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May 8th, 2003


Let’s say that you’re on-the-run, hungry, and want to get a sandwich at a drive-thru restaurant. Any one will do; you’re hungry.

You spot a sandwich you like, say a grilled chicken sandwich. It normally comes with lettuce, tomato, and a sauce. But you tell the person at the drive-thru to make it “plain”. Now, when you get that sandwich, what do you expect to have on the sandwich?

When I say “plain”, I expect: chicken. That’s it. No lettuce. No tomato. No sauce. Am I the only one who thinks “plain” is an absolute term, and means what it’s supposed to mean?

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Game Show Man Joe [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 2:11:46 am
Depends heavily on what makes the sandwich different from the others. If it's just an "ordinary" hamburger, say a Whopper from Burger King, then your description is accurate. If it's a cheeseburger, like a Double Double from In 'n Out Burger (if you don't live in So. Cal., Phoenix or Vegas then, I highly recommend In 'n Out Burger when you're in town), then all I want is meat and cheese. Now if there are specific toppings for the sandwich I order, then when I order it plain, I just want those specific toppings (e.g. a Bacon Cheeseburger with just the meat, the cheese and the bacon).

Have I confused you yet?

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 8:11:13 am
No, that makes sense, Joe.

FROM: Greg
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 9:38:45 am
Would "plain" also encompass plain English too?

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 9:58:03 am
I don't think I'd ever use the word "plain" when referring to a sandwich... only bagels.

FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 9:58:39 am
I fear that regardless of what you want it to be, you will have to explain in detail what you want. (Please give me the chicken and the bread. No butter, mayo, NOTHING!)

FROM: Monica
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 11:56:19 am
and then there are people for whom a plain bagel means just the skin of it--they want the bread scooped out.

FROM: Dave Walls
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 12:20:53 pm
I can sense in the tone of the Ping, that Paul had a bad experience with a drive thru somewhere when he asked for plain. Am I right?

For me, when ordering something plain, I make it very obvious that I want it plain by emphasising it.

"Can I take your order?"

"I'd like a PLAIN Grilled Chicken Sandwich with ABSOLUTELY nothing on it, please."

Half the time, though, I just get it plain so I know it's fresh made.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 12:46:30 pm
Actually, no Dave - it was a fine drive-thru experience. Let's say for the sake of some anonymity that it was a friendly debate between me and another very important person.

FROM: Dave Walls
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 12:52:05 pm
Gotcha Paul. I was definitely off then.

What I also thought of after I posted last: Some places have so many sandwiches, that if you ask for a cheeseburger, they'll ask "What Kind?". Saying a plain cheeseburger means to them that you don't want the Quarter Pound sized burger, but the 'regular' burger.

All the more reason I cut a lot of food out of my diet a while ago. :)

FROM: dave
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 4:18:34 pm
When I worked at McDonald's in the mid-90s, a plain burger (hamburger, cheeseburger, or quarter-pounder) meant you didn't put any of the four condiments (ketchup, mustard, onions, pickle) on it.

At the time, if you wanted your burger (or any sandwich) "fresh," you just had to ask for it in some way that deviated from the norm. Of course, "fresh" could still mean that the meat had sat in a warmer for up to 20 minutes (longer if the employee monitoring the meat/chicken/fish warmer was lazy of incompetent).

The only way to get a guaranteed "fresh" burger was to order it without salt, because it was salted while it cooked.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday May 8, 2003 -- 10:24:12 pm
I expect a plain to have wings, a pilot, and bad food.

FROM: towinlovinit
DATE: Friday May 9, 2003 -- 1:51:49 am
plain not plane....... silly!

FROM: aharris
DATE: Friday May 9, 2003 -- 11:13:25 am
Paul, Paul, Paul I feel your pain. As a picky eater I have often faced this problem.

Plain for ME means nothing on it. Just meat and bread. Plain w/ cheese means SHOULD mean just meat and just cheese. But, it's usually wrong.

I actually have this far off dream of opening a restaurant called: "Meat and Cheese". Oh sure we'll HAVE lettuce, tomato, etc. but...instead the NON-picky ppl will have to specify.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday May 9, 2003 -- 11:52:10 am
"Meat and Cheese". I like it. No nonsense, just meat and cheese.

FROM: liz [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday May 14, 2003 -- 1:23:40 am
i always say 'plain and dry' even though plain SHOULD mean plain. most people have to hear plain (no vegetables) and dry (no condiments)

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