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Don't Order Pizza from Pizza Hut (at least in Canada)

posted Jul 20, 2008, 10:02 AM by Brian Tanner
Somebody should get fired.

So, Mom Harriott is visiting, and we thought we'd order Pizza. Usually we order online from Pizza 73 which is a painless (and actually enjoyable experience). Their interface is all "Web 2.0" with dynamic updating of pages without reloading, and its well done.

But Ariel doesn't like Pizza 73 as much as others, so we're going to explore. She's got a Panago flier, but I prefer Pizza Hut, so I'm checking their website.

I should mention, all of this frustration happened yesterday, and I eventually gave up. I'm reliving the experience today so that I can tell you about it.

I go to and score, they have online ordering (I don't like the phone). So I click the link, and am presented with a map of Canada: click Alberta. Easy so far.

Ok, now I'm at "Already registered" or "Not Registered?". First off, I don't want to register, I just want to order a pizza. This is the first bad sign. But whatever, I can dig it. I'll go the "Not Registered" route, type in my postal code, and see if the service is available in my area (PS: of course it will be).

Ok, it takes me to a page for entering all of my info.

I don't want to, but I do. I get to the end, hit submit, and I get "You must enter a valid zipcode". Oh, so they don't do careful validation, I typed my postal code like a0b1c2, I should try: a0b 1c2. No good. a0b-1c2. Nope. Ok, so it thinks I'm in America. How to change, no idea. How did I make them think that? No idea.

Maybe I made a mistake. So I start over. Same process, but when I get to the registration form, it's this one:

I know what you're thinking. That's the same link! Yup. But this time the page has a red background instead of white. And now that field actually says postal code! Great! This is gonna work!

So I fill it all in and go "confirm", and I'm on the next screen.

Choose a username. Why do they do this? I thought username was a solved problem : use my e-mail address as username. It's unique, and its mine, and I've already typed it in on the previous screen. Nope, can't use that, username can't have the @ symbol.

Try btanner.

Now the password. Oh cute, they have a little password validator, makes sure you choose a good password. This is very important for ordering pizza. Lets pretend my school password is thrcew## (It's not). This password should be good enough for pizza hut, its good enough for Unix and everything else I use. Nope! Pizza hut says this is TOO SIMPLE. Ok, instead of ## at the end, I'll use thrcew33. That's apparently a stronger password, and it is accepted. Also, for fun, I tried "password11". That is also a strong enough password.

Now I need to choose a security question. There is a short list of options, fine. Birthplace city. Winnipeg. But, for some reason, the security answer field is password field, so it's ********. Interesting choice, even my bank lets me choose my security question in plain text. Whatever.

Click Finish.

Account name in use. Please try again. And it erased my password field, but not my security question fields. Fine.

Try. brian_tanner. Can't have "_" in it. Brian.tanner is out too then I guess. Hmm. Oh, "suggest a username" button. It suggests TannerB. How clever. Fine.

Oh. That one is in use, all fields erased again.

Try: IHatePizzaHut.

Oh. That one is in use, all fields erased again.

This is getting frustrating, lets make the username and password be thrcew33.

Nope, username and password cannot be the same.


USERNAME: thrcew

Aha! I've cracked the Pizza Code! I'm in! Remember, by the way, I haven't even seen a menu or the prices/specials yet.

I'm not actually going to order anything now, because we ended up just calling Panago.

But, I hope you get the feeling of how horrible and frustrating this was. Let's sum up:
1) I chose Canada and got to the US registration page

2) Doesn't allow e-mail as username. Many username's already taken, including IHatePizzaHut.

3) Username suggestion is a waste of time, it suggested something that was taken

4) Password strength meter is more aggressive than anywhere else (in the wrong ways) and weaker (in the right ways). By the way, the Google password strength tester thinks that thrcew and thrcew## are strong passwords (too weak for pizza hut). Google thinks that password11 is only fair (strong enough for pizza hut).

5) Security answer is a password field (this is just weird, not a big deal)

At the end of the day, I just wanted to order a pizza. Now, I will never order a pizza from them again. My time is valuable, and someone at their company wasted a bunch of it.

I hopped over to the Pizza73 website to remind myself what thei process was all about.
1) Pick your food
2) Fill in details.

For Pickup, they need: Name, Phone, City.
For Delivery, they need address (and if you live in an apartment, the suite number). You must also choose a payment method, which means if you want to pay credit card you have to type it in. However : paying cash is an option.

Optional are e-mail address and comments.

Now, that is easy. I know who I'm ordering from next time.

So, if you care, be like me: don't support a company that puts such a low priority on useability.

PS: If you do want to order from Pizza hut, you can use this account and order as me, John Smith:

Username: thrcew
Password: thrcew33
Security Answer: Winnipeg (or winnipeg).

Post a comment here if you do. I'm going to send a link to this post to pizza hut, see if they care to comment.