I have a variation on the following conversation each evening after I finish teaching.  I enter my local deli, order my standard vegetable sandwich, and the sandwichmaker grills me about my soup choices.  It doesn’t seem to matter to him that I don’t ever want the soup — even when they have vegetable soup, I don’t want soup because the soup is too salty — and every time he presses me into taking soup I do not want or need.  The deli is the only place that’s open late by the time I get home and they do make a delicious veggie sandwich.

“Soup!  Soup!”

“No soup.”

“No soup?  Soup for you!”

“The soup has meat in it.  No soup for me.”

“Crab soup!”

“Same thing.”

“Soup free with sandwich!”

“No soup.  Sandwich is vegetable.  No vegetable soup.”

“Lentil soup!”

“Made with beef broth.”

“Can’t have soup with beef broth?  Free soup!”

“The vegetables in the sandwich are enough.”

“You won’t be full without the soup.”

“Keep the soup and give it away to someone else.”

“I sell soup, not give away.”

“I’ll take a pickle instead.”

“No substitutions.”

Variations on this conversation have been:

“Split Pea and Ham is vegetable soup because there’s only ‘ham juice’ in the soup and not real ham.”

“No discounts on the sandwich without the soup.”

“Who doesn’t like soup?”

“No sandwich, only soup.”

“You can’t have soup without salt.”

“Put the soup on the sandwich.”

“Take the soup home to your wife.”

“Take the soup home to your Super.”

“What you got against soup!”

When I tire of the soup interrogation, I just mention wanting a pickle instead and he shuts down the conversation with his “no substitutions” rule and jams my sandwich into a sack, and then a bag, and shoos me on my way.

Sometimes even the vegetable sandwich is too salty.


  1. As I am often a part of that soup conversation, I would like to confirm you are never able to just get your sandwich without the soup interrogation. It isn’t even done in a funny way — it’s like he never remembers you and starts over each time with you about the soup.

  2. Crazy! When free food is forced on me I give it to people begging in the subway. That’s odd that they never take no for an answer…

    1. You’d think he’d love saving the money by not giving me the soup!

      I also love nothing more than an great bowl of veggie soup — oh, if he only had one to offer!

  3. This made me laugh, thank you. Next time you visit, you should just take the free soup and forget the sandwich and see what happens.

  4. This is hilarious. I especially like the part about the beef broth and the ham juice. They really should pick up some sort of veggie soup. Veggie soup to go with your veggie sandwich, seems like it would make sense.

    1. Right! I agree! The guy thinks he offering a veggie take, though. You really have to use veggie broth to make a right veggie soup — and my sense is he can’t order a soup like that by the barrel. SMILE!

  5. I think you need to print some post it size cards with “Ham juice = No soup” .”Beef Stock = No soup”
    etc etc and hand them out to him ad infinitum .

    1. I like that attack, Nicola!

      I’ve actually been to nice restaurants and had the wait staff try to get me to eat the pea soup. “No ham,” they say, and I ask how it’s cooked, and they same, “Well, there’s a hambone in the stock, but that’s it.” I pass.

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