No more ________.

Every Thursday morning between ten and twenty men from our church gather for breakfast and bible study at a local restaurant. This group has been meeting for close to thirty years, longer than I’ve been the pastor at our church. I’m not going to mention the name of the restaurant, unless I feel kind of snarky a little later in this post.

Within the past year, the franchise has eliminated certain items from the menu. The first item to go: raisins. Raisins were no longer available for the guys who ordered oatmeal for breakfast. Dried cranberries, yes. Raisins? Nope. Next, no more Tabasco. OK, I realize this is a niche market. And they did offer a cheap imitation hot sauce. But if you want the good stuff, too bad. One day, we were told, “No more English muffins.” You could choose from white, wheat, sour dough, or rye bread. Or a couple of pancakes. Biscuits? Yes. All of a sudden though, one day English muffins reappeared in our choice of breads. Nice.

So I’ve been wondering, “Who makes these decisions?” I doubt that the franchise owner is fretting about dried fruit or bread. But at the corporate level, in some office somewhere, someone is pondering, “What can we do to increase our profits? Where can we cut the fat?”

Last week, one group member lamented a local Subway’s decision to eliminate Swiss cheese from the menu. Really? Cheese with holes is a staple of deli sandwiches. What happened? Tariffs on imported Swiss? Shortages and price spikes? Who knows.

I’m just curious. Who makes these decisions? And why? I’m no dummy. I know it’s the bottom line. Follow the money. Some bean counter somewhere decided that millions could be made with a simple adjustment to the menu. Whatever. We can always bring our own Tabasco. Or get our subs from a different fast food restaurant. Or boycott until they meet our demands.

So far we can still bring our bibles. That’s the important thing.

White or wheat?

downloadFourth year of seminary education. Married. One in the oven. Time to get a job to make ends meet. Subway is taking applications. Why not?

I was hired at a store on the south side of Ft. Wayne, about twenty minutes from our tiny (before tiny homes were fashionable) home. Back then, the menu was simpler. Only two kinds of bread: white or wheat. Two kinds cheese: American or Swiss. No cookies. No toasted subs. Old school. We didn’t wear gloves, just washed our hands a lot. Cleaning the bathrooms was as gross though. Some things never change.

Since I was about ten years older than most of the crew, I often closed the store at 2 am. One night, just before I locked the front door, a man came in, pointed a long barrel revolver at my head and said, “Give me the money.” Since we dropped the cash about every half hour or so, there was less than $20 in the drawer. Impatiently he demanded, “Just give me the whole thing.” I handed him the money tray and followed his instructions to lay face down on the floor. After a few moments of silence, I locked the front door and called 911 and the store manager.

I was pretty shaken up by the time I got home around 4 am. The assistant store manager was more upset that the thief took the money tray than he was about the stolen cash. I worked a few more shifts after than, but as call day and graduation approached, we were making plans to move…somewhere. We didn’t know where our first call would be for a few months.

I’m always nice to workers at Subway. I get to do what I do today because of people just like them!