Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Holy Fucking Shit. Panera Bread is Closed.

So there I was. Staring aimlessly at my flattop reading the various headlines on CNN.com:

- A female terrorist blew herself up in a crowded market in Jerusalem.

- A baby was put into a microwave oven and internally baked by his drunk mother.

- As it turns out, Heath Ledger was a great father.

"Did you hear?"

Those three words rattled my brain and awoke me up from my internet coma.

I looked up from the devastation on my screen. It was one of our account execs. Her face was red and she wasn't too happy. In fact, she looked kind of flustered and sad.

"Ummm, no," I said unsure where this conversation was going. "Did someone from Saturday Night Live die?"

"Worse," she huffed and puffed. "They closed the Panera Bread downstairs. Can you even believe it?"

"Uhhhh, no?"

And with that, she took off, sauntered up to another office and began the whole exchange all over again.

"Did you hear?"

Panera Bread was closed.

No more Asian Sesame Chicken Salad.

No more Asiago Roast Beef sandwiches.

No more Low-fat Chicken Noodle Soup.

No more french baguettes.

"No more baguettes?" I silently cursed to the lord. "Why have you forsaken me!"

Word about the closing quickly spread through the office like a Southern California wildfire.

"I can't believe it," one production assistant yelped while I was getting a cup of coffee. "It seemed like it was always packed during lunch."

"The four-cheese souffle was out of this world," said the designer talking on a cellphone. "And the coffee and pastries weren't bad either."

"I just don't understand," said the VP of Marketing in the bathroom. "I really enjoyed those baguettes."

Before lunch, I went to a meeting. As I walked into the room, people were whispering and shaking their heads in disbelief.

"What are you guys talking about?" I asked as I plopped down in the chair. "Did the other guy from Brokeback Mountain die?"

Uncomfortable silence followed.

"We were just talking about the Panera Bread closing downstairs," my boss chirped up. "It's shocking. Simply shocking."

I silently groaned.

During lunch, everyone had their own way to grieve the demise of the downstairs Panera Bread.

Some people went to Charlie's Steakery for a Steak sandwich. Others dropped by the Hard Rock Cafe for a burger and fries. Some went to Subway, ordered a half turkey sub on wheat, returned to their cubicles, and digested their meals alone.

No more freshly baked breads, bagels and spreads.

No more hand-tossed salads.

No more pepperoni crispani.

No more french baguettes.

Sigh.

On this particular day, I opted for a chinese lunch in the food court.

As I walked up to place my order, I noticed the cute girl from accounting standing in line.

She looked over at me and whispered "Did you hear about Panera."

I nodded and gave a somber look. I may have even stuck out my bottom lip.

"It's crazy," she said shaking her head as she boxed up her Teryaki Chicken with vegetables and brown rice. "Can you really believe that Panera Bread is actually closed?"

Sadly, I could believe it.

After eating my Moo Goo Gai Pan and Sprite, I headed back to the office.

As I hopped in the elevator, the CEO and President of my company walked in.

"Hi," I said.

"Hello," he said as the elevator doors closed.

This was my chance to make small talk with the Big Kahuna.

I searched and searched my brain databanks for something to say.

Should I mention the new account we just landed?
Should I ask him what he thought about Microsoft purchasing Yahoo?
Should I mention politics and the upcoming Super Tuesday primary?

As the bright light flashed from floor to floor, I decided to throw in the towel. I couldn't think of anything worthwile to say. My one-on-one chance with the big cheese was blown.

Suddenly, he turned towards me with this sad, puppy-dog look on his face.

"So," he said. "Did you hear Panera Bread closed?"

5 comments:

cbrown said...

Did you hear that the Panera in Gahanna closed too?

Your Finest Eimer said...

RE: cbrown

Holy Fucking Shit!!! I betcha they're cuttin' back.

Your Finest Eimer said...

RE: cbrown

Guess you'll have to travel to Westerville for your baguettes.

Anonymous said...

Panera can kiss my ass. The soup guy always splashes soup on my apple while he's eyeballin' one of his hot 20-year-old ass crack coworkers.

Your ad agency soft-ass co-workers can kiss my ass, too. They wouldn't be whinin' about Panera closing if their heads were shaved.

Tell them to have another latte and shut the fuck up.

Your Finest Eimer said...

RE: ANONYMOUS
I don't know ya, but I'm with ya.
Did you hear that ad agency?Anonymous is coming ta get you Soft-handed mother fuckers.