$4 Lunch Goes AWOL For A Week, Students Destitute

$4 Lunch Goes AWOL For A Week, Students Destitute

Splitting a tray of sushi three ways is now an official indicator of poverty

OUSA’s beloved $4 lunch fell victim to Aotearoa’s latest Covid wave, forcing it to shut for a week. It left a trail of starving, impoverished students in its wake. Critic Te Arohi went out to check on the destitute, lunch-less masses, left with nothing to sustain them but the salt from their tears.
In these grim and desperate times, where a single capsicum goes for around 1.5 OUSA lunches, $4 lunch stands as students’ last salvation from merely manageable poverty and complete destitution. They’ve been an institution for generations of students who’ve found themselves with a couple of gold coins in their pocket and a hunger that margarine sandwiches just can’t satisfy.

Thus, when the OUSA lunch disappeared on 24 July, with a Facebook post citing “staff illness,” it took a heavy toll. Kazuki told Critic Te Arohi it was about more than just mere sustenance: “OUSA lunches mean the world to me… they are the reason I get out of bed in the morning.” Tash agreed, saying it was “honestly kind of gutting because it was a really cold week, and it was really rainy.” Clubs and Socs Manager Michaela Tangimetua agreed that “The lunch service is iconic within the student community” and was sad to say that the service had to shut for a week. 
Despite the emotional toll it took on him, Kazuki proudly admitted to Critic Te Arohi that he’d handled the news fairly well. “I think I fell to my knees. I definitely screamed. But I kept it together for the most part. I did get caught trying to sneak into the kitchen to see if I could make myself a lunch, but other than that I think I handled it like any functioning adult.” 

Just down the road from the shuttered $4 lunch, Critic Te Arohi observed similarly well-functioning adults huddled in groups of three, shivering around packs of $12 Salmon California Roll, stretching their $4 budget as far as it could go. We attempted to approach one group for an interview, but had second thoughts when they responded with blood-curdling, foam-specked snarls and howls. We last saw them closing in on an unsuspecting fresher clutching a packed lunch from their hall. 
Disaster was narrowly avoided last Monday, when what some students call “the food of the gods” began to rain down from the heavens again. In between mouthfuls of curry, his first in a whole week, Kazuki mused: “You know, it’s hard to think of the adequate word for the sense of joy and elation that I felt…the most approximate word would I think be jubilant?” Critic suggests the better-organised among us could freeze or bury extra servings of lunches, doomsday-prepper style, to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.

This article first appeared in Issue 18, 2022.
Posted 7:04pm Friday 5th August 2022 by Nina Brown.