I’ve always thought I’d pretty much mastered the English language, but the other night I had some serious doubts about my ability to communicate.
It all began when my husband and I were heading home from shopping and he decided he wanted a couple take-out subs from his favorite pizza/sub shop.
He is strictly a carnivore, so his subs are pretty easy to order – plain meat, plain cheese…and no veggies whatsoever.
I ran into the sub shop and placed the order for him. “I’ll have two subs to go,” I told the girl at the counter. She looked young enough to still have been playing with Barbie dolls a month ago. “One plain steak and cheese, well-done, with nothing on it but extra mayo; and one cheeseburger sub, also with nothing on it but extra mayo.”
She just stared at me. “You want lettuce and tomatoes on those?”
“No, just plain,” I repeated. “My husband hates vegetables.”
“You said steak tips, right?” she asked.
“No, just plain steak. Steak tips are marinated and he doesn’t like seasoning.”
She took my money, then told me to have a seat and they’d call my number, number 28, when the order was ready.
So I took a seat and waited…and waited. People came in and ordered large, loaded pizzas and left with them. Families ordered pasta dinners, sat down and ate them, and left. By then, I was pretty certain the cook, who looked as if he didn’t even shave yet, was running around out back somewhere, trying to lasso a steer for my husband’s subs.
Finally, after 25 minutes, one of the employees asked me, “Are you all set?”
“No,” I said, “I’m still waiting for my order, number 28.”
She went over to a shelf of bagged take-out orders and said, “Oh, here it is! I guess it’s been here for a while!”
Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased. I grabbed the bag and left.
We had driven about five miles toward home when my husband asked me, “Do you smell onions?”
If there’s one thing he hates, it’s onions. He claims they smell like a men’s gym locker after everyone’s had a 4-hour workout.
I checked the slip stapled to the take-out bag. It said the bag contained a Greek salad and a steak-tips sub with no mayo and extra onions. When I broke the news to my husband, he looked as if I’d just told him he needed to have his gallbladder removed. So back to the sub shop we went.
The minute I stepped inside, the girl at the counter said, “I tried to catch you before you left, but you were already driving off!”
By then, my expression probably told her I wasn’t exactly in a bubbly mood. “So where’s my order?” It came out sounding similar to a low growl.
She handed another bag to me. This one had slip that said it contained a cheeseburger sub with extra mayo, and a steak-tips sub with extra mayo.
“I didn’t order a steak-tips sub,” I told her. “Steak tips are marinated and my husband doesn’t like anything that’s seasoned.”
At that point, the manager, probably because she’d heard my voice rise a few octaves, approached and asked what the problem was. I explained to her what was going on and she said to the employee, “Get me some rubber gloves.”
With surgeon-like skill, the manager dug into my husband’s subs. I wasn’t certain what she was searching for, but she neatly dissected the contents of each, as if she expected to discover buried treasure in them. “So,” she finally said, “what’s wrong with the steak tips?”
By then, I was ready to ask for my money back and tell my husband he was shut off subs for life.
“I want just PLAIN steak!” I snapped.
She clearly looked offended. “There’s no reason to get upset!”
“Gas is nearly $4 a gallon and I had to drive back here!” I said. “I’d say that’s one good reason!”
“I’ll personally make you a steak and cheese sub myself,” she said. “So the cheeseburger sub was OK?”
“Yes, that seems to be fine. All I need now is the steak and cheese sub – plain, with extra mayo. No vegetables!”
“Would you like some onion rings with that?” the young female employee chimed in.
I couldn’t help it, I laughed.
Finally, I was given a bag with two subs in it, along with a $10 gift certificate and an apology.
“Would you like a free drink with that?” the manager asked.
“Diet Coke or Pepsi would be nice,” I said.
She handed me a big 2-liter bottle of diet Coke.
When my husband and I finally got home, he immediately unwrapped the subs, probably because he was on the verge of fainting from hunger by then. “You’re not going to believe this!” he said.
I looked at the subs. One was a steak and cheese and the other was a steak tips and cheese. The cheeseburger sub had disappeared. I was beginning to think the darned steak tips were possessed.
My husband fed the steak tips to the dogs and then verbally mourned the loss of his cheeseburger sub for the next 3 hours. I finally told him that the next time he wants a sub, I’ll make one for him.
Heck, I can’t do much worse than the sub shop did.