The Earl of Sandwich would have felt his buns deflate over the sad state of public sandwich making these days...
The following is the real-and-for-true conversation I had yesterday at the local bagel shop.
The players include Myself, your blog hostess...
The Cashier, a pleasant 20-something...
And our leading actor-- a fellow we'll call SandwichJockey, a man of about 40, whose nametag says he's an Assistant Manager.
(As far as I can tell, everyone who works there is an Assistant Manager. I guess the moment you learn to put meat between bread, they slap you on the back, and issue you your new nametag.)
Enter, the bagel shop.
SandwichJockey: Hi! (beaming smile) Can I help you?
Me: (smiling, too) Yes, thanks-- I'd like a honey grain bagel with ham and American.
SandwichJockey turns and looks confused where the honey grain bagels might be hiding. Fails to notice large sign on a bagel bin reading "Honey Grain" on it. After a small indecisive dance, suddenly spies it, and grabs a bagel.
SandwichJockey: So that's ham and...?
SandwichJockey: Ham and American. Do you want lettuce and tomato?
Me: Yes, please.
SandwichJockey looks up at me, confused.
Me: Lettuce and tomato-- yes, please.
SandwichJockey is still looking at me blankly. I decide to revise the way I explaining it.
Me: Lettuce and tomato are good.
SandwichJockey: So that's ham and lettuce and tomato and...
Me: And American.
SandwichJockey: American cheese?
At first I wasn't sure what to say to this. "No, an American bald eagle. With a side of Alaskan wolf, if you have it handy. "
Me (aloud): Yes, American cheese.
SandwichJockey: You want mayo?
SandwichJockey gives me the same perplexed look as he did over the lettuce and tomato inquisition.
Me: No. No mayo.
By this time, the cashier had popped over asking if I needed anything else. I was thinking I'd just be happy if I got my sandwich.
Cashier (to SandwichJockey): What's the sandwich? I'll ring it up.
Me: And cheese.
SandwichJockey (wide-eyed): Cheese?
Me (prompting any inkling of recognition regarding the elaborate international cheese discussion we'd had about this just moments ago): American cheese?
SandwichJockey: Did you ask for cheese?
Me (taking a few deep breaths, wondering whether I took my blood pressure meds this morning lest I DIE waiting for my sandwich at the counter of the bagel shop): Er... yes.
SandwichJockey blinks. This is the surprise of his day. He'd never heard of such a thing. Imagine, I'd wanted cheese on the sandwich, and I claimed I'd asked for it, yet there mysteriously was no cheese on the sandwich before him.
It was at this point I expected him to pull off a mask to reveal Michael Palin of Monty Python.
I expected him to say:
"I'm sorry, madame, we are entirely out of cheese. But would you like some dead parrot on it instead? It's in season right now...
SandwichJockey, grumbling, scowling, instead disassembles my sandwich to add American cheese. I get the impression he felt it took some nerve, me telling him there should be cheese on it at the last minute, when I'd never asked for any earlier.
So this leads me to the following suggestion:
If you have short-term memory challenges, perhaps you need to either reconsider a high-powered career in the fast-food customer service industry. Or write things down.
The Earl of Sandwich weeps for us all.