In my temporary home here in Monroe Township, New Jersey, there is a problem that has always puzzled me. In a strip mall on Applegarth Road, right next to one another, are two businesses called "Dee's Bagel Cafe" and "Sandwich King". They both serve breakfast and lunch and then close in mid-afternoon. They both advertise, "New Jersey Star Ledger sold here". They both boast, "We Serve Boar's Head Meats". Their signs are identically lettered. This morning, when I was there, the same truck was making deliveries to both of them. How do both of them thrive?
Well, they do. And there are factions. My father and his pals will only eat at Sandwich King. He says that Dee's runs out of bagels by lunchtime which, if true, is pretty irresponsible for a place that bears the word "bagel" in its name. However, I lean to Dee's. I always used to go there with my Aunt Ruth and they recognize me when I come in. I don't care whether the calumny about the bagels is true because I always get my kosher salami sandwich (lettuce, tomato and mustard, pickle on the side) on a Kaiser roll (poppyseed). On the occasions when I bring a sandwich to my parents house, my father invariably says, "Where did you get that? Dee's? Why don't you go to Sandwich King? It's much better."
This morning, though, I just wanted a newspaper to take home and read with my coffee. I figured that if they didn't carry the New York Times, I would read the Star-Ledger. True to form, both Dee's and Sandwich King were out of newspapers. I went across the road to WaWa, where I had my choice of all the New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia papers. Don't get a sandwich there, though; they're terrible.