"You can get anywhere with a pizza box."It seems that the default ruse for getting past guards or having the villain open his door, is to pretend one is a delivery guy. The most frequent item being delivered is pizza, but others are occasionally seen as well. Face Palm when only AFTER the person is let in one of the dupes observes, "Hey, we didn't order pizza." A Genre Savvy opponent (and they do exist) will have the box examined before letting the guy in. Not to be confused with Pizza Boy Special Delivery. Ever. Compare Janitor Impersonation Infiltration which uses a janitor or maid disguise similarly, and with Bavarian Fire Drill, another case in which the uniform is given much more notice than the person wearing it. May overlap with Mugged for Disguise if there really was a delivery boy arriving. Deadly Delivery is when this technique is used by a Professional Killer or other such criminal. In the United Kingdom, the equivalent was, for most of the 20th Century, the Milk Man. (It is a dead trope now). There used to be an old Army joke that a man wearing a peaked cap and a striped apron, carrying a crate of milk bottles or driving a float, can get into any base or government building past the sentries without any difficulty whatsoever. "Where's Tom"? "Off sick - I'm the new guy". "OK, come in". Examples include James Bond, The Prisoner, Doctor Who and a Carry On film.
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- Done for laughs in a DiGiorno frozen pizza commercial.
Anime and Manga
- In the second season of Darker Than Black, the Anti-Hero, Hei, kidnaps someone after disguising himself as a delivery guy. In fact, this is kind of a stock-in-trade, as he frequently does infiltrations by going undercover doing some kind of menial labor—job changing has become a Running Gag among fans and in the series itself.
- AKIRA: The underground activists infiltrate the military research compound where Tetsuo is being held by pretending to come for cable repair service.
- Nagisa tried this three times in the space of five minutes in Futari wa Pretty Cure. It didn't really work.
- K: Homra's search for the person who killed their member starts like this.
- In Watchmen the guy who tries to kill Veidt infiltrates as a deliveryman. 'Course, it helps that his day job is being a deliveryman for that same delivery company.
- The Super Mario Adventures comic had Luigi (in disguise) 'order' pizza for the Koopalings to give Yoshi, Toad and Peach a chance to enter Bowser's Castle armed with a ton of bombs.
- Variation used in Deadpool - Deadpool actually HAD ordered a pizza, but The Punisher, who was looking to kill him, was listening in, intercepted the actual delivery guy, and paid him a thousand bucks for his hat, coat, and pizza.
- In Greg Rucka's The Punisher run, Rachel (the Punisher's Distaff Counterpart) assassinates some crooked business tycoons by bribing a bellboy into giving her his uniform. She claims the uniform is meant to be a romantic surprise for her husband, and the clueless bellboy walks away believing he's helped her love life.
- Detective Walsh does this in Strangers in Paradise in order to make contact with Katchoo while she's working for Darcy. Of course, he's delivering pizza.
Films — Animated
- Oliver & Company, combined with Totem Pole Trench. Interestingly, while this works, it's not a perfectly straight example since Sykes doesn't remember ordering pizza and preps to shoot the "delivery guy" as soon as he finds him.
- On Toy Story 2, the gang consider this as a way to enter Al's apartment. Hamm suggests "a ham sandwich (himself) with fries (Mr. Potato Head) and a hot dog (Slinky Dog)", and Rex as the free toy.
Films — Live-Action
- Parodied in the film version of Judge Dredd. When the title character and his Side Kick are trying to get back into Mega City:
Fergie: C'mon, Dredd, there is no way in, are you even listening to me? We can't just knock on the wall and say "Hello, Cursed Earth Pizza!"
- In the movie Miami Vice, Rico gets the drug dealers to open their door by calling out "Milano's Pizza!"
- In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner gets past the guard (played by Lou Ferrigno) in the laboratory by showing up with pizzas and leaving him one for free.
