Every now and again ol’ Robbo repairs to the Au Bon Pain (French for “The Good Pain”) across the street from his cubicle in order to procure himself some lunch.

This place has been struggling for years to come up with a layout  of  its sammich counter, chips and bakery racks, drinks cooler and cash registers that keeps the line moving and avoids customer logjams.   A week or two ago, it introduced possibly the most incompetently-planned one yet.

Imagine a square.  Now imagine having to get to all four corners of said square in order to assemble all of your lunch items and then pay for them.  Also imagine that you can’t cut directly across because of the central pillars supporting the roof and because of a cat’s cradle of rope lines.  Now imagine about fifty to sixty people trying to do the same thing as you all at once.

If there’s a such thing as a sammich shop franchise Darwin Award, this place ought to get it.

The other thing they’ve taken to is asking one’s name so they can scribble it on one’s order ticket.  (They used to use a perfectly sound automated numbering of receipts.  Go figure why they changed it.)  Now, ol’ Robbo, being the open and bonhomous bird that he is, when asked by a perfect stranger what his name might be, has to resist mightily the temptation to reply, “None of your damned business.”

Of course, I realize that this is unlikely to aid me in getting my order.   So instead, I have taken to doing what I always do in coffee shops, which is to state that my name is Psmith.

It’s just part of my private little guerrilla action against the Machine.