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Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite
As the Pizza Burns by Nick Powers is a story told from the perspective of Tony, yet another unhappy employee of Pizza Corp, a nationwide chain of fast-food takeaway and delivery conglomerate. We meet several of his fellow workers, none of whom want to be there, but due to single parenthood, medical bills, and general bad luck are forced to work for minimum wages, long hours, changing schedules, and unreasonable managers higher up the food chain. Their lives are governed by ‘corporate speak’, meaningless phrases about higher productivity, perfect customer service, and maintaining the frenetic pace worked out by time and motion experts ensconced in their glass office blocks a million miles away from the workplace. Every day at work could be their last, as unforeseen circumstances may mean they cannot meet these tight schedules - a good reason for dismissal. Tony’s wife is pregnant, she also has cancer. The medical bills are mounting up, Tony dare not miss a shift, or fill in for a colleague. The stress is unbelievable, but it’s corporate-driven, so what can he do?
When I picked up As the Pizza Burns by Nick Powers, I was not expecting it to have such an impact on me. Much of the material is based on his own experiences. While presented in a humorous way, the impact of this book was very powerful. It made me laugh; it made me cry. The desperation of people doing their best to make a living, pay rent, horrific medical bills, or feed families came through so strongly. This should be a mandatory read for every corporate manager worldwide. The story reminded me that slavery in its most respectable form is alive and well. Reams of acronyms are carefully crafted to increase profits under the guise of creating happy customers. Often it is the customers themselves who are the problem; aggressive, unreasonable, and just plain mean. The giant corporations are asking the impossible and the blame falls on those who are forced through circumstances to turn up day after day to make and deliver endless pizzas for big profits and unappreciative clients. Recommended reading.