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I think I recently got taken hostage by a man in a hairnet.

He was behind the deli counter.

From what I can tell, there are 2 kinds of people who go to the grocery store deli. The people who need to buy deli. (That’s me.) And the people who need lunch and have decided they are going to eat their lunch slice by slice as they order their deli.  (That’s not me.)

The best thing that ever happened to me when it comes to deli meat is a device called a computer where you can order your deli ahead of me. Then you just pick it up without waiting or talking to anybody.

But once in awhile, I unexpectedly run by the grocery store, and have to actually take a deli number. And that’s pretty much how I got taken hostage.

After my number was called, I tried like mad to order a half pound of ham from the man in the hairnet.

“Ma’am can I interest you in some Boar’s Head Maple Honey Turkey Breast?” he asked with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm.

“No, I’d like — ”

“Or how about some Boar’s Head first Cut Corned Beef Brisket. It’s on sale.”

“No, I’d like — ”

“Or you might be interested in the Picante Sharp Provolone Cheese?”

I mean, does this guy work on commission?

I finally got to complete a sentence.

“Those all sound super delicious and I’m filing it away for my next cold cuts party but for today I’d really like a half pound of uncured, all natural ham.”

And how did I want it sliced?

“Sliced in the shape of Mickey Mouse,” I requested.

Turns out, totally not an option (which in my opinion is a major oversight in Florida). So I went with “thin.”

But you know he wasn’t happy with just slicing it. He wanted me to try it. I didn’t want to try it. Mostly because it was 10:30 in the morning and who the heck eats ham at 10:30 in the morning? (Bacon is not the same as sliced deli ham. I’m sticking to that theory.)

Anyway, after the ham, I ordered sliced chicken which he was also very anxious for me to try. Again, I declined. He was not happy.

“Is that all?” he asked, clearly disappointed that I wasn’t reaching my full deli potential.

“Yes, that’s it. Thanks!”

“You know we have a whole array of fresh salads right behind you – macaroni salad, coleslaw, chicken salad, egg salad –”

“Got it. I will totally check it out!”

And then I ran like mad until I bumped right into another store employee holding a tray of deli meats. This place was way overstaffed on a Tuesday morning.

“Do you want to try some smoked ham wrapped in horseradish cheddar cheese?”

Is this a cocktail party?

I don’t know if they just wore me down or if it I was feeling a slight buzz from the essence of rotisserie chicken cooking near by but I caved.

“Sure, I’ll try it.”

And hot damn, it was delicious. “I love the horseradish cheese,” I exclaimed.

“You can get it right over there at the deli,” she happily explained.

Of course I could. And I made my way back to the man in the hairnet.


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kelcey kintner