Friday, September 09, 2005

O Deli! My Deli!

O Deli! My Deli!

One day it's there, the next day, it's gone. So suddenly, leaving me and many others bereft.

The deli closed. My deli closed.

There was no warning. Well, no obvious warning, anyway. Perhaps there were tell-tale signs near the end-- dwindling stocks of chips, a smaller selection of muffins. But it wasn't like there were buzzards circling overhead. No more than usual.

Perhaps it's only natural that I wonder: am I partly to blame? What if I had been a better tipper? What if I had bought some of those crappy little candies they had by the register? What if I had gotten cheese on my sandwiches? Oh, if I could go back in time right now! I'd get cheese on everything!

Once there were charmingly ungrammatical signs (Please: if salad bar 2.00 minimum. Thank you!). Now there is only a stark "Space Available" sign in the window; a kind of real estate death mask.

Never again will I see the smiling Vietnamese ladies making sandwiches. (Unless I go another block, to the other deli. But I think they're Filipinos.)

There was so much I wanted to say to you, Vietnamese sandwich ladies. I appreciate the way you kept the mustard and mayo in proper proportion, and how you knew without me telling you that a pastrami sandwich didn't get mayo. I always wondered what you were talking and laughing about while you made my food. I appreciate the way you let me off the hook when I was a penny or two short. Looking back, I feel so selfish.

I've seen restaurants and stores struggle before. It's sad to recognize that a store or restaurant is struggling, and will soon sink back into the mire. As a dispassionate consumer, I usually spot it well before the owners. "Gary's Big & Tall Costumes, huh? 6 months. Nuts, a vegan sports bar? 3 months." Then I watch them go through the 7 stages of grief.
Shock: "Maybe I ordered too many tofu wings for the Super Bowl Party."
Denial: "Coming soon: size 44-60 Stormtroopers!"
Bargaining: "Special: 2 for 1 tofu dogs!"
Fear: "Maybe I shouldn't have made that deposit on a boat."
Anger: "Why do you hate me and my vegan sports bar? Why, marina girls, why!"
Despair: "What time do we close? Who cares. I will die alone."
Acceptance: "Craig's List for sale: professional stove; tables and chairs; bar stools; 72" big screen. Make an offer. Everything must go."

And then the circle of life turns again. Like the first rays of dawn, the first blooms in spring, hope emerges. The "Space Available" sign comes down. In it's place is a new sign: "Coming Soon: Figurines Unlimited!"


At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Kirin said...

funny again!


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