A scarf. A schedule. A question.

A friend of mine is making one of these, and yesterday I decided that I needed one, too. SO, I went downstairs, found four skeins of yarn that will work, drove to the yarn store, purchased three more skeins, and here we go. Impulse knitting!

Silky Wool!

Jeff left town yesterday for Florida, so I arranged for my kids to spend the night at my parents’ house. My original intention was to go for an evening run and then spend the rest of the night spinning. Instead, I went for a run at 3:00 (on a treadmill. It was terrible.), met a friend for a martini (or two), bought underwear for the girls (because that’s what I do for the first day of school), and then came home and watched the Olympics until the dogs decided it was time to go to bed (10:45). Excellent night.

Today I’m lunching (I’ve got big thoughts, big dreams and a big brown Mercedes sedan) with a few friends from high school at The Blue Owl. Tomorrow I’ll be delivering checks to teachers. Friday will find me rubbing yarn on my neck in Chicago.

Let’s see. What else? I finished Catching Fire (liked it), I’m now reading Mockingjay (liking it), and I’m gearing up to hit Gone Girl. (The library just called. It’s ready for me.)

Thanks to Tempe, I’ve eaten this for the past three meals.

Wait. I need your opinion. As you know, I don’t eat meat and I’m doing fairly well on my journey (journey!!!) to give up dairy. Occasionally I find myself at Subway. A few months back, I ordered a veggie sandwich, and the employee asked if I’m a vegetarian. When I told her that I am, she changed her gloves. When her co-worker asked why, she said, “I just made a turkey sandwich. If you’re a vegetarian, you don’t want turkey hands to touch your vegetables!” I almost jumped over the counter to French kiss her, because: Yes. I am the vegetarian who won’t eat the veggie kabobs if they held hands with the chicken kabobs on the grill. (I KNOW! I can hear your eyes rolling!!!)

Since that day, no other Subway employee has changed their gloves to make my sandwich. AND, I don’t have the guts to ask them to change their gloves, because who am I? They’re doing their best to make (delicious) sandwiches and get out of there without a bunch of grief from a jerk like me. I’ve made it a practice to not pay any attention to what the person in front of me has ordered, because I just don’t want to know if beef fingers are touching my bread.

A few days back, we went to Subway for dinner. I ordered a veggie sandwich. The employee did not change her gloves. Harper looked up at me and said, “She just touched turkey, and now she’s touching your bread.” This will sound crazy to you, but: I almost couldn’t eat the sandwich. (Thanks, Harper. Gheez.) So here’s my question: Is it too much to ask an employee to change their gloves before making a vegetarian sandwich? (I hate confrontation so much. I hate creating work for someone else even more than I hate confrontation. I don’t want to be the lady that deserves a million eye rolls.) Should I simply go back to the faraway Subway and ask for the schedule of the girl who understands me?

(Please don’t tell me I’m ridiculous. I have people in my family who will take care of that for you.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

38 thoughts on “A scarf. A schedule. A question.”

  1. I think you should ask them to change gloves. I hate confrontation too but when I can taste peppers and onions from the person before me? It kills my sandwhich and then I can’t eat it. I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all :)

  2. I would love to be able to answer your question but I’m all freaked out about the glove thing now. Shouldn’t they be changing their gloves for EVERY sandwich? I realize that would slow down the lunch line considerably or whatever but my son is allergic to beef and my husband is allergic to poultry! I don’t want cheese hands on my non-dairy sandwich, either! You have every right to have non-meat, non-dairy virgin gloves for your veggie sandwich! I don’t think I can eat at Subway anymore now because all I’ll taste is other people’s sandwiches!

  3. Ask for what you want, Angela, small and large. So what if the sandwichmaker rolls her/his eyes?

    You’re so good at making things happen, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.

  4. Love the colors for your scarf. I don’t think it is confrontational to ask if they would put on clean gloves, I bet they are not even aware that they are touching meat, bread, meat, bread, vegetarian. Also, I never get cheese (the dairy thing) on my veggie sub, (Im not vegetarian, but I love the veggie sub) because I don’t think you can taste it anyway and it just adds extra calories – and we have friends who are vegetarian and we cook their grilled food first before our burgers – it’s not eye rolling – it’s respecting their choices ;) Enjoy your sandwich and your time alone and your yarn weekend.

  5. I’m not a vegetarian, but just the thought of lunchmeat makes me feel a little ill. I don’t know why. It just icks me out.

    I also agree with everything Summer & Judi said.

  6. Yeah, the glove question . . . I struggle with this and it’s a big reason we don’t eat out at all. With dd’s multiple allergies we really must pay attention to these details, but getting to the brave place of being able to ask the standard uninformed food worker to take this precaution hasn’t happened for me yet. Maybe we should form a support group for it–the Great Glove Gang, or something.

