I’m not a fan of uncomfortable silences, particularly in business settings, so I have a few conversation starters that I like to use when things are looking grim. The one I always reach for first is, “if you could have your own signature sandwich at a deli, what would it be?” Yeah, it’s weird and you need to have a large degree of humility about yourself for asking it, but it works. Curiously enough, no one ever shuns this question, but are actually usually rather proud to describe the sandwich creations they’ve made up in their head. And because it’s always important to have the upper hand in any business transaction, here’s a quick guide to who you’re dealing with by what’s in their sandwich:

- multi-grain breads (minimum 7 grain) = multiple personalities. this is going to be a tough meeting
- anything with sprouts = forget it. you’re not up for the challenge.
- any form of horseradish = erratic, unpredictable. make sure to get everything in writing.
- potato chips on sandwich = workaholic
- ketchup + mustard + mayo = indecisive, overzealous (at least when it comes to condiments)
- soft cheese on sandwich = pushover, you have this deal in the bag
- rye bread = traditional. make sure you talk about the “old days” and mention things like “Roosevelt”, “bee’s knees” and how “catsup” is much better than “ketchup”
- exotic cured meats = refined, but possibly a bit pretentious. (exception: european)
- only ingredients that start with “s”: weird. make sure to wash hands after meeting.
- trimmed crusts = dainty, pushover (see: soft cheese)

And, if you need a follow-up, the question is, “so what would you name your sandwich”? The rule of thumb seems to be that using the words “Sir” or “Captain” in your sandwich name = instant funny.

I need an image to use with this post, but Janet said that we don’t have any recent pictures that we’ve taken of sandwiches….or past sandwich pictures either. That’s probably a good thing.

January 31, 2008 by Stu Eli
Tags: life