Banner (dressed as a pizza delivery man): Tell you what, I have an extra medium. Take it on the house. (Guard takes the pizza and waves him through)
- In The Italian Job (2003), Charlie's crew gets into Steve's house in this way. They tamper with Steve's cable box, then send Stella into Steve's house disguised as a cable repair girl. To help the illusion, Handsome Rob steals a cable company van for Stella by flirting with an actual cable girl and asking her for her shirt and her truck in a hilarious Instant Seduction scene.
- In Blue Streak, Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence) attempts to get into the police station with this trick. He fails, as the cop tells him that only two kinds of people get through that door: cops and criminals. Miles tries the next best thing - steal a detective's entry card and have a forger make a copy for him, as well as documents proving that Miles is a kick-ass detective from another precinct.
- In the movie The Last Dragon, Leroy gets the idea to infiltrate a fortune cookie factory using this device. He gets the idea after he sees a clip of Bruce Lee doing the same thing in another movie.
- Tak's first onscreen kill in Fulltime Killers starts out like this, with him posing as a flower deliveryman. The twist being that the flowers are just a way to disguise his shotgun, and he just shoots his way to the target's cell before throwing dozens of hand grenades at him and riding off.
- Done in the movie Detroit Rock City to rescue one of the four main characters out of sunday school. The pizza is laced with 'Shrooms.
- In The Great Muppet Caper, Kermit and Fozzie pretend to be pizza delivery men to break into the National Gallery. Unfortunately, the guard hates pepperoni.
- In the documentary Man on Wire, tightrope walker Phillipe Petit explains how he was posing as a delivery man to get inside the buildings he wanted to climb. He thought his ruse would be foiled when he happened to injure his foot. It was the opposite however, and by entering buildings as an injured person on crutches, he found he was able to slip inside even more easily (thanks to people's sympathy).
- In the James Bond movie The Living Daylights, the kidnapping of General Koskov is initiated by an assassin who does a Kill and Replace on a milkman to enter the MI-6 safehouse. The guard is suspicious enough to search him but finds nothing (as he's got bombs hidden in the milk bottles).
- In the beginning of Airheads, Chazz sneaks into Palatine Records this way to try and show his band's demo tape to the executives. Judging by the reactions of the security guards and a secretary, this isn't the first time he's done this.
- Machete: Except in this case, the title character uses Mexican gardener infiltration technique. Lampshaded by the guards who let him pass.
- In Sneakers the delivery boy isn't the infiltrator, he's the distraction (trying to get the guard to sign for a huge shipment of drain cleaner) while the real infiltrator slips by his desk.
- John Kruger is a top Witness Protection agent whose new assignment is to secure a witness in a high-profile case involving the sale of experimental weapons to Russian terrorists. The witness refuses to abandon her life, although she promises to testify. Kruger "borrows" a balloon delivery van and pretends to be a deliveryman partly in order to obscure his identity (she has already met him) and to use the balloons to block the view of any potential sniper. This works, temporarily. Unfortunately, the sniper is using one of the experimental weapons (a railgun with an X-ray scope), but Kruger is able to get close enough to the witness to protect her. Her Jerk Ass ex-boyfriend isn't so lucky, though.
- A more straight example later, when a friend of Kruger's tries the traditional "pizza delivery" trick. However, they know that it won't work and the goal is to distract the security and have the guy take some pills that cause foam to come out of his mouth. He's taken to the company's medical room. Meanwhile, Kruger and the witness pretend to be paramedics and use the opportunity to sneak in this way.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane gets into the Stock Exchange by posing as a motorcycle delivery man, wearing a helmet to hide his gas mask. The trope actually appears twice in that heist as Petrov, one of Bane's henchmen, poses as a food delivery man to get a pistol onto the trading floor.
- In the film version of The Losers, Jensen impersonates a courier to sneak into the security company.
- In the Canadian comedy Starbuck, the main character impersonates a pizza delivery man in order to get in his biological daughter's flat. She lets him in as a matter of course.
