Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Panini" / "Panani" -- An R-Rated Discussion of Sandwich Mispronunciation

I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression - I am a fair and patient person, particularly when it comes to encountering new words. You should hear me try to pronounce words in different languages. It's embarrassing and laughable but I forgive myself because I give my best shot... read the letters in front of me, maybe ask for help, and gracefully accept the inevitable correction.

This makes me wonder, then, why so many legions of customers insist on my all too regular requests for our daily panani. Not sure why this is a problem? Let's start with the fact that there is no such thing as a panani in the English language, certainly not on our two (2) menus listing instead a daily panini, a tasty grilled sandwich that I dutifully prepare every morning before service. What's the deal, customers? It's not like you are mistakening a soft i for a hard i. You are changing the letter itself!

The other problem is with the way this faux pas sounds. Say the word aloud: Panani. Is it just me or does this sound all too close to a euphemism for a certain part of the female anatomy? Everyone thinks it. You know I'm right. It sounds ludicrous and a little bit dirty, and even the most mature professionals are going to shake their heads or make a joke or two at your expense.

Lastly, and I don't mean to be a jerk, but most of the panani crew have more than a few years under their belts. Imagine what it must sound like hearing a request for a panani sweet old grandma Sue? It's enough to make a person gag and blush at the same time. Really, it's just nasty!

Here are a couple true accounts of "panani" moments, the most unfortunate by far, and my thought-bubble or real reactions. And yes, this will be a regular feature in this blog.

Experience 1:
David: What would you like?
Customer: I'd like two panani's.
David Thought Bubble: Leave $250 on the counter and I'll see what I can do.

Experience 2:

David: What would you like?
Customer: How about a daily panani?
David: I don't have any panani's. How about a panini instead?
Customer: Does it cost more?
David Thought Bubble: Only your dignity and mine.

Experience 3:

David: What can I get you?
Customer: I'd like the Grilled Eggplant punany.
David: Excuse me? You would like what? (Thought bubble: You have to be kidding me!)
Customer: Oh, I mean the daily panani.
David: For next time, it's pronounced panini, ma'am. Would you like chips or salad?

Experience 4:
David: What would you like?
Customer: Well, I'd like the panani but could you put the sauce on the side? I don't like my panani to be wet.
David: Can you excuse me, I need to step into the kitchen for a moment.

11/30/2011: Hello dear readers. I am part of a new, exciting webseries that really gets to the core of the Buffalo-Chicken-Moments experience. It's called Waiting On Others and will debut in January 2012. We have a new Tumblr blog and I would love it if you checked out what we have to say.

1 comment:

  1. I am literally hysterical laughing - awesome recount of the insanity that defines the cafe.