Subway (24 Jul 2004)
It seems that Subways are breeding like Starbucks these days. And I kind of understand why, they are certainly a step up (quality wise) from McDonalds and those of that ilk. But, in the UK, I avoid them because buying anything is too stressful.
Subway take the idea of choice very seriously - you can choose your bread, your type of cheese, your toppings, almost anything. But cost pressure means that they are usually staffed by foreign workers; and foreign workers are great, esp female ones. But they often don't have the soundest grasp of English.
A Subway visit usually consists of a whole barrage of questions in semi-English with a queue of people behind you. Since I have no idea what they're saying I usually resort to answering "Please", "No thanks", "Not today thanks", ... randomly. And often they don't understand my reply so I end up getting something that I didn't ask for and didn't know what it was in the first place. It's astounding that, with all this confusion, I don't end up with a 9 foot sub packed full of strawberry jam, condensed milk and ready salted crisps.
But I've now discovered the driving force behind Subway - Californian workers. It's almost sickening how pleasant Californian shop assistants are. Buying a carton of milk involves, at least, "Hi! How are you? What a great day! Let me ring those up for you. So that's three bucks ... that's great. There you go, there's you milk. Have a wonderful weekend! No really, have a really great weekend - hope to see you again. Bye now!".
I fear that if I ever find a shop assistant in this place who tells me to fuck off I'll end up dancing in the street with glee.
But it seems that working at Subway is boring enough to take some of the edge of whatever drugs the people round here are on - but leave someone who can speak English. And since I now know what the hell I'm asking for I actually get a decent meal.
Which is good, because all the shops round here seem to sell by the metric tonne. Thank god Google feeds me the rest of the time.