- Used in the opening scene of Ace Ventura to infiltrate the apartment of a man who has stolen a puppy from his ex-girlfriend.
- There's a Bait-and-Switch in The Art of War (2000) when Wesley Snipes appears to be using Marie Matiko's character to infiltrate a Triad brothel, which is hidden behind a Front Organisation of a restaurant. Instead he handcuffs her to the steering wheel, grabs a crate of groceries which are being unloaded from a truck, and walks in that way.
- In the Alex Rider novel Scorpia, Alex uses this trick to infiltrate a safehouse.
- In A Storm of Swords, the Hound pretends to be delivering vegetables and a horse to get into the Twins. The horse comes in handy for distracting the attention of a nobleman who's encountered the Hound before.
- Variant: In the final story of a Shadowrun anthology, attacks by street gangs leave Wolf and a woman he's escorting without transportation. They enter an all-night pizza shop to catch their breath, and Wolf has a quick word with the employees. Next scene, they're arriving safely at their destination, where Wolf hands over both the woman and some pizzas from the delivery van he'd bribed the shop's staff into lending them.
- In Moving Pictures Victor gets into Century of the Fruitbat Productions by pretending to be delivering a message, observing "No one with their sleeves rolled up who walks purposefully with a piece of paper held conspicuously in their hand is ever challenged."
- In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden once got into a dead guy's apartment by dressing up as a flower delivery guy. He almost got away with it...
- Happens in David Eddings Tamuli series with wine and beer.
Live Action TV
- In How I Met Your Mother, Ted needs to get a sulky Lily to talk to him so that he can apologize. He knocks on her apartment door:
Lily: Who is it?
Ted: Pizza delivery.
Lily opens the door.
Ted: Did you really think it was the pizza guy?
Lily: Nah, I was just hoping you at least had a pizza.
- Gwen attempts this to enter Torchwood in the Torchwood episode "Everything Changes". Subverted in that the only reason she was let in was because they wanted her to get in. Anyone else delivering a pizza (for real or not) would not have gotten in past the first room.
- Played straight in Torchwood: Miracle Day. Oswald Danes infiltrates Gwen's house by posing as a delivery man from a local grocery store. The real delivery man is briefly shown tied up and gagged in the back of his van, divested of his uniform and hat.
- In an episode of The Thin Blue Line, to get into a bank robbery that has turned into a hostage situation.
- Saturday Night Live: One of the Land Shark's many gambits.
- In an episode of Everybody Hates Chris, Chris uses this (with a pizza box) to sneak into the hotel Wayne Gretzky is staying at so his brother can meet him. "You can get anywhere with a pizza box", he says; Narrator-Chris then comments that's how George Bush got into the White House.
- Used by a female assassin in an episode of V.I.P. She gets close to her target by disguising herself as a pizza delivery girl (with the real delivery girl supposedly disposed of offscreen).
- In True Jackson, True, Lulu, and Ryan disguise themselves as pizza delivery men to get into the recording booth with Justin Bieber.
- In Spaced, Tim uses an actual delivery man to distract the security guard so that he can sneak into the offices of a Dark Star Comics to retrieve an insulting image he drew of the man about to view his portfolio.
- Burn Notice
- In one episode, Jesse pretends to be a delivery guy in order to gain access to the security room of a bank. At the same time, Madeline, who's just opened a new account, goes into the vault to access a safety deposit box and lights up a cigarette, setting off the alarm. The whole point of the ploy was for Jesse to be in the security room to see how the security team reacted to situation, since he was planning to rob the bank later and needed to know how quick they would react to a break-in.
- In an earlier episode, Michael points out that a common way for spies to break into a place is as a delivery man. As a result, most spies know to be suspicious of delivery people. Cue the bad guys grabbing the completely innocent delivery man Michael sent.
- On Leverage this occurs during "The Top Hat Job." Elliot attempts to recon their target company by posing as a pizza man. Doesn't quite turn out like he figured: while he is chatting with the receptionist, the security guards x-ray his pizza, and he is forced to fight his way out.
