Alright, bear with me here, I’ve got a story to tell and it’s a longie.
So, I’ve been eating Jimmy John’s sandwiches since college, as most people who’ve been to college in the last quarter century have done. I’ve always ordered their Veggie #6 with a side pickle (which I pay extra for- a lot extra in my opinion for one pickle), to be sliced up and put on my sandwich. Every Jimmy John’s in Michigan complied happily with my request and it was never an issue that I wanted a pickle cut up and put on my sandwich.
Until I moved to North Carolina.
A few months ago I visited my first NC Jimmy John’s . I made placed my order as usual, but was met with a snarky comment from the chick at the register that they couldn’t put pickle on my sandwich. When I asked why not, she said it wasn’t allowed. Because she was, erm, rather lacking in the customer service department and I was on my way to a meeting and didn’t have time to argue with her, I told her just to wrap the pickle up by itself and put it in the bag with the sandwich. I figured this was a one time run in and this particular shop hadn’t trained their employees in good customer service. Didn’t really think about it that much and figured I wouldn’t have to deal with this again by simply avoiding that shop.
Today I visited a different Jimmy John’s across town from the first one. I walked in, placed my order and waited to see what the dude at the register would say. He told me the same thing. This time around, I wasn’t in a hurry, so I asked why they couldn’t cut the pickle up and put it on my sandwich. I was told that it could be cut up, but only in quarters and that they were unable to actually put the pickle on my sandwich. This was reinforced by three other counter dudes. Figuring that I’d rather have a spit free sandwich, I asked them to quarter it and wrap it separately so that I could just get out of there.
Now, with the state of the economy, war on two fronts and general messiness that is the American life, you would have thought that I would just let this go. I mean, we’re talking pickles here.
But no, I couldn’t do that. This was more than pickles. This was principle.
As I made my way back to my office, my blood pressure steadily rising along the way, I began questioning Jimmy John’s pickle slicing policy. I wondered why Jimmy John’s employees are able to slice the pickle vertically (quartered) but not horizontally, especially when they had a customer who was willing to pay the $1.20 (yes- $1.20!!!) for one (ONE) pickle. It isn’t like they are completely anti-pickle slicing, they just discriminate against those of us who prefer to have horizontally sliced pickles instead of vertically sliced pickles.
So, when I finally got back to my desk, I pulled up Jimmy John’s website and emailed their corporate offices, letting them know that Jimmy John’s stores in Michigan have always been happy to accommodate my request but that the Jimmy John’s in North Carolina are strangely opposed to it. I asked, was this a new pickle slicing policy that I was unaware of?
And I got a response. Within an hour.
You want to know what it said? It said that it is the corporate policy of Jimmy John’s to not place pickles on their sandwiches because pickles are a side item and they do not put sides on sandwiches (even if the customer is willing to pay for said side item). The person who emailed me back also asked me for the locations of the Michigan Jimmy John’s stores so that they could be “corrected” for not being in compliance with corporate policy.
This person also called me Liz when I had clearly told him my name is Elizabeth. That’s a no-no, even when I’m not pregnant (But especially when I am pregnant.)
What did I do? Do you think I just let it go, defeated, never to have sliced pickles on my Veggie #6 again? I considered it, but the more I thought about it, the more it really got to me (plus, I really hated the Liz thing). So I recounted the story for the WMD when I got home and as I was telling it to him and he was cracking up, I said, “This is like some Seinfeld episode or something.” And he agreed. It is exactly like a Seinfeld episode and that I needed to respond to the guy because this was too ridiculous not to.
So I did. I told him that I was really scratching my head over their pickle slicing policy, mentioned the fact that they can do vertical slices but not horizontal and that no I would not tell him the locations of the Michigan stores because they are the only stores that clearly have it down and operate under the assumption that the customer is always right. I also mentioned that I’d just go to another sub chain from now on that would serve me pickles ON my sandwich for FREE.
I almost mentioned the Liz thing and that he needed to learn a thing or two about business etiquette, but I restrained myself. That was really hard for me to do. We’ll see what he says. This may become the Jimmy John’s Battle Royale. And I’m down for the fight. Oh, I’m down.
Who knows, maybe somebody else at Jimmy John’s corporate will Google themselves, stumble across this blog, read about my experience and change their policy. I will then become the person who single handedly changed the Jimmy John’s pickle slicing policy. It might end up being my life’s greatest achievement. Hey, Jimmy John’s might even hire me so that I can look at their other corporate policies and tell them which ones suck. That’d be better than the free sandwich I’m likely to get out of this.
Without the pickle, of course.
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