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02/20/2006 6:49 pm
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Here are two things I witnessed today. You may find them boring (and if so, keep it to yourself) or you may find them interesting, as I did.

I was in the Express lane of my local grocery store today, not in a particular hurry, but ready to get through my transaction for my one item. And as the guy ahead of me was checking out, I heard some noise from the other express lane over my right shoulder. It was nothing particularly out of the ordinary in today's world. A man was expressing his surprise at being carded for his purchase of alcohol. He gave the customary "are you serious" type of response and when it was affirmed he raised his game a bit. "This is a record. I've never been asked before," he said with that half-joking half-annoyed type of tone. The teenaged girl behind the counter did a great job of handling it, responding with something friendly like, "I set a record huh?" (She had already stated previously that she was only doing it because it was corporate policy.) Before he actually handed his id over, he checked once more, "you're serious, right?" Then somewhere in there as the transaction was being completed, he said something like, "I'm going to have to tell some people about this." I'm not sure exactly why he said this. My guess is that it is either because he was actually amused and it would be a good story to tell or possibly he was trying to imply that he was going to spread the word not to buy alcohol there since they checked for id's. If it was the latter, it was the classic case of complaining to/threatening the wrong person, since last I checked, Copp's doesn't go to their checkout girls for corporate policy decision making.
When I actually looked at the guy I was fairly amused. He indeed was a guy who was unquestionably over 21. If I had to guess, I'd say he was in his fifties. He had mostly white/grey hair, a moustache of the same color, and glasses that you'd be hard pressed to find on many people under 30. As I made my way to my car, I smiled at the thought of a 20 year old sporting the white moustache. To top the whole thing off, he was buying Old Milwaukee beer. I don't know a lot about beer, but I think you have to be at least 40 to drink that brand anyway.
All that said, everyone was being pretty reasonable. I certainly don't blame the checkout girl. She was doing her job. And I don't really blame the store for having that policy, though I prefer the "card if you think they're under 35" policy. And as long as they're not a jerk about it, I don't mind an old guy taking some exception with being carded. I'd be a little thrown if someone suddenly asked me to prove I was old enough to get into a PG-13 movie, no matter how easy it is to just show them your licence.

Before I went home, I stopped at Subway to get a sandwich. The guy behind the counter was in the middle of making a sandwich for the guy ahead of me and he paused to see what I wanted. As he heated up the chicken for my sandwhich, he finished making the sandwich ahead of mine and wrapped it, bagged it, and set it down. BUT, since he was the only one working, he didn't check the guy out. He went back to work preparing my sandwich. After all, if he handled the money for the first sub, he would have to take off his gloves, do the transaction, rewash his hands and put on new gloves. So as I watched the guy finish my sandwich, I spotted the kid (about 20 years old) ahead of me go through his own personal agony waiting to eat his sandwhich. I don't know if he was in a hurry, or running late, or just annoyed for getting so close to his food only to wait a bit longer. For all I know, he was minutes away from going into some sort of insulin shock and needed those carbs to stay alive. Whatever the case, I was interested at his reaction. He actually laid his head down on the counter as he waited in frustration at one point. He never said a word of complaint but if I can read body language at all, I think he died a little inside while waiting for that sandwich.
I'm a firm proponent of food preparation standards, so I don't think the Subway employee was out of line in doing what he did. He was going to make one of us wait either way, so he did what was most convenient. I do think it was a little unreasonable that he was the only one working. I don't know what kind of business that that particular Subway is running, but they need to be properly staffed. I was there last weekend and had to wait about 5 minutes to order, after I was at the front of the line, while their one sandwhich maker talked on the phone. I understand that there will be some down time if you have too many workers, but why not spend the extra $7.00 per hour (or less) to ensure proper service and probably raise efficiency?
2887.gificbeast - 3618 Posts
02/20/2006 @ 07:13:29 PM
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I think the rules for Old Milwaukee are actually over 40 or under 20.

Carding people that old is fairly ridiculous. I'm not good at guessing people ages so I don't know what age limit I would set, but I surely wouldn't card a 50 year old guy with white hair.

Would you really not go to Subway anymore because you had to wait a few minutes last time? Probably not. That's why they don't spend the extra money. Plus the actual cost would be more than just wages, there'd be more work for "employee services", more scheduling to be done, more training costs, and who knows what else.

And for the record I didn't find this to be that interesting.
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jon.jpgJon - 1 bajillion posts
02/20/2006 @ 07:22:17 PM
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I did think about whether or not it would decrease sales over time or not. And I honestly think it might decrease sales, but possibly not enough to make it worth the added employee. I know that sometimes people go into a place like that and if there is a line of more than 4 people, they leave because they can't spend their whole lunch hour in line. I went there sometime after 4pm but not yet 5pm I think. Not rush hour for dinner time, but hardly a time where you'd want only one employee.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?
02/20/2006 @ 09:05:55 PM
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Copps does have a "under 35" rule, but it's a silly rule because determining 35 or not it only slightly less ambiguous than 21 or not.

