Sometimes people act crazy when you give them free things.

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At my theater company’s smaller space, we handle mostly new works by new slash unknown playwrights.  Our first week of previews for every show have what are called “Talk ‘n’ Taste” nights, where we hold a post-show discussion with members of the creative team so they can gauge the audience’s reaction and figure out what works and what doesn’t.  That’s the “Talk” part.  The “Taste” part is free pizza and wine in the lobby for those that participated in the discussion.

The ten most frequent types of Free-Pizza people:

  1. The person who walks up, looks at the offering, makes a face as if to say, ‘That’s it?’ and then walks away without partaking.
  1. The person who may or may not be homeless based on their hoarding of three or four pieces of pizza in their bag, after which they make a quick getaway to seemingly eat on the street.
  1. The person who walks up and talks a lot about the pizza – ‘Where did it come from?’, ‘Do you have a different kind not on display here?’, ‘Have you ever had this other kind of pizza?’, ‘Maybe you should get that kind next time.’
  1. The person who walks up and doesn’t talk about the pizza at all, but still talks a lot – ‘So you work for the theater?’, ‘How long have you worked here?’, ‘Have you seen this show?’, ‘Is this a new building?’, ‘Can I buy a ticket from you for the next show?’, ‘Is it still raining outside?’
  1. The person who makes you decide what they like.  ‘What’s your favorite kind of pizza here?  The zucchini?  Do you think I’ll actually like that?’
  1. The person who tries to return the pizza.  ‘This isn’t what I thought it would be and I don’t want to throw it away.  Do you think anybody else would eat this piece that I took a bite out of?  There’s still a lot of it left.’
  1. The person who stands by the pizza table so they can immediately reach in and get another piece when their current one is gone, crowding the table and making it impossible for anyone else to get in and grab a slice.  Because obviously the second they walk away it will all disappear.
  1. The person who asks for the ingredients.  Or if it’s gluten-free.  It’s free pizza, lady.  I don’t know.
  1. The person who sets up camp on one of the benches in the lobby with their pizza and sits for a half-hour after the event ends.  You put away the table and take out the trash and they’re still there.  Everyone else is gone and they’re still there.  You fade the lobby lights down to half and they’re still there.  So you literally have to go up to the person and tell them that you need to close up the lobby.  It’s at that point they say they have to go to the bathroom first.  So now you have to wait for all that to happen before you can lock up and leave.
  1. Finally, the person who just takes a piece of pizza and a glass of wine and says “Thanks!” and goes off to one side to chat with their friends.  They finish their pizza and leave quietly.  These are my favorite.

Can you name any other types of Free-Pizza People?

 

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