You know that on a Friday night after a long week of work, kids, homework, Scouts and fighting traffic you just don’t feel like cooking. You think of getting some Chinese take out, but quickly realize that you don’t feel like hearing the complaints from your rugrat, “Mommy, I don’t want to eat thaaat.” You follow the path of least resistance and decide on pizza. Even better, you order in. You do that in America. In Switzerland, you take out a second mortgage.
You call Domino’s. And, yes, they have Domino’s in Switzerland. You order an extra-large Margherita (plain) pizza. That pizza just cost you 35.90 Swiss Francs (CHF).
35.90 CHF. Yes, 35.90 CHF. You try not to think about how much you just spent, but you can’t stop saying, “35.90″. You know that 36 of any currency, except maybe the Japanese yen, is a fair amount of money. Especially for some pizza. Just flour, water, a little yeast, a bit of salt, tomato paste and cheese. 35.90. Dang. 35.90. You just can’t help yourself. 35.90. You’ve done it again.
You don’t want to, but you have to know what that costs in dollars. You have to know what it costs in dollars so you can compare it to how much you’d have paid back home. But you’re afraid, very afraid. Do you really want to know?
You do the math: 35.90 CHF X $1.15 = $41.29. $41.29 for a 16″ pizza. (Okay, a 40cm pizza is actually only 15 3/4″, but don’t quibble.) $41.29. You can’t stop saying it, “41.29 for a pizza.”
$41.29. Stop it already!
Yes, that’s over 40 frickin’ dollars for a pizza. A pizza. You know that tucked back into the recesses of your closet you have shoes that didn’t even cost that much. Actually, you know you have several pairs of shoes that didn’t cost that much and some handbags too.
Say you want to add some toppings to that, a lot of toppings. An extra-large Extravaganza is 49.90 CHF. Afraid to do the math? That’s $57.39!
You shake your head and look down at your feet. No, don’t do that. You don’t want to see your feet because they’re kind of raggedy. You’re long overdue for some personal upkeep. $57.39. That’s a mani/pedi, and a Brazilian!
$57.39! Hold your voice down and stop cussin’ in front of the kids.
You don’t want to spend quite so much? You go and pick it up in person. It’s usually 33% off, but maybe you’ll be lucky and go on a night when they’re running the 19.90 special for any pizza, any size.
As you watch the other people pick up their orders you wonder why they’re only purchasing a medium pizza, a 12″ pizza. People! It’s on SALE. Get the extra large!
(Now, Europeans are like that. They only buy what they can eat in one sitting. That’s why they’re skinny. You, you buy two extra larges with the thought of putting the leftovers in the freezer. Or, at least that’s what you tell yourself, when you know good and well that you and the hubby will knock them out watching a download of SVU. You also know that’s why you’re both so doggone fat.)
Maybe, you feel like taking a drive, a long drive. You hop across the border to France, where the same, plain Domino’s Margherita pizza cost just 14.90€. Yes, another math problem. Get your kid to do it. Wait, here it is: 14.90€ X $1.45 = $21.60.
That’s almost half off for a 15-minute drive. Since they don’t deliver across the border and you have to pick it up in person, you get the two-for-one take out special. So, it’s only $10.80 a pizza. Not bad.
$10.80, but you have to drive to Annemasse. Annemass where your backpack holding the rugrat’s and your passports was stolen from you while you were loading the car up with groceries. Annemasse where stores were looted during the G8 riots. Annemasse where they might not have a Martin Luther King Boulevard, but they do have a MLK rec center. And you remember what Chris Rock said about Martin Luther King Boulevard, “…there’s some violence going down.”
Hmm…. $10.80. Riots. $10.80. Stolen passports. Uh, maybe you will order Chinese.
Wait, somewhere in the back of your mind you hear a voice saying, “American pizzas cost more. Go local.” Local pizza as in directly across the street from your apartment local. Local to the pizza joint that still wreaks of cigarette smoke even though smoking in restaurants was banned at least six months ago.
Local, European-style pizza is maybe is as big as a large dinner plate. The local Margherita costs 18 CHF. That’s a plain pizza, nothing on it. Don’t even do the math. That’s too doggone much for a 12″ pizza.
And, besides, the rugrat – and you – prefer American pizza. They can keep those European-style pizzas with the egg, sunny side up, smack dab in the middle. You want a slice that looks like it came straight out of Brooklyn.
No disrespect to the Italians, but they don’t know Jack about pizza. They didn’t even invent it. It’s French, from Marseille. Or, at least that’s what the French say.
You head out to the Domino’s praying that there will be parking. And, no, they don’t have parking lots. You’ll be lucky to find a spot on the street – two blocks away.
The rugrat is so hungry that she eats hers in the car. You wait until you get home to grap your slice. You feel satisfied until the heartburn kicks in. At least that will keep you distracted so you won’t think about how much you just paid. For some pizza.