Do we need a study on how to get free pizza? No. Do we want a study on how to get free pizza? Absolutely, yes.
Research out of Stanford explored the factors most likely to get someone to do you a favor, and that favor was buying you a pizza. Like any worthwhile study, the variables had to be controlled, and for these researchers that meant focusing on data from the Random Acts of Pizza subreddit. Random Acts of Pizza is a message board on which you may ask total strangers for free pizza. And if you have never heard of it until now, take our word that it totally works. For example, the board came together this week to buy pizza for these ocean explorers living 60 feet underwater, just because they asked.
The research went through every post on Random Acts of Pizza from a three-year period, and came up with these five pieces of advice for getting free slices.
1. Express gratitude. Among 19 “politeness factors,” gratitude was the only one that predicted success. An early thank-you can go a long way.
2. Pay it forward. Promises to help provide future pizzas may make it more likely for you to receive a right-now pizza.
3. Make it important. The study found that more urgent requests, like those based on needing food but having no money, are much more successful than requests from people who simply crave a sausage pizza.
4. Be verbose. The study found that longer requests are highly correlated with success. The more you have to say, the more pizza you get.
5. Don’t tell a sob story. The study did not find the sentiment of the request to be correlated. That’s probably why those undersea explorers who have awesome jobs got pizza. There’s nothing sad about their situation.