Sunday, September 12, 2010

If Homer Lived in Midtown ...

As an avid bargain hunter, I follow several other blogs that list free/cheap things to do around NYC - notably Gothamize Yourself (http://gothamizeyourself.blogspot.com/) and NYC Daily Deals (http://www.nycdailydeals.com/).

Earlier this week, NYC Daily Deals ran an alert that a place in Midtown East was opening and would run a one-day deal with two slices of margherita pizza for $2 - a pretty great deal! I planned my day so that if I walked quickly (it was about 2.8 miles roundtrip) and the line was reasonable, I could make it there and back between classes.

I set off, enjoying midtown during the lunch hour (while walking at a decent clip). In fact, I thought if I ever had a free noontime, I should head to the happy place between Midtown East and the Upper East Side where all the young would-be-knights in suits worked to earn their nobility and find myself some friends. True to genetics however, I figured that this would somehow be immoral/strategy/cheating, so I quickly ruled that idea out.

Having been to NYC Daily Deals lunches before, I was looking for whatever building had an outrageous line coming out of it - so I almost missed the inconspicuous little pizza place. I went in, found no line, and asked the man behind the counter if I could please get the two margherita slices for $2. He looked at me blankly for a minute, and I said, "You know, the NYC Daily Deals thing?"
He then said, "I think that's only for people who work for the blog."

WRONG THING TO TELL A GIRL WHO HAS AN ODD KNACK FOR REMEMBERING EXACT WORDING ... and carries a smartphone with the email from the blog around with her.

Fired up by the challenge, I asked him if he'd like to see the email. He said he would. I whipped out my phone, pulled up the email, and handed it to him behind the counter (a still, small voice inside me said, "Honey. Health code aside, do you think it's a good idea to hand your phone to strangers trying to tell you you can't get the deal you're after?" That voice didn't understand pizza was on the line).

The gatekeeper of the pizza read the email, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Look, I don't care. I'll give it to you. But you'll have to talk to the manager behind you."

Perfectly willing to jump through whatever hoops needed to get my pizza, I presented my request to the manager, the lord of the land: could I please get two slices of margherita pizza for $2 for the NYC Daily Deals thing?

The manager then asked me for the password. Not believing the epic/medieval turn my day had taken, and holding in all the snarky things I wanted to say, I guessed "NYC Daily Deals," remembering something about that in the email. He told me that was wrong - it was supposed to be "NYC Daily News." I was really confused, thinking that the point of a secret password is NOT to reveal it when someone guesses wrong, but I didn't care. I just said, "Ok then - NYC Daily News!" He gave me the go-ahead, and sent me to the cashier.

When I told the cashier I was doing the two slices for $2 deal, she told me I had to ask the manager. I told her I had, he waved at her, and I handed her my floppy $2. A few minutes later I held a box with two steaming pieces of margherita pizza in my hand. I leisurely walked the 1.4 miles back, enjoying the fruits of my victory.

This is one of those economic adventures where the time required to get the deal probably negates the low dollar cost. However, there are more factors than mere time and money - I had tasted adventure in my odyssey through midtown. I walked back with a proud smile on my face, crowd-weaving with my laurels in a pizza box, feeling pretty happy with the world. I had seen a deal, journeyed, battled, and won my prize.

Not only did I get the glory of the chase, but I also got a great workout, and delicious cheap pizza. On returning to the school cafe, I just knew my classmates were thinking: Raise your Nalgenes; toast the triumphant warrior! All hail the victor of the bargain battle! Now, we feast!

I battled for my pizza in:
Black pencil skirt, blue and black mock-halter blouse, black and silver ring, black and silver watch, cubic zirconia studs, and black and blue concealed-platform stilettos (technically I was wearing flip-flops while I walked because otherwise I would have shredded my shoes - but I put the cute ones on as soon as I got back).