All I wanted was a fucking sandwich

A turkey sandwich. With lettuce and mayo. That’s it. Nothing fancy.

And I’ve ordered a couple of these over the past 41 years — successfully and without incident, I might add. So the last thing I expected when attempting to perform this seemingly routine operation was to make a complete ass out of myself.

The trouble started when I told my co-worker I was going to pick up a sandwich at a local sub shop — excuse me: a local hoagie shop … because I live in Pennsylvania now, and they don’t have “sandwiches” or “subs” here; they have hoagies.

“How ’bout we go to Wawa instead?” my co-worker suggested.

For those of you not familiar with Wawa, it can best be described as the official Pennsylvania state religion … but you out-of-towners would probably refer to it as a convenience store. At any rate, it turned out I wasn’t ready to take First Communion at the Our Lady of St. Wawa altar on the day in question … because all of those other turkey sandwiches I had ordered during the past four-plus decades? They involved saying aloud to another human being “Turkey with lettuce and mayo, please.” But when we arrived at our local Wawa and approached the sandwich-ordering area, I was faced with this:

Now, in addition to having a proven track record of successfully ordering turkey sandwiches, I also have a long history of successfully interacting with technology. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’m a tech geek. (As you may recall, I’ve even performed open-heart surgery on an iPhone.) So I love me some gadgets, and I most definitely love me the opportunity to further control my world via technology while simultaneously eliminating unnecessary human contact.

However…

On this particular day, at this particular Wawa, I was woefully sleep deprived and violently hungry and had been solely focused on uttering the phrase “Turkey with lettuce and mayo, please.” And so, when suddenly and unexpectedly faced with Wawa’s magical sandwich-ordering device, I somehow morphed into a 90-year-old man.

“There’s a big ‘Lunch’ button, and Jon asks me if he should press the special ‘Hoagie’ button,” my co-worker later said while gleefully describing to several other co-workers my sandwich-ordering fiasco.

“Dude, don’t be a douche,” I said. “I was trying to order a sandwich — excuse me, a hoagie — so it didn’t seem that far out of the realm of rational thought that I should maybe press the picture of the sandwich instead of the ‘Lunch’ button. It’s not like it was a picture of a fucking peacock in a headdress.”

I would not have ordered this.

So anyway, I tapped my way through the screens and ordered my sandwich … hoagie … whatever (and to further prove to all of you what a wild man I am: I didn’t even so much as flinch when the computer tried to up-sell me on adding some bacon to my sandwich. I immediately hit “YES” … because that’s just how I roll. Bring the bacon, motherfucker.).

“Please take your number,” the words on the screen instructed me as the printer spit out a slip of paper on which was printed a large “19” and some other, smaller print.

Then it dawned on me that I hadn’t specified “no tomato” … and I don’t think I’ve ever come across an establishment that doesn’t automatically put tomato on a turkey sandwich unless specifically asked to not do so. Turns out Wawa is the exception to that rule … which explains why the young sandwich-making lady looked at me like I was an idiot when I had the audacity to violate the Wawa-sandwich-ordering process by verbally requesting that she not put tomato on my sandwich.

Her reaction to my request caused me to play back in my mind the words I had used when making it, because although I was pretty sure I had said, “Excuse me, but could you please not put tomato on that?,” the expression on her face suggested that I had instead said, “Excuse, but could you please not put any peacock in a headdress on that?”

Unsure of what exactly I had done wrong, I decided to drop the matter and shuffle over to the refrigerator to select a beverage, at which point my brain finally caught up with the Wawa-sandwich-ordering experience.

“Dude, will they automatically not put tomato on my sandwich unless I specifically order it?” I asked my co-worker.

He looked at me like I had just said, “Dude, will they automatically not put peacock in a headdress on my sandwich unless I specifically order it?”

What the fuck was it with these self-righteous Wawa assholes?

Based on my revelation, I determined that I wasn’t going to be getting any lettuce on my sandwich, because I had not specifically pressed a “Lettuce” button during the ordering process. Nevermind the fact that I hadn’t even seen a “Lettuce” button during the ordering process.

“Um, hi, me again,” I said to the sandwich-making girl, who was visibility thrilled to have yet another opportunity to interact with Befuddled Middle-Aged Douchebag Guy. “I didn’t specify that I wanted lettuce on my sandwich. If you could please put some on it, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.”

By this point, the sandwich-making girl, my co-worker and the other smug Wawa disciples waiting for their own sandwiches all were looking at me as though I was a time-traveler visiting from the year 1885. Little did they know that I was about to up the ante.

Did you know that after you order your Wawa sandwich and take your number, you’re supposed to bring that number slip up to the front cash register and pay for your sandwich, and that you can’t retrieve your sandwich until after you’ve done so? Because I sure as hell didn’t.

“It says right on the slip that you’re supposed to pay up front first,” my co-worker told me after the sandwich-making girl who had just called my number informed me that I couldn’t yet take my sandwich.

“You mean the slip with the enormous ‘19’ on it?” I snapped. “I didn’t realize I was supposed to analyze my number slip like it was the fucking Davinci Code, OK? The computer said, ‘Please take your number,’ not ‘Please take your number and study the piece of paper on which it was printed.'”

I paid for my sandwich and returned to the deli area yet again.

“Thanks,” I said sheepishly as the sandwich-making girl handed me The Most Complicated Sandwich Ever Made. “Sorry for the confusion,” I added.

“Oh, no problem,” she said kindly and smiled at me … which felt even worse than her previously scornful treatment, as I’m pretty sure she had decided to treat me nicely only after concluding that I was mentally challenged.

I capped things off by purchasing a box of Depends and some Polident … because, clearly, the end is near.

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