I love pizza. I especially love it when it's not squashed by the time it gets to my table. Now, although I realize that, in the context of "what's really important" in a world fraught with wars, natural disasters, plagues and serious diseases, this may not top the list of mankind's priorities.
But for those of us that live in a "First World Country", this used to be a problem for some, especially for people like me. Call me anal retentive. Tell me I have OCD. Tell me I have too much time on my hands. Tell me I'm a nut. It's Ok. I plead guilty to all of the above!
Two things bug the hell out of me when it comes to "take out" or "delivered" pizza. This amazing little gizmo eliminated one of these dilemmas which was having the top of the inside of the box stick to the wonderful cheese and other topings on my pizza pie. I don't know about you, but I don't want my pizza to taste like cardboard. And it's a mess. I don't want to deal with a mess when I'm famished and in a hurry to bite into all that healthy stuff. I just want to cram it down and get on to the next slice. The second thing that gets on my nerves is that the steam inside the box from a hot pie makes the crust get soft. There are little slots on the side of the box that are supposed to be opened (pushed in) to allow the steam to escape and prevent the crust from "wilting". But that's a dilemma for another day. For now, let's stick with the first dilemma. No pun intended.
But here's what really bothers me. It bothers me that such a simple idea was not hatched in my brain. People often say, "find a problem, and solve it", or was it, "find a need and fill it?", whatever. You get my point.
So here's this problem staring at me, right in the face, for years, and instead of trying to find a solution, I'm moaning about it, mostly to myself and anyone else who really cares. What really bothers me is that some person, other than myself came up with this multi-million dollar solution to an age-old problem for pizza maniacs before I did.
Well, belive it or not, it turns out that this "thingie" was invented over 30 years ago by a woman named Carmela Vitale of Dix Hills, NY. Carmela received her patent in February 1985. But unfortunately, she let the patent expire before she was able to capitalize on her gem of an idea. I'm guessing the idea was later stolen (I mean "borrowed") by the Chinese who did capitalize on it. (pure conjecture)
I don't even know what this thing is called! A pizza pie protector? A pizza pie smash preventor? Does it matter? No. What matters is that Carmela came up with a stroke of brilliance before I did. The "good news" is that my pizza eating experience was greatly enhanced with the invention of this thing. The "bad news" is that I didn't come up with this brainstorm. So now, I love this gadget and I hate myself!
I'm an entrepeneur. Which is another way of saying, that I've lost a bunch of money in my life. Make some, lose some, life goes on. But this one hurts.
In my humble opinion, this is the "perfect" invention for several reasons.
Imagine an item that costs less than a penny to make. Much less. Imagine a product that almost every pizzeria in the world has to purchase, and purchased by the thousands. Imagine a product that is so light, that it is cheap to ship. Imagine a product that never gets returned to the seller. Why would anyone return these things? You can't damage them! They don't melt. They're indestructible.
Now comes the really painful part. The numbers. Does anyone know how many pizza joints there are in the United States? Some estimates say 100,000 plus. I think that's a gross under estimate. At any rate, there are approximately 3 billion pizza's are sold every year just in the United States.
According to my research (a'hem Amazon) these "little white thingies" cost about one cents a piece to buy. That comes to, well, lt's just say a lot of money. And that's just in the United States. Now multiply this by how many countries around the world sell pizza! That's a lot of little white thingies!
So the next time you open a box of pizza and it's not squashed, thank the late Carmela Vitale. Who would have thought? Not me.