January 3, 2013
I was in Blimpie last week buying lunch. For those of you who don’t know, Blimpie is a large chain sandwich shop.
While I was waiting for them to make my sandwich, a family walked in. The father was in his 50’s, white hair, thin white mustache, nautical cap on his head. He was wearing a blue pea coat and wearing sneakers like you’d wear on a boat. His wife was wearing a fur and looked around like she had no clue what kind of jewelry this odd little boutique sold, if you catch my drift. The son was college age, with the worst case of acne I have ever seen. The son was wearing shorts and a windbreaker. I hate that look. The shorts say “I’m athletic.” The windbreaker says “I’m cold.” Sheesh, make up your mind.
The man walked up to the counter, ignoring the “line starts here” sign and cutting in front of three people who were already on line and asked “do you have any Blimpie Bests left?”
This is akin to walking into a McDonald’s and asking if they have any Big Macs left.
In the middle of the day.
Now remember, this is a deli. The man was standing right in front of the case with all the meats and cheeses and just on the other side of the glass was the meat slicer. They don’t take a sandwich out of the freezer and pop into the microwave, they make it in front of you.
“Do you have any Blimpie Bests left?”
To his credit, the man behind the counter did not say anything snarky or even look at the guy like he was an idiot, which I probably was doing, truth be told, standing not six feet away. The son, whose acne could have used a fresh trowling of Stridex, and the mother, who looked like she came in third in a Margaret Dumont lookalike contest, huddled together and, with excited and urgent gestures, studied and pondered the menu board with all the concentration of a man trying not to pass gas in front of his blind date.
“Sure we’ve got plenty left,” the counter guy answered. “What kind of bread would you like?”
Uh oh. I told myself not to laugh because I just knew that there would a classic answer to this, and I was right.
The yachtsman drew himself up, standing, if at all possible, even straighter than he was before and, with the air of a man who knew- absolutely, totally knew that he was in the superior, rarified air of one who knew how to talk to the lower classes said, and I swear he said it with a lilt and a touch of pride, “why, the Blimpie Best bread of course!”
Have I mentioned that this man has never been to Blimpie before?
With that answer, he turned around to his family, who were still intently scouring the menu boards, and he smiled the smile of a man who just showed the little guy how it’s done and wanted some praise for it.
“What kind of bread?” asked the man behind the counter again. “We have Italian, whole wheat, cheese bread” and on and on. They really do have quite an extensive selection of bread, even if it all does tend to taste the same.
Meanwhile, my order was ready and I was paying, but slowly, since I wanted to see the rest of this.
“What kind of bread?”
The man turned to his family and the three of them huddled- yes, huddled in a circle- and quickly and quietly discussed this startling turn of events.
After a few seconds of animated discussion, in which the woman raised her nose and shook her head, the man turned back and said to the counterman “we’ll be back,” after which they left the store, got in their car, and drove away.