Anyone who has served in the military or spent time in prison can attest that shared miseries will tend to enforce a camaraderie on the poor drudges forced to undergo the experience. When such situations arise it is only natural for the co-sufferers to dream up humorous shared lingo to lighten the emotional load. So prisoners call heroin, meth, or cocaine “papers,” and folks in the military have been known to use the term “shortarm” to mean penis—there’s a sneaky reference to a “shortarm inspection” in the movie M*A*S*H.
It might not be directly comparable to prison or the army, but working for Domino’s Pizza might be regarded as a severe trial in its own right—so it should not be too surprising to learn that Domino’s Pizza employees have developed a funny, rude lingo all their own.
In 1996 a woman named Gwen Foss who had been an employee of Domino’s for several years compiled a small glossary of pizza jargon that she had picked up along the way. It was published in Maledicta, a fascinating journal that once billed itself as “the international journal of verbal aggression.”
Her list of terms is full of abbreviations and other terms that Domino’s employees would never use in front of a customer. There’s the “PMS pie,” so called because it features pepperoni, mushrooms, and sausage, and the “bondage pie,” because sausage and mushrooms equals S&M and that adds up to bondage. When you order a pie with extra sauce, know that the employees are calling it either a “blood pie” or a “hemorrhage.” Due to its visual appearance, all the terms for “sausage” relate to dog food: Alpo, Kibbles n’ Bits, Puppy Chow, etc.
Every town has its pizza places, and who knows what terms are used in them, but Domino’s is an unusual breeding ground for pizza slang because of two factors: the speed with which Domino’s employees have to work, a legacy of the famous 30-minute delivery guarantee, and the fact that a large corporation like Domino’s is prone to shuffling employees around geographically, which has the effect of spreading the terms around. As Foss says, “Many of the words they use are commands that are shouted to one another, and the same expressions get moved from store to store because Domino’s shares employees.”
Some of the slang isn’t all that specific to pizza. For example, a customer who can’t remember his or her own address is called a “stoner.” At least it’s true that Domino’s employees encounter more than their fair share of stoners. Then again, a “starver,” a person who denies ever ordering a pizza in the hopes of a discount, surely is a type that Domino’s delivery people are all too familiar with.
Here’s a fuller list of Foss’ Domino’s slang:
Alpo: Taken from the dog-food brand and used to describe sausage topping. Other words for sausage include Kibbles n’ Bits, Puppy Chow, dog food and Snausages.
Bitch pie: pizza with PMS (pepperoni, mushroom, sausage).
Blood pie: A pizza with extra sauce. Also called a hemorrhage.
Bondage pie: pizza with S and M (sausage and mushrooms).
Carp: Term for anchovies. Also called guppies, chovies, flippers, penguin food, smellies.
Destroy: To top a pizza with everything, given as a command: “Destroy it!”
Edgar Allan: A slang expression for a pizza with pepperoni (P) and onions (O) - making it a PO pie, as in Edgar Allan Poe.
Flyers and fungus: Expression for a pepperoni and mushroom pizza. Pepperoni slices are called “flyers” because they can be thrown like Frisbees.
Free green peppers: a sneeze. From the similarity of slimy green peppers and green nasal mucus.
Green slime: Term for green peppers, coined because they are sometimes inadequately stored. Peppers are also called “mangos” and “seaweed.”
Hawaiian pie: A pizza with ham and pineapple. Other terms for ham are hammer, pig slices, squealers, piggy parts and sliders.
Hot peckers: hot peppers.
Pee on it!: command by the pizza-maker instructing someone on the line to place pepperoni on a pizza.
Placer: A customer who places a hair on a pizza and then complains about it in hopes of getting a discount or a free pizza.
Republican pizza: A pizza with GOP (green peppers, onions, pepperoni).
Screamer: a large juicy chunk of a canned mushroom that emits a high-pitched sound when rubbed on a hot surface.
Screamers and squealers: A pizza with mushrooms and bacon.
Sliced testicles: picture-perfect mushroom slices.
Starver: A customer who orders a pizza, then claims he didn’t order it but will buy it at a discount.
Stoner: A customer who doesn’t know his own address. Taken from “stoned,” as being under the influence of drugs.
Vulture pie: A badly made pizza, suitable only for vultures or for eating by employees.
Zapping zits: popping the bubbles in the crust of a pizza as it cooks.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Swirling Synths’: The Most Overused Terms In SXSW Band Bios