Good Help Is Hard To Find

Mar 16, 2016 | 2 comments


Lake Sacagawea, Longview

There are a few things that make our bi-monthly-or-so trips to Nyel’s cardiologist in Portland palatable – sometimes even worthy of looking forward to. One important plus is our stop just out of Astoria to order take-out deli sandwiches. Depending on timing, we eat them at the Totem Pole Park in Kalama or the rest stop near Woodland or… Yesterday it was by the lake in Longview where we like to squirrel-and-people-watch.

Over the years, we’ve gotten to know (and silently rate) the various sandwich makers. Yesterday, our favorite was heading for the break room carrying her own lunch, but there was another familiar face behind the counter who said it would just be a minute.



Before she could get to us, though, a tall, tatted young man stepped forward, pulling on blue vinyl gloves as he approached. I was too busy noting that the shade of blue clashed dreadfully with his wrists-to elbows tattoos (and I suppose it would be some sort of discrimination for the management to ask him to wear long sleeves) to read the name on his nametag. Just as well, probably.

He started things off by calling me “Ma’am” which I think is only appropriate when addressed to the Queen and pronounce “Mum.” I told him I wanted roast beef and pepper jack on half a sour dough roll with mayo, deli mustard, horseradish, lettuce and red onions. I tried not to salivate as I spoke and I think I was clear. “Six inch or twelve, Ma’am?” I glanced at the menu board above the counter – it offered half or full. No six inch. “Half,” I repeated.

With that he grabbed the roll and put his knife first at the end saying ever-so-slowly, “Twelve inch?”… then, moving the blade to the halfway mark… “Or six? Ma’am?” He spoke in that exasperated, exaggerated tone that made me want to slap him upside the head.

HELP WANTEDNyel avoided the whole pissing contest (if that’s what it was) by saying with a nod in my direction, “I’ll take the other half of her roll.” Then he ruined it by saying, “I’ll have the same things on mine but add tomatoes.”

“You could have just shared hers,” said the ever-helpful tats man.

Even so, my mouth was fairly watering when we found the perfect parking spot for lunch. We tucked our napkins under our chins, unwrapped our sandwiches and… YUCK! Some sort of sweet roll, not the sour dough we were expecting. It was the worst sandwich ever.

Well, there you are. I know my standards are a bit old-fashioned and wouldn’t be acceptable in the modern work place.  But… I rest my case.  Good help is, indeed, hard to find.


  1. Marion Freshley

    I know how disappointed you must have been waiting for that wonderfully good sandwich that you were used to and to find out it was on some sweet roll. Tattooed arms, even though they seem to be in style, and a not so pleasant attitude from the sandwich maker kind of ruined the whole experience. Darn!!!

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    Let’s hope Mr. Personality doesn’t last!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *