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Chevron delivers cold pizza |
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Chevron delivers cold pizza

Eric Heyl
| Saturday, February 22, 2014 9:00 p.m

In the Chevron corporate conference room:

CEO John S. Watson: “Folks, I called you here today to brief me on the success of Chevron’s new policy of purchasing pizza for people peripherally impacted by our fatal gas well explosions. Rhonda, can you provide a little background?”

Rhonda Zygocki, executive vice president of policy and planning: “Certainly, sir. On Feb. 11, one of our gas wells in rural Greene County in Southwest Pennsylvania exploded for an as-yet undetermined reason. One of our workers died in the blast.

“Our thoughts here at corporate immediately turned to nearby Bobtown residents. We were concerned that having two of our well heads burn out of control for five days might give them the mistaken impression that our fracking operations are unsafe.”

Watson: “And we certainly didn’t want them thinking that Chevron isn’t a good neighbor. Sure, we have the occasional odd, inexplicable explosion. But what company specializing in the oil, gas and geothermal energy industries doesn’t? We’re good people.”

Zygocki: “Exactly, sir. We wanted to do something to illustrate that fact. So planning and policy came up with the idea of performing community outreach and providing people living closest to the blast with comfort food.”

Watson: “What better way to remove all doubt that Chevron is serious about safety?”

Zygocki: “Precisely, sir. We first considered buying everyone in the area boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, but we were worried the media might not consider the gesture sufficiently grand.”

Watson: “Kraft M&C? That stuff is delicious!”

Zygocki: “I agree, sir. But ultimately we decided to provide people with gift certificates to Bobtown Pizza, a local establishment familiar to most residents. The coupons were good for one large, special combo pie and a two-liter bottle of soda.”

Watson: “I bet BP wishes it would have done something like that when it had that big Gulf of Mexico oil spill several years ago. Steve, how well were the gift certificates received?”

Stephen Green, vice president of public affairs: “Well, sir, the Bobtown Pizza owner was grateful we purchased them.”

Watson: “Beyond that? We received significant national publicity, didn’t we?”

Green: “Yes, sir. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as positive as we would have liked.”

Watson: “Really?”

Green: “Yes, sir. From a public relations perspective, our gesture did the same thing as the gas well. The consensus nationally was that it was a tone-deaf, ham-fisted, wholly inadequate attempt to buy community goodwill.”

Watson: “Wow. That’s harsh.”

Green: “Yes it is, sir.”

Watson: “Well, we’ve learned a valuable lesson here that I believe can only help us in future dealings with people peripherally impacted by our fatal gas well explosions. We’ll tweak the policy so that Chevron will be beyond reproach should something like this ever occur again.”

Zygocki: “Tweak it how, sir?”

Watson: “Next time, we won’t just pick up the pizza. We’ll also spring for wings.”

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or

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