Any pizza. Any size. Any crust. Any toppings.
Pizza Hut’s latest promotion, sensationally titled “$10 Pizza Days,” has made Americans an offer they’ll likely prove helpless to refuse. The tagline accompanying each mention of the new deal promises “thousands of pizza possibilities” for a flat $10. And the mathematics are sound, if not understated: Daily Trojan computations indicate the potential for no less than 2,285,824 distinct and unique pizza possibilities.
This figure is contingent on a few stipulations to the deal, none of which you’ll ever find appearing in a font larger than size eight. The small print reveals an additional charge for Stuffed Crust Pizza, and a provision against double toppings. Anecdotal evidence from the Daily Trojan‘s own Pedro Moura also reveals a five-topping cap: while attempting to place an order online, Moura was precluded from requesting any more than five of Pizza Hut’s 16 available toppings. A paltry four crust options — Pan Pizza, Personal Pan Pizza, Hand-Tossed Style Pizza and Thin ‘N Crispy — are available to customers who don’t wish to accrue additional fees.
With these restrictions in mind, the figure arrived at earlier was arrived at in this way:
The four total crust options were multiplied times the sixteen total topping options available to customers for their first topping, times the 15 remaining unused topping options available for topping # 2 — no repeated toppings, remember? — times the 14 now available, etc.
4 * 16 * 15 * 14 * 13 * 12 = 2,096,640 pizza options, but some might not be interested in using all five toppings. That can be corrected with a few additions:
(4 * 16 * 15 * 14 * 13) + (4 * 16 * 15 * 14) + (4 * 16 * 15) + (4 * 16) = 174,720 + 13,440 + 960 + 64 = 189,184 different pizzas available, should the customer be disinclined to avail him- or herself of all five included toppings.
Add that to the number of possible combinations if all five toppings are used, and you’ll arrive at 2,285,824 total pizza options.
The number is admittedly staggering — enticing, even. And it’s this allure of nearly unimaginable possibilities that will likely prove a boon for Pizza Hut.
The same logic underlies buffets. The commercial viability of these free-for-all smorgasbords is beyond impugn, and is owed to precisely the same logic that will likely buoy Pizza Hut sales during the limited run of this most recent deal. Customers enter a buffet — or dial Pizza Hut — with every intention of getting their money’s worth and more, of taking advantage of the deal, of making corporate higher-ups rue the day they ever green-lit such an open-ended deal. In the grand scheme of things, however, these deals are offered because they are profitable for the company making the offer. Pizza Hut anticipates your ambition, but realizes your limitations.
In cases such as Pizza Hut’s “$10 Pizza Days,” The Man is difficult — if not impossible — to stick it to.