Column: The Pizza Vouchers

This article first appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post

It’s Tuesday morning and I have woken up to a puzzling email.

“You have been an incredible help, Trevor. I’ve attached a voucher for Pizza Parlour.”

As nice as Sue’s email is, I can’t help feeling that I don’t deserve the praise. My contribution to Sue’s predicament had been limited to not helping at all because, and here is the sticking point, I’m not Trevor.

“I can’t thank you enough,” she signed off and, frankly, I was being thanked too much.

Sue had misplaced her email. She’d confused the notoriously similar names of Darryl and Trevor and now I was in possession of pizza I had done nothing to earn.

“Hello, Sue. Thanks for this email. It was a nice surprise. Unfortunately, I think it’s misplaced. You don’t owe me any pizza. I hope it finds its rightful owner.” I typed and sat back to enjoy the swooshing sound of the email sending – one of life’s great pleasures – before popping the kettle on and getting on with the rest of my life.

Another email.

“I honestly can’t thank you enough,” you really can, Sue. “You have been a huge help. I couldn’t have pulled it all together without your expertise. I know you like pizza, so enjoy yourself on me”

I do like pizza, I thought to myself briefly, but I’m still not Trevor. I have no expertise to offer Sue, unless she wants to know how to open a bottle of beer on the side of a table – and she doesn’t seem the type.

“Sue. Sorry for the confusion. I didn’t help. This isn’t something I can accept. It’s for somebody else.”

Swoosh. Kettle.

“It was indeed a group effort, but you managed our team with zest. Have a margarita on me.”

A simple margarita is often underrated, I think briefly, but I didn’t manage Sue’s team with zest. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything with zest. Who says zest? Unless you’re judging Strictly Come Dancing.

“Sue. Please. You don’t understand. This voucher isn’t for me. Please pass it on to its rightful owner”

Swoosh. Kettle.

“But you really did. Sure, there were others involved, but it’s your great work that will long be remembered around here. You have changed the face of our organisation and I can’t thank you enough. Please, take the voucher.

This is absurd. I’m arguing with a woman I’ve never met about a pizza voucher that isn’t for me. And I’m starting to wonder if a pizza voucher is an adequate reward for Trevor’s contribution – surely a plaque or a library in his name would be more appropriate.

“You are misguided, Sue.” I type with exasperation, “This is misplaced. It isn’t me. I didn’t do it. I played absolutely no part in changing the face of your organisation and I’m not somebody that can ever be described as zesty.”

Swoosh. Kettle.

I consider ignoring the email. I can’t let this exchange define my day. I’m worried I’ll start to doubt my own existence. What if I actually am Trevor? Maybe I did help Sue to change the face of her organisation. Am I… zesty? It’s happening already. I must end this.

“Are you telling me you didn’t do the hours you billed for, Trevor?” reads the new email and her tone darkens. “I hope I didn’t misplace my trust in you.”

Things have escalated. I feel like I’m soiling Trevor’s good name. He’s spent decades forging his reputation for zesty organisational change and who am I to tarnish his achievements by refusing to accept his pizza parlour vouchers? What’s more, this exchange is costing me a fortune in incessant kettle boiling.

“Hello, Pizza Parlour? Can I make a reservation?”

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By Darryl Morris

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