Soup To Nuts

By: Joseph O'Brien

To Whom It May Concern:

For the love of God, will you please stop putting carrot chunks the size of manhole covers in your otherwise satisfying soups! When I fish them out, as I have been forced to do on several occasions now, it has a considerable shallowing effect on the soup. It is not unlike what happens to the water level in a bathtub when a large man steps out after a long soak. A giant discus of carrot in my Italian Wedding soup does not make for a happy marriage!

I have noticed this trend developing with your Cream of Broccoli as well. I remember when bite-sized bits of broccoli were evenly distributed through the rich, creamy broth. Now I’m confronted by massive stalks bobbing at the surface of the soup, sometimes jutting up like the stern of a sinking battleship.

I suspect you may be trying to cut corners and save a few dollars by adding these enormous vegetables to your soups as filler. Now hear this I — would gladly pay up to fifty cents more if I were assured that my soup would be free of these cumbersome, unpalatable obstructions.

Now a note on flatware: While it’s perfectly understandable to have a supply of plastic utensils on hand to accommodate takeout orders, would it kill you to provide silverware for guests who choose to dine in? If the plastic must stay, I request that you at least discontinue the “spork” and give your adult patrons the choice of a spoon or fork.

While I’m at it, I’d like to mention what I see as a steady decline in variety on your candy rack. I often stop in your establishment midafternoon for a little pick-me-up. Lately I’ve been dismayed to discover that many of my favorites, specifically Necco Wafers, are only sporadically available, if at all. I realize that these may not be the cool, jet-set candies for the youth of today, but I for one have been buying them from you on a regular basis for years. I would appreciate the courtesy of a reorder when you run out. Business is a two-way street.

I also feel that the seasonal/holiday candy is left on display for too long after its time has passed. For instance, the Halloween Snickers treats that come in fun ghost and jack-o-lantern shapes were still on the rack this past Thanksgiving. Not to mention the Christmas candies which were displayed well into the New Year. You also brazenly offer Cadbury Eggs year round, which I believe is against the law.

My problem here is twofold. First, it calls into question the quality of the candy. Nobody wants to eat something that’s been collecting dust on the rack for months. Second, it tarnishes the spirit of the season. If you could get a Snickers shaped like a ghost or a Milky Way shaped like a Christmas tree any old time you felt like it, it wouldn’t be such a treat, would it?

In a way I thank you for your flimsy candy selection as of late. I’ve been trying to shed a few pounds and you’re helping to keep me in ship shape! I will say, however, that my diet recently led me to try one of the salads advertised on your new Heart Smart menu. I hope I’m not being too graphic when I say that the salad resembled something at the bottom of a garbage disposal. Perhaps if you diced the vegetables for the soups with the same vigor and saved the massive vegetables for your salads you could kill two birds with one stone!

My final complaint (sorry to be such a gloomy Gus!) has to do with your help. I appreciate your doing away with the long parade of ne’er-do-wells, second-story men, and sneaks that you’ve had posted at the register over the years. But this new woman is a different breed of cat, if you’ll pardon my French. While I believe her intentions to be good, she often holds up the flow of the checkout line bantering with the customers. I don’t personally enjoy being badgered with inquiries about the weather. I am not — repeat — am not a meteorologist!

What’s more, her moods turn on a dime. I recall an incident two weeks ago where, after what I thought was a nice conversation about your store’s shabby peanut butter selection, I clearly heard her refer to me as a “paunchy blowhard.” To another customer no less, when I’m sure he was well aware that I was still within earshot. I’m not the type to attempt to get someone fired, especially in these trying times, but I trust you will dole out the proper punishment.

I think it beneficial to both of us to have these grievances aired and to begin an open exchange as yours is the only deli convenient to my work and home. But if this neglect keeps up, I warn you that I may be forced to take my business elsewhere.

I am,

Sidney Gruten


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