Papa Johns and Outsourcing

I really do wonder if I’m a magnet for shitty customer service.

As I’ve said before, I fall in love with Brands. I find ones that make me feel comfortable and I stick with them LONG after there’s something actually better around. But what’s funny is that I don’t have much tolerance for bullshit. If you treat me well, even when you mess up, I’ll stay. Treat me poorly, and I’m gone.

For years, I was a Dominos Pizza fan. For those of you who knew me in high school and college, I ordered from them 3-4 nights/week on average. For years. The drivers all knew me by my order and I loved the simple, quick, ’za. Then Dominos had to change their pizza recipe. And Papa Johns came to town about the same time. If I remember correctly, it was actually the change in the breadsticks that pushed me over the edge.

But I’ve been a Papa Johns guy now for nearly 30 years. I have it at home at least once/week and I have gotten it so many times when I’m on various trips that my PJ app address book looks suspicious.

Tonight was no exception. I’m in Chicago for pleasure and after the event, I order dinner around 11:20. I use the app to see that delivery is being outsourced to Door Dash and I KNEW I was going to be in for a bumpy ride.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, restaurants are short staffed post-COVID. Delivery institutions that use to hire their own drivers now sometimes lean on Door Dash to do the ”last mile” work.

This is called outsourcing and it’s something I deal with in my regular job an awful lot. The trouble is knowing which throat to choke in the event of an issue. In the present case, Door Dash sent me a notification at 12:05 that my ”Dasher” was having trouble finding them and that I can reach them at their phone number. I call it. No answer: 3x.

Meanwhile, the PapaJohn’s app shows that the pizza has been marked as delivered. Uh oh.

I call the Papa Johns store. I speak to a manager and tell them that it HASN’T been delivered. They first tell me that this is an issue with Door Dash and that I would need to contact them. Here’s the throat problem: *I* didn’t order from Door Dash. THEY chose to use Door Dash. *I* shouldn’t have to manage that part of the relationship. I tell them this. They say they’ll look into it and call me back.

I then get a text from my Dasher: ”I’m here” with a picture of a building sign that isn’t my hotel. I tell them that they’re not at the right place. They text me another photo of another place. Nope: I’m not there, either. I tell them that I’m at a hotel. I tell them that I don’t know where I need to go to find my food. They send a third photo. I figure it out with my phone GPS: they went to 1N instead of 1S. I tell them this and tell them to go bring me my food.


I try calling PJ again. Surprise – their store is now closed and nobody is answering.

I try calling Door Dash. They want to refund me. But they can’t because I didn’t order the food through them. And I don’t want a REFUND. I want my friggin’ food. I’m starving.

I’m going to deal with Papa Johns tomorrow – I’ve already left them a comment on their website feedback form. And I’ll call that store back tomorrow and give them a chance to refund me before I call my credit card company.

For now, I have another 20 minutes before a hotel-recommended late-night local pizza place delivers. Which is good. Because I’m STILL starving.


I don’t usually talk about it, but I love PostSecret. I’ve been reading the site nearly since its creation. I am amazed at the things people share and I’m grateful that Frank Warren has created a space for these shares.

One of the core focus areas for Frank (and for PS) is suicide. He spends a lot of time soliciting for Suicide Prevention services and he’s an advocate of that work. And what I’m about to say should, in no way, detract from that noble effort.

But I have a concern.

At key times, Frank himself will allow people to provide feedback about a postcard. Or he will, himself, respond to the postcard’s author (below the card on his site – he doesn’t have actual contact information for anyone unless they list it on the card). And he never discourages something that I think needs to be discouraged:

If you have any kind of mental illness, there’s no stigma associated with the illness… and it’s not who you are. But you should NOT be entering the mental health field.

I’m prepared to get blasted for this opinion, but I have a LOT of experience with this. You might make an excellent psychiatrist, social worker or psych nurse. But you should stay away from those fields. Not because you can’t do the job… but because it’s similar to a gambler going into a casino. You will have developed knowledge, skills and abilities in your field which may make you believe that you are now equipped to manage your own illness.

And I hate to break it to you, but you can’t.

You can’t and you shouldn’t (even if it were possible for you to do so). And it also biases you (positively or negatively is irrelevant, it’s any bias that isn’t good) with regards to the treatment of anyone who has (or might have) the same mental illness that you do.

So look. If you are suffering from a mental illness and have been working hard to manage your disease, that’s absolutely fantastic! And if you believe that the mental health professionals that helped you should be honored in some way, that’s great, too (they work really hard without a lot of recognition). But don’t honor them by trying to BE them. It could possibly work out just fine… or it could become disastrous. Why risk it? There are thousands of fields that need intelligent people – find one that doesn’t relate to something you’re that intimately involved in.

Shitty Customer Service

Once again, I seem to be a magnet for shitty customer service. This time, it’s with a tech provider.

So… I’ve used this same provider for YEARS. I came to them from a competitor, when I was having issues with that competitor not meeting the basic needs around the service. It thus came to me as a complete shock that tonight I was told that what I was trying to do (which is what I’d been doing since DAY ONE with this provider… WITH THEIR ASSISTANCE TO GET IT GOING IN THE FIRST PLACE) was in violation of their terms of service.

As we all know, this is a bullshit phrase used to condone inaction on the part of a service provider. I challenged it – I told them the history of my account and how we got to where we are: doing the same things that I’d been doing since I created the account (and had no problem doing for the last 3 years until now). They didn’t budge. In fact, they escalated. They told me that I could find reference to this policy on their legal page.

Of course, I looked. They said it’s the “Terms & Conditions”. No such section existed. I asked if I was at the right URL. They now told me that “they weren’t allowed to direct me further.”

What the what?!?

But whatever, it was just more bullshit.

So while they were telling me the BS policy that was supposedly the reason I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, I was, in the background, fixing the issue they said was the root cause of why they could’t help me. Thus, at the point where they now wanted to hang up on me and bid me farewell to go fix the problem and then call back (no thank you), I told them to refresh things on their end.

Et voila.

Took them about 30 seconds to fix my issue after that. Poofters.