So I was in Sainsbury’s, squatting in front of the refrigerator cabinet looking at the £1.50 Sainsbury’s Basics margarita pizzas. They were piled up like a load of old frisbees at a lost-and-found: discs of bready dough with tomato puree and little oblong strips of cheddar smeared scantily over one side, held tight by clingfilm to a polystyrene base on the other. There are slogans on all Basics product labels that attempt to make light of the product’s crappiness in comparison to more expensive alternatives. The one on the pizza read,
“Dinner is easy peasy,
just a little less cheesy”
I thought about what other things I could put on top of the pizza to make it edible: the olives, peppers and spinach that I had in my basket; the chilli flakes I have in my cupboard; the extra cheese that I have in the fridge. It would be fun – almost a creative process – making this otherwise tasteless circle of carb into something enjoyable to eat.
An arm then reached over my shoulder, and hurriedly pulled a pizza from the pile. I turned around and saw a woman maybe in her late twenties: droopy green coat; blonde hair, dark roots; tired pretty eyes. She put the pizza in her trolley, and wheeled off around the corner.
I carried on strolling along the aisles, enjoying the fact that because one of my university lectures was an hour earlier than usual I got to come here at around 11 – before lunchtime hungriness had kicked in – and could therefore browse more carefully. I mulled over whether or not to buy a jar of umami seasoning because it contained anchovy, as recently I’ve been abstaining from meat in an attempt to live more mindfully.
Along one aisle, a small child whizzed by me, then the woman with the pizza came around the corner, calling out to her or him. As we crossed paths, I saw how her face was strained; her eyes stared straight ahead. I felt my own eyes drawn towards the content of her trolley. Keeping the pizza company were eight tins of Sainsbury’s basics products, and nothing else. Even though doing so made me feel like I was taking something from her, I couldn’t help but stare at the orange and white tins lined up in her trolley as we passed.
What dumbass slogans were written on those tins, I wonder.