- Used in an episode of Wonder Woman. The villainess Formicida has her mook deliver a box of killer ants to an intended victim by posing as a delivery boy. The real delivery boy is left bound and gagged in a crate, stripped down to his undies.
- The Brady Bunch: Marcia & Greg sneak into Davy Jones' hotel room pretending to be bellhops delivering lunch.
- Soap: Sally has ruined Burt's marraige by telling his wife that he'd been sleeping with her and an 18 year old. Burt goes to Sally's apartment and rings the bell, when she asks who it is he calls out in a not-very-convincing fake voice, "United Parcel."
- An episode of First Wave involves a young woman (played by Sarah Chalke of later Scrubs fame) being hit by a car and becoming the conduit for the spirit of Nostradamus thanks to her near-death experience. Since Cade's actions are guided by the lost quatrains of Nostradamus predicting an Alien Invasion, he is eager to meet her. Unfortunately, the girl's prophetic powers attract media attention, and dozens of reporters camp outside her house. Her roommate orders a pizza. Cade pretends to be her boyfriend and picks up the pizza, intending to deliver it in order to sneak in (he's a wanted fugitive and, understandably, camera-shy). Using this trick, he's even able to sneak past the roommate's cop boyfriend, who is busy keeping the reporters away. The girl sees Cade and immediately recognizes him from her visions.
- D'Argo in Farscape has some trouble with the intricacies of this trope. In "Scratch 'N Sniff" he has to get into a Big Fancy House to find out if Chiana and Jool are being held prisoner there. He hammers on the door and it's opened by a Faceless Mook.
Mook: Deliveries are round the back.
D'Argo: Oh, oh, round the back?
D'Argo: OK, thanks. (punches mook and walks in the front door)
- On Seinfeld, Jerry is perplexed when his apartment is buzzed and the personal identifies themselves as "Federal Express", as he didn't order anything. Kramer is immediately convinced that the person is posing as a delivery man in order to get into the building and rob or kill someone. Luckily, this turns out to be a benign example of this trope—it's Elaine, back from her European vacation (and the actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, back from her maternity leave), resulting in a genuinely enthusiastic several minutes while she and the guys scream and laugh and hug each other.
- On an early episode of The A-Team, the team gets captured by Col. Lynch. Murdock gets onto the military base the team is held at by stealing a truck and posing as a delivery guy for a bakery. He even tells Amy, "Security is always weakest through the kitchen."
- The same tactic is used in Knight Rider. Michael Knight has to get on an army base, and so bribes the cook to let him borrow his vehicle. The cook says that for an additional payment, Knight can be his cousin. Which is fortunate as Knight is caught snooping around, but the cook verifies that his 'cousin' is handing the delivery today when the CO rings him.
- In an episode of The Fall Guy Colt captured a large violent bail jumper after pretending to deliver a pizza. He knocked the bad guy out with the pizza box, which contained a metal manhole cover.
- Game of Thrones. Jaime and Bronn (already dressed as Dornish cavalrymen) get inside the Water Gardens by riding in at the rear of a supply column, pretending to be part of their escort.
- Banacek: In "If Max Is So Smart, Why Doesn't He Tell Us Where He Is?", various flunkies are preventing Banacek from getting into a hospital room to talk to the owner of the stolen supercomputer. Banacek dons a white coat, picks up two bunches of flowers and waltzes into her room unnoticed. Bonus points for him proceeding to arrange the flowers in a vase while conducting his interrogation.
- Elementary: In "The Invisible Hand", a hitman murders two of Morland's employees and plants a bomb in his office by posing as the delivery guy from the bottled water company.
- A bad guy on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit does this with a pizza box that actually has a bomb, which goes off in the squad room. Fortunately, nobody is seriously injured.
