Welcome to The DM That Changed My Life, a new column where we reflect on the WhatsApps, Insta DMs, work emails and Facebook messages that shook us to our core.
There is a spectre haunting my inbox and its name is Domino’s Pizza. I am never entirely safe from its warm, doughy grip and fear I never will be. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember a life before Domino’s started sending me promotional texts.
The messages come to me at night just as they arrive in the daytime – with unfailing consistency. They don’t respect birthdays or bar mitzvahs, funerals or the passing of seasons. If you were to prod me into offering a concrete date, I’d probably say the first haunting took place in 2012. But to give beginnings sense, you need the possibility of an ending; something I’ve long since discounted. It’s true, there’s a sickness in my life. One that I’ve learned to live with, even if I can’t be forced to love it.
That is, quite frankly, a lie. I love Domino’s and its barrage of promotional texts. Once a week, sometimes more, I receive the same message, written in the garish cadence of a part-time university drug dealer.
Buy one Pizza get one FREE! On Medium & Large only! @ Domino’s.co.uk T&Cs Apply
Any Size Pizza for 8.99 Delivered Use code MIEXPCHR
And of course, the weekly siren call of Two-for-Tuesday, seared into my brain with red-hot focus. Every time I watch that combination of words flash across my screen, I enter a profound fugue state, my thumbs drifting to the app to mash in the usual order. Large Double Pepperoni, with a Hawaiian chaser.
One of the reasons I love Domino’s texts is because of the stability they bring to my life. How they have wrapped my adult address history into a neat narrative whole. In 2012, that meant Dundee, where I spent four years at university (Domino’s Dundee City Quay, Buy One Pizza Get One FREE). Then the house-share in New Cross (Domino’s New Cross Mega Mix, Large Pizza, Cheesy Wedges, Chicken Stripers £19.99), and another in deeper south London (Domino’s East Dulwich Early Week Special Any Pizza Any Size & Sumptuous Side or Dessert £14.99). Life is busy and reflection takes some effort, but scrolling back through the string of Domino’s texts immediately conjures old housemates and memories of devouring two large pizzas in Olympic qualifying time.
The sad, brutal fact is that outside of family and close friends, I think Domino’s might be my longest running correspondence. What that says about me, I can’t be bothered to interrogate. But they have followed me from Dundee to Glasgow, back to London and across multiple addresses and rebirths, with a pleasing Terminator-esque indefatigability.
I’ve also come to see the arrival of a Domino's ‘you up’ message as a stark reminder of my own frailty and weakness. Of loitering itchily in exasperated pub smoking areas wishing it was time for retreat, back to the sanctuary of home and hearth, to anxiously watch the in-app tracker telling you that the stuffed crust care package is a mere five minutes away.
Last month, I moved into a new place with a friend of mine. Quickly, it became clear that I was living in the presence of another long-standing Domino’s obsessive. All the vital clues were there. The mid-afternoon WhatsApp messages debating the best, and worst, orders imaginable. The terrible lure of the new offers and codes, beamed directly to our phones. Of course, Domino’s provided our first significant housewarming meal. Another milestone marked, another living room stunk out with the taint of two double Pepperoni Passions.
Later that night in bed, I let my eyes close, ready to fall into a pleasant weeknight stupor. Somewhere in the dusk, a notification pinged. Groping for my phone, I expected a goodnight message from my girlfriend, or an update on the family group chat. Instead, the screech of the dreaded words writ across my screen, bald as a cueball.
Domino’s East Dulwich Family Deal! 2 Medium Pizzas & 2 Sumptuous Sides for £21.99 or £4 extra for Large… T&Cs apply…