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by Abigail Van Buren

Cute Wears Thin When Toddlers Order Out Pizza

DEAR ABBY: When I read the letter in your column from the pizza delivery truck driver, I had to write. I also work for a national pizza chain, as an inside person taking telephone orders. (Our goal is to take the order, make the pizza and deliver it within 30 minutes.)

The same parents who allow 3- and 4-year-olds to pay for the pizzas also put them on the phone to order them. I have to keep four adults on hold while trying to decipher the speech of a toddler. Meanwhile, the parents are in the background coaching him or her as to what to order, the address, etc. These parents obviously think this performance is incredibly cute. I have also had 5- and 6-year-olds placing orders as late as 10 and 11 p.m.

Abby, please allow me to point out a few tips for readers who order pizza:

1. Decide what you want to order before you call. We may have people on hold while you are conferring with each other as to what size to order, what toppings, etc.

2. Have the person who knows the address order the pizza.

3. Have your money ready for the driver, since he may have several pizzas to deliver within 30 minutes.

4. Please be on the lookout for your pizza once it's ordered. Turn on a light so your address is visible at night. Have an adult present to pay for the pizza. Also, lock up your Doberman, pit bull terrier, German shepherd, etc.

Thanks, Abby. This is a load off my chest. -- ELAINE IN BALTIMORE

DEAR ELAINE: Grazie for the suggestions.