$50 Sandwich

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Of all the projects I have in the works right now, the sitcom I’m developing with my friend Kaela has to be the most exciting.  We haven’t exactly written the pilot episode yet, but we’ve sketched out the characters and feel the premise is so strong the show will write itself.  Here’s our pitch:

The name of the show is High School Seniors.  They’re in high school, and they’re seniors…like, um, senior citizens.  Get it?  High School Seniors!

If this isn't hilarious, I don't know what is

Corny?  Perhaps.  Puns like this don’t come around every day, though.  We haven’t decided on much past the title.  Kaela and I agree that there should never be any kind of explanation for why the old people are still in high school, nor should anyone ever comment on it.  They’re just there, go with it.  Plot lines include a hot female teacher coming on to one of the old students and a pregnancy scare (“My period’s late!”) that turns out to be menopause.  Also, there will one student who writes an online journal type thing – a la Doogie Howser or Sex and the City – but our elderly character won’t share much insight because he can’t figure out how to work the computer (he types with two fingers while squinting at the keyboard).

But enough about High School Seniors.  I bring Kaela up because she contacted me early in the week and asked me if I’d ever been to the Costco in Seoul.

“No,” I said.  “I’ve never been to Costco anywhere.”

“You need to go to Costco,” she said.  Kaela lives about an hour and a half away from Costco, but that wasn’t stopping her.  As she would later explain, she really wanted sour cream and cheddar cheese.  Just as God is non-existent in North Korea, sour cream is otherwise absent in the South.

I had to research Costco to get a better feel for it.  (You know, years ago when I’d say “research,” I referred to the investigating of a particular topic through books, the Internet, talking to people, etc.  Now when I say “research,” it means I typed something into Wikipedia.)  My research taught me that Costco has higher sales than Sam’s Club and that it’s the first company, ever, to make over $3 billion within its first six years.  Apparently, Costco is a business juggernaut.

Must be the sour cream.

Kaela and I waited patiently in line to open our Costco membership.  In front of us, a Korean man was returning two bags of tortilla chips.  While he talked with the lady at the customer service counter, I wondered what the possible rationale could be for returning tortilla chips.  What was he saying?

“Listen, I thought I had salsa in the fridge…turns out I didn’t…these chips are useless!”

Finally the chips issue was resolved and we got our membership.  Really, she got the membership, but I plan to borrow the card a lot.  Down into Costco we went, and that’s when, suddenly, as though I had entered some sort of teleportation device, I was back in the good old US of A.

Pork and Beans.  Combos.  Provolone cheese.  Deli meat.  Pastrami.  Bagels.  And then I spotted something that almost made my foolish heart go still.

French’s mustard.  Straight from my hometown of Rochester, NY.  Sold in packages of two, each bottle enormous, the size of a fire extinguisher.  It would last me a lifetime.  Kaela hid in the next aisle while I openly wept.

In total, I bought turkey, pastrami, cheese, bagels, and French’s mustard.  The prices were high but I didn’t care.  My check-out total was $50. “Wow,” I said, “I just spent $50 for sandwiches.”

Kaela wanted to make taco dip.  She looked at the things she bought and then at her receipt.  “I spent almost a hundred bucks for taco dip.”

It was like going to the little Korean market in Charlotte, kind of, but the total reverse of it.  My country doesn’t represent itself with little independent stores all over the place, run by American immigrants.  Instead there’s one big giant overpriced Costco.

Fifty bucks for a sandwich?  I felt proud.

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30 thoughts on “$50 Sandwich

  1. I saw Garfield and instantly had a grin ear to ear. Bet you knew I would! I laughed so hard I snorted when I saw the ‘Idiocracy’ inspired picture!

    I want to see what comes of this sitcom, even if it turns out to be shorts on Youtube. And I couldn’t imagine living somewhere that finding your favorite foods is like searching for gold at the end of a rainbow. However, sour cream, well I have a weird phobia… It is just so white, creamy, squishes, and the smell…. ::SHUDDER:: Ew.

    Hope you eat those $50 sammiches slowly and not all in one sitting, or you’d be like Garfield after lasagna!

    • Hi Hope! Yes, I typed “fancy sandwich” into the Google image search, and when Garfield popped up, I knew it was destiny. Haha. Yes, his appearance was set with a little nod and a little wink. ; D

      No way I can eat them all in one sitting. Everything is in bulk, so I have like 2,000 slices of provolone cheese. Hopefully my transition to Garfield will be gradual.

  2. Loni.Found.Herself

    People return food? In my wilder, devil-may-care moments I sometimes think of doing this very thing. And then I talk myself out of it because it’s so ludicrous. Even in cases of, like, the grapes being fuzzy, I can’t imagine actually walking into a store and getting my money back for them.

    Great post, as always.

    Ooooh, and there’s an Italian rom-com (I know, but go with it) called “Immaturi” with a sort of similar premise to your sitcom: 6 or 8 thirty-to-forty-somethings have to go back to high school and retake their final exams for some BS reason that never made sense. I couldn’t help but wish that they’d just said “Screw it! They’re in high school (shrug). And…roll film!”

    • Oh no, forty year olds in high school isn’t funny. 80 year olds is where it’s at. Did you see the name? High School Seniors? I just thought it was worth repeating.

      Yeah, I’ve never returned food either. I bought some oranges the other day and they were fuzzy when I got them home, so I threw them out. Not worth it. And they don’t go well with mustard anyways.

      • Loni.Found.Herself

        I feel you. Your premise is already way better. That was the number 1 grossing film in Italy in 2011, so just imagine the buckets of lire you could rake in.

        I also just noticed your clever blog title: Topiclessbar. Nice.

      • Yes…when I started the blog, I read a few articles about how to make a solid blog, and they all said, “Have a strong topic.” I thought, “I don’t want a topic! I want to be topicless!” Hence the name.

        Buckets of lire – that sounds awesome! I can get more sandwiches!

  3. You sure you’re not exaggerating right? I mean, come on!! 50?!! Seriously? I don’t care if the sandwiches were made out of gold, 50 bucks is NOT the price of a sandwich.

    • Um, nope. Not exaggerating. Bear in mind, everything is in bulk, so I have like 30 lbs of turkey or something ridiculous. Seriously, if anyone decides to swing by Korea sometime during the summer, drop by my apartment for a sandwich.

    • Lol! That sounds about right. They were selling vats of cheese balls that were frightening. You could air drop one of those things into Somalia or somewhere and feed people for months.

  4. So have you seen “Idiocracy”, my friend? :)
    And I’m totally into the Seniors. We just need to see what Betty White’s schedule is looking like…

  5. Wait, I’m confused. The senior is 80, and has a pregnancy scare but it turns out to be menopause? Maybe you should call the sitcom “Late Bloomers”.

    And what kind of quantities did you buy? You better have sandwiches for a month. I hope you have a freezer.

    • Hmm…good point about the menopause thing. Perhaps I didn’t think it out as soundly as I should’ve. I’m now jotting you down as “creative consultant.”

      I finished one package of turkey today and one package of pastrami. In other news, I’ve gained 35 lbs.

  6. On returning food: my father-out-of-law tried to return a dodgy pie once. When the customer care man asked, “So where’s the pie?”, the old man said, “Well I ate it!” True story.

  7. $50?? That is MY kind of sandwich! Shoot, I’m *lucky* to leave a grocery store, spending only $50. <–my addicion.
    P.S. You should have a serious episode on "High School Senors"–you know, like an afterschool special, when some of the friends comfront Erma about her denture cream snuffing problem… At the end of the episode, a moral lesson can be learned.

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