- Another episode had a victim's brother using a flower delivery to get into Casey Novak's office to beat her up (since she was the one who'd convinced his sister to come forward about her sexual assault, he felt she was the one who'd brought shame to his family. Somehow.). The floral arrangement he carried had the added bonus of covering his face from the cameras.
- Boardwalk Empire. In "You'd Be Surprised", a young Bugsy Siegel gets past Gyp Rosetti's guards by posing as the paperboy. When fleeing the scene afterwards he runs into the real paperboy, and shoots him to death.
- Daredevil: In "Shadows in the Glass", corrupt police detective Carl Hoffman is threatened by Wilson Fisk into killing his wounded partner Christian Blake. He uses a meatball sub sandwich to slip a syringe past Sgt. Brett Mahoney at the door.
- The Coup's "Pizza Man Skit" from Steal This Album features a repo man who gets in an old lady's house this way, and then takes her TV away. Followed by the song "The Repo Man Sings for You"
- Toward the end of XIII, you slip into the evil conspiracy's mansion from a fake catering van.
- Dragon Age: Origins has this. Depending on which party members are chosen for the infiltration, they might pretend to be priests or circus performers, but the default is to be delivering rather odd things such as "items of a personal nature" or "several hundred lovely knitted... scarves."
- In Persona 4, Namatame uses his job as a delivery man to get close to people shown on the Midnight Channel without arousing suspicion. and throw them into a TV he hides in the back of his delivery-truck.
- A possible tactic in many levels of the Hitman series.
- Played for Laughs in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, where Ragna calls out that he's delivering pizza. The funny comes from the fact that [A] all the guards are gone (likely liquidated to fuel Nu's smelting) and [B] he first said that he's come to kill them all.
- The Longest Journey: April breaks into the Vanguard headquarters by pretending to deliver pizza.
- In Dreamfall, she breaks into Friar's Keep by pretending to deliver a sandwich.
- Max Payne tries to do this early on in the first game. The mobster at the door buzzes him off and he has to look for another way to get in.
- Virus and Rogue tried this one in Exterminatus Now. It almost works until Eastwood blows it by refusing to take part in such an obvious ploy.
- Done as part of Roast Beef's hack of Yahoo! Personals in Achewood.
- In one Nukees strip, Gav claims he can break into a military base using a piece of cardboard. The piece of cardboard is placed on the roof of his car with the words "Gav's Pizza" written on it. It works.
- In Futurama, the prank delivery that gets Fry frozen was planned out by Nibbler.
- Darkwing Duck once tried to infiltrate the Fearsome Five's headquarters by pretending to be a flower delivery guy. Of course Negaduck hates flowers, so DW had to backpedal and change it to delivering skulls.
- As one might expect, it happened a couple of times in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987):
- In one episode, Shredder uses this trope as the basis of the plot. In a rare case of savviness, Shredder opens a pizza joint that specializes in weird pizzas, planning to stay in business until he gets an order for a pizza that only a mutant turtle could love. Then, he would follow the pizza to the Turtles' lair through a tracking device. The plan falls apart when he a) hires a disguised Michelangelo, and b) the Rat King steals the tracking pizza.
- The Turtles themselves do it in another episode to infiltrate the warehouse where Shredder is holding April hostage. Shredder knows he didn't order pizza, but Rocksteady and Bebop are more gullible.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) uses a variation: When April's antique shop is placed under surveillance by the Foot Clan, Angel smuggles secret messages between April and Leo hidden inside a pizza box.
- In The Simpsons episode "Trash of the Titans", Homer gets backstage at a U2 gig by pretending to perform a potato delivery.
Guard: Can I help you?Homer: (Irish accent) Potato man.Guard: Where the hell have you been?
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Make Em Laugh", The Joker kidnaps Lisa Lorraine this way. Lisa knows she didn't order pizza, but offers to buy it anyway, which is when the Joker opens the box, which contains knock-out gas.
