My main competitor from the restaurant review scene is Josh Wagy (funny name) of Smash Toledo. Since Wagy’s reviews are always positive, he misses the link between good writing and critical analysis. His review of Barry Bagel’s reads in part, “Honorable Mention for Smash’s favorite…Make a custom eggel with gooey cheese! Soooo good. Shoot might as well combine the two! Barry Bagels is no joke, their bagels are so constantly delicious.”
He recently posted an interview with the owners of Barry Bagel’s. This is an opportune time for me to discuss how the Barry Bagel in Maumee came to ban me circa 2009.
To preface my explanation, when I worked at Churchill’s, which was after Barry Bagel’s kicked me out, I always went the mile for my customers. In fact, I loved to make things complicated: for instance, offering to de-skin a piece of fish or to literally cook the customer’s purchase (lobster).
But I understand now that most people hate to do extra things. To work in retail one must possess considerable patience, and though employees wish they could kick someone out who complicated things, the principles of money-making and capitalism says that this Barry Bagel’s acted inappropriately.
In concert, before the fateful afternoon I was kicked out of Barry Bagel’s, I routinely requested supplemental stuff. Mustard squirted onto one piece of bread, then smashed together with another, so as to not overwhelm a sandwich; crust cut off because the crust felt too tough; lightly toasted bread; side of raw mushrooms; butter on the side; jalapenos on the side; hotter pastrami; banana peppers on the side; thinner cut of pastrami; etc.
One morning for breakfast I ordered a pastrami sandwich with several of the add-ons I just listed. I waited a couple hours to eat it, and by that time, insects were swarming the sandwich. Is my car that dirty? Perhaps my work place is dirty. I opened the sandwich up and BAM, a certain type of insect embedded onto my breakfast. Think small, like a fruit fly.
I called to complain but the tone of the employee dissuaded me from bringing the sandwich in.
Me: there are insects on my sandwich.
Clerk: you’re thinking of peppercorns.
Me: can I bring it in for a replacement or a refund?
Clerk: whatever, sure.
It’s hard to tell even in retrospect if she acted deliberately rude or spazzed out due to eight months of pregnancy.
Someone at work offered to return the product, guaranteed my money back, professed to considerable customer advocacy experience. I relented, and the next day I had my money with a receipt to boot. What I didn’t calculate is how the transaction would go down. Apparently, the person from work brought her husband to the job, and together, formidable and genuinely rough, tough, bad ass bikers, came across as too aggressive in their advocacy.
I heard later that, according to Barry Bagel’s, there weren’t any insects on the pastrami, which can be confusing for them when pastrami has dark pepper spots. It would indeed be a tossup as to mistakenly confusing dark pepper spots with insects, if not for the fruit flies literally flying and landing onto the sandwich. Furthermore, the sandwich sat in my car for just the trip to work. It actually stayed in the bag longer at work. There weren’t fruit flies roaming around in my car or my work place, making it unlikely that they developed onto the sandwich from either environment.
The next day I bought a coffee at Barry Bagel’s, weary of confrontation. Within minutes the general manager kicked me out. He said something to the effect of “we don’t want your kind here,” or it could have been, simply, “we don’t want your business.”
Losing Barry Bagel’s was probably a blessing in disguise. People who care about their waist line don’t frequent a place where the main product, a single bagel with cream cheese, has as much as 100 carbs or the caloric equivalent of ten slices of white bread. Still, having learned from such drama, remember that it’s a pain in the ass to ask for specific things, and so are insects in your food.