Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The List #3094: Oh Sheetz

There is so much to love about Sheetz. Not only does the name of the place lend itself to some great wordplay ("I've got the Sheetz!"), but you could practically go grocery shopping there. They've got everything you could possibly need: individually shrink-wrapped pickles, 14 different brands of bottled water, applesauce in a pouch, one of those machines where you put a cup of frozen goop in and it turns into a milkshake...the list goes on and on.

But probably the most revolutionary aspect of Sheetz is their "MTO", or "Made to Order" system.

Erin and I had never heard of this concept until about 6 or 7 years ago when returning to Cleveland from NYC. We waited in the car while our friend Ezra, who had been driving, went inside Sheetz to get some food. When he got back into the car, he said "It's OK, you can be jealous...I got a shmagel!"

"A what?!" we asked incredulously.

"A shmagel," he replied, as if we would somehow understand him if he simply repeated himself.

"A WHAT!?!?" we shrieked.

"ALL SHMAGEL!" he declared through a mouthful of egg, bacon, and god knows what else.

Had we been familiar with Sheetz' MTO system at the time, we would have known that he was referring to what a layperson would call an "everything bagel sandwich". It's a branding thing--the menu also includes such items as "Shwings" and "Shnack Wraps".

Regardless of the kooky naming conventions (fryz or nachoz anybody?), the convenience of ordering through a touch screen vs. actually having to interact with the employees is unmatched, and the food itself is superb.

I recommend the pretzel meltz.

Monday, December 12, 2011

the list # 768


my mom was always a very crafty lady.

from little painted plaques that read "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" to the (sorta creepy) faceless plush amish dolls i remember growing up, she was always making something. among her many talents, most often she could be found sewing: little angel ornaments that hung on the christmas tree, pairs of monkees pajama pants that i inexplicably split in the crotch, pillows for my brother once his favorite shirt (with pictures of tools on the front) became too small for him to fit into anymore.

resourceful as she was talented, my mom decided one year that she would use some cute christmas fabric and sew up a bunch of reusable drawstring bags that we could use to "wrap" our presents in. it seemed like a great idea all around; we wouldn't be wasting things, there would be no big mess to clean up, there wouldn't be the added expense of buying rolls of wrapping paper, and we could use the bags again the next year.

my family sat around the christmas tree opening gifts. my grandma and uncle were on the couch, my dad was in his armchair, my mom was kneeling beside the tree to hand out gifts, and i sat on the floor with my two younger brothers mike (8) and chris (7).

it was my turn to open something, so my mom passed my brother a big red cloth bag to hand to me. a huge grin spread across chris' face as he pointed to the bag in my hand.


not wanting to give away the surprise before i could even open my present, my dad tried to quiet him.

"chris, hush!" but he was persistent.


everyone looked around at each other, puzzled, while chris giggled at his own personal joke.

"I KNOW WHERE YOU HIDE THOSE DIAPER THINGS!" he exclaimed, obviously proud of himself for his discovery.

he tried getting up, muttering, "i'll show you!" when my mom, red-faced, handed him the biggest bag she could find and told him to sit down and open his presents. while he was distracted with nintendo games and teenage mutant ninja turtles, my mom quietly slipped away to hide the stash of maxi pads that was kept in the bathroom under the sink in her cute little red drawstring bag.

we never used those cloth bags on christmas again.