Dear Mr. Deli Man…

November 9, 2009 at 11:42 pm (pieces of me, whimsically silly)

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

– G. K. Chesterton

Dear Mr. Deli Man,
You’re awesome, you really are. Without you, grilled cheese and packed sandwiches would be next to impossible. And such selection! How many brands of turkey does one need to find happiness in life?! Nowhere else can I get sliced meats and cheeses, along with potato salad, shrimp, and dirt cake in one no-mess stop. I love the perfect little packages you give me, slice after slice exquisitely piled and wrapped in plastic with a sticker like a birthday bow holding the whole thing together. You are truly a modern miracle worker. And for all of these things, I adore you. I do.
But I do have a request or two, if you don’t mind, that I’d like to make. . .
First, I appreciate your adoration of my child. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you recognize and speak to her. She loves you, too – it runs in the family. And I’m glad that you take the time to make her feel special. But. . . do you really have to give her cheese every time we meet?
I don’t want to sound rude, I really am thankful for the extra time you take to make her smile. Its just that, as much as she loves cheese, it never seems to work out very well for us when we’re here. Because, you see, she doesn’t ever actually eat the stuff you give her. She has so much more fun Johnny-apple-seeding it bit by bit into every aisle of the grocery store. . . and I can’t just leave it there, you know. I have to pick it up. Nasty, dirty, sticky, slimy floor cheese. . . you also have to understand that I am not the world’s best mother – baby wipes do not spring magically from my arse as needed, nor do I keep napkins in my bra – or in my purse, for that matter. Truth be told, most of the time I don’t even carry a purse. Please consider my plight. What am I to do with this handful of mutilated cheese strips collected bit by painful bit from the floor of your fine establishment? An establishment which, let me point out, does not have a single trashcan in sight? Should I bring it back to you? Put it in my pocket? Stash it in the cereal isle behind the oatmeal? It is a terrible situation to be in. And I’m afraid you’re the only one who can solve this conundrum. . .
And I know you always ask first. I am very aware of that courtesy, again thank you. But you must recognize that asking permission of the mother does not count in this situation. Your first mistake here is that you didn’t whisper your request. Nor did you spell out key words, like C-H-E-E-S-E. In case you didn’t know, T is two. Most two-year olds have quite a firm grasp on their understanding of the English language. Especially when it comes to them getting something. Your next blunder lies in the fact that, while asking, you are waving the afore mentioned piece of cheese very unceremoniously in front of her little face. Even if she if she couldn’t understand your words, T has remarkable vision. At this point she knows full well that you are offering her a pile of sliced cheese, and if I say no the tantrum that ensues will be. . .well lets just say that you wouldn’t want to be there for it. And neither would I.
Since we’re on the subject, if you still insist on giving her cheese, could you at least give her a bit of what I’ve ordered? Believe it or not, I DO have a reason for ordering white American over the yellow. And I assure you it isn’t a taste preference – the swiss is for me, anyway. The reason for my desaturated selection is that yellow stains. Yes, it does. I know you didn’t know, and I forgive you. But when you’ve stayed up until 3am trying desperately to get the discoloration out of a brand-new outfit that you would never have let your daughter wear while eating then you’ll understand my frustration.
I have one last bone to pick, and then I’ll leave you until my next turn to pick a paper number comes. My final request to you, dear Deli Man, if you would be so kind as to oblige a frazzled mother. . .is to please, please, PLEASE leave off with the thin pieces of plastic between each and every slice of cheese. Fine for the baby swiss, provolone, or muenster – but American? I’ve never had a problem with American cheese sticking, and I’ve been through my share since caring for 3 children under the age of 3. All sticking aside, fending off cheese begging toddlers while fighting with plastic to unearth a single slice for each is not my idea of a good time. On an average day I might find myself making anywhere between 1-5 grilled cheese sandwiches at one time, and the sheer frustration of un-packaging – piece by segregated piece – so many slices of cheese while the kids are screaming and pummeling each-other, unsupervised, in the next room is almost more than I can bear. . . I require things to be fast and easy for a reason. And it isn’t laziness on my part. It has to do with preventing injury to small children while my back is turned. The longer it takes me to get lunch cooking, the higher the chance for certain toddler death.
So there you have it. I’m sorry if I seem harsh, mean, or dictatorial. Such was not my intent in the slightest. Dear Mr. Deli Man. . .


  1. Jenn said,

    you are a hoot! 🙂

  2. Sarah Benedict said,

    LOL I love reading your blog!

  3. ChristinesLillSprouts said,

    Too funny! I must say I have on several ocasions picked pieces of cheese off the dirty floors of the supermarket (and fruit snacks, goldfish, lollipops, etc.), and wondered what I should do with them….So, the back compartment of the diaper bag is now dedicated to these gross items, along with dirty tissues and such. Not exactly “clean” but I am NOT putting them in my pocket and certainly can’t carry them around the whole time! I’d go for hiding them behind the oatmeal, LOL. I’d like to tell my deli “lady” to stop asking if we want cheese since Gavin cannot have it. Then I have to explain to him that cheese is a dairy product and he is allergic and yadda yadda. Thank goodness we don’t actually go to the deli very often anymore!

  4. Kendall(Nickname must go as it's too long, but you know!) said,

    How funny!! We don’t visit the deli very often, but i can see how it’s frustrating. Luckily, you don’t go shopping with LMT very often, so hopefully it doesn’t happen quite so often. You really should start stuffing your bras with napkins… 🙂 Too bad there’s no room in there! heehee…*wink* I have been known to go up to the cashiers with a handful of gross stuff and ask them if they have a trashcan…somethings are just NASTY and MUST go into a can as soon as humanly possible. Good luck with the Deli Man!

  5. Kelli said,

    Thanks so much for always making me smile!! Needed it today!!!

  6. Saumya said,

    Ha ha ha !! Nice one…u made me smile!!!

  7. FooFoo said,

    You are hilarious!!!!!! Love your story. How strange for T to deposit the cheese along the aisles bit by bit. Funny girl.

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