The Bagel Shop Sketch


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...?

Me: American.

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?

Me: No.

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.

SandwichJockey: Ham.

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...

"Beautiful plumage."

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.

Just sayin'.

The Earl of Sandwich weeps for us all.

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46 comments:

webRat said...

I gave up going to the place. I'll deal with the local craziness at BK across the street.

Jenn Thorson said...

WebRat- I hear you. It's probably my own fault for retaining optimism that it won't be like this every time.

Nooter said...

its got to be a gag, have you checked to see if theres video footage posted on youtube?

Jenn Thorson said...

Notter- You'd think so. Only my coworkers have had similar experiences there, too, over the years.

Maybe we're ALL on YouTube. :)

I didn't publicly flip out, but one of my coworkers once did big-time.

It's like the perpetually confused know to Home there to get jobs.

Carol said...

Yes, yes, I too know of this sub-species, if you care to study them, you must go to their habitat.
Most likely to be found in fast food establishments, convenience stores, phone and cable companies.
Avoid when possble.

Jenn Thorson said...

Carol- Next time I'll have to venture into the habitat with proper exploration and documentation devices-- a video feed, a notebook, a pith helmet, and possibly a tranq gun (the tranq gun before for ME). :)

Shawn said...

Ahhhh-hahaha. This is beyond hilarious. I'd like to think that it's been exaggerated, but I've been in too many similar situations.

Beautiful plumage FTW.

Da Old Man said...

Excuse me, ham and cheese, lettuce and tomato on a honey bagel?

Did you think he was a rocket scientist? All that, and I'm sure he was busy thinking assistant manager thoughts while trying to keep track of your sandwich with all the bizarre ingredients. He deserves some sort of award.

BTW, there is something about sandwich makers and mayo. They just can't seem to understand that anyone doesn't want mayo. I generally have to scrape it off whatever sandwich I order as "No mayo" is meaningless to the professional sandwich maker.

al-sabaliny said...

I like tomato

Jenn Thorson said...

Shawn- I wish I could say I WAS exaggerating... but alas, no.

Da Old Man- Ah, I approached my sandwich with a simple dream-- a bagel sandwich with the ingredients that I requested-- in under 6 times of mentioning them.

And it's honey grain-- like wheat bread. Healthy and good. To go with the honey-glazed ham. Yumminess!

Al-Sabaliny- Okay... good to know! :)

Me-Me King said...

I hate to ask, but was the "Assistant Manager" sporting a Mullet? If so, then that explains everything!

Jenn Thorson said...

Me-Me- No, but I can see where you might get that visualization. :)

The actual full-fledged Manager has a bad combover.

ettarose said...

You know why there are no pictures on name tags don't you? They all look alike when their heads are in their nether regions.

Jenn Thorson said...

Ettarose- I'd love to think the guy just had something more important on his mind... but I think your theory is probably closer to the case. :)

Mike said...

See what happens with the government funded 'get retards a job' program?

Jenn Thorson said...

Mike- Actually, anyone I know with learning disabilities usually LOVES to work and is really enthused about doing their job...

This guy just didn't give a durn.

unfinishedrambler said...

Nice response to the last comment and not saying anything about Special Olympics like our President. ;)

And my comment? Are the sandwiches that good that you have to go to this place? Can't you try somewhere else? Oh, when you and Kathy come up in May, we have a good sandwich place here and they (usually) don't get confused. :)

Jenn Thorson said...

UnfinishedRambler- Well, no, they're not THAT good. They're just semi-healthy and really close by. My other options are a very not-sanitary branch of Burger King (normally, I like BK, but not this one) and a pub type restaurant with terrific food, but really greasy stuff.

Otherwise, I have to go a distance to the grocery store salad bar.

Ann's Rants said...

Stoner. Period.

American Cheese, really?

Jenn Thorson said...

Ann's Rants- Could very well be. I'd feel better thinking he was seeing purple monkeys or riding on the Jefferson Starship in his mind during all of this.

And actually-- you'll laugh-- I would PREFER cheddar, but it's always been difficult GETTING cheddar there. They never know where it is... who used it last... if there's more in the back...

The American is (usually) easy to get.

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

WHAT! You and Kathy are taking a road trip to see Unfinished Dude and you didn't invite me? ;(

Jenn Thorson said...

Meg- Well, we were inadvertently being kinda Pennsylvania-centric, as I'll have a distance to drive Eastward as it is. But since the Dude is being the host on this endeavor, you'll have to take it up with him. :)

Venom said...

Hey Old Man, get it right, sandwich ARTIST, they are sandwich ARTISTS, man.

Okay - when you say Americn, do you really mean cheddar?
Because if American cheese is really just cheddar, why don't you ask for cheddar?
Are you even sure cheddar was invented by an american?
Are we even talking about real cheese?
'cuz, if it's a chees slice, isn't it processed rather than American?

Enquiring minds....

Jenn Thorson said...

