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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As friends of the decanter will know, Ol’ Robbo’s office moved to a new building in a different part of Your Nation’s Capital a couple weeks ago.

Said friends will also know by now that Ol’ Robbo is practically a slave to habit and routine.  And one of my habits for years on end has been to swing by Potbelly’s to pick up my lunch.  Fortunately, as was the case at the old digs, there’s one round the block from my new office.  So I reckoned I had at least one piece of continuity to which I could cling during the whole transition thing.

I’m finding, however, that I might have been a bit premature in this reckoning.  Sure, the food is the same, but the experience is proving to be vastly different.

My old shop was run by a fellah who I believe was a retired master-sergeant.  There was no question who was in charge.  The process was fast even though the place was frequented by large groups of tourons.  The people on the assembly-line were efficient, courteous, and engaged.

This new place has a totally different feel.  I’m still not exactly sure who is actually running things.  The staff seem to spend a lot of time tripping over and misunderstanding each other and the customers.  They also don’t seem to care all that much.  The line moves very slowly.  And, unlike in my former stomping grounds, here I’ve already seen several customers give up in disgust and simply walk away.

Of course, some of this is probably just my own bias speaking, since I and the staff at my former store got to know each other pretty well (at least by sight) over the years, and here I’m still dealing with a bunch of comparative strangers.  But not all of it:  There’s definitely an objective difference in overall quality, too, and this one isn’t up to the same standard.

What to do?  Well, I continue to think Potbelly sammiches tasty.  That’s why I’ve been going there for so long.  And perhaps once I get used to the new place I won’t notice these things so much.

On the other hand……there’s a Harris-Teeter next door with a big lunch bar about which many of my colleagues are raving.  And with self check-out, you’re not at the mercy of indifferent staff.  Ol’ Robbo’s rule is that Change is Bad, but of course there are always exceptions.  Could this be one of them?

UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo is reminded that one of his very first assignments as a very young lawyer mumble-mumble years ago was to help out a Subway franchisee in a spat with the Home World.  I don’t remember what the spat was about, nor do I remember the outcome.  What I do remember is pouring over Subway’s franchise agreement and being astounded at the degree of micromanagement of every aspect of the biznay, right down to the permissible amount of a given condiment per square inch.  It made what the Book of Armaments has to say about the Holy Hand-Grenade of Antioch seem downright vague.  (And no, I’m not linking.  If you don’t get that reference, shame on you.)




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August 2019