“Can I just have some…..”
“Well, can you?”
Why do people have to ask, “Can I?” when ordering at Subway? Unless its an item that’s not on the menu, (which is always the portentous first indicator of my LAST date with a high-maintenance gal), the worker’s sole responsibility, their reason for existence, if you will, is to get the customer, or sandwich patron, whatever, their heart, desires.
How often are we in the position to get exactly what we want? Not at my house. When I want a sandwich, I have one kind of bread, pickles, one kind of meat, tomatoes, and one kind of cheese. And mustard. Why can’t I get what I want at my house? Well, its cost prohibitive to keep up with the whims of my taste buds.
So, I go to Subway; where I can get what I want.
“Can I have a turkey sandwich?” I hear the patron in front of me ask.
“I don’t know, can you?” I want to respond. I hate it when people respond with that question to me but I want to do it to these people.
“Why can’t you have a turkey sandwich?” I want to respond. “You’re the sandwich patron, commissioning a professional sandwich artist to make your culinary masterpiece. Its all there! Whatever you want! And you apologize for your order. You minimize your mayonnaise!
“Sauces?” they ask. And you hear yourself say, “I just want a little mayonnaise.” Just a little. If its convenient. If there’s enough. The nicest people I know apologize for their sandwich and their condiments. The jerks should be the ones apologizing for the expansive space they command in the sandwich line, but its the nice people that are apologizing.
I remember when I stopped apologizing for my orders. I chose to not say, “Can I have?” or ask for “just a little mayonnaise.” I began saying, “I need.” (And ended my need with “Please.”)
I took charge of my destiny and became the captain of my sandwich.
And as I observed people asking, directing, apologizing for their sandwiches, I felt like I should have had people sign a waiver upon entering Subway. White, wheat, Italian Herbs and Cheese, then Turkey, Roast Beef, Sweet Onion Chicken, then American, provolone, pepperjack, then veggies then sauces…. by the time you get to the oregano, the sandwich artist and the artist’s patron have an intimate relationship. Onions, no onions…. Jalepenos? There are world’s of information in those choices.
And as an observer, as an unknown, camouflaged, social scientist in the field, I had witnessed this intimate relationship like a sandwich voyeur- knowing I was learning too much, but unable to turn away……