Judge John Hodgman Episode 38: Pepperoni Pauper


Flynn and Helen are frequent guests of a particular pizzeria in Canada that offers free prize tickets on their pizza boxes. Flynn, Helen's boyfriend, goes to great lengths to find as many of these tickets as he can -- even rummaging through the trash to find discarded and unpeeled tickets. Helen finds this extremely embarrassing and feels that no slice of pie is worth the disgraceful effort of dumpster diving. Is Flynn's treasure hunt for free prizes an admirable quest? Is Helen's embarrassment of her boyfriend's trash digging ways justifiable? Only one man can decide!


John Hodgman's new book of fake trivia and world knowledge, THAT IS ALL, can now be pre-ordered for its release on 11/1/11. To find out when he may be visiting a city near you, see Areas of My Expertise.


Submitted by Flynn
A sample winning tag.

The trash can in the restaurant.

Flynn actually reaching his hand into the trash.

Submitted by Helen
An example of the kind of tag used in the pizzeria.


Who will speak for the Canadian House of Pizza and Garbage?

I'm surprised that the judge overlooked one obvious aspect to this case: the Canadian House of Pizza and Garbage itself. Clearly, CHPG is running the promotion with the aim of gaining new customers and getting existing customers to come more often and spend more money with pictures of hockey players and foreign queens. Surely the CHPG's purpose of enticing fellow Canadians out of their igloos with the promise of free motorcycles is being contravened by Flynn, who is only paying for one slice of delicious pizza (I'm assuming this cheapskate goes Dutch treat with the galpal) and yet is getting multiple chances at stuffed sandwiches.

Additional considerations

While the Judge's verdict was sound (Flynn has the right to rummage through the garbage for potential free food etc., but that doesn't mean that he should), there is an additional consideration that was only touched on when Judge Hodgman mentioned hobos. Flynn can afford to buy his pizza slices, and (we presume) has a home. But Flynn's habits of digging through the trash are essentially taking food out of the mouths of the actual homeless and destitute who may well need to pick through the trash for these discarded coupons in order to get something to eat. The fact that, as Flynn says, the pizza place isn't in a particularly good neighborhood, leads me to believe that there are such people in his neighborhood.

And if he really needs to pick through the trash, he should just give any coupons for free food that he finds to people who might need them more than he does. He can keep any coupons that entitle him to a motorcycle.

Pizza Exchange Rates

What is all this about saving dollars, or pop and a slice for an amount of dollars? Please remember that this is in Canada, where the normal unit of exchange is beaver pelts as everyone knows. How many beaver pelts for a pop and a slice? That would help determine the true value of any stuffed motorcycle sandwiches found in le garbage.