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Manteca Man survived on pizza & cash advances

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POSTED October 17, 2009 2:22 a.m.
An archeologist centuries from now digging into landfills may find the remnants of the junk mail delivered to Manteca households during a typical month in 2009.

Gingerly picking through well-preserved sheets of shiny paper and an equal number of unopened envelopes, they may likely reach the conclusion we were a city obsessed with pizza and borrowing money.

First, they will catalogue the shiny sheets, of which many hawk pizza.

From the ads, researchers specializing in the gastronomical habits of 21st century man will shape a snapshot of our diet: The preferred liquid was Pepsi in a liter bottle. Hot wings obviously complemented the main staple of pizza. It was impossible to consume a pizza without using the phone as 21st century Manteca Man no longer forged for food, but instead waited for his nourishment to be delivered within a limited area designed with safety in mind.

Prices ranged from $9.99 for a thin piece of cardboard with one topping slapped onto cheese to pizza mega deals for $26.99.

Obviously, Manteca Man was quite hungry as you could tell from the mega deals that offered such cuisine possibilities as three toppings on three large pizzas for $26.99.

To buy the pizza, Manteca Man might be lucky to find an envelope touting equity loans that history notes many a Manteca Man at the dawn of the 21st century used to trade for goods.

Much to the surprise of archeologists, they might indeed find a cash equity loan envelope – a rare find since by 2009 the “Free Money Era” had supposedly come to a close.

It obviously cost a lot of money to live back then as the envelope talked about putting $5,000 or more into the pocket of Manteca Man. Computing what one topping excluding something called “tax” cost delivered, that meant the smallest equity line loan would allow Manteca Man to buy and consume 500 pizzas. That may help explain why medical journals from that era indicated many were overweight.

Should it become necessary to consume pizza before the check arrived, junk mail also provided a solution for that dilemma called “Cash Advance.” It could be found with the stack of slick paper and had an application form on the back so all you had to do was walk in and get an advance of between $100 and $255 on your check or enough to buy at least 25 pizzas.

The cash advance people were obsessed with details in Manteca Man’s life. Before they’d give him cash, they wanted to know his nickname, his roommate’s name and roommate’s work phone, the type of vehicle he drove and whether they had a spouse in Wisconsin.

Manteca Man apparently had good eyesight so he could read tiny type such as that telling them that the annual percentage rate on a $100 advance with a $15 fee for a 14-day term was 391.07 percent.

The mail also included four different ads for cell phones so Manteca Man could call the pizza places where he spent his cash advance.

Society of that era apparently did most of their pizza ordering by cell phones after 8 p.m. or during weekends since when there were unlimited minutes allotted for calling.

In the daily paper found in the diggings, there were advertising for what appeared to be uncooked food in containers or raw form. Judging from the quality of the paper stock, one must assume the non-elite must have prepared meals using items from such vendors. Further proof that this must be the case can be ascertained in the prices. There were items as cheap as 39 cents in the unprepared food ads while the cheapest you could buy a pizza was $7.99 if you suffered through the indignity of picking it up yourself.

There’s very little other clues archeologists will be able to glean from well-preserved mail of today except perhaps that Manteca Man occasionally retired to a time share in Oregon where he played something called golf and had pizza delivered to a condo instead of a house.

Perhaps this bit of preserved history will allow future scholars to label 2009 “The Pizza Age” in Manteca.
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