  7. Even if they change their gloves to make your sandwich, haven’t they already reached in and touched the veggies with turkey-gloves* for the sandwiches before you? I will not be able to not think about this every time I visit Subway (or Jimmy Johns, or any other assembly line style sandwich shop.)

    *Turkey Gloves is either an awesome band name, or the name of a product sold via infomercial at 3am. Hopefully both.

    Also, unrelated to this post, I wanted to let you know I’ve been meditating on how perfect your post from a few days ago was. I think we share the same orange, or they are at least in the same shade-family. This “election season” has been mostly sad for me, I don’t understand the hate that comes from the mouthes (or FB walls) of people who I consider(ed) to be friends. (I’ve even created an “ugh” filter on FB for those people, to be lifted in mid-Nov.)

    The biggest vessel of ugh has been religion-related, and as I’m going through the process of preparing to get married in the Catholic church, every time my fiancee & I get home I think “is this what we really want to teach our children?!” When I was in college I had an awesome church that taught/preached social justice & God’s love, and because of that church I know it’s possible to mix faith & my own political beliefs; it’s just that I’ve yet to find a church like that where I am now.

    I’m so glad you have a church like that, but also a tiny bit jealous, because I feel like I have to hide the important and true things I believe (ie gay people are in fact, real human beings, and worthy of all human rights & protection under the law!) in in order to be accepted at the church I attend now. I know! That is crazy! And it obviously means it’s not the right church for me, but I also know that neither his grandpa or my grandparents will consider our wedding “real” unless it’s a full Catholic mass, and so compromises are being made. And look, I’ve gone off on a whole other tangent I never intended on… Anyway, I didn’t comment on that first post because it struck a very powerful chord with me, and I’ve had to let it sit in my heart & let it resonate a while before being able to form some sort of response. I just wanted to let you know that your post was a breath of fresh air, and I thank you for it.

  8. Here’s my 2 cents. Tell them you’re vegetarian and ask if they could please change gloves. If you get an eyeroll, you can complain (discreetly) to the customer service surveys they give you or call the manager of the store. Customer service is what fast food chains claim to be about.

  9. I feel like I have yarn superpowers or something. :) I like all your colors & I think the silky wool will be very nice come winter. (I’m actually considering doing some surgery on mine to rid myself of the neutral colored yarn and just go all colorful all the time but I’m waiting until I get much further into the colors to make my decision.)

    Anyway, turkey hands. I had NEVER thought about that before, but most of the time when I go to Subway the person doing the veggies is different that the one doing meat & cheese. We have a busy Subway in my ‘hood.

  10. Oh, and ALSO, have a great yarn pilgrimage trip. The Plucky Knitter is there this year & I can’t recommend her stuff enough. The Primo yarn bases are fabulous. FABULOUS. (Booth #907)

  11. Why are you vegetarian? Is it for health, ethical, or environmental reasons? Is this issue of waste (and waste disposal) relevant to you?

    I was vegetarian for seven years; I’m not now. I would not then have asked because I would have regarded it as self-indulgent. The purpose of the gloves is hygiene, not customer preferences. If meat bothered me that much, I would (and usually did) eat in a vegetarian restaurant.

    Now I would not do so because of an increased awareness of waste. The gloves are manufactured, transported, and disposed of in ways that are not neutral for our planet. I would not choose to cause pairs to be thrown away needlessly.

  12. I think I NEED one of those scarf things, if only i could knit… I need to leave a pattern where my mom can see it with a note about Christmas shopping.

    Ask for a glove change. The more people who ask, the more normal it will seem for everyone. My son has Celiac and cross-contamination is a huge issue so we don’t really eat out but if we do I have to grill the manager on their practices and things like changing gloves is a completely reasonable request. Many many many people have special diets for health and/or moral reasons and restaurants needs to keep us happy and safe so that we come back and they stay in business. I will say, that if a place convinces me it is safe we will be back over and over. Customer loyalty is good business. And a change of gloves is not much to ask in return.

  13. I know you talked about other important things but I am SO EXCITED (why yes, I am yelling) that you’re reading Gone Girl. I started it before bed one night and stayed up all night to finish it. I haven’t been able to convince my mom to read it yet but I am still rethinking it…and rereading it a little slower.

    Also? Ask them to change gloves. It’s not a big deal, they should be doing it anyway, and you deserve to have your sandwich how you want it.

