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I think I can be thrifty.

It would seem to me that during the first week of January, submarine sandwich shops get a boost in the number of customers as everyone decides to eat healthier before their resolutions crumble. That’s partly why I decided to enjoy a delicious sandwich in that week after New Year’s and was concentrating hard on communicating with the woman behind the counter. She was from far, far away. I want my sandwich made the way I enjoy and was trying to get this across to the newcomer. It was more difficult then you would think because English was not her first language. With the selection of vegetables and toppings spread out between us, I began to tell her what I wanted on my sub but when I would start to talk her eyes would drift over my shoulder and she would gaze out at the world beyond the huge window behind me. Maybe the fact winter didn’t exist in her home country amazed her. I stopped talking since she was oblivious to what I was saying. The silence seemed to distract her from her daydream. Her attention came back to me and she once again asked if I wanted cheese on that, not noticing the cheese already upon the bread. Taking a deep breath mentally, I began again, talking slow and clear, listing the toppings I desired to adorn my six-inch white bread cold-cut combo. Before I could finish my list she was once more gazing out the window and I knew I had lost her to her dreams in daylight.

Intent on getting the sandwich I wanted, focused my half-completed sub just out of reach behind the glass, I failed to notice the new customers lining up to the left of me, until, I felt a fist press to my arm and push. Caught off balanced I staggered towards the cash register, fearfully thinking that the sandwich maker was going to presume that I was finished with decorating my sub. In fact, I was only halfway through my list. But now, I was going to end up with a sub only halfway made how I wanted, and it was all because some bully couldn’t be content to wait their turn and decided to pick on me in the line up. What should I do? Do I put up with my half-made sub, pay for it quickly and run for the door before the sub shop bully gets another chance to push me around? Or do I stand up for myself, face the bully, and hold my spot in the line until I am satisfied that the sandwich I get is the sandwich I craved?

I turned to face the bully who had shoved me to the end of the line. She had a pretty smile and her eyes sparkled. I realized that being pushed around is not such a bad a thing after all.

I smiled and was about to say hi, when the daydreaming woman behind the counter decided to get serious about her work and began sliding my half-finished sub down counter for check-out, asking if I wanted just the sub alone or have it as a meal deal. I almost nodded yes when I remembered I was just halfway through my list.

I finally ended up with the sandwich, completed as I wished .

Then, I turned back to my friend, the bully, curious as to the type of sandwich she was creating. It was a veggie sub, piled high like a salad on whole wheat. “It is so good!” she smiled. You could hear the pleasure and excitement this sandwich would bring in her voice.

It brought back a memory. Believe it or not, I myself have enjoyed many a veggie sub in the past. This shop once had a program where each time you purchased a sandwich you would get stickers to affix to your club card. Once you had your card filled out you could cash it in for any free club of your choice. Since the veggie sub was the least expensive sandwich on the menu at that time, that would be the sub I ordered. Once my card was sticker-filled I would eagerly bring it in to redeem it. The person behind the counter would ask,”The regular? Veggie?”

“No!” I would answer quickly. “I am not paying for this one.” I would then proceed to order the most expensive, meat laden sandwich they had with all the roast beef, turkey and ham that came with it.

Yes, I think I can be very, very thrifty.

Others would say cheep.

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