I was out for a run the other night when I saw a steady stream of pizza boxes coming at me. No, I wasn’t dehydrated… these were Domino’s pizza boxes from a new franchise on my street. So many of my neighbors were carrying them that I assumed they must be giving them away. I made a detour to investigate – purely out of curiosity, you understand – and was shocked to discover that people were actually paying for this crap. It was cheap – €7.50 for any size pizza – and it was working.
The following evening, on my way to the subway, I noticed that Speed Rabbit pizza, a franchise whose name never fails to make me giggle, had upped its own game. A conspicuous yellow sign promised any size pizza for €6.50 – a full euro cheaper than their rival. But the bunny remained empty while crowds were forming at Domino’s. It was easy to see why: free samples. They were giving away hot wings on my sidewalk… in Paris.
I accepted a sample before diving down into the subway. It was a sad thing have in my mouth. Crossing town on the Métro, I prayed to nobody in particular (perhaps the ghost of Brillat-Savarin) to please save Paris from this scourge of tasteless convenience food. I then emerged to join a friend for dinner at a new restaurant being advertised as affordable. My bill was €65 with wine. With the current exchange rate, that was $93… nearly a Benjamin.
I can hardly applaud the success of fast food in Paris. On the other hand, there are so few rave-worthy things to eat for less than €20 in this town. There’s precious little ground between gastronomy and gross… between the Benjamin ($$$) and the bunny.