The trip to Huntsville went great; I'm very tired right now from driving all the way back in nearly constant rain, but the workshop was quite successful and a good time was had by all. The blogworthy event of the trip happened at dinnertime tonight, when I stopped at a Subway in one of those small towns that dot I-45 between Houston and Dallas. (No reason to name the town, since my point is simply to reflect a cultural difference that sometimes exists between small towns and bigger cities or suburbs.)
At any rate, the exchange had to do with the fact that Subway's touting their toasted subs these days, so they ask you if you'd like your sub toasted no matter what's on it. Here's how it went:
SUBWAY LADY: And what kind of sandwich was that again?
ME: Cold Cut Combo.
SUBWAY LADY: Would you like that toasted?
ME: No thanks. That's good with chicken breast or something, but I just can't see eating toasted bologna.
SUBWAY LADY: Oh, it's good; it tastes just like fried bologna.
ME: I'm just not imagining that being good.
SUBWAY LADY: Oh, it's a great Texas treat. Fried bologna is so good!
ME: I don't know about that. I had a college roommate who tried to fry bologna one time, and the kitchen smelled like someone died in there.
TEENAGE COWORKER OF SUBWAY LADY (makes a face): Ewww.
SUBWAY LADY: Well, sir, I guess you must recognize death when you smell it.
Huh? Where'd that come from? I guess she took offense to my "insulting" of her "great Texas treat" or something, but that sure doesn't sound like what you say to a customer. I'm certainly not saying that I haven't run into rude service employees in Dallas, but this was a different kind of rude.
She then told me that the total was $6.21, for a combo that cost $5.04 (which is about 50 cents more than Dallas) plus a single cookie. I asked her how many cookies I was charged for, and she said she'd forgotten to charge me for one at all. I then inquired as to how tax could possibly be a dollar for something of that price, and she shot me a derisive look and said, "Everything went up, sir."
Allow me a mini Restau-Rant here: That's just wrong. There was a time when I would've raised a fuss over that, because you simply shouldn't post one price on the menu and charge a higher price, just because "they (whoever they are) changed it in the computer already. That's deceptive advertising, and it might cause some people to change their order completely if they were carrying a limited amount of money. I say either charge what the menu says, or if "they" (as in some remote "home office" somewhere) changed the computer already, fix the menu....even if you have to use Post-It Notes for a while until the new little sticky numbers come in. It's all about honesty.
At any rate, I'm glad I don't live in a place like that (even if they did still have my beloved M&M cookies that the Dallas outlets have already discontinued).
(Lab) Band in a box: As I mentioned earlier, I purchased the boxed set North Texas Jazz: Fifty Years at the One O'Clock concert the other night (for the obscenely low price of thirty bucks) and listened to almost the whole thing on my trip yesterday and today. I'd heard a lot of the things already, but Disc 1 was fascinating, because it went all the way back to a 1951 acetate recording of the NTSC Lab Dance Band. It sounded quaint by today's standards, and of course nothing at all like the One O'Clock, but it was really cool to ponder the humble acorn from which grew the mighty oak that is the North Texas jazz program. It was also quite interesting to see how little time was wasted in that sound evolving to what it is today.