Friday, January 23, 2004


I've been giving the low carb fast food industry a try. I am hitting subway for lunch and saving a lot of money. But the smell of the wrap lingers on my hands. Or maybe its the cheese. Anyway, it is truly fast food. However, going through the line at subway is an experience I feel the need to relate, and the experience is similar whether you use the drive thru or go inside. First, you select the sandwich, or in my case, the wrap. Once that is established (it ain't easy) you are sent to the six foot window. I don't know why they call it that. At first, I thought I had heard it wrong. But that's what she said. So we went to the six foot window (never measured it, I'm trusting this one...) and she asks, "What do you want on it?" I say, "Everything but jalapenos." which, I believe, is a clear statement. Definitive. Concrete. Then begins her recital of ingredients, one by one. "do you want lettuce?" Yep, I say. "Everything but jalapenos." her hands move, she looks up, says, "Do you want olives?" yes. I do. Everything but the motherfucking jalapenos, bitch. I think but don't say. shit, what does she care? My response is terse, but there is something about the six foot window that prevents her from feeling my pain... She is immune to my irritation, does not acknowlege my mood. "How 'bout some cucumbers?" she asks. Again. Well, now it has become a contest of wills, one I am destined to lose because I'm the only one knows I'm in it... I decide I'm gonna tell her what to do with her cucumbers. Then... "Sure," I say, beaten. "I'd love some cucumbers." what really caps it for me is when the final question comes. You know what it is. You can see it coming. I couldn't. "Did you want jalapenos?" she asked. She asked that. Out loud. Without apologizing. She could have said, "Jesus, I'm so fucking stupid I can't remember if you said you wanted jalapenos the other twelve times I've asked you the same goddamn question." but she didn't. And it's the same every day. A game now. And the employee turnover is such that there is never the same little blonde face twice in a row, so no learning occurs. None that benefits me. I gotta tell you, whatever they do in subway school works. Those chicks are entrenched in the method. But here is the best part: the negotiation. Every day the price is different. We've started placing small bets on the relative daily value of a subway low carb wrap. It's been as high as five bucks, low was two wraps for seven. Same deal. Different person. I can't explain the logic. Okay, I'll try. I'm no math whiz, but here goes: a wrap, straight off the menu is 4.50. however, if you want a sandwich converted to a wrap, it is an additional 50 cents. For instance, if I ordered a sandwich that sold for 3.39, to have them make it as a wrap should cost 3.89, right? Wrong. The rocket scientist behind the six foot window looks at it this way. Wraps are 4.50. if you have a sandwich converted to a wrap, add another 50 cents onto the cost of the wrap: 5.00. so, depending on a couple of factors: hunger, relative poverty, willingness to argue, how many times I've had to say the word "Jalapeno"..... I will contest the price. Usually, I am submissive and pay whatever they ask. Brutal.

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