Georgie Pie. Really?
This is a pie that flew highest in 1995. The mother ship outlet was at Greenlane in Auckland, a two minute walk from where I flatted with five other university students. Georgie Pie could have been built especially for us. Everything we needed cost a dollar: the milkshakes, the chips, the pies.
It was open all hours so Georgie Pie was handy for affordable distraction. We spent ages at Georgie Pie, kings and queens of the night, revelling in the debris of our dollar purchases. I used to collect everyone’s empty soft drink cups, turn them upside down, poke straws through the side and call each one a Dalek.
That’s my memory of Georgie Pie. Dollar milkshakes and Dalek fights at midnight.
Georgie Pie speaks to me of a particular time and place. It is the era of my little blue motorbike, of pushing my girlfriend’s crappy Austin through busy intersections, of printing last minute essays at 3am on the old dot matrix printer which took five minutes to spit out a single page and sounded like a train braking in the rain.
The cult of Georgie has garnered some earnest campaigners, bless ‘em, but sometimes you shouldn’t get what you wish for. It’s never going to be the same. Nostalgia is a wonderful, powerful thing but it needs to be handled carefully. I still regret watching those reruns of The Six Million Dollar Man.
There are food products I miss on their own terms. Peanut Moro bars, peach flavoured Fruit Bursts, unhomogenised milk. But do I really want to eat another Georgie Pie?
The magic and genius of Georgie Pie was its price. It was a cheap place to hang out. I ate the pies because they were affordable, not because they were my favourite pies. Sure, they were tasty enough at the time. Students eat all sorts of weird things in the name of budget constraints. But have I ever since yearned for that sloppy mince or that plastic cheese? Nope.
The thing is, it’s not the pie that we miss, it’s the 90s.
McDonald’s management must be feeling seriously cornered by the demand for Georgie Pie’s resurrection. They’re treading cautiously, limiting their trial to Auckland. I’m wondering how the conversation played out in that pivotal planning meeting.
“Sir, there’s a kid touring the country with another damn Georgie Pie sign. And check out the Facebook page. There’s thousands of them. They’re like zombies at the gates clamouring for mince ‘n’ cheese.”
“Okay, I’ve had it with this nonsense. Let’s give ‘em back the pie.”
“Really sir? Nationwide?”
“They want the pie that much, they can come to Auckland for it. Like a pilgrimage.”
“What about the other Georgie Pie products? The dessert pies and the soft drinks?”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Besides, Burger King trumped our cheap drinks years ago with their bottomless refills. Stick to the pie, just that meaty cheesy one.”
“For a dollar?”
“No. Squirt some inflation back into that sucker.”
“But Sir, it’s the dollar they loved, not the pie. And they were students. They’ve all grown up since then.”
“Exactly, so now they’ve got more money.”
“They’ve also got more taste.”
“No matter. They’ll be curious enough at the start. Make sure we cover our costs, then phase it out again and everyone can say I told you so. And that’ll be the end of it.”
“I hope so, Sir. I hope so.”
First published in Bay of Plenty Times 17 May 2013. Reproduced with permission.