. . . Tuesday June 7, 2005

Competing Over the Deli Guy

Ever notice how a pretty fierce competition can develop when it comes to being good buds with someone who works behind the counter at a local deli or market?

Earlier today, I was in the lunch deli in my building. The person (OtherCustomerGuy) ahead of me in line was trading some friendly words with the dude behind the counter (heretofore known as DeliGuy). It was playful. It was clear that OtherCustomerGuy was a regular customer who DeliGuy recognized.

But it was nothing compared to the harmonic banter that was thrown down when it was my turn to do the cash register waltz.

I joked a bit with DeliGuy. He came to life. He responded. The exchange exploded like a 200 piece symphony.

Then, sensing his slide down the corner store totem pole, OtherCustomerGuy tried to chime in. Silence. We needed a few subtle notes from an Oboe or a French Horn and he slapped the side of a gong with a two-by-four.

“Come on OtherCustomerGuy,” I thought to myself. “You’re just a familiar face around here. DeliGuy thinks of me as a brother.”

Only in this case, I am a brother that he only sees in his store when I am hungry or thirsty and too lazy to walk a few extra blocks for Chinese.

Anyway, think about your favorite local market, bar or deli where everyone knows your name (or at least your condiment preferences) and try to figure out where you rank.

But I should warn you, the model does not extend everywhere. For example, it doesn’t really work with DMVGuy.

Concentration is important!