Recently, I was procuring a late lunch at Blue Dog Cafe on 25th Street. Whilst waiting for my sandwich of avocado, lettuce, tomato and Swiss fromage on 96-grain bread, I overheard another customer complaining to the foreign-born model-type behind the counter. The male customer was quite nerdy and could easily have played a recurring character on Seinfeld.
“Yuh hi,” he said in a Woody Allen-esque voice. “I was in here the other day and I ordered a Number 19. Maybe you don’t remember. But I took the sandwich back to my office, and when I got there I saw that it wass-uh … wass-uh… not the one I’d ordered.”
Foreign-born model (FBM) stared at him.
“I guess what I’m saying iss-uh, it was a mistake. It had bacon on it. It wass-uh … not the one I’d wanted. That one did not have bacon on it. So how can I be sure that when I order a Number 19 today, it’s-uh … going to be a Number 19?”
Side note: often, situations like this — in which innocent, hungry people eagerly unwrap their meals only to find out they’ve been given the wrong and often repulsive thing — actually make me sad. I guess it goes back to the Great Mozzarella Incident of 1975, but I won’t get into that now. (See “Childhood Traumas”) In this case though, the wrong lunch recipient was just too damn annoying to elicit my sympathy.
“You order Number 19, I give Number 19,” said FBM.
“No but you see, I ordered it the other day and-uh… and-uh… got something else. Hmmm. You know, I-uh … I-uh … wonder which one I got. It had bacon on it. And some tomato. And-uh … mustard.”
While he wondered which one he’d actually received, I wondered why the hell it mattered at this point. Yes, there was a mix-up. You accidentally saw bacon. Get over it.
But he wasn’t ready to just yet.
“I was-uh … I was-uh thinking … maybe there was something you could-uh … could-uh do for me because of the mix-up,” he said to FBM.
Such as …. ???
FBM apologized for the error, but said he’d have to wait for the manager if he wanted some kind of compensation.
The truth is, it seemed to me that he wanted to know which sandwich he’d accidentally received more than he wanted any special treatment. He walked over to the chalkboard where all the sandwich options were listed and began mouthing the ingredients of each one with a confused look on his face.
FBM suggested he review the contents of Sandwich 2, as that one seemed to fit his description.
“YES! It was Number 2! That’s what it was! It WAS Number 2!,” cried the complainer triumphantly, suddenly able to speak without the use of “uh.” ” It was a Number 2! It was Number 2! Thank you. Number 2!”
Now that is exactly what everyone wants to hear while they’re deciding what to order.