Holding Out for a Hero


After another crazy day at work I couldn’t face cooking. I stopped at Safeway on the way home. They have a large-ish deli department with ready-made meals (nowhere near the level of delicious as Marks & Spencer, but better than crackers or canned pasta.)

My boy likes the fried chicken and potato salad faux picnic in a plastic box.

I wanted a sandwich–a hero sandwich on a slab of crusty bread so thick you can barely clamp your jaws around it. They make that kind at the sandwich bar, with a vast assortment of toppings spread across the counter like an edible rainbow so you can choose what you want and how much of it you prefer (mmm–more pickles, please!)

These “signature sandwiches” are a standard price–$5.49 regardless of whether you pick one loaded with expensive meat like chicken, bacon or shaved roast beef or just some cheap veggies. It seems to me we vegetarians are subsidising the carnivores in the herd with this universal pricing scheme, but I let it go. I had come for dinner, not justice.

The suggested toppings on the veggie sandwich included olive tapenade.

“Hmmm,” I said to myself. “That’s premium! Too bad I don’t like olives.”

Aloud to the sandwich artist I said, “I’d like to substitute guacamole for the tapenade, please.”

“That will cost extra because guacamole is one of our premium toppings!”

“Isn’t it just another condiment?”

“Certainly not! It’s on the same level as cheese. It’s premium!”

I glanced up at the menu board. “So I could buy a sandwich with three different kinds of meat and cheese for less money than one with a slice of cheese, a smear of guacamole and a couple of lettuce leaves? That doesn’t make sense.”

“There will always be an added fee anytime you try to put guacamole on the same sandwich as cheese.”

All these years, I had no idea of the strict fraternizing rules governing cheese and guacamole!

I left empty-handed. We had a cold supper of crackers and hummus (me) and canned pasta (my boy).

Later I visited the Safeway website. I wanted to find the origins of the cheese and guacamole troubles. Why couldn’t these two delicious sandwich toppings co-exist without extra fees?

What I learned was stunning!

Apparently it is possible for this pair to be on a regularly-priced sandwich as long as they are accompanied by turkey breast and bacon.

Safeway’s turkey breast, bacon, cheese AND guacamole sandwich is $5.49, but if you attempt to order it without the turkey breast and bacon like I did, there is an additional charge because you are trying to get cheese and guacamole together on the same sandwich.

Safeway charges MORE for LESS. (I wonder why they don’t use this catchy slogan on their advertising.)