Everywhere around us we are bombarded by the Internet. The majority of people now have it on their phones, they use it at work or school and they’ve brought it into their homes. Yet it is still largely perceived as being this big, wide-spread, global monster. Rarely do you hear about the use of the Internet on a local level in a day-to-day activity.
So that’s what I’d like to share with you today. I want to tell you about my own personal experience of recently using the Internet on a local level in a way that hadn’t even crossed my mind – and that’s saying something coming from a true techie at heart.
What was this great experience? It was non-other than ordering a pizza. Now for you city folk who are submerged in technology 24/7 this is no big deal. However, I’m not talking about online ordering in a city of a million people – nope, I’m talking about ordering pizza online in the small community of Nanton, Alberta with a total population of just over 2,000 people.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’d never heard of ordering pizza online (psst don’t forget I’m a techie) … however, I am as guilty as the next person for stereo-typing a community in this case because it honest to goodness had never crossed my mind that the little Papa John’s pizza parlour out in Nanton would be that far into the 21st Century as to have this ability. But not only do they have this ability, it was super easy and fast.
For those of you who’ve never experienced this, might I suggest that you give it a try, even if you don’t go all the way through to actually placing the order – it is mighty cool. You get to build your pizza right on your screen and when you add toppings you see those toppings show up in your virtual pizza. If you happen to go through the entire pizza building process only to realize that you haven’t signed up for an account – no problem – you’re given the option to setup your new account and all the building you’ve already done is still in place after you finish setting up your account. With your account in place, you are now ready to proceed to the checkout to confirm your order and you pay the delivery person on arrival the same as if you had picked up the phone.
What I love about this is that I’m reminded of a skit by comedian Jim Gaffigan who points out how we always manage to come across as surprised and taken off guard once the person on the phone asks us what we’d like to order – like, didn’t we know we were calling to place an order for delivery when we dialed the number? But it’s true, we call, they answer, we say “I’d like to place an order for delivery please” they say “ok, what can I get you” ….. “Uh… ummm…. uh…. Sorry, let me write it down and I’ll call you back”.
It’s also a truly lovely tool for those wonderful men in our lives who are amazingly talented in every aspect of their life – except making a phone call for delivery. “No you do it honey, I never know what to say, I’ll just mess it all up.” Just make sure you set them on the task early enough, watching the site build and dismantle your topping choices is almost as addictive as Angry Birds, so it might take a while to finish the order. (Oh come on, you smiled!)
All jokes aside, I have to say that I was very impressed at the simplicity and effectiveness of ordering a pizza online in a small rural community and believe that this is a prime example of bringing the Internet to a local level. Many local businesses would do well to take a page out of that example.