Back in 2009, (whoa! that’s 7 years ago) I saw something that would change the way I looked at the world forever.
It was this:
In case you’re not sure what you’re looking at.. it’s a chicken. In a can!
I became obsessed with it… so much so, that I embarked upon a fools errand to find one in the UK.
I decided to phone my local supermarkets to see if they stocked such a thing…
At the time, I transcribed all the conversations and shared them on Facebook with my friends. Recently Facebook decided to remind me about them, so I though I’d share them here for posterity.
This is how it went.
Lidl has just opened up a new store near to us and it was full of weird and wonderful things from deepest Europe. I felt confident…
LIDL: Uh.. Hello Lidl
ME: Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me if you’ve got something in stock?
LIDL: we’ve sold out of this weeks special, so don’t ask for that
ME: OK, I won’t…but it was a food item
LIDL: umm, what?
ME: I was looking for a chicken in a can
LIDL: we do chickens and chicken breasts
ME: Yeah, I know, I was specifically after a whole chicken in a can
LIDL: I’ll have to check ..
(in background: there is someone on phone who wants a special chicken in a can, I think it might be chinese …. inaudible mumurs)
LIDL: We do have some chicken in white wine sauce
ME: Is it a whole chicken?
LIDL: What do you mean whole…
ME: Is it an entire chicken or just breasts or chunks…
LIDL: It’s just bits of chicken …. in sauce
ME: No that’s not it, I need a WHOLE chicken in a can, no sauce, nothing, just a chicken. It’s quite a big can, do you have anything like that.
LIDL: Do you mean SPAM? … is that chicken….?
ME: No, thats not chicken.
LIDL: No we don’t then sorry, try Sainsburys, they have lots of tins
ME: OK, thanks..[click]
I couldn’t get through to Tesco..so next on the list was Sainsburys, I never held out much hope here, but it was worth a try…
…after 4 attempts finally got through…
SAINSBURYS: Good morning, thankyou for calling Sainsburys. How can I help?
ME: Hi, I was wondering if you had a certain item in stock…. Read more
SAINSBURYS: Do you know which department?
ME: It’s a food ite…(interupted)
SAINSBURYS:: …Fresh, frozen, convenience or speciality?
ME: It comes in a can.
SAINSBURYS: You mean a tin?
ME: Is there a difference?
SAINSBURYS: pause … that’s a convenience food. I’ll put you through to someone who can help
ME: Actually, it might be a speciality item.
SAINSBURYS: No, if it’s in a tin it’ll be in convenience.[Put on hold before I could respond.]
SAINSBURYS: Hello, **** speaking, how can I help
ME: I was wondering if you are able to tell me if something is in stock
SAINSBURYS: Sure, what is it?
ME: I’m looking for a chicken in a can
SAINSBURYS: What type of chicken?
ME: Just A chicken, a whole chicken
SAINSBURYS: (laughing) did you say a whole chicken? How do they fit it into the tin?
ME: It’s a big tin
SAINSBURYS: No … no we don’t have that.
ME: Do you think you’ll get them in?
SAINSBURYS: Is this for real, do they really make chicken in tins?
SAINSBURYS: Well we’re not going to be getting anything before Christmas, we don’t generally get new food lines until after all the Christmas stuff is gone.
ME: You don’t think you’d get them in as part of the Christmas range?
SAINSBURYS: No… (laughing) maybe if they did Turkeys in tins
ME: ugh.. that sounds gross.[LONG PAUSE]
SAINSBURYS: If there’s nothing else I can help with..
ME: NO, thanks for your time.
SAINSBURYS: Thank you for contacting Sainsburys today. Have a good day[click]
My final chance, the nearest Aldi was a fair drive away… but I was getting desperate
ALDI: Good Afternoon, thankyou for calling Aldi. you’re through to *******, how can I help you today?
ME: Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me if you have something in stock
ALDI: This is just a call centre, I’m afraid I don’t have access to specific information like that.
ME: Oh, I thought I was calling the T********* store
ALDI: No, all the store telephone numbers divert to here
ME: OK, no worries. Could you put me through?
ALDI: Through to where?
ME: … the T********* store
ALDI: No, the stores do not take telephone calls
ME: Oh, how about the S****** M****** store…?
ALDI: NO… NONE of the stores take telephone calls… they don’t have telephones.
ME: Really? But don’t they need to make calls sometimes…?
ALDI: I don’t know, but they probably use email.
ME: [pause] So how am I supposed to find out if you sell something.
ALDI: You could visit the store, our staff would be happy to help.
ME: [grrrr] Well, I live quite far away and I don’t want to make a special journey if they don’t have it.
ALDI: Have you tried the website, you could buy online.
ME: You can’t buy online on your website…
ALDI: Pause… I’m not sure how I can help you.
ME: Surely you have a list of products you sell?
ME: There must be someone you can ask?
ME: OK, I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else..
ALDI: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
I had high hopes for Aldi, as they sometimes have weird things… but it was pretty disastrous I didn’t even get to ask them about the chicken.
So to this day I still haven’t tried a ‘Chicken in a can’… but to be honest, that might be a good thing!