What is your favorite Christmas song? Mine is the one that goes, “‘TIS THE SEASON TO COME CLEAN ABOUT SOMETHING WEIRD YOU DID AND APOLOGIZE FOR IT. FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!”
A friend of mine told me this story once. Ok, nevermind. It was I. This happened to me. I am the protagonist of this story. Or maybe the antagonist? You decide. Anyway, when I neglect to bring my usual turkey and hummus on an English muffin to work for lunch, my go to joint is this super exclusive bakery called Panera Bread. I could buy a house with the amount of Panera points I have on my Panera card. Each time I go, I order the same thing: chicken cobb with avocado no bacon, no cheese, extra tomatoes. More words than a Starbucks order, yet still fairly simple. One afternoon while enjoying my delicious salad, I came across an ingredient that I certainly did not request: a chicken bone. I will not go into further detail of my physical reaction that took place in a public restaurant, but I will share with you my everlasting regret of an email I fired off to the company following Lunchgate 2014. The thing about memories is that they fade. The thing about emails is that they don’t.
I had just returned from a very traumatic lunch experience. I am a loyal Panera Bread customer, as one of your locations is right down the street from my office. In my chicken cobb with avocado salad, I noticed a strange crunch. It hurt my tooth, and as I took it out, I realized the crunch was a CHICKEN BONE. It was about an inch and a half long bone. I don’t know how this got in there, I have a picture to prove it. I was given my money back by the very nice manager and staff, but I wanted to bring it to corporate attention. I love Panera, and know a lot of people who also love Panera, but I’m not sure I can stomach it anymore. I have a picture of the bone in the salad as proof if you would like to see it. Just wanted to give you a heads up that maybe you should check your product before assembling a salad. You’re lucky no one got seriously injured or sick…yet. Who knows what could have happened to me?! Thank you!!”
I know, I know. I am disgusting. While finding a chicken bone is not ideal, here’s what I should have remembered: THERE IS CHICKEN IN THE SALAD. Real chickens have bones. I am also not a 9-month old baby, and can note a change in texture before I would allow an “inch and a half” long bone down my throat. Quite frankly, I acted as if Panera lit my baby blanket on fire, and this email is just one piece of that puzzle.The story ends with the me, the villain, receiving a gift card and long-ass apology from the chain. And I will close out this yearlong regret with a returned apology. Sorry for flipping out, thanks for the free baguettes and customizable salads. Hope we can all move on. Merry Christmas?