Venom- I don't ask for cheddar because prior to this, getting cheddar from this place was a problem... They were always running out, didn't know where more was, would have to go into the back room and never return... things like that.

So I ceased to ask for cheddar, trying to make my lunch easier. I lowered my expectations! I started asking for American cheese, which they normally had.

Only this time, it was NOT easy.

Cheddar is cheddar. American is some sort of processed orange cheese that melts. They are not the same.

The author of this blog is not responsible for the naming conventions of cheeses.

ReformingGeek said...

YIKES! Again, I say YIKES!!!!

Stacie said...

omg, that would make me insane!!

Tiggy said...

Just be thankful this guy decided not to become an airline pilot.

chyna said...

At least your "sandwich artist" can speak some sort of resemblance to English. I was in Public Transit the other day and got a kid I swear had an entire hardware store nail/screw bin in her head. Between the braces and piercings I wasn't sure what the h*ll she was saying. I did go back again and she again was manning the counter and since it was so dead in there she did manage to assemble a sandwich in a semi-orderly manner but still.......

Jenn Thorson said...

Reforming Geek- It was very yikes-worthy. :)

Stacie- It was almost too absurd to be anything other than funny, at this point.

Tiggy- "Control tower, I'm coming in to Chicago... Oh, wait, you're not O'Hare? This is JFK in New YORK?! Well, shucks, are ya sure??" :)

Chyna- Usually the well-pierced are also pretty responsive workers. I can see where there might be some language barriers with the lip piercings, though.

Nothinglikeit said...

That guy can't possibly work at the sandwich shop because he's already employed at my local grocer's deli counter!

Robin

Greg said...

Well, first, this wouuld all be somewhat sensical if ham AND cheese weren't a kind of default combo.

Second, I know plenty of talented stoners who are perfectly capable of putting together some really lovely sandwiches and probably wouldn't appreciate the slander.

And three, you may be laboring under a delusion that folks in service industries actually wear their own name tags.

The good news is, you should be eligible for a time credit from this experience when you arrive in the Hereafter.

dizzblnd said...

We must go to the same bagel shop. My sandwich genius was incredulous that I wanted a BLT bagel WITH cream cheese. He said it wasn't on the menu and he didn't know how to make it. I said "for the love of God.. make the BLT that's ON the menu.. smear some cream cheese on the damn bagel I'll give you $1 extra for the cream cheese"

I don't think he'll be there too much longer

Jenn Thorson said...

Robin- Heh, maybe he has a twin brother.

Greg- It's true that the default of ham and cheese really should have been so surprising, huh? :)

DizzBlnd- Oh yes, that sounds like the same guy, all right. He certainly wouldn't have been able to handle that order... That would have blown his mind.

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, this is sad. Anyway, who eats just a ham sandwich? How can you NOT hear "ham and cheese"? Sad.

Babs (Beetle) said...

At least he remembered to smile. What more do you want? Surely you didn't expect a smile AND the correct sandwich ;O)

Jenn Thorson said...

Babs- Ah, yes-- you're quite right. I'm being terribly ungrateful. :) Somehow, though, I would have preferred less smile if it got me more sandwich. :)

LiLu said...

This exact thing has happened to me every time I've gone into a subway... EVER.

Jenn Thorson said...

LiLu- And at Subway, there are SO many topping options the probability for errant ingredients is HUGE.

jay said...

Hahahaha!! Oh yes, I'm sure I've met that same young man.

My trouble is often getting them to leave stuff OUT, since I'm allergic to all kinds of things. I watch 'em like a hawk ... or possibly an American Cheese.

Eagle. I meant 'eagle'.

Loved the Michael Palin aside! LOL!

Jay said...

Gah. Hit send too early.

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- Watching like an American cheese... :) That totally made me smile.

HumorSmith said...

I can't tell you how much fun it is to watch the look on people's faces when we pull stuff like this.

John J Savo, the Authoring Auctioneer said...

Freakin' hilarious. Stumbled.

It's amazing that SandwichJockey could be an "assistant" anything. And props to you for the Monty Python references... I find that most women (including my wife) avoid MP like the plague.

Jenn Thorson said...

Humorsmith- Thing is, if it's a concerted effort to confuse the customer-- they've done it too many times to too many people so they're actually losing customers. Because the confusion seems so widespread-- I think they're actually just a badly run business.

John J Savo- Oh, I know-- I'm hoping he was just wearing someone else's nametag, but I doubt it. And I LOVE Monty Python. I grew up watching it with my dad.

Jonny's Mommy said...

Brother told me about this post. This was much funnier than his "hot chocolate" experience. At least you wrote it funnier! Ha!

Seriously...was the guy smoking pot in the back?!

Jenn Thorson said...

Jonny's Mommy- I think my sandwich artist probably just had more personal problems than Brother's did.

And folks here got me wondering about the potential for pot.

I had operated under the idea that the fellow was not stoned (because, y'know, it was 11:30am and he was working), but I now realize how naive that is.