Redlining Pizza

Was I too quick to call out racism?

It was about 9:00 and I called the nearby Pizza Hut. The proprietor answered with something unintelligible before saying “Pizza Hut,” then asked if I wanted carryout or delivery.

I said delivery—if I have reached the Pizza Hut across from the 7-Eleven (my local one).

He replied, “That was the first thing I said.”

I thought that was somewhat smart-ass of him, but I said, “Your first words to me were unintelligible, so that is why I asked for clarification.” I gave him the delivery address, a well-kept neighborhood of rowhouses and single-family houses, mostly African-American.

He said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t deliver to that address after 5pm.”

Of course, it was dark at that hour, but I said it’s an assisted living home on a private driveway, up a hill, off the street. Then, after pausing a second, I added, “That policy sounds a bit racist. Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider it?”

He said, “Well, when my drivers are in danger….”

I cut him off and reminded him that this is an assisted living home, on a private driveway, so there is no danger.

He insisted on his policy. I hung up on him.

Instead, I ordered from Today’s Pizza, who were happy to take my delivery order at any hour. They had delivered to that address before.

As a Realtor, I’m familiar with the concept of redlining. Was I too quick to call out racism?

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John Mill

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