  14. No, you are not being ridiculous. It really wouldn’t be a big deal for that employee to change gloves. I just don’t think it occurs to non- vegetarians…

  15. But S. makes a good point too. Whew man, it’s hard being a conscientious consumer these days!

  16. And this comment is for Meghan…who is getting married in the Catholic Church. My sister belongs to a wonderfully supportive church in Georgia. They’ve really been there for her during some difficult times. She doesn’t support all of their dogma and beliefs but only recently has had the courage to speak up and voice her opinions. It was in response to a derogatory comment made about gay people. She mentioned that her nephew (my son) is gay, and that she thought otherwise. This particular person came back with…condemn the sin but love the sinner…and my sister called her on that too. She did this during a bible study group! I have to say, I’ve never been prouder of my sister. I hope what she said that day planted a little seed of doubt in that women’s mind, or gave someone else who sympathized with my sister’s view, the courage to speak her mind as well.f

  17. I think it’s all in how you ask. “I’m sorry, but would you mind terribly changing your gloves? I’m a vegetarian about to order a vegetarian sandwich! Thanks so much!” (The older I get, the less the eye rolls of strangers bother me.)

    Your scarfy thing is going to be AMAZING! Please post results.

  18. I haven’t read your blog in about 6 years. I’m super disappointed that you don’t eat bacon anymore. I am not kidding. Please don’t be that high-maintenance weird ass vegan/vegetarian/ovo-whatever. For the love of all that is holy.

  19. I hate confrontation too so I was going to skip commenting rather than say that maybe you shouldn’t ask them to change gloves because (and, I am not judging, I have many many MANY of these myself) your reaction to it is psychological . If you didn’t know, you are fine and how much turkey is really getting on your veggies (esp. when, like someone else pointed out, they have been dipping those gloves in the veggies before)? But I want you to be happy and I don’t want to be confrontational so how about you LIE?? You TELL them you are allergic to something meatish and you need them to change their gloves! They can’t roll their eyes at that! You are simply saving them from having to call 911 from your meat related reaction.

    Yeah. Lying is always the best approach, imho.

  20. At the Subway I frequent, they change their gloves between each sandwich. If that’s not the policy everywhere, it ought to be.

  21. Hannah’s Bretzels always changes gloves if you ask for a gluten-free sandwich and if they don’t, I mention it.

    I would totally ask them to change gloves. It’s completely reasonable and safer regardless of the reason. Personally, I am allergic to tomatoes, so I ask them to change b/c if there is tomato-ness on their gloves, it will transfer to my sandwich and I’ll get a rash.

  22. I have a job in which I may use 30 pairs of gloves a day. Not only that, but I change into newly laundered scrubs and THEN coveralls (sexy, I know!) upwards of a dozen times also (I make drugs, the legal kind. Believe me, you want to prevent cross-contamination.). My point here is this- changing gloves is a simple request that takes a couple seconds and is just another part of their job, like changing clothes is for me. I can’t imagine them not just saying, “sure”, and getting on with it. Don’t feel bad. 

  23. Chris was my biggest advocate in this area (even though he was a meat eater). He was seriously on top of that keep it separated thing and would speak up on several occasions. Mostly because he knew that I wouldn’t. I never (still don’t) want to be a bother. Usually if I’m by myself and this happens, I begrudgingly eat what ever, but then I never go back. Of course, now this means I just don’t eat out as much. Sad or frugal? I’m going with frugal today.

  24. That is an extremely thoughtful employee. And no it is not terrible or wrong for you to ask for consideration. And changing gloves is not a lot of work. Don’t feel bad.

  25. You have every right to ask. I have a friend who has Celiacs and they have to. She also has helped design subways gluten free menu items and educate them on handling the food when working with the gluten free items. I will ask if she could suggest this for vegetarian items.

  26. I’m very non-confrontational also. However, we all have our things; our hot buttons. Mine, is those who touch money and then food without changing gloves. That is a definite no-no in my book because I used to work retail and I know how gross money is. I do find some of the points mentioned above interesting though. Like the veggies probably already have had “meat gloves” in them – which makes me think that the lady who didn’t change gloves between money and my food didn’t change them earlier so there is already money germs on my food. Also, there is the issue of waste since all those gloves go in the landfill; however the bag for the chips I eat and the napkins I used and the drink… etc all go in the landfill.

    Basically, if you can ask and stomach some eye rolls, do it. If asking is harder on you emotionally then just don’t think about it.

    Also, I’m pretty sure I’m eating your share of bacon so you fell free to give up whatever you need to – I’m here for you. :)

  27. I don’t think it would be ridiculous to ask for the person making your sandwich to change gloves. I’m not really sure it would make a difference in a non vegetarian resturant though. How do you know the people in the back slicing and chopping your yummy veggies didn’t just hack a chicken breast in to tiny pieces with the same knife!?