I did think it was slightly interesting, but not nearly as interesting as if the exasperated kid ahead of you would have stolen his sandwich and ran out of there. It bugs me then that happens at subway, but as a whole it runs more efficient that way.

I leave all the time if a line is too long. More then it being an "I'm never going to shop here again!" vendetta, I think it still hurts business. There are always at least 2 restaurants in the general area, sometimes I'll remember the last time I went to a place at the same time took forever and not go there.
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2887.gificbeast - Refactor Mercilessly
02/20/2006 @ 10:03:57 PM
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You could also consider that maybe the second person was on a break, or called in sick, or was running late, or quit the day before.

I wouldn't leave a place like Subway unless the line was out the door, in which case I wouldn't have stopped there in the first place. If its a sit down restaurant and the wait is 45 minutes I might leave, but assuming my mode of transportation was driving, I wouldn't park, go into a Subway, see five people in line, and then leave to go driving off somewhere else instead of waiting 10 minutes. And there are not always 2 restaurants in the general area, depending of course on your definition of general area.
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jon.jpgJon - 1 bajillion posts
02/20/2006 @ 10:14:12 PM
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I thought about the possibility of someone being sick and whatnot but then I mentioned my previous experience with that subway to show that it wasn't an isolated incident. By the way, this is a lot of comments from someone who declared the story uninteresting!
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newalex.jpgicbeast - 3618 Posts
02/20/2006 @ 11:33:29 PM
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You mentioned only one other visit, which involved an employee being on the phone. That's a whole seperate issue.

Also, you're putting words in my mouth (fingers?). I specifically said not that interesting, in order to comply with your disclaimer and yet express that I didn't feel that I was as interested in it as you where. And this is the most interesting thing blogged in the last 3 days, so I'm doing my best to work with it.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
02/21/2006 @ 08:51:40 AM
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Go to Festival. They'll never card you. Just kidding. I got carded there one time for buying milk. Sure I also had a 6-pack of beer in my cart, but I'm pretty sure they were more concerned about the milk.
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matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
02/21/2006 @ 12:54:03 PM
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Not only were these two stories not interesting, they may have surpassed Jeremy's Jimmy John's post as the least interesting thing ever posted on the 3Nut.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
02/21/2006 @ 02:16:55 PM
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It's the story behind the story. A 50 year old guy gets carded and acts mature about it, and a 20something has to wait an extra 3 minutes for his sandwhich and he is visibly annoyed. It is a picture of what is going on with our society. People our age want things handed to them immediately, and our parents generation is still somewhat more patient with the rest of the world. That's the story.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
02/21/2006 @ 02:40:51 PM
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I highly doubt that had even a little to do with why Jon posted it.
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newalex.jpgicbeast - You've got to trust your instinct, and let go of regret
02/21/2006 @ 07:02:02 PM
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I highly doubt that it is a picture of our society. First of all, a 50 year old guy buying beer at Copps probably isn't in a hurry. Secondly, a 20 something male who has a meal nearly within his grasp at a fast food restaurant is always going to be at least slightly agitated when he has to wait before devouring his meal. Plus, he never actually complained. He was probably annoyed, but he dealt with it. In fact, he's my new hero.
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sarah.jpgSarah - 4091 Posts
02/22/2006 @ 07:44:43 PM
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I really don't find the 50 year old guy mature at all. Take out ur damn id and be done with it. Quit ur female dogin is what I would've said in my head. The younger guy didn't have to outwardly display that he was upset, but I would've been. I hate how subway is run. Take off ur gloves, run the cashier, go back and do one sandwich, take off ur gloves, run the cashier, they take forever. Hire more people and have one person running the register at all times. Good lord. Beer sux. Get ur taxes done already and start complaining to the federal government that they waste money and I shouldn't have to pay in more money. Freakin' jerks.
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jon.jpgJon - 2847 Posts
02/23/2006 @ 03:46:26 AM
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Easily the best blog this year. All four staff members chimed in (although Matt's comment was so predictable I actually knew he was going to respond that way before I typed the blog), plus both of the ranking members of the readership gave a few thoughts.
Update.
I went to that same Subway today and the service was excellent. Two people working. I got my food and was out of there quicker than I could say "sweet onion chicken teriyaki". Just shows what can be done with correct staffing.
Also, I'd like to apologize to alex for putting words in his mouth.
And, I'd like to say that I didn't think of it as a commentary on people today, but I liked scott's thoughts. Very english class of you. I don't think the story did represent that, but I liked the effort.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
02/23/2006 @ 08:51:04 AM
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Thanks Jon, I appreciate the recognition. Also, I don't think I've ever said "sweet onion chicken teriyaki", so if I went to a subway, they would probably be finished before I said that too.:)
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Broadcast in stunning 1080i
02/23/2006 @ 09:54:44 AM
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Did you actually order a "sweet onion chicken teriyaki" sub? Because if so maybe they were efficient because the newest employee was a mind reader and can read peoples sub orders within moments of the desision to eat there.
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