- The Joker uses a variation of the strategy in The Batman to kidnap Yin. He first slips a flyer for a pizza place under the door to her apartment (with a coupon); when she comes home from work, she's too tired to cook and decides to use it. She's suspicious when the operator says there's a "fifteen-seconds or it's free" offer, especially when it seems he actually gets there on time. Unfortunately, by then he has the jump on her.
- In Batman Beyond, Terry pretends to be a pizza delivery boy in order to infiltrate Shreeve's laboratory. Although Shreeve is initially suspicious - the classic "I didn't order any pizza," - Terry manages to smooth it over by pretending that he got the address wrong and now the price of the pizza has to come out of his own paycheck, appealing to Shreeve's sympathy (Shreeve is desperate for funding for his work and can understand a minor act of rebellion against an unsympathetic corporate overseer) and offering to split the extra-large pie. They manage to have a very cordial conversation for a while over the pizza, until Terry pushes his luck with one too many probing questions about Shreeve's technology and rouses his suspicions again.
- In Courage the Cowardly Dog, Courage uses this trick to get in a villain's lair, convincing Eustace to act as the delivery man while he hides in the pizza box. The villain is smart enough to know he didn't order pizza, but his dimwitted assistant who answers the door does not. Eustace doesn't know what's going on, but he doesn't complain; as he says, it'd the easiest twenty bucks he's ever made.
- King of the Hill:
- In one episode, Dale enters Bill's army base as an exterminator, then dresses as an officer, then back to an exterminator in order to check on Bill's medical records.
- Stood on its head in another episode: in order to rescue his friends from a Right-Wing Militia Fanatic named "Mad Dog", Dale orders a large number of flower bouquets to be delivered to Mad Dog's address. Mad Dog sees the delivery people carrying long, rectangular boxes just the right size to hide machine guns, assumes the FBI has finally caught up with him and is trying to pull this trick, and runs away.
- In The Secret Show, the alternate dimension protagonists use this to get into the villain's base.
- In Sonic Boom, Sonic and Amy try to infiltrate the Lightning Bolt Society to get Tails back, only to argue on which method to use: Sonic preferring straight Big Damn Heroes, while Amy insists on this trope.
- In All Hail King Julien, our heroes need to get into a super villain's locked and guarded lair, so Julien knocks on the door claiming to have a special delivery. The guard refuses to open citing specific instructions not to open unless it's an emergency, so Julien claims it's an emergency and the guard opens the door.
- In an episode of DuckTales (1987), when Launchpad finds out the entrance to the villain's lair is trough a deli, he tries to get in by disguising himself as a bread delivery man; but the clerk isn't expecting bread. Launchpad finds out he is expecting a delivery of pickles, but when he comes back to try that, he's interrupted by the real pickle delivery man. Not willing to give up, he manages to get in by hiding in one of the guy's pickle barrels which works for a while, until the smell of pickles gives him away.
- In the two-part House of Mouse short "Mickey Foils the Phantom Blot", Donald and Goofy disguise themselves as delivery men (wearing only fake mustaches) to distract the Phantom Blot by having him his name on clipboards, while Mickey (who was hiding in their cardboard box) sneaks past him to obtain Professor Von Drake's unlimited credit card, which the Blot stole.
- Mike Meyers claims to have pulled something like this off in his A+ Certification textbook's chapter on computer security; a friend of his in another firm asked him to help test his fancy new firewall, so our intrepid author dug out an old jumpsuit and ID badge, bluffed his way past the receptionist and walked out the door with their server on a parcel trolley.
- Terry Sweeney (a former writer and cast member of Saturday Night Livenote ) actually posed as a sandwich delivery man (complete with buying the sandwiches out of pocket) in order to get Jean Doumanian (who was setting up her now ill-fated era of SNL in 1980) to hire him as a show writer.
- This dude managed to get into the Lollapalooza music festival two years in a row. The first year he posed as an ice delivery person. The second year he used a Clipboard of Authority. No word on what he's going to try in 2016.