So this Subway happened to be a stingy Subway. You know, the kind where they have shredded lettuce but no spinach, and they fulfill your request for olives by placing the olive pieces one at a time on your sandwich. I don't know, maybe these sandwich "artists" are doing a piece exploring the relationship of wealth and food during a modern American recession. But I'm going to go on a hunch and say that's not the case. If they're counting out your canned black olive pieces one by one, you are at a stingy Subway.
So I'm getting ready to pay for what is like the most anemic footlong I've ever purchased (seriously, this sandwich would get picked last in sandwich gym class. If this sandwich were born in a litter of sandwiches, the mother sandwich would eat it. If we were doing a biopic about the life of this sandwich, we'd cast Vern Troyer). Suddenly, the presumed owner starts shouting at some other customer who is filling up his "cup for ice" with soda from the fountain.
Now soda fountain does not cost a restaurant much, but it is a huge source of profit. A drink that sells for about $2 costs the restaurant like 12 cents. That is how you put your first generation American-born kids through college, my friend! So asking for a cup for water and then filling it with soda cuts into profit. Also, it's just a dick move. With the prevalence of self-serve soda machines, the Soda Jerk has been all but eliminated. So if we all want to start using the term Soda Jerk to talk about people who steal soda, I'm all for it.
So the man at the cash register, whom I presumed to be the owner because he was the only one not wearing a Subway logo-bearing polo and when you're the owner it is important to remind everyone who works under you that you're exempt from dress codes and better than them, started yelling. He was right to do so, as the soda thief customer was being a dick. But Presumed Owner sort of lost his moral standing when he turned to his subordinate and said "I told you not to give him a cup! They are thieves! That's what they are!" This is a pretty poor attitude to take regarding your customers. If that is how you feel about your customers, may I suggest you leave the retail sandwich business and you become a prosecuting attorney?
Shit got even more real because the Soda Jerk happened to be black. The power of words as relating to race and identity and America's piss-poor record on race relations - these are not things I feel qualified to even get into. However, I think I this summary is pretty true:
- Using the plural pronoun "they" when speaking about a specific white person: bad grammar
- Using the plural pronoun "they" when speaking about a specific non-white person: racist
This was my cue to go over to the soda fountain, fill up my properly purchased cup, and pretend not to listen to the ensuing argument. Upset Lady accused Presumed Owner of being racist, and Presumed Owner denied being a racist, and Upset Lady left without taking or paying for her sandwich. Upset Lady, that is pretty raw. It would take a LOT to get me to leave somewhere without my food. Probably cause I have a blood sugar disorder and/or no principles.
Anway, the point is that until today the most awesome thing I'd ever seen at Subway was the raspberry cheesecake flavored cookie. Witnessing this spectacle totally made my day. And even though that sandwich was so small I had to eat it under a microscope, I totally got my money's worth.
Also, this a good time to admit that any implications you may have gotten from the blog title, i.e. that I did anything that could be interpreted as heroic, are totally untrue. I bought my sandwich, filled my cup, enjoyed the show, and got outta Dodge. But went in for a sub, came out a hero? That is just too good NOT to use!