Welcome To The Bitchery

Things People Order/Say at a Kosher Deli

Things I have learned about human beings from working in the Kosher Deli section of a supermarket:

— You might jokingly say, "well, at least no one goes up to the Kosher Deli section and unironically asks for ham, right?" You'd be wrong. At least once per day. AT LEAST once per day. Also "does this seafood salad have shrimp in it" is a popular query, and "can you slice this bacon for me" was something I heard a couple days ago. "Is your food kosher" is another surprisingly popular one, and I've had to restrain myself from saying, "No, all our food is soaked in a bacon cheeseburger/blue crab broth" multiple times.

— Apparently, the word "Waldorf" is the single most difficult word in the English language to pronounce. I was prepared for "Wawwwdorf" (I've been dealing with Baltimorons for most of my life, after all, and they pronounce it the same way). I was not prepared for "Woodorf" (heard on Wednesday). My co-worker also swears a customer once asked for the "Woof-woof salad." Needless to say, it is now permanently the Woof-woof salad in my brain.

— By the same token, there is something about the word "Rotisserie" that causes a significant percentage of human brains to spontaneously malfunction. Say it with me: Row-tiss-ahh-ree." Not hard. Four syllables, none of which are complicated. But we get at least one "Rotissiary" per day. Hell, the other day I heard "Rotissuwary," which made me wonder if we were selling Rotisserie Cassowaries (I don't think they'd fit in our oven, but I would TOTALLY eat one of those). It reminded me of riding the Metro past Judiciary Square every day and hearing the driver butcher the name as "Judishuwary," although at least that's the correct number of fucking syllables. The same co-worker has also heard "RO-tissayry" and "Rosary." The last one has a special additional layer of irony.


— Not a common mistake, but one I heard the other day: "can I have the Vegetable Meldey salad." Ok, words with 4 or more syllables might seem easy to me, but I get how you can see ALL THOSE LETTERS SO MANY LETTERS ERMAHGERD and have your brain throw a belt over it. But how do you fuck up "Medley?" How is that word even POSSIBLE to mispronounce?

— Memory is not really a thing for most people. The first cook of said Rotisserie chickens comes out at 11 am. It NEVER comes out earlier than this. NOT EVER. Not once in the 7 years this section has been open have the chickens come out before 11 am. And yet, THE SAME GODDAMN PEOPLE come by almost every day at 9:45 asking about the chickens, and then acting all disapproving and annoyed with us when we tell them it'll be an hour and 15 minutes. The only reason I don't get angrier about this is because it's entirely possible at least one or two of them has Alzheimer's, and if you think I'm kidding, you have not seen our clientele.

— I get asked "How much is the *pause to read name* [item name]?" at least one per hour. That might not seem strange, until you realize that the name this person has to read sits directly above the price per pound. On EVERY item. And the cost is about double the text size as the name. Your eye can't NOT look at it. I give up on this species.

— People really fucking love their chopped liver and simultaneously can't fathom the idea that OTHER people love it, too. Ok, first of all, have you ever eaten chopped liver? It's fucking disgusting. I don't even think that's an opinion, I think everyone who claims to like it has some weird food-related variation on Stockholm Syndrome. Secondly, when we run out of chopped liver, it's not because we decided we didn't feel like making the second-most popular product we stock (Chicken Salad, because I know people will ask) — it's because we did not have the time/oven space/livers to make any more. We had people coming in yesterday at 4 PM, the afternoon of the day before Rosh Hashanah, asking for Chopped Liver and then acting SHOCKED when we told them we'd been out of it for hours. We made and sold 40 lbs of it yesterday, 100 lbs of it for the week. WE CANNOT MAGICALLY CONJURE MORE CHOPPED LIVERS JUST BECAUSE YOU REALLY WANTED THEM BUT DIDN'T THINK TO CALL AHEAD AND ORDER SOME, CRAZY LADY. Looks like your Rosh Hashanah will just have to be ruined (something a customer apparently told my boss some years ago when a similar situation occurred).


— Apparently, my boss once had a guy bring up a bag of dog food to the counter and ask "is this dog food kosher?" My boss (and I believe him when he says this was his reply, because he would absolutely do this) then asked, "sir, is your dog circumsized?" This will NEVER stop being funny to me. NOT EVER.

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Share This Story