Restaurant News

Mr. Scrib's Pizza Smells Like Desperation: West Michigan Pizza Chain Uses Sheriff Joe "Chain Gang" Stunt to Promote Itself

You know what's awesome? Pizza. You know what isn't? An out-of-state pizza chain that tries to sell it by using a chain gang, a la the ones used by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

That's not awesome. That's desperate. Or stupid. Probably both.

See also: West Michigan Pizza Chain to Open Up to Ten Locations in Greater Phoenix

But that's just what Mr. Scrib's Pizza, a fast-casual pizza chain based in West Michigan, is doing. Last month, the company used what appeared to be a chain gang to promote their newest restaurant by standing on the corner and waving signs.

Then Arpaio got wind of it.

"They made it look like Sheriff Joe has a chain gang. That's what it said," Arpaio told after seeing the Mr. Scrib's chain gang for himself. "That's not my chain gang. I would never put my chain gang in front of a business to enhance a business."

Jeff Zaloga, Mr. Scrib's public relations director, didn't seem to think pretending to be the chain gang of one of the most controversial public figures in the state was a bad idea. In fact, he was one of the chain gang members that day. Perhaps Zaloga thought it would be hilarious to evoke the name of a man who has, among several other controversial issues, been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for racial profiling, found guilty of violating the constitutional rights of inmates at his jails, and inadequately investigating 400 sex crimes reported to his office.

"There's a lot of publicity that Joe Arpaio is getting for a number of different reasons," Zaloga told "We try to capitalize on those things because we had a feeling if we did something like this, someone might pay attention to it."

Today, Zaloga and the Mr. Scrib's team intend to keep the desperately-seeking-attention train running at full speed with a "pizza summit" at 10:15 a.m. at 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road. Whatever the hell that is (my umpteenth press release says it will be "held as negotiated between Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Mr. Scrib's Pizza, as restitution for the unauthorized use of Sheriff Joe's name and his Chain Gang's name in a press release"), Zalonga states it should "make for some unique photo opportunities."


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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld