Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)
TITLE: An ASDA Abomination
By Justin Ray
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In the five months that we've all been eating together, no one has taken him up on the offer for certain adventure. I don't know if I went out of curiosity or sympathy, but I know it was quit an experience. Well, that's not entirely true. I went partially because of an inconvenient truth. Unlike Al Gore's version of inconvenient truth, this was actually a true-truth.
On Wednesdays we eat at 5:15. I get off work between four and five, depending on factors beyond my control. This leaves me with fifteen minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes to cook, if I get the fine privilege of cooking on a Wednesday. I live in a really small, really cramped flat with dry-rotted stairs and five room mates: Kevin, Raphael, Jeremiah, Alan, and Black Mold. As you can imagine, there is zero fridge-space, so I have to do my shopping in the same afternoon, unless I make special provisions to clear enough room for a meal for ten people in the refrigerator.
It was a Tuesday night, and Paul made his weekly ASDA announcement and I thought, “Hey, I’m cooking tomorrow. Morrison’s is closed already, and I don’t have time to shop tomorrow after work. I should go with him and see why he likes the Bolden ASDA so much.” I told him I would go, and our temporary dinner guest, Colin, decided to join us.
So we drove out to East Bolden and arrived at ASDA. In twenty years from now, if I were to take one of those word association tests with a shrink, and he said, “England.” I would respond, “Atrocious customer service.” Almost every tertiary store in England opens at nine or ten and closes at five or six during the week, is totally and ridiculously packed-out on Saturday, and is close on Sunday. When I stepped out of the car in the ASDA parking lot, I was met with a giant lit sign boasting “24 hour” on the front of ASDA, welcoming me with open arms. I almost couldn’t contain my excitement as I walked rapidly through the automatic doors. In America, almost everything is open twenty-four hours. You can get groceries any time, any where. In England, I have a hard time finding a convenience store open for twenty-four hours.
My joy ended promptly after the automatic sliding door closed mockingly behind me. I walked around that store for about forty-five minutes with Colin and didn’t find anything I would dare serve for dinner. I got desperate for a couple of minutes and picked up the most low-quality “it’s not delivery, it’s not DiGiorno, it’s cheap” pizzas I’ve ever seen. I put them back, because I was too ashamed to serve such rubbish for a meal. Seriously though, I walked around the entire store, and didn’t see a single thing that interested me other than a children’s riot police costume.
With Wednesday rearing it’s ugly head, I became slightly worried about dinner. By noon, my ability to work was fully incapacitated by the fear of a dinner disaster. Then, by the grace of God, I remembered a saviour; Quality Pizza. This little take-out place on the corner owned by a family of Romanians. I placed an order for four ten inch pizzas and the stress was over. I picked those puppies up at 5:10, and had the boxes on the table at 5:15.
Just as a side note: Colin did manage to score some “Littlest Pets” toys for his daughter. Good on him, wish I had some luck in ASDA.
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