Pizza Roulette: It doesn't cost, but someone pays...
Everybody loves pizza, right?
Pizza consumption is a massive business. There are not many people who have never eaten at least one slice of pizza, let alone a whole large pepperoni one!
The pizza industry is a $30 billion industry with around 350 slices being consumed every second, which equates to 100 acres of pizza every day. Children are brought up on the stuff, with recent polls showing that kids aged 3-11 prefer pizza over all other foods for lunch and dinner. Apart from the well know toppings available in North America, there are a wide variety of topping options in other countries. In Japan, eel and squid are favorites; in Russia, red herring is a delicacy on your pizza; down under in Australia they like shrimp and pineapple; in India you might well choose pickled ginger, minced mutton and tofu.
No matter what you like on top of your pizza, the fact is you LOVE pizza. We all do. The huge demand for pizza has meant that the competition for pizzerias to attract patrons is fierce. Advertising has had to be very creative. Check out these few pizza ads:
But there is a new gimmick that has emerged which is very dangerous. The game of Russian Roulette is played with a revolver, which has one single bullet in the cylinder. In one version of the “game” players take it in turns to spin the chamber, hold the barrel against their head and pull the trigger. In this version each participant has a 1 in 6 chance of getting killed. Another version is for the cylinder not to be spun after its initial spin. This way each participant’s odds weaken as they take their turn until the final participant has a 100% chance of dying. Sounds like fun, eh? Why am I talking about Russian Roulette and guns anyway?
There is a new game that has arisen out of New Zealand that combines the “thrill” of Russian Roulette with our love of pizza. Let me introduce you to Pizza Roulette.
What is Pizza Roulette anyway?
There is a pizza chain in New Zealand called “Hell’s Pizza” (the name kinda sets you up for what’s to come) and they have created a game that takes the mundane boredom out of eating an 8-slice pizza. If you ask for your pizza to be “roulette” they will bake you a regular pizza but will add 2 drops of “one of the world’s hottest chili sauces” on one pizza slice. The question is, “Which one?”
So here’s how it plays out. You and 4 buddies head out on the town. You take in a movie. You shoot some pool. You check out some ladies. You decide that it’s time to feed your man-sized appetite. You head to Hell’s Pizza and opt for the Pizza Roulette. Your “special” pizza arrives at the table and you take it in turns to consume a slice until someone is the special winner. Check out the video to see how it might have looked.
Funny? Probably. Risky? Definitely. Dangerous? Totally. Here’s why.
Chili peppers and it’s derivate, chili sauce, contain capsaicin and other related chemicals. Capsaicin is actually the primary ingredient in pepper spray used by law enforcement personnel as an irritant defense weapon. When humans consume something that contains capsaicin, it attaches itself to the pain receptors called nociceptors in the mouth and throat. These pain receptors have the job of sensing heat and sending that message to the person's brain that they have consumed something hot. Upon receiving this information the brain reacts by raising the persons’ heart rate, increasing the flow of perspiration and releasing endorphins. Normally endorphins are released after an injury to enable the body to continue through pain.
So we have a scenario where a “game” of “Pizza Roulette” replicates, for the lucky hot-slice eater, them having sustained a serious injury, and the body’s response to surviving it. If the eater has a weak heart, their life could also be put at risk by the increase in heart rate caused by consuming the slice. Not to mention the ungainly sweat pouring down their face. I guess that would explain why Hell’s Pizza has the following disclaimer...
I think the idea of Pizza Roulette is a great marketing strategy and on the face of it looks like a lot of potential fun and laughter. Unfortunately as with all these things there is a dangerous downside to it too.
Next time some buddies ask you to go out for pizza, just make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.
2 drops of chill sauce. It doesn't cost, but someone pays!