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Borrowed from Bill (Part Three, last one)


“It used to be if you wanted a cup of coffee, that’s what you asked for and that’s what you got. But now you have at least twenty choices – plain latte, caramel, breve, macchiato, mocha, expresso, americano and so on …. And so I had to stand in line while fifteen people in front of me placed complex time-consuming preposterously individualized orders.”


“Ah Bill!” I thought “How droll you are, how funny, hee hee!” I’m chuckling out loud – ’cause he’s right, and I feel his pain, and there I am lying on my nice cosy bed reading about it on Sunday afternoon just gone, and the sun is streaming through the window, and I might doze off in a minute, and I’m all calm and relaxed, and then … BUGGER.

… Fast forward to today at The Green Heron convenience store in Sullivans Island, Mount Pleasant. It’s actually TOO convenient ’cause it’s the only shop near the excellent beach there that sells cold drinks, chocolate, sweets, snacks, and … sandwiches!

Boots SandwichNow until the Americans get the hang of pre-made hard cellophane packaged sandwiches (Seriously, there is NOTHING in Charleston of the like of an M&S, or Boots where you can nip in and pick up a pre-packaged sandwich), OH NOOOO! Everything here has to be made-to-bleeding-order which of course means that it takes about 3 months to serve one customer.

Double that amount of time when the customer is ditzy, and hasn’t even bothered to look at the menu up on the wall, and so goes through a whole minutes worth of “Ermm, well, yes .. let me see .. er, what type of bread DO I want?”, and it’s at this point that I physically say nothing, but raise an eyebrow to Leigh which she correctly interprets as “Oh god, we’re going to be here for 20 minutes now as this person orders the most convoluted and complicated sandwich in the world, deliberating at every step along the way as if they were trying to secure a hostage release deal”, and instinctively lean back towards the chiller behind me and settle in for the duration.

I actually switch off. I don’t need to pay attention exactly to tell you what happened, but I would confidently bet my balls (and Leigh still wants me to have her babies, remember) that the person ‘ordering’ went through a painful process of going through:

• The nine different types of bread
• The twenty three different types of cheeses
• The four thousand and twenty-two different types of dressings available
• What side order of chips (Crisps! Crisps! Crisps!) should go with that.

At about this time, two college-aged looking girls who have been patiently waiting in line behind us (and by patiently, I mean they’ve been tutting and going “Aaaggghh” under their breath for the last ten minutes as well) ask us if when this person has finally ordered, could they cut in because they just want to know if the shop has any ice or not – they don’t want to order a complicated sandwich.

“Sure” I say, “But there are probably eighteen different types of ice to choose from here”. (Boiled water ice, Ionised water ice, sea-water ice, ermm … I actually stop making a list in my head after three, and not just because I’m the only one laughing out loud at my own stupid gag).

And finally – finally – when all the good parking spots near the beach have gone anyway, we make it up to the counter.

“Six inch sub, swiss cheese on white nothing else please”. I go for. SEE HOW EASY THAT WAS!

They make it almost immediately. Coolio.

“Vegetarian sub please” says Leigh, going next.

They start to make it. And then the server turns to Leigh and says

“Would you like any meat in that?”


12 responses to “Borrowed from Bill (Part Three, last one)”

  1. geofftech says:

    Except I’ve just seen:

    Boots, Britains #1 Health and Beauty brand, launches in North America

    But then also;

    “…with the largest presence in Southern California and the Southwest.”


  2. Paul says:

    A friend of mine (also veggie) went somewhere for a sandwich in Dudley (says it all I guess). Anyway, we ask for our sandwiches and spotting nothing vegetarian my friend asks for a “salad sandwich”.

    “Do yow want any meat on that?” My friend politely explains that he is vegetarian and doesn’t eat meat or fish. “Are you sure, I have a some lovely fresh tuna, I opened the tin earlier”. God, save me, him, Leigh and other veggies out there…!

  3. Garion Allen says:

    Why dont you buy that person a dictionary so he knows what a veggie is? 😉

  4. Tina says:

    ‘Leigh still wants me to have her babies’ – that’s a very modern idea Geoff!

  5. Michael says:

    I was once in a deli and a girl came in and pointed to the sundried tomatoes and asked, “Are the tomatoes, vegetarian?”
    I was willing the assistant to say something cheeky, like “no, they’re beef tomatoes” but alas, he didn’t.

    How can tomatoes not be vegetarian?

  6. geofftech says:

    but let me ask the lovely Americans that read this … WHY DON’T you have shops/stores that sell pre-packaged sandwiches? is it because of your insistence of having everything ordered “just so” ?? or DO you have them – but only in the big cites? (NY, SF etc..)

    there’s a fantastic chain of “pre-mades” in the UK that i’ve just remembered too called Pret-a-Manger, that is far healthier than going to (say) a Taco Bell here.

  7. geofftech says:

    heh … have just been on the Pret site and discovered that there ARE *eleven* branches of them in the USA… Where? All in New York!

  8. Brent says:

    Yes, we have the pre-packaged/pre-made sammiches…just not in stores. If you want the main place to get a pre-made sammich go to any golf course’s bar/deli/food counter. They’re sure to have a good selection of pre-mades. If they don’t surely their selection won’t be to the point of needing 20 different decisions 🙂

  9. jj says:

    but there are pre-made sammiches available in a lot of convenience stores, too. it’s just that they’re nasty. very, very nasty.

  10. Chris says:

    I can indeed confirm that there are Pret’s in New York – and they look exactly like Pret in London.

  11. Wayne says:

    a friend of mine who didn’t like the BK veggie burger would always ask for a “cheesburger without meat”. It eventually came out as a slice of processed cheese and, if she was lucky, some relish in a bap, but it was fun watching the cashier trying to work out which buttons to press.

  12. Anthony says:

    I can has vegetarian cheezburger?

    Subway “sandwich engineer technician stylists” are stupid, but sometimes in happy ways. One gave me 5 too much change once. Bonus.

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