June 6th, 2007


Rediscovering the Wheel

So, in the past, when mjperson and I have gone to Quiznos for lunch, they've been an efficient sandwich-making factory. (Not as blazingly efficient as Anna's, but nobody is as efficient as Anna's). This time, the counter seemed to be staffed by people who had recently been shipwrecked on the shores of Quizno, and were having to rediscover all their technology from scratch.

For example, in the past, we've noted that they write a code for the sandwich on the outside of the wrapper. They don't use the pre-printed sandwich descriptions, because they're printed way too small to be read and circled quickly. (Sort of the way nobody ever punches the drink labels on soft drink tops, but that's a digression).

This time, the sandwich would come through the toasting machine, and get regarded warily by the post-toaster, who would try to deduce WITH THE POWER OF HIS MIND what it should have on it. Then he'd wrap it and hand it to the cashier. Then the customer would ask for their sandwich, and the cashier would regard the various unlabeled sandwiches, and try to deduce WITH THE POWER OF HER MIND which one was the one wanted. This didn't work very well, so they'd unwrap them and look until they found one that matched, and then wrap them back up and hand the right one to the customer.

Due to the obvious inefficiencies with this process, and the fact that sometimes they forgot which sandwiches were which after re-wrapping them, my sandwich got given to the guy in front of us in line, who absconded with it before they figured out what had happened. (In fact, I was the only one who claimed to have noticed what happened; the Quizos people seemed convinced that the sandwich had vanished into thin air or never been made, or something). So there was quite a bit of standing around, waiting for a second sandwich to be made, in which I watched them discover the pre-printed sandwich labels, and start circling them, and then discover that that was too much of a pain, and the writing the sandwich code on the wrapper. It was the same technology they'd been using before, but independently derived right before my eyes!
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