The Subway series will be a three part series chronicling my short two week stint and unforeseen rise through the ranks of the national sandwich chain Subway. This is part one, a look back on my initial integration into the sandwich conglomerate.
The interview process was, like the rest of my experience, unorthodox. I showed up to the sub shop to meet the big cheese (who was not American, Provolone or Pepperjack). He was a native of India, notorious for their love of quality sub sandwiches and fresh ingredients, and spoke with an accent as thick as a double stacked subway club. He began to ask me questions as he prepared bread to be cooked. I stood there, thinking to myself, 90% of all communication is nonverbal, so why do I have no idea what he is asking me? Since I had no idea what he was saying, I answered his questions with a series of muffled grunts and awkwardly timed chuckles, trying desperately to mirror his body language and gauge my reactions. Evidently, my communication degree had already started to pay off, I was offered a position as “Sandwich Artist” and pay would start $5.75 an hour, the minimum wage. However, I was promised a raise to $6.25 an hour after my first two weeks. I had landed a job in the rich field of sustenance artistry. What a dream job, compiling the freshest ingredients in the most glorious ways upon the most delicious bread, for customers looking to better themselves and aspiring to be like Jared “the Subway guy.” How could life get any better?
On my first day of work I was slated to come in around 10:00 to learn where things are; I would then be more than ready to work the lunch crowd. After a short tour I had mastered the layout of the refrigerator and learned the ins and outs of the bread oven. Around 11:30 the lunch crowd began to pour in, I was being thrown into the lions den to prove my worth. The boss shouted to me to get some gloves on, I would be slicing the bread. I looked at the glove situation and saw only a box of medium gloves, the box of large gloves was empty. It should be mentioned here that I have abnormally large hands, I was able to palm a basketball in middle school, the medium gloves were not fitting on my hands. Chaos began to pick up and I was still trying to force these medium gloves around my ape-like hands. Finally, after the boss had been pestering me for a while, I decided just to start slicing bread with the gloves halfway on my hands, pretty much just covering the ends of my fingers. My hands looked like Bruce Vilanch trying to squeeze into Lindsay Lohan’s jeans.
When there was a break in the crowd the boss came over to try and help me get the gloves on correctly, evidently, he did not understand that my hands were bigger than the gloves because he showed me different techniques for drying off sweaty hands to get them in the gloves. I went in the back and was finally able to find one lowly box of large gloves. I put them on, now I was in business. I rejoined the other artists out on the line and started to cut the bread. For some reason, I seemed to be tearing the bread instead of making a clean cut like the boss wanted. It wasn’t until fifteen minutes later that one of the other workers pointed out to me that I was using the wrong side of the knife.
When I took my lunch break I tried to get to know some of the other employees. I talked with the cashier who was a native of Mexico and was trying to learn English, and another sandwich artist who was the daughter of the store owner, she also was trying to learn English and spoke with the same thick accent as her father. I wondered if I was hired to prevent some sort of reverse affirmative action lawsuit. I had taken a few semesters of high school Spanish, which I had promptly forgotten after graduation, and had no familiarity with the Indian language. Needless to say, lunch was very quiet.
I drove home that day exhausted and wondering what I had gotten myself into. In one day of employment I had embarrased myself in front of three other workers from two different cultures, I appeared to not know how to use new technology such as gloves or knives, and I really had no idea what anyone else was saying the entire day. Day two was sure to be fun.