they hate you for taking such advantage of them?
A: I don’t think so. I try to tip pretty well so the waitstaff won’t groan when I’m seated in their section, but they’re all really cool and deserving of good tips regardless. Usually I’m with friends, and my “pizza on me, beer on you” mantra probably works well for Homeslice’s profit margin. Not that Homeslice has a problem getting people in the door (the wait is at least 45 minutes long for dinner), but everyone who hears of the contest/prize thinks more highly of them because of it.
Q: What toppings do you get?
A: So far every pizza has been different, but garlic has been on each one. I love anchovies but sometimes my eating partners don’t, so I’ll only get it on half the pizza or not at all. Interestingly, a good chunk of the folks who say they don’t like anchovies do like Caesar salad dressing, and are unaware of the connection. All the veggies are good, but some of my faves are olives (black, green or kalamata), fried eggplant, artichoke hearts, spinach, mushrooms and onions. The basil is really good but they really load it on and sometimes if can be overpowering. You have to be in the mood to have a salad-y pizza.
Q: Have you gained weight?
A: Not yet. I weighed myself just after I won and I weighed in at 160 lbs. We’ll see where I end up. UPDATE: don’t hate me, but I’ve actually lost a couple pounds after 14 months of free pizza. The swine-flu worked wonders for undesired weight loss. But for what it’s worth, loads of free pizza and horrific infectious pathogens have turned into quite the dieting combination. Results may vary.
Q: Has the magic worn off?
A: Nope! Every time I walk in I feel like Rocky ascending the steps. Sometimes I even raise my fists like him and sing the theme song in my head. Seeing the bill with the pizza charge and the add-topping line items all deducted definitely never gets old.
Q: What did you do to earn this?
A: I won the Hands On An Eggplant Sub contest at the third annual Homeslice Pizza Carnival by placing my hand on an eggplant sub longer than my three competitors.
Q: How long did you have to stand there?
A: About seven hours. I got lucky. Last year the two finalists were there for 31 hours, and the winner only got a Wii. Nothing against a Wii, but it’s no free pizza for a year.
Q: Seven hours? That’s it?
A: Yeah I know, it’s pretty crazy. The first competitor was a high school kid who dropped out when his mom picked him up, the second thought it would last for days and gave up because she wanted to go to a play the next day. Sonia, the fiercest of the bunch was in it for the long haul, but in one regrettable moment accidentally took her hand off the sub to readjust her blankets, thus forfeiting.
Q: Was she pissed?
A: Much less than I woulda been. The tip jar that we allocated to the loser to soften the sting of defeat helped a little.
Q: Did you have bathroom breaks?
A: Every ten hours, so we hadn’t made it to the first one yet.
I wrote more about my victory on a recent travel blog that is currently in a state of indefinite hiatus. Check it out if you’re still curious.