Okay, picture this: You’re 10 years old, and you’ve got younger siblings in the room with you watching an old rerun of The Simpsons. Witty, clever, and even insightful jokes are flying from the characters’ mouths at a mile a minute. Characters make puns, and the animators draw their insinuations in delightful cartoonish form.
Were we perhaps too young to catch some of the more nuanced humour of the many trials and tribulations of married life between Homer and Marge Simpson? Of course we were! However, when you’re young, your brain forgets the details and basks in whatever funny colours and expressions the characters on the screen are making. In short, you tend to miss some things.
My experience with the new PizzaForno vending machine was similar to that of a kid watching The Simpsons: the TV screen transfixes the kid to stare at the screen all day because of the novelty, but ultimately, it fails to connect because of a missing piece. In this case, the piece would be PizzaForno’s price-point and pizza quality.
Finding the machine is easy enough. Located at the junction between Allard Hall and the Robbins Building, the boldly emblazoned red and white “pizza box” stands out from the grey and white hues of the centre. There is a screen with instructions on how to order: your choices lie before you in digital form. Eleven dollars for a pepperoni. Ten dollars for a vegetarian. There are different pizza options for you to choose from, which are all priced in slight variations. For example, you can get a Hawaiian for 12 dollars in total, while if you get a four-cheese blend, you save a measly two dollars.
For a student with certain financial priorities, 11 dollars for the equivalent of a small 11-inch pizza seems fair; that is until you remember that most grocery chain stores carry Delissio pizza for under six dollars. Great quality for a low price. Forno? Not quite.
You have the options to either have your pizza heated up in the oven there (which takes about three minutes, so the wait time isn’t terribly long) or take away frozen to later bake at home. Because this was my first experience with such a novelty, I chose both options and ended up splurging on both the pepperoni (kept frozen) and the veggie (baked before my eyes).
When the pizza is ready, a white box with the company’s logo slides out to greet you. An aroma of tomatoes and delicious carbs immediately hits your nose.
When you open up the box, you will notice right away the immaculate presentation. It’s a neat little 11-inch pizza with its toppings spread evenly over a thin crust. However, your rose-coloured novelty glasses start to become foggy when you encounter the first bite. Something is clearly missing.
You weren’t sure what to expect, but it was not this.
The first bite is of a thin, flimsy crust that pales in comparison to its famous New York cousin. The more you taste, the more you realize that this pizza doesn’t cut it. A crust that is too thin and, after having been warmed, you’ll soon observe the heat from the pizza’s abnormally thin-crust wane. Great. Cold pizza.
Ultimately, PizzaForno offers MacEwan students the glamour of novelty: out of 20 locations in Canada (19 of which reside in Ontario), Alberta has been “lucky” enough to receive such a high distinction of becoming the first western province to get a pizza vending machine. Hey guys! Look at us! We’re famous! This offer of novelty is tempting. It, much like the bright colours and funny voices of older cartoons, will draw an individual in. PizzaForno, unfortunately, doesn’t quite live up to expectations. When diving in with a critical eye, be prepared for disappointment. And please, for the love of God, forget about the new seasons of The Simpsons.
Cover image via rawpixel. Other images provided.