  28. When we were in Mumbai a few months ago I found myself in a Subway (!) that was also a Baskin Robins because my mouth was on fire after some particularly flavorful street food and I NEEDED a mango milkshake. Anyway… the Subway had two totally separate lines for “veg” and “non-veg.” It was like that pretty much everywhere. The veg stuff was always completely separate from the meat stuff. So just move to India! Problem solved!

  29. I have a problem with gloves in general…such a waste to the environment, so I think that it is harmful to the environment to request that gloves be changed frequently. Clean hands SHOULD be good enough to prepare food…even if they are not my own clean hands. I think the length of time that the gloved hands are touching each piece of the sandwich is such a short period of time, that it shouldn’t really matter. IMO, if you are such a strict vegetarian or vegan…it is in your best interests to frequent places that specialize in catering to your specific desires/needs.

  30. Although I have concerns about the waste thingy, those gloves are (read: should be) made of biodegradable latex, and will decompose, removing that concern. I don’t think asking for clean gloves is in any way too fussy, I’m the same with onions. It doesn’t sound like the basis for confrontation to me, and but you Americans are so nice, maybe it is for you. Anyway, why aren’t they using tongs to handle the ingredients?
    Problem solved all round.

  31. Isabella, latex allergies are much more common than you may realize, so that isn’t a valid option either. Angie, do whatever you’re most comfortable with doing.

  32. Thank you for the very tasty-looking salad recipe link. Have you tried this? http://www.food52.com/recipes/2434_one_pot_kale_and_quinoa_pilaf

    It is quick, hearty, delicious, and very flexible. (I usually don’t have Meyer lemons , but regular lemon does just fine; the cheese is optional; sometimes I swap out the pine nuts for sliced toasted almonds; and mint is a lovely addition). It’s great the next day (or two or three), so I usually make a double batch. Also? One pot!

  33. I was going to/ am going to say what Em said. Tell whomever that you are allergic. People don’t get the Vegan thing. I love the scarf that you are planning on knitting. Go Sheila E!!!

  34. Talked to my friend who helped design the gluten free program for subway and she said you should never have to feel bad about asking for them to change their gloves. She also said you might want to make sure they use a clean knife to cut your sandwich as well. They should have been trained to understand that this is necessary for certain dietary and cultural reasons.

  35. I am a vegan for animal welfare reasons. I don’t preach or judge but I also wouldn’t mind if more people were more vegetarian.

    Therefore, if I make my eating choices look complicated, I worry I do more harm than good. Is it better for me to be the Perfect Vegan or to have inspired a bunch of people to be mostly vegetarian?

    If I refuse to touch something because it touched cheese, I wonder if I start to look crazy to other people, who are–now more than ever–not likely to put down their BLT. I want to inspire people, not discourage them. If they think you have to be *that* particular, they won’t bother. But that’s just my take on it for my life.

    For you, I think you’d need to analyze your reasons for the request. I couldn’t tell from your post why the thought of gloves that touched meat for a second and then touched your vegs bothered you–and I am genuinely curious, since that doesn’t bother me at all, and it sounds like it might not have occurred to you until the Subway worker pointed it out. IMO, the turkey is dead; it is not my fault; I won’t be eating it. If the veggie burger is cooked on the grill, same thing: oh well. It does not impact *my* choices at all. But again, it’s just what works for me.

    However, if you will be medically harmed by the chicken kabob touching the veggie kabob, or it is a religious stricture, then by all means speak up.

    If it’s in an effort to be as pure a vegan as possible, well, it’s been proven time and time again that all kinds of small animals perish when our vegan lettuce gets harvested (field mice, voles etc). And if you’re still working on giving up dairy (which causes animals untold suffering) then it almost starts to sound like you’re missing the forest for the trees (said with love and not mean-ness).

    That said, as other people have pointed out, you can make any request you want. And they can say no, too. Therefore, I think you can make your request without explaining why. “Can you please use a new pair of gloves?” will suffice, though I agree with the poster who talked about balancing your health or your ethics with the wastefulness inherent in your request. It is impossible to be perfect.

    The mantra I use is borrowed from the Hippocratic Oath: do the least harm. Once a year, I do the least harm by having one small bowl of Greek Easter Soup (contains liver *and*egg) but which causes my MIL to weep with joy that we continue her beloved tradition. And the rest of the year, she cooks vegetarian stuff for me every time I visit.

    So the bottom line for me is to be 100% strict on my own time and, by knowing *why* I am a vegan, I can feel good about the choices I make when I am out.

    It’d be nice if I could say, when people ask, that I am a perfect vegan. Even though I don’t slack on my own time (ie, I won’t eat cheese at home when no one is looking), I am definitely not perfect in the sense that I will have the Easter soup and I don’t mind if my veggie burger is on the grill on the 4th of July.

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