Friday, September 30, 2011


There is a commercial on TV that begins with two inmates escaping from prison who then proceed to have a string of bad luck and poor service—getting haircuts, buying clothes, taking public transportation. The final scene shows them running back to prison. It’s an ad for Car Max and it’s as clever as it rings true. Especially at the deli.

I love a good sandwich, and lately I’ve been bringing sandwiches for lunch. They’re easy, portable, and healthy—especially when I top them with lettuce for crunch, onion for zing, tomato slices because my mom is still supplying them, and sometimes a sprinkle of sliced olives on top. But the toppings are the easy part; getting the meat is the hard part—even at my new favorite supermarket.

In full disclosure I did cop an attitude once on a young man who seemed clearly inconvenienced to have to open a new prosciutto for me and incapable of getting it tissue paper thin. Aside from that time I have been nothing but pleasant to anyone who helps me. (And subsequent to that visit, I have been nice to him.) Everyone is nice in return.

But pleasant is not really what I’m after. I’m looking for someone who understands that when I want a third of a pound, it means .33 on the scale. And when I ask for a half pound, and the scales shows .67—it’s not a little over, so no, it’s not okay. It’s closer to ¾ of a pound, and I ordered only ½ a pound. Those are decimals, people, not ounces.

I want not to feel bad when I order only a quarter pound of roasted turkey. I live alone. Especially when I’m buying two types of meat, I don’t need a lot each. And as far as I’m aware, there is no deli minimum, so do your job. If all I want is three slices, you should do it without the sigh. And stop trying to get away with thick slices so you have to cut fewer of them. When I say sliced thin, and you show me something thick enough to dice on a salad, I’m going to say no, thinner, please. And now I know that I should ask to see the second slice, too--because that half pound of ham in my fridge seems more like shoe leather than deli meat.

I know there are worse things in life than a bad sandwich, but that's not really the point. These days it's hard to find good customer service --any way you slice it.

1 comment:

Tam said...

Well said. There's such a fine line between asking for what you REALLY want and coming off as a b**#h, don't you think? I hate that being assertive is such a delicate stepping exercise.

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