My Love For The Absolute Worst Bagel Shop In My Neighborhood Knows No Bounds
I am a housewife in the 50s with an emotionally abusive spouse. Excuses for abhorrent behavior goes unchecked because I’m in love and I’ve got nothing else to fall back on. I use phrases around my friends to explain away the trauma I go through- “You just don’t know him like I do” and “When he’s good to me….OH, he’s just so good, you know?”
No matter how many times I get done dirty by this bagel store in my neighborhood (which will remain anonymous), I’ll continue to go back.
Let me first start off by saying that it’s never been about the bagel so much as it is about the walk. It’s a Saturday morning ritual during the fall, and it’s something I’ve really come to enjoy since moving back to Chicago.
The crisp air, the pep in everyones step that is out and about because it’s the weekend, and the playlist I’ve specifically curated for this walk from my apartment to get the bagel and back - it’s all wonderful. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk a little bit about just how truly awful the bagel shop in my neighborhood is. It’s not even that the bagels are all that bad, either. It’s everything else that happens inside of the store that makes it bad.
The first real issue with the joint is that it’s tiny. This in and of itself isn’t a huge deal, because I’ve found that cramped, congested bagel stores add to the allure of it all. But when you walk in on a Saturday or Sunday morning hungover from the night prior the number of people all up in your grill trying to get a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese or a garlic bagel with lox smear can be overwhelming. Sometimes even downright nauseating.
Yelp reviews for this particular restaurant are downright atrocious and for good reason. And I know what you’re thinking - establishments on Yelp always have bad reviews. They’re just outliers, right? Normally, yeah you’d be right. But not for this place. I scrolled through the first two pages of reviews for this place and I counted on twenty reviews below 3 stars. That’s not great when each page shows 20 results a piece. That’s 50% of customers having a bad time.
The service is so bad that one <i>almost</i> finds it endearing. I mean when you’re ordering a bagel from someone named fucking Tabitha there’s not much you can do when you realize that you’ve gotten a totally wrong order. Notice the use of the word “almost.” I can sympathize with crabby workers on some level I suppose - who wants to be working in a busy breakfast spot specializing in bagels early on a Saturday morning? No one, that’s who. But they signed up for this shit.
They could have picked any other job in the service industry where employees aren’t required to be up at the ass crack of dawn. They dig their own grave working here.
All I’m asking for is an accurate order. I can deal with the snarky attitude behind the counter but what I can’t deal with is ordering a toasted bagel with lox and a sriracha cream cheese only to look inside my bag and see that I’ve gotten a cold bagel with lox in a separate container and a miniscule amount of plain cream cheese. Unacceptable.
My allegience to this place is also in large part due to the fact that it’s the only spot that sells bagels in my immediate vicinity. Literally the only spot that is walkable is the one that treats me like absolute dog shit and then turns around and asks me to pay them for the pleasure of it. If I wanted to go to a different establishment, I’d have to take an Uber or drive my jet black 2008 Chevy Impala to get there. As much as I adore driving my car, I ain’t doing that, because again, it’s more about the walk than anything else.
Every single time I go to this place I leave disappointed. The workers - from the guy at the cash register down to the out of work Instagram models who prepare the bagels - are positively awful.
I’ve never left with a 100% correct order and at this point when I get home to open my cellophane wrapped bagel I just laugh at whatever mistake was made. Untoasted when it should have been toasted. Wrong style cream cheese. Hell I’ve ordered asiago and gotten onion before.
It’s like having an absolute fuck up for a child. No matter how many times they betray my trust - no matter how rude the Daria wannabes are to me I’ll never stop going back because this is my bagel shop for better or for worse. I’ve got mad love for them and I don’t care if it makes me a bagel cuck.